A few months ago, I wrote a post about some fun and easy Summer Snacktivities that I have done with my son. Though school has now started and we no longer have those looooooong summer days to fill, we always need to snack and to find fun things to do no matter what time of year. And we’ve discovered that it’s fun to work in the kitchen together. Having your child help make their own meal gives them a sense of pride, increased desire to eat unprocessed food, and also (hopefully) more respect for the work that goes into making their meals. Here are some fun and easy Fall Snacktivities for kids:
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Now that Halloween season is over, you’ve probably got at least one uncarved pumpkin sitting outside your front door. Did you know that it’s super easy to make delicious roasted pumpkin seeds? Here’s all you need to do:
- Cut a big hole through the top of pumpkin like you would if you were making a jack-o-lantern (parent should do this since it requires a sharp knife)
- Have your child pull out all the seeds and put into a big bowl. They will especially enjoy this if they like getting messy and mucky!
- Have your child pull out all the hard pieces of pulp. I like to leave some of the orange stringy pieces on the seeds since that somehow gives it a deeper pumpkin flavor. Or, you can rinse the seeds off in water to get all that mush off. Drain water from the bowl.
- Seasoning for the seeds: Here’s where it gets fun. You can use just a standard salt and they will taste delicious. My husband likes to jazz it up with a generous portion of Lawry’s seasoning salt. Old Bay is a good one too. This year, he added garlic powder and a couple tablespoons of melted butter which gave them a rich flavor and made the house smell amazing!
- Mix and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in a 300 degree oven for 40 minutes or until crisp (stir halfway through). Snack on them like chips!
Cinnamon Pear Sauce
I once bought like two dozen organic pears from Costco. Though we love pears in this house, I quickly realized they were going to go bad before we could finish them all. And as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. So I took an applesauce recipe and just adapted it for pears:
- Quarter about 6 pears, cut off stem, and remove seed center. Cut into smaller pieces, like 1-2 inch chunks. (parent should probably do this step since it requires using a knife)
- Have your child move the pieces from the cutting board to a pot.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon and let your child mix it with a big wooden spoon.
- Add a cup of water and squeeze a lemon over it, removing any seeds that may fall in.
- Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for about 20 minutes or until the pieces are super soft.
- Remove from heat and let the pot cool. Have your little helper mash pears with a potato masher. You can taste it at this point and add sugar if the pears aren’t sweet enough. Or add water if the sauce is not loose enough. Eat fresh or freeze in individual portions for later!
NOTE: I like to keep the skins on for their nutritional value. I’ve found that it adds a interesting texture to the sauce, and once the pears are cooked and sprinkled with cinnamon, they don’t stick out visually as much as say brown potato skins against the white potato pulp. But, if you want to remove the skins, I’d suggest doing so at the very beginning by using a vegetable peeler.
Ants On A Dirty, Sticky Log
We subscribe to a weekly CSA box from Tanaka Farms. The contents are always organically grown, local, and seasonal. We love it. But there’s a stretch every September when we get celery. Every. Single. Week. Though I put it in soups, dip it in ranch, and dip it in some more ranch, we always had some left over. And it’s not that exciting to eat raw unless smothered in said ranch. Until I figured out how to make my son super excited about eating celery. We started to assemble a boring ole Ants On A Log until my son suggested we add some items. And thus was born: Ants On A Dirty, Sticky Log.
- Cut celery into 3 inch segments. You want to use the pieces that have the deepest wells, and no leaves. Save the rest for soups, or dipping in…let’s say it together now: ranch.
- Have your child fill the wells with peanut butter. A parent may want to scrape the wide edge of a knife across the top to wipe off any excess PB and fill in any holes.
- With the sticks laying on a plate, have your child drizzle them with honey. AKA “sticky.”
- Then have them sprinkle celery with cinnamon. AKA “dirty.”
- Let them place raisins on the top in a single layer. AKA “ants.”
VARIATION: Make Ants on a Dirty, Sticky, Snowy Log by adding coconut flakes!
Puffy Apple Pancake
I originally saw this recipe in a kid-centric e-newsletter (I wanna say PBS Kids?), but it’s actually an age-old German fall favorite. They’re easy to make, and a fun change of pace from your usual bag-mix pancake. This recipe makes a decent portion for a parent and child, but is easy to multiple if you’ve got more pie pans!
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Make sure to go over oven safety with your child and use oven mitts!
- Chop one apple using the same method from the pear sauce above.
- Have your child beat 2 eggs. Then mix in 1/2 cup of low-fat milk, 1/2 cup flour, and a dash of cinnamon with a whisk.
- Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in a pie pan. This may only take a few minutes so keep a close eye on it. Otherwise, the butter will burn which is a gnarly smell that lingers for days!
- Add batter to melted butter in pie pan.
- Let your child sprinkle in apple pieces but make sure they are careful not to touch the pie pan if it’s still hot.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until the pancake puffs up a bit and edges are golden brown.
- Let cool for a moment. Then, using oven mitts, hold plate against top of pie pan and then flip them both over so that the pancake falls onto plate.
- Enjoy with maple syrup!
Happy Fall Y’all!