Snack fatigue? Here's a round-up of creative ways to make fruit fun

 

Cheese and pepperoni have their place, but this cool, refreshing “pizza” boasts chilled watermelon, banana slices, blueberries and coconut. Summer means fresh fruits are on center stage.

Cheese and pepperoni have their place, but this cool, refreshing “pizza” boasts chilled watermelon, banana slices, blueberries and coconut. Summer means fresh fruits are on center stage. Photo by: sweetsimplevegan.com

 

A different caramel apple — a hollowed apple filled with melted caramel and chilled is deliciously easy to eat.

A different caramel apple — a hollowed apple filled with melted caramel and chilled is deliciously easy to eat.
Photo by: kkcb.com

 

Here’s a fun fruit cup idea from parentsociety.com.

Here’s a fun fruit cup idea from parentsociety.com.
Photo by: parentsociety.com

 

Chocolate striping turns strawberries into ladybugs.

Chocolate striping turns strawberries into ladybugs.
Photo by: pinterest.com

 

 

Jan Swoope

 

 

Did you notice? At about the minute the last firecracker popped on July 4, stores began slipping back-to-school supplies on the shelves. (Much as Valentine's merchandise is out on Dec. 26.) It's easy to let supply lists, ring binders and No. 2 pencils hijack a summer state of mind. But even as we prep for the kids' return to the classroom, remember they still have a month of "hot fun in the summertime" ahead. If you're on a quest for healthier snacks to serve poolside or after a day of bikes, baseball or boating, here's a round-up of refreshing ways to enjoy fruit.

 

Summer's "perfect fruit" -- fresh watermelon -- has had a slow go, what with Mother Nature's soggy spring pushing back the planting. But a few are beginning to surface at area farmers' markets, with promise of more to come. Think watermelon "pizza." Chilled watermelon slices, topped with banana, berries, coconut and a few mint leaves for garnish -- or whatever toppings you desire. Then use some of that watermelon for small melon balls to go with other fruits like cantaloupe and honeydew in a cool medley served up atop ice cream cones. (Put the fruit in a small paper liner, like a cupcake wrapper.)

 

This has got to be delicious: an easy-to-eat version of caramel apple from kkcb.com -- and you won't be wearing caramel from ear to ear. Cut an apple in half and hollow it using a melon baller. (Balance the halves in a muffin pan.) Then fill the wells created with melted caramel. Let it harden and cut the caramel-filled apples into bite-sized slices. You may want to add a bit of butter to the melting caramel for extra creaminess. Serve chilled.

 

 

Ultra simple: Make "cat in the hat" kabobs with a grape (the head) on a skewer topped by thinnish alternating slices of strawberry and banana (the iconic hat).

 

Green grapes on a skewer can become a caterpillar. White margarine and brown liquid chocolate applied with a toothpick can make fake eyes. While the chocolate is out, make ladybugs by slicing strawberries in half and adding a line down the back and a few dots, plus eyes, to each half.

 

If you have more time to invest, a recipe for cinnamon flavored baked apple chips is included in today's food section. Swap them out for salty, fat-filled TV snacks.

 

Yes, school bells will be ringing soon enough, but they're not pealing just yet. In the weeks that remain, soak up some rays (while suitably SPF'd) and help the kids enjoy the fresh fruits of summer.

 

 

WATERMELON PIZZA

 

 

1/2 round of a medium watermelon

 

1 banana

 

1 handful of blueberries

 

1-2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut

 

1 tablespoon goji berries

 

1 tablespoon fresh mint

 

 

  • Slice a large round from a watermelon. Place it on a cutting board and add toppings of choice.

     

  • Using a large knife, slice as your would a pizza or cake.

     

    (Source: sweetsimplevegan.com)

     

     

    BAKED APPLE CHIPS

     

    Prep time: 5 minutes

     

    Cook time: 3 hours

     

    Serves 6-8

     

     

    Apples, 1 to 2

     

    2-3 teaspoons cinnamon sweet spice blend

     

     

  • Preheat oven to 200 F.

     

  • Using a sharp knife or a mandolin, slice apples thinly. Discard seeds.

     

  • Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange apple slices on top without overlapping.

     

  • Sprinkle a cinnamon sweet spice blend over apple slices and bake for 1 hour, then flip slices.

     

  • Continue to bake slices for another 1 to 2 hours, flipping every 35 to 40 minutes, until apple slices have dried out and are no longer moist.

     

  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

     

    (Source: dybrecipes.com)

     

     

  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

     

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