[A great chewy snack to deliver a serving of veggies and half serving of fruit on-the-go, Fruit and Veggie Roll-Ups are vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut-free, yeast-free, and low glycemic. Suitable for Stage 2 and beyond on an anti-candida diet.]
If you’ve ever read a post on a news service or gossip site (who, me?) and been appalled at some of the negative comments that appear, you’ve probably also contemplated how certain people are abetted in their vitriol by the fact that the internet is more or less anonymous.
Readers (and writers) in today’s virtual world can assume aliases, pretend to be one gender or the other, or keep their location secret if they choose. In fact, as long as you have a computer and an internet connection, you can interact freely online and no one can detect your location. (Well, unless you actually tell them. Or unless your kid’s friend posts it on Facebook. Or unless they’re a creepy hacker-troll-stalker who digs up the details of your IP address and discovers that information on their own).
Even though I don’t conceal where I’m from, turns out that people are often surprised to learn that I reside near Toronto, in Canada. Not only do I live here, but I’m even a proud Canadian. Despite our many problems (socialized healthcare, anyone? Excessive politeness? Highest raccoon-to-human ratio in the Western world? WINTER IN ONTARIO?), I love my country and really do think it’s one of the best places to live on the planet (except for, well . . . WINTER IN ONTARIO).
One of the few drawbacks of living north of the 49th parallel is that we tend to lag a bit behind on new products that appear to our American cousins south of the border. For years, I’ve bemoaned the fact that I’ll spy a great gluten-free flour, say, or a stevia-sweetened chocolate, or even an eco-friendly toothpaste in a publication or on a commercial (because, duh, we have American TV stations), but then can’t find it anywhere in stores for at least an additional year or two.
The reason behind this delay is our bilingual labeling laws in Canada: you see, even though there’s really only one province that speaks French as a first language, the entire country is required to provide French/English labeling (c’est malheureusement vrai). Which means that, if you’re an American company seeking business in Canada, you must print up a completely different set of labels for all your products sold here. Extra labels = extra expense = we Anglophone Canadians often lose out.
The last time the HH and I took one of our junkets to New York City, I discovered a brand of fruit-and-veggie strips that I just adored. They were kind of like conventional fruit leathers but with veggies sneaked into the mix, all without compromising flavor. I returned home having basically cleared the store shelves, a good chunk of my airline weight allotment taken up by apple, beet, sweet potato, and spinach. And I vowed that, one day, I’d reproduce the same chewy, fruity, hidden-veggie snack here at home.
With back-to-school in the air, these fruit and veggie roll-ups are perfect take-alongs for packed lunches, whether you’re the student, parent, or teacher (or, in our case, canine–even Chaser loved these healthful bites!).
Feel free to mix and match your own favorite flavors as long as the ratio of vegetable to fruit remains about the same. The only requirement for this recipe is that you use a dehyrdator. Unlike my kale chips, these roll-ups do require a dehydrator unless you use sweet potato or beet as your veggies. Heating in an oven will partially cook the kale, which transforms its mild and neutral flavor to something more robust and slightly bitter (not optimal in a fruity snack).
Rejoice, fellow Canadians! Now we have our own veggie-rich roll-up with a predominantly sweet, fruity flavor tinged with a hint of lime. In fact, you might just love these so much that you’ll forget all about the packaged strips even before they make it across the border.
Fruit and Veggie Roll-Up Snacks
If you ever find yourself thinking, “I should have eaten more fruits and veggies today!” in the evening, grab a couple of these chewy, addictive roll-ups on the way out the door in the morning. Each strip delivers approximately half a fruit serving and half a vegetable serving.
1 medium or large apple, cored and cut into chunks (you can leave the skin on) *
1 medium or large ripe pear, cored and cut into chunks (you can leave the skin on) *
1 tsp (5 ml) lime zest
1 Tbsp (30 ml) fresh lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
6 large leaves curly kale, stems removed and coarsely chopped
2 tsp (10 ml) chia seeds, ground to a powder in a coffee grinder **
plain or fruit-flavored pure liquid stevia, to taste (optional)
up to 2 Tbsp (30 ml) cooled fruit-flavored herbal tea or water, only if needed
Place the fruit, zest and lime juice in a high-powered blender and, using the tamper if necessary, blend until you have a fairly loose purée. If the mixture won’t purée, add the tea and continue to blend. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again until perfectly smooth. You’ll have a thick paste (about as thick as tomato paste, or just a bit thinner).
Turn the mixture onto a teflex sheet that’s been placed on a dehydrator tray. Spread out so it forms a square about 9 inches (22.5 cm) wide, with an even thickness.
Dehydrate overnight or 10-12 hours. Check if it’s firm enough to flip over. If it is, remove from the teflex sheet, flip and continue to dehydrate until perfectly dry, another 4-6 hours. Once dry, remove from the dehydrator and place on a cutting board. Cut into 5-6 strips. Roll up each strip and then wrap in plastic wrap. Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
* Note 1: if you prefer one fruit over the other, feel free to use two apples or two pears instead of one of each. I liked the flavor using both fruits best.
** Note 2: even if you have a high-powered blender, please grind the seeds first. Because the mixture isn’t purely liquid, for some reason the seeds never become fully ground if they are added to the blender whole.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 and beyond; sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, yeast-free, vegan, low glycemic.
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