How to make Dehydrated Watermelon

Dried Watermelon--How to make Dehydrated Watermelon

Dried Watermelon–How to make Dehydrated Watermelon

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week at Page’s school.  Every day this week she is required to bring in a small gift to show how much she appreciates all that her teacher’s do.  The note that the room mom sent home said to send a sweet treat as a gift, knowing the kinds of sweets that most moms have sent in the past I thought why not send something semi-healthy.  So I marched down to my local Whole Foods and purchased an organic seedless watermelon.  Lucky for me it was on sale.   The result- a deliciously sweet watermelon snack.  It was so good, that I raced back to Whole Foods to get another watermelon to dry.  When I dry fruit I never add sugar to it.  I see many recipes that do and I never understand why.  There really isn’t a need to. In fact, the watermelon I chose was not at all that sweet in its natural form, but in its dried form it was highly sweet, almost like I had added sugar to it. So for this “recipe” all you need is a fresh watermelon, a dehydrator, or an oven set to low and time.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 6-8 hours

Ingredients:

Watermelon

Directions: Slice the watermelon and discard the rind. Keep in mind that the thinner you slice it the quicker it dehydrates.

Place the sliced watermelon on dehydrator sheets. Set it on 135F for 6-8 hours depending on how thick you sliced the watermelon.

The watermelon is done when it is pliable but dry to the touch.

If you don’t have a dehydrator–get one they are worth the money and the counter space–you can do this in an oven, set the oven to the lowest setting, and place the watermelon on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  My oven’s lowest setting is 250F.  If you are using your oven on a setting this high, keep in mind that the watermelon will dehydrate at a faster rate, so keep an eye on it, at the 4-5 hour mark, your watermelon will likely be done.

D.I.Y. Mango Fruit Roll-ups-How To Make Dehydrated Mango Treats

DIY Mango Fruit Roll-Ups

DIY Mango Fruit Roll-Ups

 

My friends are a kind and generous bunch! They are constantly giving me gifts–beyond the gift of friendship!  My friends supply me with a constant supply of treats.  I went out to lunch with two of my best girls friends the other day, and came home with a gift box of mango’s! Sweet, delicious, and ultra creamy, I did not want them to go to waste, before we got the chance to eat them all.    One of my favorite dried fruits to eat, besides pineapple rings, is dried mango.  But it’s so hard to find mango’s that have not been soaked in sugar.  The best thing about making these yourself, is that you don’t have to worry about that.  Page loved these treats even more than I did, I cut them into bite size pieces with a pastry cutter after they were done.  You could also use a pizza cutter.

 

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Ingredients:

6 mango’s, skin and pits removed

 

Directions: Place mango in blender:

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Blend until smooth.

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Pour out onto parchment paper and smooth out evenly.

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Place in oven, or dehydrator on 135 degrees Fahrenheit, or the lowest setting on your oven, for 6-8 hours. 

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Remove from parchment paper, roll, and enjoy!

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If you like this recipe you’ll love these: Pear Fruit Roll-ups, Strawberry-Apple Fruit Roll-ups, Pineapple Fruit Roll-ups, Tropical Punch Fruit Roll-ups, Strawberry Fruit Roll-ups

D.I.Y. Cheese Crackers–How to make Cheese It Crackers

DIY Cheese Cracker's--DIY Cheese it's

DIY Cheese Cracker’s–DIY Cheese it’s

My mom is a lover of all things snack related, so for Mother’s Day I want to give her what she enjoys most. I had been planning on making cheese cracker’s for Page, she was given gold fish crackers as a snack at school, and came home and immediately asked me to buy them.  Not really going to happen.  So since my mom and Page share a love of great snacks, I thought I’d make these cheese crackers for them. These cracker’s are what AWESOME aspires to be! They’re better than great! And they’re 1000 times tastier than store bought cheeze it’s.  The recipe I used comes from America’s Test kitchen, so if you want the recipe in it’s original form click here.  I used less salt than the original recipe calls for.  Cheese already has a lot of salt, so adding too much is overkill. Do pick a great quality cheese for these, because quality matters for this particular recipe–good cheese=great cheese crackers. The recipe calls for the use of Annatto seeds, I found them quite easily in the spice section of Whole Foods.  If you can’t find them, omit them from the recipe–your crackers will be white, instead of orange–not a big deal, they’ll still taste beyond amazing!!!

 

Ingredients:

6 ounces of organic sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated

4 tablespoons of butter (2 ounces)

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour

2 tablespoons of cornstarch

1 tablespoon of Annatto seeds, coarsely ground (optional)

2 tablespoons of boiling water

Directions: To a small bowl add add the coarsely ground annatto seeds and the boiling water.

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Allow the seeds to steep in the boiling water for 5 minutes, then strain and allow to cool to room temperature.

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Meanwhile, add the butter, 1 teaspoon of salt, and cheese to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment,

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mix on medium speed until cheese and butter are creamed and well combined–about 30 seconds.

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Add in the flour and cornstarch and mix until combined–about 1 minute.

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Add in the Annatto seed water,

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then mix until dough clumps together or forms a ball–about 15 seconds.

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Transfer dough to a  lightly floured counter, flatten to a disc, wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

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When ready to cook, pre-heat oven to 375F.  Line two bake sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and working on a floured counter, roll out the dough to 1/16 inch thickness–or as thin as you can get it without falling apart when you move it.

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Cut the dough into 1 inch squares using a pizza or ravioli cutter or use small cookie cutters to cut out shapes.

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Use a skewer to poke holes in the center of the crackers,

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Transfer to the parchment lined bake sheets, place in the oven and bake until light and golden–about 18 minutes.

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Remove from oven, allow to cool completely, then enjoy.

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These can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

 

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Pineapple Rings–How to make dehydrated Pineapple Rings

Dehydrated Pineapple Rings

Dehydrated Pineapple Rings

One of my go to snacks is dehydrated fruit.  I’m a particular fan of pineapple rings.  But, if you’ve ever purchased organic dehydrated pineapple rings, then you probably know that pineapple rings are a snack that can be out right expensive! I mean outlandishly expensive! On top of the expense, it’s pretty hard to find pineapple rings that haven’t been soaked in baths of sugar.  I’m not a fan of adding sugar to dehydrated fruit.  It’s sort of an oxymoron to me that sugar is added to dehydrated fruit at all, because if you know anything about dehydration–then you know that the sugar in fruits concentrate when dehydrated, so there really isn’t a need to add sugar–unless you’re dehydrating something really tart like cranberries then I could see the purpose of adding sugar. Last week I purchased a pineapple, I fully intended to eat it fresh. However,when I cut, and tasted it– it was pretty tasteless. Disappointing for sure. The pineapple clearly needed to ferment more.  Rather than chuck it, I sliced it and put it in the dehydrator and made pineapple rings. The resulting pineapple rings were not only flavorful, but they were sweet–everything you want would want in a fresh bite of pineapple–minus the juice of course.  The pineapple rings lasted all of 2 minutes, my sister in-law, my niece and Page, gobbled them right up–I’m pretty sure they would’ve passed on the fresh slices.

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time 6-8 hrs 10-12hr for thicker slices

Ingredients:

2 whole fair trade organic pineapple

Directions: Remove the stem from the pineapple, then slice off the top and bottom.  Slice off the skin, making sure to remove all the eyelets.

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Now slice the pineapple thinly.

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Keep in mind that the thicker you slice it, the longer it will take to dry.  If it’s too thin your pineapple rings will turn out crisp, if they are a bit thicker, they’ll be more leathery, so it’ just a matter of what you’re seeking in consistency.  After slicing, cut out the center core by carving a circular cut in the middle of the pineapple.

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Remove the core and discard it.

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Place the pineapple rings on your dehydrator sheet,

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Set the dehydrator to 135F.  If you’re doing this in the oven, set the oven to 150F or the lowest possible setting.  Dehydrate for 6-8 hours, 10-12hrs if you cut thicker slices.

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Once dry let cool, then enjoy!

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Page could not wait for me to take a picture, she loves these so much!

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if you like this recipe, try the recipe for my pineapple fruit roll-ups!

Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing

Creamy Caesar Dressing--DIY Caesar Salad Dressing

Creamy Caesar Dressing–DIY Caesar Salad Dressing

My latest obsession is salad.  Crispy and crunchy vegetables with a drizzle of oil, and a splash of citrus or vinegar–what’s not to love?  Salads are a great way to get in a few servings of fresh vegetables in their raw state.  As much as I love salads, they can become a bit boring if you don’t mix things up a bit.  The easiest way to do that is to switch out the vegetables and the dressing.  I often make caesar salads with romaine lettuce, but sometimes I switch out the romaine and replace it with baby kale, or lacinto kale.  It makes for a hearty salad and an especially delicious twist to the standard caesar  salad, we are all used to.  I’ll post the recipe I use for the kale caesar another day, but today, I’m sharing my recipe for my favorite creamy caesar salad dressing.  It’s my go to dressing, when I crave a creamy salad dressing.

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: none

Ingredients:

1 clove of garlic pasted

2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon of anchovy paste

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup grape seed oil

5 teaspoons of olive oil

3/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

black pepper to taste

Directions:  To a small bowl add the grated garlic and lemon juice, allow to sit for 10 minutes.  If you have a hand mixer like I do, add the lemon garlic mixture, (after it sits for 10 minutes), and the rest of the ingredients to a bowl and mix until the mixture thickens–about 1-2 minutes.

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Transfer to an air tight container and chill until ready to use.

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If you don’t have a hand mixer,  whisk worcestershire sauce, anchovies, and egg yolks into garlic/lemon juice mixture.



While whisking, drizzle grape seed oil and extra virgin olive oil into bowl in slow, steady stream until fully emulsified.


 Add 3/4 cup Parmesan and pepper to taste; whisk until incorporated:

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Rice Puffs–How to Make Rice Puff Snacks

Rice Puffs

Rice Puffs

Today I’m giving you a recipe for ultra crispy, and delicious homemade rice puffs. I’m not a huge fan of rice, but my daughter and my husband are.  They are especially fond of Basmati rice. I love the way that Basmati rice smells.  It has it’s own unique aroma, no other rice smells as good cooking as Basmati does.  I buy Basmati in  area close by called Little India.  I go there every so often to stock up on Indian spices as well.  The only problem with that is that I always leave with a 20 pound bag of GMO free Basmati rice!  It’s enough rice to feed my family for a year—we don’t eat rice that often.  I almost always end of giving most of it away, it’s just too much, but they don’t sell it in smaller quantities.  I have had this recipe for rice puffs in my que for a long while now, just haven’t had the rice to make it. I got the idea from a recipe in Modernist Cuisine,  but found a simpler more home cook friendly version of it on Chef Steps.  I’ve added my own spin on it with the addition of the lime salt, but if you haven’t gotten around to making my Lime powder, then  plain sea salt will do, and these will still be amazing! You don’t have to use Basmati to make these, you can use any rice. Still don’t have a dehydrator?  Buy one it will be the best $40 bucks you’ve spent in a long while.  The alternative is to put the rice puree in the oven set to the lowest setting 150F leave the oven door just a bit ajar, and check it before it reaches the 2 hour mark.  Check at 1.5 hour mark, you don’t want this to crisp up and burn.

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Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Drying time: 2 hrs

 

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of rice

3 and 1/4 cups of water

1/2 cup 0f safflower oil

3 teaspoons of lime powder

1 teaspoon of sea salt (powdered–just add sea salt to a spice mill and blend until powdered)

Directions: Add the lime powder sea salt to a bowl mix well and set aside.  Add rice and water to a pot, cook until rice is tender and falling apart–there will still be water in the pot.

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Transfer the cooked rice along with any left over water to a blender and blend until smooth.

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Pour the rice puree out onto silpat’s smooth out into thin layers.

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Place in the dehydrator on 122F and allow to dehydrate for 2 hours.  The dehydrated rice puree should be pliable but also have a snap to it.

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Note: If you dehydrate for too long, the rice puffs will not puff, if you dehydrate for too short a period, they will not puff either.  When you place your rice puffs in the hot oil they should sink  to the bottom of the pot and then immediately rise and puff.

 

Once your puree has been dehydrated, heat the oil to 374F, while the oil is heating break the rice sheet into bite size pieces.  When the oil reaches temperature, drop the rice sheet pieces into the oil, they should drop to the bottom and rise and puff up immediately, fry for 2-3 seconds then remove from oil and season with lime salt immediately,

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let the rice puff’s cool, then enjoy!

 

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Pear Fruit Roll-Ups-How to make fruit roll-ups at home

 

Pear Fruit Roll-Ups

Pear Fruit Roll-Ups

One of my favorite ways to use ripe fruit is by making fruit roll-ups.  In my opinion it’s the best way to use fully ripe fruit, because the fruit is ripe, it’s very sweet, and that means that you don’t have to add sugar to make these fruit roll-ups great.  Additionally fruit roll-ups are so super easy to make and a great way to reinvent a fruit that you have an abundance of.  I have dehydrator, but these can be done in an oven.  Just set your oven to 150 or the lowest possible setting. If you don’t own a dehydrator yet, I suggest that you get one, they are really inexpensive around $40-$50 on the lower end–these work fine, and $299 on the higher end.  But they are so useful! At the least you’ll be able to make some of my favorite fruit roll-up recipes like: Tropical punch fruit roll-ups, pineapple fruit roll-up, Strawberry-apple fruit roll-ups or strawberry fruit roll-ups.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 4-6 hours

Ingredients:

5 ripe pears

Directions:  Quarter the pairs and remove the core.  Add cored pears to a blender,

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Blend until smooth.

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Pour the pear puree out onto a piece of parchment paper or a silpat, and smooth out into a thin layer.

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Place in a dehydrator on 134F for 4-6 hours.

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Alternatively you can place the parchment paper or silpat on a cookie sheet and place in the oven on the lowest setting for 4-6 hours.

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