Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Even though Halloween's main focus is candy candy candy, when it comes to snacks for kids, I like to keep it (fairly) healthy when I can. Rest assured they will eat plenty of the junky stuff on Halloween night, so for a snack or party, why not offer a healthier option? I was in charge of sending in snacks for Caroline's preschool class this week, and since they are talking about pumpkins all week, I wanted to tie it in. I could think of tons of great ideas for pumpkin themed desserts and not-so-good-for-you snacks, but I was having trouble coming up with something healthy.
These cute little snack-o-lanterns definitely fit the bill though. It is simply an orange that has been hollowed out and filled with fruit. Super adorable, and actually not that difficult. The sky's the limit when it comes to the faces. We thought it'd be fun to do a different face on each one. And they really are nothing more than a super cute vessel to hold fruit salad. You can definitely fill them with any fruit you want - I used a mix of strawberries, blueberries, and grapes, since I knew those fruits are well-liked by toddlers.
I was kind of dreading making these because I thought it would be incredibly tedious and take forever. But with Joey's help, I think we were done and the kitchen was cleaned in under an hour. I scooped and cleaned out the oranges, and left the creativity to Joey - he had a lot of fun coming up with different faces. That day I had actually bought a pumpkin carving kit, so I used the small serrated knife to cut the faces. It worked really well, though I think you could use a paring knife or exacto knife as well.
As far as scooping out the insides, I first used a knife to cut out a big cone from the orange, and then used my fingers to pull out the rest of the fruit. I found that if you could get your fingers into the pith, it would pull up the segments much easier and cleaner. And if you don't get every little piece of orange, its okay. Just do the best you can.
When I showed them to Caroline, she was so excited. After I picked her up from school that day and asked her if she liked the snack, she said she did, but "We don't eat the pumpkin, just the fruit inside. Nooooo" It makes me wonder who tried to eat the orange peel :-) So I think all of her friends at school enjoyed the snack, and I'm planning to make these again for Halloween night. We are having dinner with a few neighbors and their kids, so these would be a fun and nutritious snack to eat before gorging themselves on candy ;-)
Snack-o-Lantern Fruit Cups
adapted from Disney Family Fun, via Pennies on a Platter
Slice the top off of each orange. Discard it or save it for serving with the cups. Use a sharp knife to cut a cone out of the orange, then use a spoon and/or your fingers to scrape out the remaining orange segments. Rinse the outside of each orange under cold water, then set upside down on a clean kitchen towel.
Cut out the eyes, nose, and mouth as you like.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Fill with desired fruit up to 2-3 hours before serving.