The lychee/ longan


CHALLENGE 12: Cranberry

For this challenge I served frozen cranberries, dried cranberries, cranberry juice, baked some muffins, and made a homemade relish to be eaten with ham slices.  In a shocking turn of events my Youngest gave every preparation 5 stars except the relish which he gave 4.  The Eldest liked the muffin, juice, relish, and dried berries but didn't like the frozen cranberry.

I halved the relish recipe quite successfully. I rolled some relish in some sliced deli turkey for my boys to try. I found the relish recipe here: 

CHALLENGE 21: Apples

At long last the beloved apple is highlighted!  We made this extra fun by sampling 5 types of apples. They also ate homemade applesauce, baked apples, an apple appetizer, and apple pie cookies!  So many ways to enjoy apples! The Verdict: I already knew this but my kids LOVE apples! They gave every preparation 5 stars!

 For an applesauce recipe try this one:

I used this recipe as the base for my baked apples and just omitted the whipped cream:

I found the appetizer idea here and used thinly sliced pieces of baguette lightly broiled as the base:  

CHALLENGE 18: Nectarine

This fruit is a family favourite.  We ate it sliced, as a salsa, in a smoothie and baked!  My boys rated it high as well!

I found the salsa recipe here. We ate it with crackers but I’d like to try it with fish as the recipe suggests:

I found the smoothie recipe (which was SUPER delicious) here:

I made Honey Baked Nectarines with Vanilla and Brown Sugar from this recipe:


CHALLENGE 10: Avocado

Did you know Avocado is a berry?  Well, it is and that's why we had a Top Food Challenge to highlight this great delight.  My sons sampled avocado slices, a milkshake, a smoothie, a cracker topping!, and of course guacamole. 

I found the chocolate avocado milkshake recipe here:

I used this smoothie recipe:

I found the recipe for the cracker spread here:

I found the simple guacamole recipe here:

The kiwi challenge

The Cranberry Challenge

 CHALLENGE 5: Raspberries

This was the challenge my youngest son dreaded the most! He has suddenly developed an aversion to these lovely berries for some unknown reason.  When he was a toddler he loved berries and used to steal them from my cereal bowl but for some reason he now hates them.  Go figure! 

Anyway, I  served the berries alone, I topped some little pieces of buttered bread with raspberry jam, and in advance I made some raspberry oatmeal cookie bars (which were delicious but stuck to the tin foil. Next time I’ll try parchment paper:) and I made a quick raspberry sauce to top over ice cream (I was despertely trying to get my son to eat raspberries!)

Here is the Oatmeal Bar recipe I used: 

I found the recipe for the Raspberry Sauce in Jamie’s Food Revolution cookbook (page 326) by Jamie Oliver. It was very easy, just a handful of raspberries and one tablespoon of sugar scrunched together with my hands in a bowl.) 

CHALLENGE 13: Banana

Finally the bananas challenge: my Eldest's favourite fruit! There are so many delicious ways to use bananas it was hard to pick what to make.  I gave my boys the Fruit, banana bread, homemade banana milk, and homemade banana ice-cream (without an ice-cream machine).

The link for the original Banana Milk recipe no longer works but here is another version: 

I found the recipe for Peanut Butter Banana bread (she also has one without peanut butter) here:

I found the recipe for Banana Ice Cream called Breakfast Ice Cream in the Sneaky Chef Cookbook by Missy Chase Lapine. If you have a food processor you can make easy and fast Ice Cream, simply blend one frozen banana, 1 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt.

CHALLENGE 32: Cantaloupe  

I can't believe it took me so long to prepare this basic melon which is always in our grocery store! There were mixed reviews with my kids but the Popsicle, salsa and Agua Fresca were hits.

Besides slices of melon I prepared the cantaloupe five other ways.

Salsa is such a hit with my boys. I found the recipe here: 

Popsicles are a great way to get kids to eat fruits. These refreshing frozen treats will go on our summer rotation from now on: 

The Agua Fresca was simply divine in my opinion - so refreshing - I will definitely make it again even though it takes a bit of effort. I cheated a bit and used the remainder of my puree from the Popsicle recipe, but this is what I based my recipe on: 

I wanted to show my kids that fruits can offer different flavours when cooked so I tried this roasted cantaloupe recipe for soemthing really different and served it with yogurt:

I used this recipe as the basis for the prosciutto wrapped snacks...I didn't make the glaze nor did I have any mint so I kept it simple with two ingredients.  I think I should have used plain old ham for my youngest though as he was not a fan of the prosciutto: 

I found the Mandarin and Peach Ice Lolly recipe here:

I used this recipe for the Peach Crumble but made individual ones:

The Milkshake was supposed to be Peach and Banana but I forgot to add the banana! It was still very yummy! I found the recipe here:

 I adapted a recipe to make bite sized mini sandwiches and used a grill pan. I found the recipe for the Grilled Peach, Brie and Basil Sandwiches here:

The pineapple challenge 

The Strawberry Challenge

The Pomelo Challenge 


For this date with dates  (ha ha, see what I did there) my boys tried pitted dates, a smoothie, stuffed dates, and dates chopped & rolled into an energy bite. Every preparation got 5 stars except the dates alone. My Youngest gave them 1 1/2 stars and my Eldest gave them 4 stars. 

I found the Vanilla-Date Breakfast smoothie recipe here:

I used this recipe for cheese-stuffed dates:

For the chopped and rolled dates I made peanut butter bites: 

CHALLENGE 7: Strawberries
It was summer and we had a little pot with strawberries growing in it so that was the perfect time to try this fruit.  I served the berries alone, then spread some strawberry jam on buttered bread, and made some creamy Popsicles, and a milkshake.

 As this is another berry, my Youngest wasn’t thrilled with the challenge.  He wrote on his sheet that it was “haf good haf bade.”  He only enjoyed the creamsicles and the jam.  This still perplexes me as he used to eat strawberries with lunch every day when he was in preschool. 

I made the popsicles by mixing 1 cup of berries with 1 cup of low fat honey Greek yogurt (which made 4 small popsicle).  My recipe was inspired by this one but I didn’t have the patience to make a strawberry puree before hand so I just mixed my ingredients together to make a pink popsicle instead of the red and white ones as per recipe: 

I made this strawberry milkshake (without the waffle on the side):

The orange challenge 

The nectarine  challenge

What should we try next?

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The lime challenge 

CHALLENGE 23: kiwi

I knew this kiwi challenge would be a hit, as its the only green thing my kids like to eat! They sampled sliced fruit, homemade sorbet, a smoothie, and salsa. 

I found the sorbet recipe here (mine melted a bit too much before photo time):

 I made this smoothie for my boys:

I found the salsa recipe here and made a variation of the black beans and then served it all on little corn chips: 

The cherry  challenge

The Pomegranate


The star fruit Challenge


This fruit was a big hit and to this day my boys love mango.  My youngest east frozen mango by the bowlful as a snack - I can't buy enough bags of frozen mango to please him! For this challenge they sampled fresh mango, homemade mango almond butter, muffins, a mango lassi, and salsa . Both sons gave all preparations 5 stars!

I found the Fruity Mango Almond Butter recipe here:

I Found the Mango Muffin recipe here:

I found the mango lassi recipe here:

I used this mango salsa recipe:

CHALLENGE 31: Lychee and Longan Fruit 

We all tried something new this month and sadly this was our least successful challenge. Even mama wasn't sold on these fruits.  I combined Lychee and Longan together because they are from the same family (Longan is known as Lychee's little Brother) and I could only get Longan from the grocery store, not Lychee, plus I couldn't find a lot of recipes.  We sampled fresh Longan, canned Lychee, Lychee juice, a Lychee/Longan salsa, and a sparkling drink.  The fruits did not score well: 1 and 2 stars.  The juice and drink were enjoyed but that was all. Don't think I will be adding this fruit to our rotation.

I was inspired to make a non-alcoholic Lychee Lime Fizz from this recipe:

I combined fruits to create a salsa basing it on this recipe (not the cake) and served with graham crackers:

CHALLENGE 1: Pomegranate
This was our first challenge.  I had my boys sample pomegranate four ways: seeds, jam, juice and a smoothie.  I kept it pretty easy for the first one and only used one recipe.  For the Pink Smoothie I used this recipe: Yes, I was very sneak and got my kids to eat tofu without knowing it.  Hee hee...

I made these cookies but used butterscotch chips in place of toffee (couldn't find those) and didn't top with icing:

 I used frozen cranberries instead of fresh in the muffins. I found the muffin recipe here:

The pear


The pumpkin challenge

The DRAGON FRUIT Challenge

The Cantaloupe


The apricot Challenge

CHALLENGE 9: Peaches

My boys tried peaches Five Ways for this challenge.  They had the Fruit, ice lollies, some peach crumble, a milkshake, and a tiny grilled peach sandwich.  I love peaches so I couldn't help myself but make so many tasty treats! And the verdict: Five Stars across the board! (Well, my Youngest didn't like the sandwich because of the "green stuff" i.e basil).

Copyright 2015. Family Theme Days. All rights reserved.

CHALLENGE 27: Grapefruit 

For this citrus challenge my sons tried grapefruit halves, grapefruit juice, a slushy, some salsa, a simple fruit brulee, and a grapefruit yogurt cake. This fruit received 4 and 5 stars across the board...which frankly surprised me as I didn't learn to like this until I was an adult.  

 The slushy was a big hit and it only has three ingredients! I found the recipe here:

Salsa is always a hit with my kids. I cut back on the onions and added the jalapeno to taste. I used this easy recipe:

The honeydew Challenge

CHALLENGE 33: Pomelo  

I have seen these large grapefruit like fruits over the years but had never tried. I love it when a Top Food Challenge is something new for me too!  This one was enjoyed by my kids.  Of course the desert bar got 5 stars, but they enjoyed everything and even liked the fruit alone, which is a good thing because these are huge!  

I couldn't find many recipes to use but here's what I made:

I found the Citrus and Mint Salad idea here but I didn't use the Orange Blossom water: 

​The green in this smoothie (spinach) did not deter my kids (phew).  This is where I found the recipe:

The super delicious Pomelo Citrus Bars had me making my very first fruit curd. Mmmmm.  Here is the full recipe: 

Top Food: ​sample Challenges

The tomato challenge 

CHALLENGE 22: Pumpkin

One October we had this Pumpkin Top Food Challenge and I served roasted pumpkin, pumpkin soup, muffins, and pumpkin pie milk shake. My kids liked this challenge the roasted pumpkin and soup only receiveing 3 stars, but that's pretty good I thought. 

I can't find the link for for the Jamie Oliver roast pumpkin recipe I used (with cheese on top...yum!) but you could try this one:

For the basic pumpkin soup I based ours on this:

This is the Wheat Pumpkin Muffin recipe we used:

For the delicious Pumpkin Pie Milk Shakes I made this:

CHALLENGE 11: Honeydew

The Honeydew challange was easy to prepare but was met with mixed reviews.  I served it Four Ways: Melon, Smoothie, Salsa and Appetizer. My Eldest gave every preparation 5 stars! My Youngest only liked the Smoothie and salsa.  Better than nothing, I guess!

 I found the delicious smoothie recipe (my favourite of the four) here:

I used this recipe for the salsa but just cut the portions smaller:

The link where I found the appetizer recipe no longer works but here is a similar recipe (the old one added a mint leaf):

The Raspberry Challenge

 CHALLENGE 30: Limes 

Another citrus challenge: Limes Five Ways.  My children tried lime wedges, limeade, chili lime popcorn, popsicles, and sugared lime zest. My Youngest gave every preparation 5 stars (he LOVES sour foods) and my Eldest gave the fruit 2 stars, the limeade 3 stars, the popcorn and popsicle 4 stars and the sugared lime zest 5 stars.

Sugared lime zest on apple slices is delicious:

 I used this Limeade recipe:

Here is the Popsicle recipe:

I used this recipe for the delicious popcorn:

The Blueberry  challenge

CHALLENGE 14: Star Fruit

We tried something completely different, something I'd never even tried: star fruit!  We sampled the fruit raw, made a sparkling drink, stewed some in a mango orange sauce, and made a salsa. Both boys liked this fruit, but the youngest didn't like the salsa.

I adapted the drink recipe from a recipe I found online but the site no longer exists and I cannot find the recipe anywhere else.  Maybe you can find something else to make for your challenge.

I found the stewed fruit recipe here:

I used this recipe (but made a smaller amount) for the salsa: 

The avocado


The PLUM Challenge

The apple challenge

The lemon challenge

CHALLENGE 29: Orange

Another 5 star fruit all across the board!  My kids tried orange segments, orange juice, a smoothie, roasted oranges, a salsa and mini muffins. 

I found the Frosty Orangeliciousness recipe for the smoothie here:

 This is the Roasted Orange recipe I made for the challenge:

I based my salsa recipe on this one:

Thanks to The Pioneer Woman - Ree Drummond for the orange mini muffin recipe I used for my #TopfoodChallenge:

The WATERMELON Challenge

CHALLENGE 20: Lemon 

Believe it or not, lemons are the favourite fruit of my youngest and he will eat it in cut like an orange!  He enjoyed this challenge.  My sons had lemon wedges, lemonade, honey yogurt dip, poppy seed muffins, and for something really different, lemon pasta. Both boys liked this challenge but the Eldest only gave the wedges 3 stars (I don't blame him)!

I had left over sugar syrup from another recipe so I just added lemon juice and water to make ours but if you want a full recipe try this one:

I made this yummy lemon honey dip:

I found the muffin recipe here (I didn't make the icing as I thought they were sweet enough without): 

I made this lemon linguine recipe but with fettuccine as that was all I had in the cupboard:

CHALLENGE 2: Dragon Fruit

I ventured to unknown territory here with a more daring choice, and a fruit I had never tried before. 

My boys sampled dragon fruit three ways: raw fruit, dragon Fruit Shake, and salsa. 

I used orange juice instead of tangerines in the drink recipe, which I found here: - Dragon Fruit Shakes.

NOTE: I can't get the link to work on this page so please just cut & paste...

I used green onion instead of chives in the salsa (sparingly) and served on top of corn chips instead of scallops:

The Banana Challenge

CHALLENGE 28: Tomato

This was the challenge my eldest was dreading as he dislikes tomatoes.  When I was little this was the one thing i wouldn't eat either. I adore tomatoes now, especially fresh from the garden, but the texture was horrid when I was small.  Anyway, I served garden tomatoes, yellow cherry toamtoes, fresh garden salsa, tomato juice, mini caprese salads, and parmesan roasted tomatoes.  As predicted the Youngest gave the fruit 5 stars (although he disliked the raosted tomato and gave it 1 star).  My Eldest gave the fruit 1 star, the juice half a star, the salad 3 stars, the roasted tomato 4 stars (he liked the cheese) and the salsa 5 stars!  

This the the recipe I used for the Parmesan Roasted Tomatoes:

I found the salsa recipe here:

I already knew how to make the mini Caprese Salads but if you want a recipe try here:


We sampled pear slices, a pear muffin, a smoothie and a pizza this time around! All preparations were given 5 stars by my kids except for the pizza . My Eldest gave that 4 stars and my Youngest gave it 3 stars. (They said didn’t like the type of cheese on it!)

 I found the delicious smoothie recipe here:

 I used this recipe to bake Honey Pear Muffins:

I adapted this recipe to create our Pear Pizza (I used Asiago Cheese because I couldn't find Pecorino. My kids didn't like that. I should have used Cheddar):

CHALLENGE 6: Apricots

This was an easy one as well.  I served the fruit freshly cut, some dried apricots (FYI: excellent for putting in kids lunches), and jam on small pieces of buttered bread cut into stars.  I also found some apricot juice at the grocery store so we sampled that and then I made some apricot granola snacks, which were a variation of a recipe I found online.

Here’s where I found the recipe:

I used cashew butter instead of almond butter and dropped the ingredients into cookie sized shapes to freeze on wax paper instead of trying to set them in a pan.  I would also recommend using less almond extract as I found the taste quite prominent. 

I usually post the photos and links on Facebook on our Healthy Kids Album. Check there for recent additions.

 Here are the Challenges I’ve given my Children with the links to recipes where applicable:


I was more experimental with this fruit and gave my boys papaya five ways.  I served it in slices and also found some papaya juice at the store, but then I made a salsa (since my kids love eating corn chips), a smoothie and I experimented and made up my own creamy yogurt ice-cream.

Again, the link for the Salsa recipe won't attach so please cut & paste:

This is the easy smoothie recipe I used: 

Here's how I made my own ice-cream: I froze some small chopped pieces of papaya ahead of time and then put them in a food processor with a small can (not regular sized) of coconut milk and about  a quarter cup of non-fat Greek yogurt.  I whizzed it in the food processor and it turned into a creamy soft ice cream.

CHALLENGE 26: Pineapple 

My sons tried Pineapple 5 ways: Fresh pineapple, a coconut smoothie, homemade Dole-Whip, pineapple salsa, and pineapple muffins. This is another family favourite...both of my sons gave each preparation 5 stars!

I found the pineapple Coconut smoothie recipe here:

I found the homemade Dole Whip recipe here:

I found the pineapple salsa recipe here:

I found the Pineapple Muffin recipe here: 

The grapefruit challenge 

The brulee was really good. I wasn't sure how cooked grapefruit would taste. Find this easy recipe here:

The least healthy of the samples, but certainly delicious. I made this just to highlight the taste of grapefruit juice and to show that fruits can be used in different ways. I got the recipe here: 

The Papaya Challenge

The Grape Challenge

The mango challenge 

CHALLENGE 8: Watermelon

 We had this challenge in the summer as well .  I served the melon the old fashioned way as slices, which gained 5 star ratings from my kids.  I also made watermelon ice, a salsa and a smoothie.

Here is the watermleon ice recipe I used:  

My Eldest and myself liked the watermelon salsa, but the feta wasn’t a hit with my youngest.  Here is the recipe

And I’m sad to report that my Youngest saw me add strawberries into the smoothie so he only gave it 1 1/2 stars. Sigh.  The Eldest gave it 5 stars though.  Try the recipe here:


This one was the easiest challenge to prepare for as I didn’t do any cooking!  For this one I wanted my kids to try both green and red/purple grapes to see which one they preferred. I really wanted to start including grapes in their school lunches.  I discovered they like green grapes better (and I actually prefer red ones so I guess I lose out when grocery shopping).  I was fortunate enough to have homemade grape jelly (a gift from one of my lovely aunts) so I used that for this challenge and then finished the challenge with white grape juice and golden raisins. 

CHALLENGE 17: Blueberries 

My boys tried fresh berries, juice, a smoothie, some store bought jam, and a blueberry muffin.

This Top Food Challenge has a bit of family controversy to it. My youngest, who used to steal blueberries off my cereal when he was a toddler, swears he hates berries.  When we had this challenge he surprised us all by giving all preprations 4 or 5 stars, except the jam.  But now, months later he protests and says he never did such a thing and that he hates blueberries. Hmmmmmm...

I got the Healthy Blueberry Muffin recipe here:

I found the peanut butter blueberry smoothie recipe here:

CHALLENGE 19: Cherries

My kids sampled fresh cherries, homemade cherry popsicles, cherry lemonade, a crumble, and chocolate covered! 4 and 5 stars abound for this fruit! 

 I found the cherry tofu Popsicle recipe here:

I made the delicious cherry lemonade syrup using this recipe:

I made individual cherry almond crisps and halved this recipe:  

I made the chocolate for the cherries using three ingredients! Cocoa powder, maple syrup and coconut oil!  I found the recipe here: 

The Peach Challenge

The date challenge 

 CHALLENGE 16: Plums

For this challenge I served sliced plums, prunes (dried plums), homemade plum sauce, a baked plum, and prune juice.  Both my boys liked the fresh plums, plum sauce, and baked plums. My Youngest gave the prune 2 stars and my eldest 4. Hands down the boys HATED the prune juice: 1 star.

 I based the baked plum recipe on this one:

 I used this recipe for the plum sauce and served it over fresh pancakes as I made this challenge for a nice Sunday Brunch: