Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fruit Snack Fail

Today's post is especially for those of you who think, "That Lana.  She just has it all figured out!" 

There are some of you who think that, right? Right??

I'm always on the lookout for snacks that I can modify to fit Lily's specialized diet.  

At the moment, Lily is totally addicted to fruit snacks.  And of course, like everything else in Lily's life, we can't just get the cheap ones.  No sir.  We have to buy the all natural kind with no weird dyes and preservatives.

You know the ones I'm talking about.  These right here:  

Annie's.  The cadillac of fruit snacks.

And while it makes me happy that Lily's not consuming a bunch of GMO's and synthetic colors, it doesn't make me quite as happy that these are around $4.50 a box for 5 measly little bags containing about 12 fruit snacks each.  That translates to $4.50 for 60 fruit snacks.  

On top of that, Lily can't eat any of the red ones.

So when I saw this recipe on Pinterest... 

I thought, "Hmmm... I wonder if I could make my own fruit snacks that fit Lily's diet."

And I got all excited about trying them out. 

(I know.  Even I sometimes have a hard time believing this is what my life has become - excited about homemade fruit snacks...)

I thought of the great blog post I would write, sharing my recipe for all natural homemade fruit snacks, and how moms everywhere would rejoice at the idea of feeding their children something healthy and economical.

I found these perfect little Ice Cubette Trays, just the right size for fruit snacks.

I found all natural fruit "jel dessert" at Whole Foods.  

The first hitch I noticed in my perfect fruit snack plan?  My recipe filled less than half of one of those little cubette trays.  

As in, 30 fruit snacks. Total.

The next hitch?  Getting the fruit snacks out of the little cubette tray.

It looks like I tried to eat them out.

Last hitch?  The appearance of the finished product.  Can you tell which all natural fruit snacks I made and which are store bought??

I'm thinking the Bird's going to notice the difference, too. 

So here's a breakdown of my homemade fruit snack expenses:

Cubette Ice Cube Trays - $5
All natural gelatin - $2
Plain unflavored gelatin - $2

Which comes to $9 for 30 fruit snacks.

And that's not counting the money I spent on gasoline driving to two stores for supplies and of course, my time investment.  Especially the time it took digging out those little cubes with a shish-ka-bob skewer.


I have an announcement to make:

Mothers everywhere!  Want to feed your children something healthy and economical?  Then feed them Annie's fruit snacks!  

You're welcome.

P.S. Because I am a glutton for punishment, and because I now own those little cubette trays and I need to justify my purchase to Ryan, I will be doing another fruit snack attempt in the near future. I'll let you know how it goes....

P.P.S. If you're still reading and you know how to make homemade all-natural fruit snacks, I wouldn't be offended if you told me how.  That's what a good friend would do.... and you are a good friend, right?

31 Days to Crazy Joy

October 1
1.  My laughing Lily Bird
2.  My new red loafers
3.  A great day at school for Lily

October 2
4.  Pumpkins
5.  A walk around Town Lake in the evening
6.  Overhearing my big girls laughing together while Face-Timing

October 3
7.  cozy naps
8.  Reagan's good idea turning into an exciting new project
9.  peas and cornbread

October 4
10.  homemade applesauce
11.  a new season of Sherlock on Netflix
12.  almost daily text photos of Ryley's "outfit of the day" for LU classes

October 5
13.  libraries full of free books
14.  booking Ryley's ticket home for Thanksgiving
15.  starting the Christmas planning lists

October 6
16.  hot chocolate with LOTS of marshmallows
17.  watching Ryan and Lily wrestling and hearing her girly squeals of delight
18.  a cute new purse - purchased by my mom

October 7
19.  boots
20.  after missing two weeks, getting to go to church
21.  rocking newborns in the church nursery

October 8
22.  a daughter who knits
23.  a helpful husband
24.  pajama days

October 9
25.  Parenthood - best show on TV
26. effective medication
27.  cooler temperatures

October 10
28.  Sonic ice
29.  watermelon - the Bird's current favorite treat
30.  mailing my first care package to Ryley

October 11
31.  the discovery of Duck Dynasty - and a brand new season just started!
32.  my monthly MOSK group - Mothers of Special (Needs) Kids
33.  new Christmas stockings for the whole family, handmade by Reagan

October 12
32.  a weekly delivery of free eggs from a sweet friend
33.  my crock-pot
34.  a beautiful front porch decorated for fall

October 13
35.  homemade spice tea
36.  organic honeycrisp apples
37.  The Pioneer Woman's French Breakfast Puffs

October 14
38.  hearing the words "Lily is rocking it today!"
39.  sweet buddies who volunteer to hang with Lily on Sunday mornings
40.  handing Lily a treat and hearing what sounds like "thank you" in her sweet voice

October 15
41.  gathering with my fellow pastors' wives to just relax 
42.  getting together with new friends and discovering what you have in common
43.  iPic movie theater - WOW!

October 16
44.  an amazing time of prayer for Lily with pastors from all over Austin
45.  the opportunity to teach One Thousand Gifts at a Ladies Retreat
46.  wearing a sweatshirt outside for the first time this year

October 17
47.  pulling something delicious from the freezer when I don't feel like cooking
48.  getting coupons to Barnes & Noble in my email inbox
49.  overnight oatmeal in the crockpot

October 18
50.  Discovering a new author
51.  Putting Reagan on an airplane for a "sister reunion"
52.  Seeing this on Facebook a few hours later:

October 19
53.  an unexpected date night due to the generosity of a sweet friend
54.  catching up with friends
55.  great  news from Lily's California doctor (more on this later)

October 20
56.  a good ARD meeting
57.  teachers who care about Lily and want to see her succeed
58.  a neighborhood wagon ride

October 21
59.  sleeping on freshly washed sheets
60.  Lily looking at storybooks
61.  seeing pictures of my big girls having a blast together in Virginia

October 22
62.  cousins
63.  Ann Voskamp's blog - A Holy Experience
64.  tweets that make me laugh out loud


  1. Even though Tess can't eat anything by mouth I decided to do a little "googling" on your behalf and found that your fatal error may have been perhaps not spraying cooking spray into the mold first? Plus, I hate to say it, but Jello makes it's own mold for this very snack (I know, you're shocked-NOT) that may make your life easier in the long run. Here is the best link I found (and I did look around quite a bit because I am a good "friend" ;) )

  2. WHEW! You ARE human! So thankful to see actually!! Gives the rest of us mere mortals a chance! :-)
    I love the concept and have no doubt you will put Annie to shame in no time. (imagine what her first batch looked like- Picture decapitated bunnies and the lasting memories of that!!)
    I am NOT a cook and boiling water is done only to make my beloved Chai, but what about those "bendy" silicon things? (like the technical terms here??) You could then maybe push them out from the back?? Whew! That is as Better Crocker as I get.

    On another note, I think you should keep up the crazy joy list after your 31 days are over. It has helped me to stop and notice the "little things" that so often in a busy life that I tend to overlook and I appreciate you for reminding me of them. (I heart clean sheets too- they are wonderful and smell so good!)

    1. Girl, you've been in my house. You KNOW I'm human! Good idea on the silicone things. Will give it a try...

  3. So I guess on top of becoming a wee bit obsessed with this, I also lied to you above. THIS link seems better to me because the only things you need are fruit juice and unflavored gelatin. Maybe more compatible with Lily's diet? Anyway, here is the link and I promise, I'm all done now....

    1. Oh my - you ARE a good friend! I have a feeling you and I have much in common - the ability to get just a touch obsessive over small things and end up just wanting to "conquer" them, do you share this little trait, Miss Joanna? :)

      And yes, fruit juice and unflavored gelatin would be super for Lily's diet. I'll definitely be giving your link a try. And if it works - I will be naming my fruit snacks in your honor!! :) Thanks!

    2. You've got me pegged. :) I hope this one will work when you get the courage/motivation to try again.

  4. I'm with Darla -- nice to see that you aren't completely super-mom.... I was beginning to feel inadequate about reading your blog!

    Wishing you luck on the next batch of fruit snacks!

    1. Oh Karla - if you only knew.... I could have a whole other blog filled with little stories just like the one above! You are the one doing all that expert crocheting and knitting.... :)

  5. That first little picture of those jello ovals?! That would've motivated me to do the same thing - to try making my own. And true to form, my fruit snacks would've turned out just like yours... A bit frustrating!!

    I'm glad you got some good advice on how to have a do-over but, just for now, I'm going to buy Toots some nice little bunny snacks. ;) $4.50 is looking like a pretty good deal! Lol...

    1. Yep - don't those little ovals just look all shiny, happy and perfect? Oh well... live and learn.

  6. I LOVE this post! This is so something I would try and most definitely something I would fail miserably at. When she's ready to move from fruit snacks to fruit roll-up type snacks, I've heard a food humidifier can make excellent treats. My friend's mom used to do that with apricots and they were absolutely delicious!!

    1. Ashley - I have a food dehydrator on my Christmas wish list! Surely I can make fruit roll-ups...

  7. I think if you spray the trays with oil first, they might come out better. Also, my Mom added Knox gelatin (probably not natural) to jello to make "finger jello" and had a nice consistency.
    Good luck!

    1. Penelope - I'm doing the Knox Blox recipe next, which is just juice and Knox gelatin. I'm betting it will turn out better - and, of course, spraying the trays with Pam first! :) Thanks for the comment!

  8. This is a good recipe:
    Gummy Fruit Snacks

    1 cup mixed berries

    1/4 cup water

    1/2 cup applesauce

    1/2 cup fruit juice (apple, cranberry, blueberry, whatever)

    2 envelopes gelatin (1 envelope = 2 1/2 tsp)

    In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the berries and water. Bring to a boil and cook until berries are soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree berries until smooth. Return to pot. Add applesauce and return to a boil, then remove from heat, cover and set aside.

    In a large bowl, sprinkle gelatin over fruit juice and let stand one minute. Add hot fruit mixture and stir until gelatin completely dissolves, 3 to 5 minutes.

    Pour into 8 x 8 inch glass or ceramic baking dish (or into molds, if you want to go that route). Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. Cut into blocks or shapes.

    From All Day I Dream About Food


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