Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Clusters of Tastiness

When you see the word "cluster", what do you picture? I am willing to bet that food does not come to mind. I am here to tell you that there is something that could just change your views on healthy snacking. Curious? What if I told you that fruit could be transformed into bite-sized, crunchy delicious on-the-go snacks? Brothers-All-Natural has done just that with their newest product Fruit Clusters.

Do you want to try it too? (Details coming up but keep reading!)

Now, we all know that their freeze-dried fruit crisps are awesome but believe it or not, I think the ultra fruitiness of these little guys has overwhelmed my family's taste buds so much so that we are now unsure of which item is our favorite. Even the pickiest of picky (aka NutriSon) has been nagging me day in and day out to finish my review so that he can eat more of the Fruit Clusters. I am amazed- he even knows they are fruit and he's sneaking them, thinking I do not notice. Sometimes as a parent, you just need to look the other way and smile. Hey, fruit is fruit and I'm not arguing!

What's in a Fruit Cluster? I thought you would never ask. I think Brothers-All-Natural deserves the credit on this one so as per their description "Fruit Clusters™ are 100% fruit, nothing else. They are gluten free, soy free, peanut/tree nut free, non GMO, vegan, and OU Kosher certified with absolutely no added sugars, additives, or preservatives." In other words, not only are they healthy but it's yet another easy way to sneak some healthy goodies into your child's diet without having them put up a fight. Unless it's because you are trying to eat the last one and they want it. (Been there, done that!) And although their shape and size are somewhat like a tater tot, they are like crunchy pieces of nature's candy. Random mom thought- perhaps the tater tot image is more enticing- Do I care? No, just want my family to be healthy and enjoy what they are eating.

What? You Can Use Them as Meal Items?! Of course you can, silly! You know me and you know that I emphasize retraining yourself to use the products that you have available. To me, this is not only fun but it gives you an entirely new outlook on how you can expand your meal options as well as (again) sneaking in some of the healthy ingredients while still nourishing your family. So let's go through what I came up with using Brothers-All-Natural Fruit Clusters for the entire day:
Breakfast ~ Simply grind up a handful of Fruit Clusters and add it to your usual pancake mix. The Fruit Clusters will give them a subtle hint of fruit flavor. You can also leave them a bit less ground which will allow you an occasional extra fruity crunch hidden within your pancakes. May I also add that with a touch of some chocolate chips, the pairing of fruit and chocolate is a breakfast treat rather than a meal. So when you feel as if you are having something a bit too decadent, how do you balance it out? How about finding another healthy option? 

I put together the cute breakfast bouquets as seen above for NutriDaughter (aka as the Princess who loves breakfast in bed, but who doesn't ?!) Just add one of the Fruit Clusters as the flower's bud and it gives you a cute edible arrangement with a crunch. Nothing makes a person smile more than something special and cheery and I have to admit, I was smiling making them. 

Lunch ~ Next came lunch because in our household with two growing children they are constantly eating (gosh, do they really have to eat so much, every day?!). God forbid if the schedule gets tampered with because my children are very schedule-oriented and when they want lunch, they mean it. My children are cheese lovers although we do limit dairy and due to sensitivities, it must be cooked and not raw. So what does one do when you have hungry children, cheese and need to whip up something fast? Quesadillas! But not just any quesadillas- how about Sweet & Spicy Quesadillas! I paired up a combination of the Raspberry & Fuji Apple and the Blueberry & Fuji Apple Fruit Clusters with some jalapeno cheese and pan-fried lunch in a matter of minutes. Again, to my surprise, both children gobbled them down. Who knew? Where have these Fruit Clusters been all of my life?


Snack ~ I think the kids are stuck on school time, even though it's summer because 3:00 PM is snack time. I can set my watch by it..if I had one. When a mom has two children and they are fighting over if they should have a sweet snack or a salty snack, why not combine them? Air-popped popcorn plus a variety of Fruit Clusters equals happy kids (which also means happy mom). And when there are leftovers or extras, a mom's got to do what a mom's got to do (chomp, chomp, chomp). When you combine the popcorn with the Fruit Clusters, the Fruit Clusters get all warm and sort of soften so it's like you are eating a piece of warm fruit pie.

Dinner ~ How can you incorporate your everyday dinner with the use of Fruit Clusters? I made a rice stuffing using the Fuji Apple & Cinnamon flavored Fruit Clusters for our pork cutlets. Prep time was 20 minutes and we had leftover for lunch the next day.

Pork Cutlets with Fruit Cluster Stuffing
Winona Pure Oils Olive Oil Baking spray
1/2 Cup broth
1 Tablespoon minced onion
1 Stalk celery (cleaned and chopped finely)
1/2 Teaspoon ground coriander
2 Teaspoons parsley
3 Teaspoons rosemary
1/4 Teaspoon sea salt
1 Cup cooked rice of your choice
17 Fuji Apple & Cinnamon Fruit Clusters (ground)
4 Pork cutlets, pounded thin

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a shallow casserole dish with spray oil and set aside.

In a medium frying pan, add the broth and saute' the onion and celery until the celery is tender. Add the remaining spices and rice. Combine well.

Remove from heat and add the Fruit Clusters. Scoop into the middle of the pork cutlets and fold over, keeping the cutlet closed with two toothpicks. Bake until the pork is not pink.

Makes 4 servings

Dessert ~ Come on, we all have a sweet tooth and sometimes, you just need a little something sweet to have at the end of the day. Our family loves chocolate and when I make gluten free brownies, my kids can be heard trying to mooch them left and right. They can mooch all that they want to because the entire time that they think they are eating brownies with crumb topping, it is really crushed Fruit Clusters in disguise! I will advise that if you don't care for a darker "crumb" topping, you should cook your favorite brownies half way and then powder the top with crumbs before putting them back into the oven. Nothing beats the combination of chocolate and raspberry!

A Stuffed What?! An extra surprise and since it is barbecue season, what is a barbecue without roasted marshmallows? And what are roasted marshmallows without a fruity surprise inside? You know all of those brightly artificially-colored marshmallows that your kids always beg you to buy? Now you can get allergy-friendly marshmallows, roast them and simply hide a Fruit Cluster in the middle to have an even better tasting fruity marshmallow. Easy, healthier, real fruit & no chemicals- done!

Can I Have Some? Can I Have Some? Why yes, you can! Brothers-All-Natural and I have decided that we have to share. And sharing means ........


  • What do you get? One lucky person will win an 8-pack of Fruit Clusters of their choice and one copy of my ebook "The Stepping Stones to Food Allergies".  
  • How do you get it? I am going to post the giveaway event on my Facebook page on July 3rd. Entry will be as simple as commenting each day when the event reminder is posted. You can comment as many times as you wish- the more that you comment, the more chances you have to win! Entries will be taken until midnight July 11th.
  • Who can win? Anybody! So enter, share and wait to see if you've won. 
  • When will we know?  One winner will be chosen and announced on Monday, July 14th. If the winner does not respond within 7 business days, a second winner will be chosen. 
  • Wait, What about Brothers-All-Natural? Since they have been so kind to pair up with me for a giveaway and for making such wonderful, healthy products, please make sure that you visit their Facebook page, give them a "Like" and comment about why you love their products too. It's always nice to hear from their customers.
Thank you to Brothers-All-Natural for asking if I was interested in tasting these yummy, crunchy little morsels! I appreciate you thinking of me and trusting me for my thoughts and ideas. 

*I did not receive any compensation for this product review nor do I accept any compensation for product reviews. All product reviews are always written with my honest opinions of the products, good or bad.

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