Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fruit Roll Ups



Warm weather. Blue skies. Walks in the park. Spring always brings with it a renewed sense of hope, and relief that months of sunshine are ahead of us. My clients come in a little bit happier and much more motivated to eat healthy. Bathing suit season is around the corner, after all. And I'm reminded that summer in NYC is a scorcher, and carrying around extra pounds only adds to the discomfort. So while my clients want to take off the winter weight, I want to take off the bingeing weight. I don't talk about my weight too often on this blog (or maybe I do?) because I want the focus to be on healthy eating, not the number on the scale. But as any binge eater would know all too well, I can gain in a couple of days what it takes a normal eater months to gain. So now it's time to get real with myself, and stop what I'm doing before it gets out of hand. I've been there before...there being at a weight where I don't feel like myself...and I don't want to go there again. Now that it's warmer outside, I've started running again, but I know that, for me, it's not the exercise that makes the difference. It's what I put in my mouth. As I've learned over and over though, I don't do well with restrictions. So there's no way I'm going to tell myself I can't have dessert, can't have cheese, can't have pizza. But as always, I'm looking for a slightly healthier way to have my cake...so that I can eat it too.

With that thought in mind, I decided to make a "healthy" dessert. Or at least healthier than the flourless chocolate cake I've been eyeing at Trader Joe's. My inspiration came from the Thai summer rolls I had for dinner last night. If you can put what basically amounts to salad inside a rice wrapper and have it taste delicious, why not just put fruit in there? Why not indeed.

I tried a variety of fillings for these, including diced pears and apples, blueberries, and bananas. The banana filling came out the clear winner. I also tried making some fresh and others baked (as in the photo above). Although the baked roll ups might be good for winter, with the warm weather outside, I found myself appreciating the light taste of the fresh roll ups better. The thing I like best about these rolls, though, is the versatility. You can play around with the ingredients, depending on what you have in the fridge and who's going to eat them. Want something light? Just fill them with bananas and dip them in fat free yogurt. Craving something a bit more decadent? Add some ricotta cheese and chocolate chips to the mix. Or when fruit is ripe in the summer, how about some fresh mango or peaches? Perhaps dipped in whipped cream? With fresh mint sprigs? The possibilities are endless.



There isn't much of a recipe to speak of here. Just two necessary ingredients: rice wrappers and fruit. The rest is up to you. Here are some options for filling and/or dipping:
  • fresh, seasonal fruit, thinly sliced
  • chocolate chips
  • dried coconut
  • ricotta cheese, mascarpone, whipping cream, or yogurt
  • chocolate pudding
Rice wrappers seemed intimidating but were surprisingly easy to use. You simply dip them in a container of lukewarm water for about 30 seconds, and then lay them on a flat surface. Fill the middle with your ingredients, just like you would a burrito, then fold the ends over and the sides in. For the roll ups above, I spread a thin layer of ricotta cheese and apricot jam, a sliced banana, and a couple of chocolate chips. Then I topped it all off with a side of yogurt for dipping. Fast, easy, and even somewhat healthy. Now I can't wait to make these when mangoes are in season!

What's your favorite "healthy" indulgence?

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

24 comments:

fartygirl said...

Funny - I experimented with rice paper today for the first time. I left it in hot water for a minute. Needless to say, it didn't work out! But I had no idea you could make desserty type wraps with them! This is a great idea. I'm really excited for breakfast now. :) Definitely I would rather have a lighter dessert, what you made here, than some TJ's flourless cake. Anything that goes light in the belly is better! Thanks for the great recipe. :)

Lauren said...

I love it! So simple, so delicious, so perfect =D.

GF Gidget said...

Now that is creativity!

Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

Great idea! Rice wrappers have such a delicate flavor that they would do well in dessert applications.

I have a few pounds to drop before summer arrives too. We'll get there...slow and steady. =)

Meg's Gut said...

What an absolute great idea!
I have always done savory rice paper roll ups, it never dawned on me that they could be used for sweet indulgences!!!

Winnie said...

I love rice paper rolls but have never done a sweet version- these look really yummy esp. with ricotta and choc. chips!

Liz said...

Brilliant! I love this idea. Gorgeous photos, too.

Juanita said...

Sweet spring rolls sans frying - how yummy!

I discovered my new fave healthier treat the other day totally by chance: Garbanzo bean brownies! Low in fat and high in taste, these are a filling, fiber-filled winner!

http://www.therecanbeonlyjuan.com/2010/03/weekend-treat-chickpea-brownies.html

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Another great post, Iris! I love that first paragraph and as I've stated before that I can identify with usually doing very poorly when told I can't eat this or that.

I've never used rice wrappers, but these sound great. The ricotta, bananas, and chocolate chip combo pulls me in. Mangos and ricotta. Like you said, endless possibilities. :-)

Shirley

briogusto said...

Pure brilliance Iris! I have some rice paper rolls in the cupboard that are crying out to be used...but I shall save them for when I can eat fruit again!

I'm so glad to hear that you are feeling a renewed sense of hope and inspiration. :)

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Interesting idea! I love spring rolls, so why not some bites of fresh fruit? One of my favorite rolls has mango in it (This Thai place near my office has them - tofu, mango, asparagus, cilantro, carrot, cucumber, mint - they're amazing). I could totally go for these.

Ricki said...

What a fabulous idea. They're stunning! I can totally relate to the "can't put restrictions on myself but still want to cut back" feeling. Even on the ACD, I have to watch myself when I make something sweet. I must give these a try! :)

Aubree Cherie said...

Thank you so much for talking about your weight struggles and concerns on your blog. Its so nice to read how you're finding ways to overcome too, its sooo encouraging!!!

I love the fruit roll idea, I'd love to try it!

My favorite healthy indulgence is avocado. I could eat a whole truck full of avocado and still want more! haha

Erica said...

mmmmm looks fabulous! I agree- summer always seems to motivate us to get our booties moving! I remind my students often that swim suit season comes too quickly ;) My favorite healthy indulgences are mainly mass amounts of summer fruit! Sometimes with yogurt and granola. I hope you have a good weekend

Chelsey said...

My favorite indulgence as of late is San Pellegrino with ice and lime. It's calorie free (Yay!), affordable and makes me feel shnitzy (is that a real word?!).

I had the girls over for a games night the other night and I was wondering what I was going to serve besides the typical crap. I chose San pellegrino instead of Pop. It was a huge hit. I had six bottles and they were all empty at the end of the night. People were even commenting on how it reminded them of Europe (fancy schmancy!).

BTW, I love your fruit roll up idea. I think the rice papers are only 20 calories each and who wouldn't like to eat one with fruit neatly packed inside (plus your wonderful additions)?! Your innovation is new and exciting and best of all, simple!

Heather said...

I totally did a post like this a little while back. It's so fun to be creative with our food and keep it healthy :)
My fave healthy indulgence....Gluten free flour, cocoa powder, ground flax, baking powder & stevia made into a brownie pancake-of course topped with some coconut butter or peanut butter :)

Megs said...

What a great idea! I have never used rice papers before, but you make them sound wonderful! I can't wait to try these this week.

Linda said...

Now I'm going to have to find some rice wrappers. What a great idea!

Anonymous said...

Can you share at what temperature you baked the roll ups at? And for how long? That looks super good! Thank you for the creative idea!! Almost like a crepe but better (I will soon know!). =)

Iris said...

@Anonymous - If I remember correctly, the fresh ones tasted much better than the baked. It was so long ago that I don't remember what temperature I baked them at (and I'm a bit embarrassed I didn't think to include that) but my guess would be 350 degrees until they began to look crisp. Sorry I can't be of more help.

Anonymous said...

Okay, thank you Iris! I am loving your blog! I just found it today...and have enjoyed reading your story and listening to your journey. You are so refreshingly honest and you are so generous to share your incredible talent in the kitchen! You have been an amazing help and I am very appreciative. Thank you.

Iris said...

@Anonymous - Thank you! That means a lot to me!

Anonymous said...

You are so welcome. =) Oh and I forgot to mention, sometimes when reading I laugh out loud, you are so funny! One of my favorites is when you compare yourself to Goldilocks in relation to your muffins. =) Thanks for sharing your joy. Kelty

Amy said...

I just bought some rice wraps last night and now I have something else to do with them other than just spring rolls. Thanks for the idea!

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