Prapple Butter (Pear and Apple)

        Prapple Butter (Pear and Apple)

Fall harvest brings so many delicious fruits...but they sure can pile up after a while!  The next time you have a big batch of overripe pears or apples (or both), try our pear/apple "Prapple" butter recipe below.  It is really easy and fun to make, plus the whole house will smell amazing while it cooks!  It keeps well in the fridge and makes for a great topping on whole wheat toast, oatmeal, or even frozen yogurt.  You can make this recipe with any combination of pears and apples you have on hand, but our favorite combination for this recipe is half McIntosh apples with half D'Anjou pears.

Prapple Butter (Pear and Apple Butter)

8 medium sized pears and/or apples, sliced thick (cores/seeds removed)  
1 cup apple juice or apple cider
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar  
1 tablespoon cinnamon  
1 teaspoon allspice

Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and stir to blend well.  Set on low for 10 hours.  Blend in the blender or with an immersion blender until smooth.  Let cool at room temperature and then keep refrigerated.


Checking Labels- Is the Food You're Eating Healthy?

Misleading Advertising

We all want to do what's best for our kids, but it seems these days it's harder than ever to figure out what is healthy and what is not.  So many cereals, bars, protein powders, crackers, yogurts and pouches are all advertised as healthy.  They include buzz words and phrases like organic, natural, made with real fruit, made with whole grains, multigrain, enriched wheat flour.

This kind of marketing is purposefully misleading and confusing.  Advertisers want us to believe that something like fun fruits aka 'fruit snacks' labeled with the words organic and 'made with real fruit,' will fool us into thinking that cheap candy is a healthy snack.

What to look for on the label

When you do need to shop for something that is packaged or canned check the ingredient list on the label.  The ingredient list is the most telling piece of information on the packaging.  Look for products with the least amount of ingredients, preferably less than 5.  All ingredients should be words you recognize.  If long words that remind you of high school chemistry begin to pop up, WALK AWAY.  It's amazing what you'll find on the ingredient list- yogurts are often loaded with sugar and/or corn syrup and seemingly healthy bread is often mainly white flour with other grains.

Still confused by a label? Check out the 16 most misleading healthy food labels and buzz words.

Healthy Pumpkin Banana Smoothie

        Healthy Pumpkin Banana Smoothie

Seriously, we cannot get enough pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING.  This blog contains other fall time goodies, like this spooky soup and pumpkin overnight oats, but we had to throw in a pumpkin smoothie.  Everyone has their own recipe for this sweet treat, but ours has added fiber and omega 3's. Perfect way to jump start everyone's day this fall, including your littlest of tots- infants over 6 months can enjoy this too!  Great choice for kids who aren't big breakfast eaters.

Healthy Pumpkin Banana Smoothie

2 frozen bananas  
1 cup almond milk (whichever type your family likes)
3 tablespoons pumpkin puree  
1 teaspoon allspice  
2 teaspoons ground flaxseed (optional)  
1 tablespoon real maple syrup

Blend all ingredients until smooth. For us adults, substitute 1/2 cup of milk for cold coffee for that extra morning kick. Enjoy! 

10 Ways to Stop Making Multiple Meals for your Family at Dinner (Short Order Cooking)

     1. Limit snacks right before dinner. If they are hungry (not starving) they'll be eager to eat.  Kids who snack all day tend to eat poorly during mealtimes because they aren't hungry.

     2. Include foods in the meal that your kids like. One or two familiar and beloved ingredients always helps.

      3. Have them help you prep and cook a portion of the meal. Kids are more interested in food they've had a hand in making.

      4. Get your little kitchen helpers to help you meal plan. Look through cook books together!  Give them a couple of options and see if something catches their eye.

Cooking together makes even the most foreign ingredients seem approachable to a child.

      5. Talk about the transition with your kids in advance. "We're all going to eat the same thing. You get to eat what we eat, yay!"

      6. Create a positive, stress free, environment; eating is fun, not something to be forced or dreaded. Keep the mood light. Focus on being present with your kids and upbeat even through their initial resistance.

      7. Have realistic expectations, this transition may take a while. That's ok! Sometimes as parents we get super excited for change and unrealistically expect for things to work out right away. This only sets us up for frustration and irritability. Mentally prepare.

      8.  It's harder for us than it is for them. Accept that making one meal is easier for you and that your kids WILL eventually eat it.  Often we feel guilty if we don't make something our kids will automatically gobble up, it's our job as parents to offer a healthy variety of food and give our kids a safe place to acquire the taste.

      9.  If your kid is begging you for junk food or treats during mealtimes or after and it's becoming a problem, stop buying them.  Save them as treats that are specifically purchased to be eaten that day.

      10.  After the family meal, avoid giving processed foods (crackers, cookies, cereal), many kids will save their appetite for dessert. These desserts essentially become the second meal you were unwilling to make.  Stick to fruit after mealtimes except during special occasions.