When I first announced that I wanted to plan out my menus for an entire year many thought me totally NUTS! My thought was you plan a menu every week, so why not collect all 52 menus and end up with your menus planned for the next year. The benefits of having a meal plan are numerous. These posts are about the menus I planned and how I did them.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


It’s funny the way a thought will travel through the universe and be shared by so many. 

Recently I’ve became more and more interested in including more fruits and vegetables into my family’s diet. Where fruit is concerned I’ve been slowly adding a little more pineapple to sweet and sour recipes.  Fruits to desserts or as dessert, yogurt, simple fruit syrups for breakfast foods or dessert toppings,  and side dishes  like fried apples and red hots apples were joined with a lot of encouragement on my part to replace one sugary drink a day with a glass of fruit juice.

I’ve also been including fruit salads with at least two dinners a week.  This is where the universal thought comes in….are you ready? 

Just this last few days the topic of the discussion that was brought up by someone who lives across the country from me, and I swear we had no prior communication prior to this on the subject, was fruit salads.  Maestro play a little “Twilight Zone” music please.

Over the days since then there have been discussions of various fruit and vegetable combos, adding the fruit to yogurt and a few recipes.  Some of which will be making an appearance in my menu shortly.

That got me to thinking, if the ladies and gentlemen  on budgethomemaking@yahoogroups.com were interested in incorporating more fruit in their diets, then so might be others in the nation. Thus this blog post was born. 

Adding fruits and vegetables to your every day diet above your normal current intake has many positive aspects to it. 

1.     Fiber: We all know we need more fiber in our diet for a variety of reasons ranging from regularity to cholesterol control.  Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of fiber.

2.     Specialty diets: if you need to avoid glutens, dairy, and other allergens for various health reasons they just might be the answer.  Check your own diet restrictions for any restrictions on fruits or vegetables.

3.     Weight loss: Who doesn’t worry about their weight? Filling up on fruits and vegetables sans sugars, carbohydrates and other fillers is a great way to lose weight.

4.     Availability: In this modern age you can get just about any fruit or vegetable year round.  They are canned, frozen, juiced, dried and freeze dried.  Some may not be in your store, but a web search will turn them up.

5.     Variety:  The variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as the ways to serve them either cooked or raw is endless. Don’t believe me?  Check out any good seed catalog like Baker’s Seeds (their catalog is a feast for the eyes, you can order both a 2013 and 2014 catalog now online) or sellers like amazon.com and you’ll see what I mean immediately.  

6.     Uses: The world wide web is loaded with recipes for various uses for these wonderful menu additions.  Pick a fruit or vegetable and simply put it in your web search link of choice along with the word recipes and you will be amazed. 

So on to fruit salads, as the afore mentioned budgethomemaking@yahoogroups.com was discussing.  Just exactly what do you classify as a fruit salad?  When I was growing up a fruit salad was one of four things. 

The first was of course a Jello based salad be it either in the Jello like the Classic Jello Fruit Salad, or with the Jello unmixed and used as flavor and binder as in Vickie’s Pink Stuff .   These were all the rage at church socials and other pot lucks, because they traveled well and held up well while being held until after the meeting.

The second, my mom’s favorite,  was a simple fruit salad of chopped up bananas and apples combined with a sectioned orange and drizzled with corn syrup. This you made ahead of time and let it "meld" for a bit before serving.

The third was my grandmother’s simple holiday favorite.  She would place on a small china dessert plate a leaf of bright green lettuce.  In the middle of this she’d place a single canned pineapple ring. In the center of the pineapple ring a dollop of Miracle Whip or mayonnaise was added to the middle of the pineapple ring. This was topped with a maraschino cherry, complete with stem.  Simple and fast to make, attractive to the eye.

Then of course there was the fourth, the classic cottage cheese and canned peaches favored by many dieters.

Fruit salads have come a long ways since then.  My personal favorite is a variety of versions of the Broccoli and Red Grape Salad that you often see on salad bars in many restaurants.  Of course I do a homemade version, but it is definitely worth eating.

Grapes and raisins are a great add in to chicken and tuna salad for either eating as a salad, on a sandwich, or in a wrap.

Spinach salad with fresh strawberries is delicious to say the least.

But the simplest of all is frozen fruit salad.  This is where you open your freezer door and pour yourself a mixture of all the different frozen fruits in there.  Sprinkle with sugar or honey if desired and eat this as it thaws.  Particularly refreshing when you have been working outside in the summer heat.  

Don’t forget fruit salads for breakfast, like Citrus Fruit Salad, or Fruit Salad Parfaits.

Appetizers can be a Fruit Salad Platter rather than the normal Veggie Platter you so often see at potlucks. Instead of the ranch dressing dip that is served with the veggies consider serving a variety of fruits such as melons, strawberries, kiwis, bananas, mango, apples, fresh figs, papaya, and other firm fruits cut into appropriate size with one of these fruit dips.  Yogurt Fruit Dip,  Caramel Fruit Dip, or  Cream Cheese Fruit Dip from Mini Fruit Pizzas.

Then how about fruit salad sundaes like a Banana Split, a  Fruit Bowl Sundae , Mini Fruit Pizzas ,or Chocolate Covered Bananas  for dessert?

The ideas for using fruits for salads are endless, use your imagination to add taste and elegance to any meal.

Jan who loves the versatility of fruit in OK

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