The Autumn season is without a doubt my favorite time of year. Call me crazy, but there is something incredibly sentimental about a pile of leaves, a bushel of apples or a bale of hay. Seriously, I cannot resist the urge (even at a random Home Depot) to rush over, and breathe in that earthy aroma that is a bale of hay. The chill in the air, the sunset colors in the trees, and the scent of cinnamon all bring back childhood memories of hayrides, bonfires, and baking pies with my Mom. Almost every memory I have involving this time of year includes food in some form. For my family, food is always part of the celebration.
Some of my most cherished childhood memories with my Mom involve baking and in fact, the time that my Mom invested in showing me how to cook and bake instilled a passion that I continue to have today. Its a passion that I desire my boys to inherit and memories that I hope they will cherish when they are grown.
This month's emphasis on scarecrows, leaves and apples brought dozens of ideas to mind for this posting. However, I wanted, more than, anything for the focus to remain on time spent with your children without having to do much prep work. The boys and I came up with a few "recipes" that we hope that you will enjoy!
|Apple Sandwich with coconut, walnuts and raisins.|
This recipe requires no cooking whatsoever and is so simple that even a 21-month old can do it. In fact, my special assistant will show you his technique for making this easy snack.
What you'll need:
- 1 Apple sliced horizontally and cored (I used a small round cookie cutter to remove the core after slicing)
- Peanut butter or Nutella
- Dried fruit and nuts (We went with raisins, walnuts and coconut)
First, using an extremely dull knife, you spread the peanut butter on to the apple slice.
*Chef's tip: "Make sure to get lots of peanut butter on your fingers so you can rub them through your hair. Mommies love this!"
Next, sprinkle on your choice of toppings.
*Chef's tip: "One for the apple, one for the chef. You don't want to get hungry while making a snack. Oh and don't forget to drop a few on the floor for Mommy to step on and get stuck between her toes."
Once you are done, put a slice of apple with peanut butter on the top and voila, an apple sandwich fit for an adorable toddler or a precocious five-year old.
|My littlest one's final product|
|His older brother's version|
Fancy recipes are great but what kids like most is feeling like they completed a project on their own. This is our backyard version of apple cider that the boys "made".
|Pretty, isn't it?|
What you'll need:
- 2 Quarts Apple Cider (store-bought)
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Thinly sliced peel from an orange (or in our case, from a few tangerines that we happened to be snacking on)
- A Few Whole cloves
- A Few Allspice Berries
You could keep the cider warmed but hey, its Louisiana and almost 90 degrees out so we opted for a chilled version. All I had the boys do was literally dump the ingredients into a pot on the stove. After simmering for about 10 minutes, pour it over ice.
We threw in freshly sliced apples, orange rind and cinnamon sticks before placing it in the dispenser out back on the porch. The boys loved being able to help themselves.
To encourage even more family interaction while enjoying cooking with the Johnny Appleseed theme, we played a rousing game of Pin the Pot on Johnny Appleseed while sipping our cider.
Praying that this time of year is incredibly special for you and your little ones!