Glorious Fruit Easily

gfe fruit creation 008

This post is linked to Friday Foodie Fix—Strawberries

Yep, glorious fruit easily—gfe! You didn’t know there were so many definitions of this acronym, did you? Well, honestly, neither did I, but it came to mind for the creation I made today to help my parents celebrate their wedding anniversary. Made of fruit, this creation was indeed glorious and it came together easily. Of course, it’s also gfe the other way, too—gluten free easily.

I like to participate in Diane’s Friday Foodie Fix over at her blog, The Whole Gang, whenever I can. This week, the secret ingredient is cantaloupe. I enjoy cantaloupe, but I usually only eat it two ways—either cut into slices or cut into chunks as part of a fruit salad. There are tons of wonderful fruit salad recipes, so that was an option for an entry. But, then looking through one of those coupon packages that come in the mail, I saw an ad and coupon for Edible Arrangements. If you are not familiar with Edible Arrangements, they are what they sound like. They are “flower” arrangements made of many pieces of fruit (some dipped in chocolate) artfully arranged as a lovely bouquet. To be honest, when I first saw one of these arrangements, I thought it was a rather silly thing. I wasn’t “in” to eating much fruit back then. However, last year, I received one of the arrangements after an illness. Mr. GFE and I just loved it. It was really attractive for one thing. More importantly though, all the fruit was so fresh; every piece was the perfect ripeness. Mr. GFE thought the chocolate-covered strawberries were wonderful. I thought the chocolate-covered bananas were especially good. (Please note I have no affiliation with Edible Arrangements. I’m just sharing my one personal experience.)

So I started thinking I might make such a creation for Mom and Dad, with cantaloupes, which is a common ingredient in such fruit arrangements, for Diane’s Friday Foodie Fix. I had actually dissected last year’s arrangement when we had finished eating all the fruit. I am always big on re-using whatever I can. I had already recycled the deep ceramic container for a flower arrangement for my mother-in-law. I’d also passed on the nifty “no-spill” box for transporting the arrangement to an overnight guest at our Valentine’s Day party. (Her husband had her Valentine’s bouquet delivered to the party—excellent move on his part … some major brownie points on that one.) When I had removed all the skewers (plastic, but wooden would work) when taking apart the remains of the arrangement, I had discovered that the base was actually a head of cabbage topped by some kale! I thought that was so neat for an edible arrangement. And, of course, since I’ve been making the green smoothies, those are two ingredients I always have in the refrigerator. I also found this video on Edible Arrangements from a Food Network show. It tells all about the company and their practices and shows quite a bit on how their arrangements are made. Their operation is quite impressive, really.

I was going for a fairly simple creation that didn’t require scooping out dozens of melon balls or anything like that. I also wasn’t looking to spend a fortune. (In that regard, although the Edible Arrangements can seem pricey, they are probably a real bargain for all you get and NOT having to make them yourself.) I had bananas and apples on hand, but picked up a honeydew melon, a cantaloupe, some strawberries, red seedless grapes, and some chocolate for dipping. I chose a deep, heavy pottery bowl as my container. Then I cut off just part of the head of cabbage to best fit the bowl and inserted it. At this point, it would have been good to add the kale to cover the cabbage before inserting any skewers, but I didn’t think of that and added it at the end of my work, sort of scrunching it in between all the skewers. Then I melted the chocolate and dipped the strawberries and banana slices (that I’d already placed on the skewers). I set these skewers in tall glasses to harden. I also dipped two apple slices in chocolate, but tried one and decided I didn’t like that combination enough to use any more apple slices. The honeydew melon proved to be pretty ripe and I didn’t think it would hold up well, so I only used a few pieces. (I scooped out the rest into a freezer container for a later recipe.) At the last minute, I decided to use cucumber slices, as all of my family loves cucumbers and I had one on hand. Not a fruit, of course, but they added nice color and had a lollipop/flower look, too.

After about a half hour of arranging the loaded skewers, I was pretty pleased with the outcome. It was not on the caliber of an Edible Arrangement, but it was colorful, healthy, and fun. I’m even entering it as another submission for Kim’s Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free! Chill Out theme because these juicy pieces of fruit are cold and refreshing. (I personally verified this fact as I was sampling the pieces leftover from my cutting as I went.)

gfe fruit creation 021-1

Creating such a fruit centerpiece would be quite a fun project to do with children, too … as long as you don’t get hung up on perfection. A few other notes … I was quite happy I’d gotten the grapes because stacked on the skewers they provided a nice look on their own, but I also used them to cap off any skewers on which the fruit slid down. I used some of the plain strawberries this way, too. I also didn’t hesitate to stack some combinations, like chocolate-covered bananas and chocolate-covered strawberries.

To go with this gfe creation, I found the perfect card in my card box. (I have a special box of cards for all occasions. I buy cards I love throughout the year and just add them to the card box. Some cards can be used for any recipient; others are bought with certain people and occasions in mind.) This card was sappy. I don’t often give sappy cards, and when I do they have to be for just the right person. I believe a good laugh is usually much better—last year I gave Mom and Dad a giant Roy Rogers and Dale Evans card that said something about still “being in the saddle together after all these years”—they laughed so hard when they opened it and kept it on display for months! (Dad and I had met Roy Rogers many years ago, so we’d had to reminisce about that at the time, too.) Somehow, for my parents’ 54th anniversary, this sappy card seemed just right though. With a photo of a gorgeous bouquet of flowers (a photo of actual flowers this time), it read:

LOVE …

Through the laughter
through the tears
LOVE lasts
through the years.

The strength of your love inspires us all.

gfe fruit creation 024-1

We’d already given my parents a gift earlier, but they were delighted by the creative fruit arrangement. They immediately pulled out a few skewers and enjoyed a variety of fruit goodies. Mom loved the card saying, “Ah, that’s sweet.” Dad, always a jokester when it comes to mushy cards, said, “You don’t know the half of it!” Ha ha, but I’m sure he’s right. Their 54 years of marriage is exactly twice the number of years that Mr. GFE and I have been married. WOW–when you look at their years together frm that perspective, their anniversary is really impressive! I love you, Mom and Dad! Happy Anniversary!

Shirley
Not just gf, but gfe!

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Comments

29 Responses to “Glorious Fruit Easily”

  1. Jenn on August 29th, 2009 9:24 am

    Beautiful! love love the chocolate covered fruit in there too!

    • Shirley on August 29th, 2009 10:24 am

      Jenn–Thank you! Like I said, not equivalent to a professionally done one, but it was fun to make and received well! Oh, and I do have an excuse … I don’t have any of those fancy cutting tools that the high volume fruit arrangement artisans have. ;-) Yes, the chocolate-covered fruit is nice because you just have some fruit that’s chocolate-covered—just the right amount! There’s even very high quality dairy-free chocolate for the dairy-free folks. I’m not sure how it would work for melting and dipping, but worth a try for sure. :-)

      Thanks!
      Shirley

      • Jenn on August 29th, 2009 10:58 am

        I have actually used dairy-free labeled chocolate chips for dipping before, and it has worked decently well. Melted very nicely…I forget the brand though….

        • Shirley on August 29th, 2009 7:46 pm

          Jenn–Thanks for sharing your experience with the gf/df chocolate chips! That’s good to hear. You could have used the Enjoy Life chocolate chips. I know they are quite popular. I was actually thinking of an Endangered Species chocolate bar, but not sure which one (I don’t think all are df). However, I did just remember that Alisa of Go Dairy Free (and One Frugal Foodie–who has an awesome Pamela’s giveaway going on BTW) has this terrific listing of dairy-free chocolate. :-) Unfortunately I’m limited to a local grocery store that does not carry dairy-free chocolate, so I’d have to plan ahead and pick up dairy-free chocolate in the city.

          Shirley

  2. Lauren on August 29th, 2009 10:25 am

    Love this! So fresh, so simple, and very fun =D.

    • Shirley on August 29th, 2009 8:02 pm

      Lauren–Oops, I missed you somehow before … Thank you! I bet you would really enjoy making one of these arrangements. You are very artistic in the kitchen. :-)

      Shirley

  3. Pam on August 29th, 2009 1:42 pm

    I love fruit and what a cute way to eat it!

    • Shirley on August 29th, 2009 7:48 pm

      Hi, Pam– :-) You could even make a little one for yourself some time– a nice little treat! We so rarely pamper ourselves that way, don’t you think?

      Shirley

  4. Betsy on August 29th, 2009 5:01 pm

    That looks beautiful! Especially the chocolate covered stuff! :D

    • Shirley on August 29th, 2009 7:55 pm

      Hi, Betsy–Welcome to gfe (officially)! Thanks so much. Everyone especially likes the chocolate-covered fruit—what a surprise! LOL :-)

      Thanks so much for commenting! Must check out your blog more … I’m loving seeing so many gf blogs these days—so many wonderful resources for those already gf and those soon to be gf.

      Shirley

  5. RobinSue on August 30th, 2009 8:15 am

    Yours is so much prettier than the purchased ones I see around here. What a sweet gift. Happy anniversary to your parents!

    • Shirley on August 30th, 2009 12:38 pm

      Aw, thanks, Robin Sue! Mom and Dad seemed to really appreciate the healthy, “novelty” treat. :-) I’ll have to check back with them today to see if they’ve finished enjoying it … hopefully, so.

      Thanks for stopping by gfe!
      Shirley

  6. Nance on August 30th, 2009 1:58 pm

    I’m floored that EA actually uses cabbage and not a styrofoam form. I’m guessing that it has to do with them trying to be entirely an “Edible Arrangement.” At any rate, kudos to you for being unafraid to get worky. I live in fear that, when asked to a family gathering, I will be asked to bring fruit salad or a relish tray. I hate cutting up all that stuff. I automatically volunteer something else immediately to avoid all the labor. ;-)

    • Shirley on August 30th, 2009 7:29 pm

      Hi Nance–I was very surprised by the cabbage the local EA used, too. (BTW, on the video I shared, EA says they use lettuce—I think cabbage is actually better for the job and cheaper as well, so smart local EA.) Well, it was all on my own schedule and my idea, so that’s completely different than being asked to bring something to a family gathering. I volunteer what I want to bring then, also, to avoid the non-fun stuff. But, I think those fruit trays and pre-cut items at the grocery store are catering to folks like the two of us—except I’m never willing to pay the premium price and I always wonder how fresh they are. Anyway, thanks. Love your word—”worky”!

  7. Diane-thewholegang on August 31st, 2009 9:19 am

    I just love this. I’m going to make one for our table and maybe people in the house will eat more fruit. It’s just so tempting looking. Finally, a good use for iceberg lettuce. :-) Thanks for sharing this on Friday Foodie Fix. One of the few brave enough to take on cantaloupe.

    • Shirley on August 31st, 2009 6:52 pm

      Hey, Diane–I hope you’ll do a post on yours if you make it. I’d like to see it. :-) I always enjoy seeing how different people apply the same concept. I hope it works to get your family eating more fruit. The fruit is definitely more irresistible in this form I think. Ha ha on the iceberg lettuce, but I agree. I just had the cabbage on hand and I think it’s cheaper at our grocery store and a bit sturdier. I think cantaloupe is a tougher ingredient for the FFF … plus you never know how many folks are getting their last vacation before school starts. ;-)

      Thanks so much!
      Shirley

      • Diane-thewholegang on August 31st, 2009 9:50 pm

        Yes I will share whatever I create. Now I just need to find fruit that might have a chance of them eating. Grapes are good, green apples for my son, berries for my hubby. Time to get creative. :-)

  8. glutenfreeforgood on September 1st, 2009 1:55 pm

    I love this! What a great and creative idea. You are certainly a do-it-yourself kind of girl. Yours looks much better than the store (or internet) bought kind! I see everyone’s zero-ing in on the chocolate covered fruit. Yeah — me too.

    Congratulations to your parents. They are lucky to have you, as I know you feel lucky to have them. Lovely post, Shirley!

    Melissa

    • Shirley on September 1st, 2009 8:50 pm

      Hi, Melissa–Thank you! :-) This creation would probably have been prettier without the cucumber slices, but I had to make it unique to mom and dad. LOL (Plus, the deer either ate or stomped on everything in their garden this year, including their always delish cucumbers. :-( ) The chocolate-covered fruit was very good (I’m quite a fan of the chocolate-covered banana slices myself), but it was a small percentage of the arrangement really. I had melted a lot more chocolate, but decided not to use it all. I think this mix of au naturel and covered fruit was best. ;-)

      Shirley

  9. Amy Green - Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free on September 1st, 2009 9:48 pm

    This is my kind of arrangement! I would have the best time eating this. Not only is it beautiful but it was made with such love, which is what makes it so special.

    54 years…wow. That doesn’t happen often anymore, does it. You are so blessed to be part of that kind of love.

    • Shirley on September 2nd, 2009 11:12 pm

      Hi Amy–It is fun eating it! I’m actually thinking about making another one for our next support group meeting. I think it would be fun to see a group of folks happily devour one of my gfe fruit creations. ;-) Thanks so much for all your sweet comments … I do feel very blessed indeed. :-)

      Shirley

  10. CoconutGal on September 2nd, 2009 11:48 am

    What a sweet post this was! Congratulations to your mom and pop and what lucky parents they are to have a daughter who makes them such creative, healthy, and delicious treats :) Here’s to another 54 years together!

    • Shirley on September 2nd, 2009 11:19 pm

      CoconutGal–Thank you so much for the congratulations to Mom and Dad! And, the kind words on the post. I thought this gfe arrangement was a more “interactive” and enjoyable centerpiece than cut flowers. ;-)

      Shirley

  11. Diane Eblin- thewholegang on May 31st, 2012 10:53 am

    Every time I see your creations I think they are from Edible Arrangements and I wonder how come I can’t find it on their page. Yours is so much better. Thank you for sharing it on Friday Foodie Fix for Strawberries. This is always a favorite.

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