Product Review! Dole Apple Cinnamon Fruit Crisp: it’s what’s for meal.

I try to play my part in the hilarious global production of Let’s Pretend There’s Time to Fix It, and generally abstain from prepackaged fruit cups for the little ones, instead buying my mandarin oranges and pears by the large tin, then transferring them to plastic containers once opened. Our membership to BJ’s, however, thwarts my efforts on a monthly basis.

If you belong to a warehouse club, you’re aware of the fruit and vegetable aisle (not to be confused with produce), where subtle halos beam from behind hundreds of neatly stacked boxes of every kind of fruit cocktail imaginable. I’ve steeled myself against the snack-pack aisle, but every now and then the left side of that fruit aisle (I ignore the vegetables on the right) calls to me as I try to pass it, like a siren, with whispers of “hey, your kid will absolutely eat this!”

Sometime within the last six months, I fell for the pleasantly packaged, health-ish Dole Fruit Crisp Apple Cinnamon cups, and it turns out that, no, they absolutely will not eat this. Their refusal is for the best, as these little sugar bombs have virtually no nutritional value, aside from the circumstantial fiber present in the “all natural fruit.” You can imagine my growing resentment of eleven oddly shaped containers taking up real estate in my pantry, and several days ago I could no longer stand it. I can’t throw away unspoiled food, and the easiest way to get rid of them would be to just eat them myself. The thirty seconds I spent waiting for my first “apples” to warm were not hopeful ones, and I assumed I’d toss the remaining ten cups into the food drive bin after one bite.

I’m currently down to two cups, with an emergency trip to BJ’s slated for tomorrow afternoon to pick up some more. While the apple adhesive is similar to that in the filling of a Table Talk pie, the apple chunks maintain an admirable level of bite-resistance. The “crispy, crumbly topping” pairs well with the sugary syrup by distracting from its own sweetness with a hefty smack of salt.

The product’s biggest selling point, at least to caretakers of small children, is how impressively quickly you can consume it. Twenty-eight seconds in my microwave yields the perfect temperature, just shy of scalding, and the cup is small enough to hold behind my back as I side-step one or more suspicious toddlers, dart into my office, throw a chair under the doorknob, and pretend to be shuffling through papers out of sight while scarfing down 160 calories of “lunch” in about ninety seconds. I don’t encourage such dietary habits in general, but until my wards stop literally stealing my breakfast, I have to eat on the sly or wait for reinforcements to arrive for dinner.

All in all, a positive rating from the moms-who-should-eat-better-but-don’t demographic. This product should be kept away from children after 4PM to avoid a Gremlins-eating-after-midnight effect, and anyone who takes pride in a healthy lifestyle should probably steer clear as well. That wouldn’t be me, what with my trinity of addictions (nicotine, caffeine, and aspartame). Although I give my gym’s treadmills a good what-for several days a week, it’s really more for bottled-rage management than fitness, as well as the free childcare (thank you, once again, Mr. and Mrs. S!).

And the appetite’s back.

I-Can’t-Even-Stand-Myself Danishes

Mr. Pena took on dinner last night and grilled us up two fantastic steaks he had picked up at the market. Being a manly man, “dinner” received a check off Mr. P’s mental list with the procurement of meat, and it was only during plating that he noticed the abundance of white space. Always resourceful, Mr. P threw a few frozen waffles into the toaster, and I moved the couch out onto the front lawn. Mercifully, our dignity was revived with a few of these for dessert (I will have a few of whatever I want, I am presently a trinity for god’s sake). The lovely gal over at knows her puff pastry, and I foresee a summer of experimentation with my new favorite flaky medium. I almost substituted mascarpone for the ricotta, but in retrospect I think that would have made it too sweet, as would the extra powdered sugar. As it was, Mr. P stood over my shoulder while I drizzled the icing with a whisk, commanding me to just get a spoon and start dumping.


1 pkg puff pastry (2 sheets) thawed
1 egg white, whisked
raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and mandarin oranges, room temperature

Cheese Filling:

1 C ricotta cheese
1/4 C powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp flour


1/2 C powdered sugar
1/3 C freshly squeezed lemon juice

Set your oven to 350. Depending on what kind of person you are, the first part will be the fun/infuriating part. Cut one sheet of puff pastry in thirds along the fold lines. Cut two of the thirds into three rectangles each. Use the third third to cut strips from, to form frames on the tops of the rectangles. Repeat with the second sheet. Use a few drops of water to glue the frame pieces to the bases, and please try to cultivate some pride in your work. If you require visual aids, I’m sorry, and here’s the original recipe.

Once that’s out of the way, mix up all the filling ingredients in a medium bowl until even (and a little granular). Deposit about 1 tbsp of the cheese mixture into each pastry square, and spread it just to the frames. Brush the frames with egg white, then bake until the pastry has puffed up nice and high, about 20 minutes. Check at 15, but don’t take them out if they look too buttery. You’ll know what I mean. Let them cool for 15 minutes, then arrange the fruit over the cheese. Stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice, and drizzle (or slather) the glaze over the pastries, then seal whatever you don’t immediately inhale in an airtight container and refrigerate until cool.

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