Tuesday, October 9, 2012

IC 20: Homemade Pop Tarts - a test

I love pinterest.  There are so many great ideas on there!  Even before pinterest though, I'd seen homemade poptart recipes and thought about trying to make them with more whole wheat flour.  Then this recipe popped up on pinterest.  As with most of my pins, it aged a bit on my pinboard, but I did get to it!

Part of my desire here is to cut back on the sugar that my kids eat the other is to avoid so much processed food and dyes.  But, I wanted to test out how open they were to me making pop tarts instead of the store bought ones.  Baby steps, right?

So, I started with the dough in the recipe above and made it exactly how it says in the recipe.  I split it in half and used half for something else (which didn't work so well), but I think you could get at least 6 pop tarts out of the dough.  The first in my baby steps was to replace the filling, I just couldn't bring myself to use jelly for the filling, so I made some unsweetened strawberry applesauce by cooking a chopped apple and a handful of strawberries until they were soft then, I ran them through the food processor (I'm really missing my immersion blender, it would've made that easier!).  Then, I used that for the filling. I didn't add any sugar. I forgot to taste it until I had already filled a few of the pop tarts.  It really could've used some sugar, it was pretty tart!

After I filled the pop tarts with the applesauce, I put the top on, crimped them around the edges with a fork and poked the top with the fork too.  In retrospect, just one fork poke wasn't enough because the tops cracked.
However that's ok because as I said, I'm taking baby steps here, I'm pretty sure that if I were to give these to the kids they'd reject them flat out since there's no frosting.  In fact, I bought unfrosted pop tarts once and they rejected those.  So I had a little bit of frosting left over from some cookies I made a while back that I put on the top and then added sprinkles (because everything is better with sprinkles!). 
I layered the frosting on a bit thicker than I really wanted to, in part because the frosting was too thick and in part because of those cracks.

The result? The girls each ate a whole one and said that they liked them.  Which for my youngest is an improvement over a lot of the store bought ones. My oldest asked that next time I use just strawberries for the filling. I suspect she's reacting to the tartness of it and her thoughts about not liking applesauce.  Next time I might increase the strawberries, but I don't think I'll eliminate the apples completely.  I would never put them in the toaster (actually mine puffed up so much they wouldn't fit anyway), but they could be heated in the microwave if you want.  I had one at room temp and thought it was pretty good. Not really a pop tart but still really yummy.

I made these as part of Iron Craft Challenge 20 (Edible Crafts) at Just Crafty Enough.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WFMW - saving squash and pumpkin

It's that time of year! Pumpkins and squash are on sale and available at most farmers markets.  I use pumpkin in baked goods, pancakes and waffles for my kids to give them an extra bit of vitamins.  I ran into problems because rarely did the recipe need a whole can of pumpkin and I was wasting the rest.  So I started freezing the left overs. 

Then, my kids started going on field trips to the pumpkin patch where they got these little pie pumpkins that weren't big enough to carve.  So, I started cooking them and freezing them to use instead of the store bought canned pumpkin.  Now, I do it with squash too.

Here's what you need:
squash or pumpkin
food processor
muffin pan (silicone works best)
1/4 cup measuring cup
9x13 cake pan

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Cut your pumpkin or squash open and take the seeds out (I usually cut mine in half from stem to bottom). Place the pumpkin in the cake pan cut side up and put some water in the bottom of the pan.  Bake it until it's soft.  I didn't time mine, but I think it was about an hour. It'll vary depending on the size of your pumpkin or squash.

Let it cool.  Peel off the skin, it should be soft enough that you don't really need a knife to do this.  Then cut it into chunks and put it in the food processor.  Puree until it's smooth.

After it's pureed, using your 1/4 cup measure, scoop 1/4 cup into each of the cups in your muffin pan.  Freeze it (I do it over night). Once it's frozen solid, pop them out and put them in freezer bags.

Now, the next time a recipe calls for pumpkin, I can just pop out what I need and thaw them quick in the microwave.  I've found that there's a little more moisture than what's in canned pumpkin. Some of it comes out when I microwave. I just use my judgement when I'm making something on whether I drain that off or add it in.  You could probably cook it down more after you've pureed it a bit to get some of the extra moisture out. 
Now is the time to get your pumpkin and squash.  In the pictures, I used butternut squash. I got a huge one for $1.  I'm getting more out of it than the boxes I'd buy at the store for more than that. And I can use it in place of pumpkin in recipes too. 
You could shred zucchini and freeze it this way also!
What do you like to freeze? Any recipe recommendations for pureed squash?
For more tips go check out We Are that Family's Works for Me Wednesday post.


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