I’m not suggesting that what your about to read is about health food. It doesn’t follow a raw diet, vegetarian or vegan diet, or even a fresh-fruit-and-veggie diet. But we all know kids like fun food and I’m a believer that “Fun Food” does not have to be synonymous with “Junk Food”. If we make smart choices about the ingredients we use, we can make fun “kid food” without all the chemicals, food dyes, refined sugars and well…junk.
When naming this recipe I fought long and hard to find a name that didn’t scream, “Hurl me into the nearest trash can I’m garbage!” I wanted a more dignified name. A classier distinction. Rasher-in-a-Roll sounded a bit uninspired. Swine-in-an-Afghan…well, just creepy. Meat-in-a-Mat, okay you get the idea. Pigs in a blanket are simply Pigs in a Blanket. So we rolled with it.
This weeks comparison is between Pigs in a Blanket as I’ve always known them to be made: nitrite rich hot dogs wrapped inside canned crescent dough, and Out of the Box Natural Pigs in a Blanket made with uncured, all natural beef cocktail franks and simple puff pastry dough. I was mortified to realize that the crescent rolls I ate for thirty years of my life and fed to my children for five years of their’s contain TBHQ (a form of butane), hydrogenated oil, two different artificial colors AND trans fat. I can’t change what we “did” eat but I sure can change what we “do”. The little changes add up to make a big impact, so eat well and have fun!
THE COMPARISON: Pillsbury and Hebrew National Pigs in a Blanket vs. Out of the Box Natural Pigs in a Blanket
(All ingredients followed by an * can be referenced at www.wikipedia.org by clicking on the ingredient. Please feel free to reference the ingredients on other reputable sites for further information.)
*In addition to these links, please do your own internet search on the ingredients TBHQ, Red 40, Yellow 5, Trans Fat, Hydrogenated Oil, Potassium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein and Sodium Nitrite. There is a lot of significant information on these frightening ingredients.
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls – Reduced Fat
- enriched flour bleached
- wheat flour
- ferrous sulfate
- thiamin mononitrate
- folic acid
- soybean oil
- hydrogenated palm oil*
- baking powder
- baking soda
- sodium acid pyrophosphate*
- sodium aluminum phosphate
Contains 2% or less of:
- partially hydrogenated soybean oil* (“adds a trivial amount of trans fat*“)
- palm oil
- vital wheat gluten*
- mono and diglycerides*
- potassium chloride*
- xanthan gum*
- yellow 5*
- TBHQ* (to protect flavor) -[Also see our Trick-or-Treat post for alarming information on TBHQ]
- color added
- red 40*
Hebrew National Cocktail Beef Franks
Contains 2% or less of:
- sodium lactate*
- hydrolyzed soy protein*
- sodium diacetate*
- garlic powder
- sodium erythorbate*
- sodium nitrite*
**All listed product ingredients are taken from product’s package label. Though Out of the Box Food makes every effort to provide complete ingredient information, please check the package for the most current information.
Out of the Box FoodSM Natural Pigs in a Blanket
Because this recipe is an easy-to-assemble dish using pre-made products, I have chosen to also list the ingredients in these products to illustrate the difference you can make by simply reading the labels and making smart choices.
Special Equipment: baking sheets, parchment paper (optional)
Time: Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 20-25 minutes
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
- 15 uncured cocktail dogs
- Take puff pastry sheet out of freezer to thaw for approximately 10 minutes.
- Line baking sheet with parchment and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut puff pastry sheet using sharp knife or pizza wheel into 1 1/2′ strips. Then cut strips into 3″ pieces so that you are left with approximately 15 1 1/2″ by 3″ pieces of puff pastry.
- Roll 1 cocktail dog in a 1 1/2″ by 3″ piece of puff pastry dough. Press edge of dough to seal. Repeat with remaining dogs/dough.
- Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and puffed.
Trader Joe’s Artisan Puff Pastry (in the freezer aisle): Ingredients – wheat flour, butter (milk), salt, sugar, water.
Trader Joe’s All Natural Cocktail Pups: Ingredients: beef, water, contains 2% or less of allspice, celery juice powder, cane sugar, garlic powder, ground ginger, honey, lactic acid starter culture, mustard flour, nutmeg, onion powder, paprika, pepper, sea salt.
Eating fun food doesn’t have to be a sacrifice in health. I don’t want to be one of those parents who will only let my kids snack on celery and kale, but I will commit to making selective choices and opt for the fresh over the packaged whenever possible. And I can guarantee that when I do purchase a packaged food item, I will steer clear of those with added chemicals and food dyes. Until next week…
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