A friend and I were talking yesterday (Jenny from DIYparenting) about how to simplify and manage snacking. She uses a snack bin system that is perfect for growing families when life gets busy. As the number of children increases, we’re both finding more and more ways to simplify, and to make things work more easily for children who are becoming independent.
Here is what Jenny does: She packages a few snacks in individual servings for each day, at least three possible choices, and enough for each child to have two a day. Then, when they are hungry, in the morning, or afternoon, they can retrieve whatever snack they desire from the snack bin independently. This is a wildly genius idea, because I often find my children, in their urge to snack, have eaten an ENTIRE bag of pretzels in one sitting! This is so frustrating for someone who is trying to live frugally, and not waste anything! It is also frustrating for someone who is trying to instill good eating habits! Another part of living frugally, and healthily, is the fact that often I may not have it in my budget for prepackaged snacks. I often have to bake them. But I also don’t always have the time or energy to bake several batches in one shot. Sometimes I have more time and energy then I need, and then I do freezer baking! This is the extent of my freezer meals, because I’ve had no success in making a whole freezer meal work. I’ll spare you the stories of failed soup as freezer meals… Lets just say it took longer to thaw than it would have to make fresh soup, and it tasted vile!
In response to the 4 Mom’s post on freezer meals, I’m going to enjoy my first linky to 4 Moms via one of my new favorite blogs Life In A Shoe! 🙂 I LOVE reading her blog, it is so encouraging!
Here is what I do for “freezer meals” I bake a lot extra when I do bake, and then I freeze some each time, this way when I’m having a rough morning, or am out of ingredients, whatever the case may be, I can whip out some zuchini bread, or corn bread, or muffins, or any kind of baked good, put that thing in the oven for a few minutes and voila! Fresh baked _____! My newest favorite recipe is very simple, and very healthy. (Well, if you don’t count the amount of butter! Which I’ve reduced, but not that it makes it a whole ton better! Ha!) I love making this recipe with my kids because it is just so simple and begs for little helper hands! The original Pastry recipe can be found at Food Cookture with pictures. 🙂
Easy Fruit Turnovers
For the Puff Pastry:
I doubled the recipe to make a total of 1 dozen turnover squares, I did not roll them thin enough though, so rolling the dough thinner may yield more! 🙂
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- Pinch of salt
- 10-12 Tablespoons ice-cold water modify depending on the flour, start with 10, then work your way up to a doughy consistency.
- 1 egg for the egg wash before baking(beat the egg, then brush over assembled turnovers.)
- Mix Sifted Flour and Salt in Mixing bowl. Add Ice Water.
- Cut butter into small squares, I cut the stick in half, then cut vertically to make the cubes. Cut into flour mixture using a fork (or if you’re really blessed, use a pastry blender! One day… one day I might have one of these! until then, I’ll work my muscles! )
- Once the mixture loosely resembles a crumbly doughy texture, turn out onto floured surface. The more you roll it with a pin, the more it will get doughy and smooth.
- Use a rolling pin to roll the mixture out, work extra pieces of dough, flour, and butter into mixture as you turn and fold. IMPORTANT: Keep the dough cold! if the butter softens too much, put it in the fridge to rest, or just roll it out onto a tray you’ve pooped into the freezer. This can be tough though, so I usually just let it rest.
Making the Turnovers.
- Roll the pastry into a rectangle shape. Fold it like a business letter, one third down, and one third back over the other two thirds. Rotate from a horizontal position to a vertical one. The rectangle is now longways vertically.
- Repeat above step, fold and roll, 4 times overall. Rotate as you do this. The dough will continue to get smoother and smoother as you do. Make sure to be consistent and rotate in the same direction.
- Wrap finished dough roll into plastic wrap and put in fridge to rest at LEAST 30 minutes. Will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge. You can also freeze it at this point, and save for later.
- Remove from fridge (or thaw at room temp) and roll, as above, 2 more times.
- Roll out to a thin pastry (1/4 inch thin) and cut into squares. It doesn’t have to be perfect, so long as you can fold it over onto itself and seal the edges closed. The ends of the dough ended up being rectangles and weird ovals for me, but I don’t like to waste, so I worked with what I got!
- Lay the pastry dough out, placing fresh fruit (I used strawberries, blueberries, any kind of berry is perfect really, as it cooks well! I also sprinkled them with a little bit of sugar) on half of the dough surface. Fold dough over, and seal at the edges with a fork. Cut an x in the top of the pastry.
- Beat an egg and brush the tops of the prepared pastries. (This is the part my kids REALLY enjoy doing! :))
- Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until tops are golden brown.
- Eat a few and freeze the rest! They make a wonderful morning snack, pop them back into the oven, straight from the freezer, 20 minutes at 400 degrees, and then place in a snack bin for the wee ones! They also pack well for Daddy’s lunches!