If you don’t live near me here in Florida, or haven’t heard me talk about it before, I teach a monthly ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ class here in my community for the military families. I’ve been doing this for about a year now, and it’s grown in popularity, so much so that the past two months I actually had to turn families away due to space limitations in the facility I teach in. I felt horrible having to tell people they couldn’t come because the class was full – one of my very favorite things in the whole world is teaching kids that nutritious foods can be fun and delicious! So last month I approached those in charge of facilitating the class and requested that we add a second class each month.
This month, we had two classes, both full, and I couldn’t be happier about the response from the kids who joined us in making these snacks and learning about healthier foods! One of the greatest things about having the kids make their own snacks is that they feel a real sense of pride in what they’ve made, which is an excellent motivator for kids to try something new! Even though this doesn’t always mean they’ll like it, sometimes just getting kids to be willing to try is a huge accomplishment! If you’re not local and don’t have similar classes in your area, I encourage you to try these. Besides being a fun way to introduce new foods, these recipes can also be a great family ‘project’ which promotes bonding and also provides opportunities to teach your kids about nutrition, sharing, motor skills, measuring, and more!
We made two snacks at these September classes, both inspired by the autumn season. I hope you and your little ones enjoy these as much as we have! Another thing I personally love about these classes is they teach me as well! One of the moms who attended suggested a really cool idea: to make the Mini Apple Pies as a family on Thanksgiving, as a way for even the littlest family members to be able to contribute to the family feast, and the pies are small so they cook quickly! (It’s also a nice way to include a sweet finish that’s virtually guilt-free and not likely to be the bite that busts your buttons after all that yummy turkey dinner goodness!)
Easy ‘Owl’ Snacks
Ingredients (for each Owl)
1 whole wheat flatbread (sandwich thins – I like Arnold’s/Orowheat brand
because of no HFCS or hydrogenated oils)
2 tbsp. reduced-fat cream cheese (NOT fat-free… learn why here)
2 tbsp. sliced almonds
2 dried apricots
1 triangle piece of dried apricot (beak)
3 pretzel sticks
1. Spread cream cheese on flatbread
2. Place apricots for eyes, add raisins on top of those.
3. Place triangle apricot piece for beak.
4. Arrange almond slices onto body as feathers.
5. Break each pretzel stick in half. Gently splitting flatbread pieces apart at bottom of owl, insert 3 pretzel pieces per side as talons.
Mini Apple Pies w/ Graham Cracker Crust
Yield: 18 mini pies
1 c. graham cracker crumbs (approx. 14 graham crackers, finely crushed)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
8 apples – Fuji, gala, or Braeburn – washed, peeled, cored, diced into 1/4” pieces
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter, mixing until thoroughly combined.
3. Spoon about 1 tbsp. graham cracker mixture into each baking cup. Use spoon to press crust into bottom of liner.
4. Combine filling ingredients; mix well.
5. Scoop about 1/2 c. apple filling mixture into each baking cup.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until apples are tender. Remove from oven and place muffin pan on wire rack to cool, approx. 5 minutes. Serve!
Does your family have a favorite autumn food or snack? Please tell us about it in the ‘Comment’ section below! If you like these recipes, please remember to share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!