Summer Art and Fruit Flies
This dish is inspired by my multi-talented summer theater kids.
Each summer, I have the honor of working with gifted young visual artists and performers. My genre is creature and character building and puppetry. Sometimes our workshops are abstract and focused on detail and symbolic expression through visual arts. This year it was all about the performance arts. We made our own creatures, but spent most of our time playing theater games, and building performance skills through puppetry.
Because puppetry is not just for little kids, we decided to feature iconic characters of film and stage, like Jim Henson’s Skeksis and Muppets, as well as puppets that have been used for political satire, like Punch and Judy. Throw in an alien man-eating plant, Yoda, and have the whole thing hosted by Kermit, and you have a performance with everything! – humor, nostalgia, and surprise.
Featured throughout our play was Kermit’s love of flies. So, here are flies fit for both Kermit, and my performers. No need for sugar, gluten, or dairy. Just fruit and nuts. And if you can not eat nuts, they are easily substituted.
Even though this is fun “kid” food, I cannot bring myself to put legs on these things. The very idea of eating bug legs induces nausea. Yep, I confess – I am not quite that adventurous. However, if you, or better yet your kids, make these, feel free to add defined heads, eyes, legs, whatever you like!
These are sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, and bug free! They are also REALLY delicious.
Remember to read labels for the ingredients you use. To keep salt and sugar low, or completely out, buy the ingredients below which do not have these items in their ingredients list. You don’t need them.
- 16 oz dates, pitted, about 3 1/2 c by measure, or 1 3/4 to 2 c puree
- 3/4 – 1 c peanut butter – if you have allergies, use sunbutter
- 4 T cocoa powder
- 1 t vanilla (gluten free, if desired)
- 1/2 t salt (I use sea salt)
- optional: 1 T coconut oil (or butter)
- for wings, dried fruit or slivered almonds
- optional: almonds, or and other nut or dried fruit for stuffing
Diet Notes: If you are unable to eat peanut butter, use all sunbutter. If is equally delicious. You can also leave cocoa out, if preferred… or, ahem, add more!
Note: I always dice my pitted dates, to be sure that there are no missed pits, and to make them easy to process.
In a food processor, puree dates until smooth. Be patient, stop and scrape down sides of processor periodically. To read more about benefits of dates and puree methods, click here. Add peanut butter (or sunbutter, if using), cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, and oil (if using) and process until “dough” is well combined.
Note: You do not need to add the extra oil or butter, unless you are down to the bottom of the jar of your all-peanut peanut butter and want a little more fat and flavor.
Place dough on a parchment-lined cookie sheet (that will fit into your freezer later). Use a small portion scoop, spoon, or your hands… or better yet your children’s hands, to roll dough into little balls. If desired, each ball can be stuffed with any nut or dried fruit, for chew, crunch, or added nutrition.
Place the little truffles onto the parchment. To each one, add two almond slivers or halves, or dried fruit slices, to create “wings”. (My favorite is thinly sliced dried pineapple) If desired, you can even add mini chocolate chips, and candy “eyes”. I just don’t care to have my food look at me as I eat it. 🙂
Place batch with cookie sheet into the freezer. You can keep them in the freezer, if you like. They are better cold, as they hold their shape and just taste really good from the freezer.
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Back to the kids!
In only a few short days, these young artists produced everything visual arts and everything theater… including sculpting, painting, costuming, scripting, voice, movement, dance, managing the stage and crew.
Then two separate classes who had never practiced together, performed together, like pros!
I could not be more proud of my kids, every last one of them!
There were camera and photographer issues. Most of my pictures came out blurry, which makes me sad. If there are any parents out there with good pictures of these guys, please send them to me!
Backstage before the puppeteers arrive.
Our version of baby Audrey 2 from Little Shop of Horrors.
Audrey 2 grows.
For Skeksis. An homage to Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal creatures.
With movement and voice, these Skeksis were infused with life! It felt real enough to make small children cry (I am so sorry for that), and awe the adults in the audience.
Yoda, one of our favorites he is.
Our host, Kermit. A creature puppeteer troupe can not bring back puppet icons without Kermit…
… or Punch and Judy. Our version was much less violent.
Judy with an English accent who can interact with the audience. 🙂
Where goes Kermit, goes Miss Piggy… karate-chopping other pretty girls in the room.
“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”
…or that one behind the alien plant…
… or that young lady…
Our two stage managers waiting to get started! These girls were naturals. Ready with lines and props and whatever was needed.
Cue the music. 🙂
Sooooooooo ready to begin!
Sooooooooo ready to begin!
Elements of surprise. Lights go out and Skeksis enter the stage. The audience only sees glowing eyes (my kids are so brilliant!) and hear creepy Skeksis noise.
Skeksis enjoy dinner, with dessert!
Yoda uses the force to lift an X-wing Starfighter from the Degobah swamp… well. a Starfighter and two stage managers. 🙂 We ran out of time before we could add sticks to the Starfighter, but it was still effective! They got a great reaction from the audience.
Talk about great reactions… with workshop complete, I miss these gorgeous expressive faces.
Even these faces, a little…
But mostly these… Here is my second session of amazing talented performers. And the group shot below (with Audrey 2) is my first session of awesomeness. 🙂
All went well, exceeding expectations… until Audrey 2 ate all my children.
Save one… because he became one with the force. Yoda, he is.
I can’t wait to see these guys next summer!
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