Kids love to keep us on our toes. My middle skittle LOVES Halos, mandarins, clementines, little oranges; whatever you want to call them, he loves them. He will eat three at a time! So when I was offered the opportunity to receive a large batch of the season’s first picks from Wonderful Halos, I was elated. But of course, as kids do all so well, my son suddenly turned his nose up at mandarins as if they were Brussels Sprouts. Gone were my ideas of serving up healthy, vitamin C packed mandarins for the kids’ snacks. So, when you find yourself with a ton of fruit your kid ate last week and won’t touch this week, what do you do?
Call up your friends!
It was Tuesday of Thanksgiving break and I figured what mom doesn’t need a break?! Cleaning the house for a holiday, cooking and prepping while still doing daily care for the kids can lead to some high stress. I searched Pinterest for some adult drinks to pair with the mandarins then I called up my friends for some adult time. I spent a few hours juicing the little oranges with the help of my adorable monster who will no longer eat them. To save you some time, juicing ten pounds of Halo mandarins does not give you nearly as much juice as you think it would. Make sure to buy some extras! (Don’t worry I have plenty of ideas for what you can do with any leftover mandarins!)
Mandarin Sangria! I don’t like wine so I opted not to make this one, but my Sangria loving friends said it sounds divine! If you enjoy Sangria as much as my friends do, make sure to check out the recipe for Clementine Sangria here.
Mandarin Mimosas! Okay, okay. Maybe I do like wine, but it has to be super sweet. Mandarins are a little sweeter than oranges, so they were perfect for adding the sweetness I like. Plus, the Mandarin Mimosas turned out very crisp and refreshing. Find the recipe and try your own Mandarin Mimosas here.
Mandarin Mojitos! I won’t lie, I’m normally not a fan of mojitos. I just don’t find them to be sweet enough for my liking, but using the mandarin juice really kicked the sweetness up a notch. Interested in trying a Mandarin Mojito? Find the recipe here.
The Clementine Cocktail! I liked this drink concoction the best. I prefer vodka over wine so this one was already a winner, but the sweetness really won me over. Find out how to make a Clementine Cocktail here.
What about the kids?
If you want to use Halos in kid-friendly ways, you know, like not with alcohol, I totally understand. I don’t drink much myself and I am picky when I do. My original plan all along had been to use the Halos as snacks for my kids, I just got mad at my kid (you get it).
In their original form, Halos make the best snacks. Just peel and eat. To make them a little more fun, you can dip one end of the mandarin in milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, or caramel and maybe add some sprinkles! For a Christmas treat, you could even crush up some candy canes to sprinkle on top of the chocolate!
Another fun mandarin recipe for the kids (or yourself!) is clementine sorbet. I personally didn’t try this recipe, so I can’t vouch for it, but it sounds delicious and definitely worth trying. Ready to give it a go? Find all of the details here.
What do I plan to make for my kids with Halos mandarins? Well, if they are lucky, I just may try making mandarin gummies! I am not a patient person and I lack the skills (but mainly the patience) to allow my kids to help, but my kids love gummies so I may just have to give the mandarin gummies a shot–over the next holiday break, of course!
After juicing the Halos, I had 2 gallon sized bags of peels left over. I gave the juiced insides to my ducks and chickens, but I wasn’t sure what to do with all the peels. Throwing them away seemed so wasteful. So, of course, I started browsing for ideas on what to do with all of them! Again, I found so many things!
You can use an uncut half to make a candle holder! It makes your house smell amazing! Since mandarins are small, I used a tea light and I snipped off the end to make sure it sat flat on the table. The other half can be used as a bird feeder–just fill it with seeds and place it on the ground (or hang it if you want).
I also made a cleaner for the house. I love using vinegar to clean since it doesn’t have harsh chemicals (and it works great!). But vinegar smells awful. All you need to make the cleaner are the peels from the Halos, white vinegar and a mason jar. Of course when I did this, I couldn’t find my mason jar in time so I used whatever I had around. After two weeks of the mixture sitting in a sunny area, I poured the homemade cleaner into a spray bottle and was pleasantly surprised at how good it smelled and how well it worked!
The last thing I attempted with the mandarin rinds was to make vitamin C oil for my face. I say “attempted” because I skipped a step about dehydrating the peels due to excitement. It has been sitting for a week and looks like the photos I’ve looked at, so I am still hopeful. To make the oil, I combined rubbing alcohol and seven peels in a Tupperware jar (the instructions called for a mason jar but again, I couldn’t find mine). Over time, the rubbing alcohol draws out the oil and begins to turn orange.
After a week, you can use a cheesecloth to strain the mixture over a bowl and Voila! Vitamin C oil is great for the skin! And DIY vitamin C oil makes great holiday gifts! in fact, any of the recipes would be a great addition to a holiday party or get together. The possibilities really are endless.
What is your favorite way to serve up Wonderful Halos mandarins?