4 GREAT AFTER-SCHOOL
FOR THE START
OF THE SCHOOL YEAR
By Cheryl Myers, owner Miniature Details LLC
The busses are driving by the house again, commercials are promoting back to school and the news is reporting school bus and building safety and preparations.
As a mom, I stayed home with my boys when they were young and worked as they were in school. They are grown up now. But, this time brings back such wonderful memories of their school time.
In these times, with economy questions, safety worries for our children, and the juggle of new and full schedules… I asked myself what little thing helped me most when school began?
I remember; I received a magazine called Family Fun back then. It was a great guide for the “creative” me… It had ideas organizing family life, family trips ideas, food, health, ideas while raising children, all wrapped into one magazine. It was put out by PARENTS magazine. Now we have Pinterest and Google search.
Each school year my kids always came home so hungry from school!
Every year, I would anxiously await the school edition of the Family Fun for they had great ideas. I remember it being a big topic of conversation in our mom’s groups…. we all were searching for healthy ideas for our children to snack on when they got home that didn’t cost a lot of money but were healthy and satisfying without sabotaging their hunger for dinner in a couple of hours.
Here are of few of my tried and true after school snack ideas:
1. Apple Nachos –
A. Slice 1 apple per person (using an apple slicer makes this an easy task, that even your tweens can do – helps build big muscles too!)
B. Layout apples onto a plate or tray
C. Warm up ½ cup of peanut butter per apple in microwave on medium (check every 30 sec and stir - to not burn it.)
D. Sprinkle with finely chopped peanuts. (You can substitute peanuts, granola, or chocolate chips)
E. Eat and Enjoy!
A. Slice up 8 large or 12 smaller apples evenly – this is a great way to use up those apples with the bruise on them. (Try not to use red or golden delicious apples as they don’t have much flavor)
B. NO need to peel them unless you prefer-this preserves the health benefits such as vitamins, fiber, and nutrients contained in the peels.
C. Place them in a 6-quart crockpot
D. Add ¼ cup of honey (I like to use honey as I didn’t like to use sugar (refined white or brown sugars) – if you want to omit sugars all together just choose a sweet variety of apples and omit the sugar.
F. I would always add a stick of cinnamon (the ground cinnamon spice is fine too; I just find the stick to provide a much stronger richer flavor.
G. Then I would put in ¼ - ½ tsp of pumpkin pie spice. (If you don’t have this spice I would just throw in an extra cinnamon stick.
H. With a micro planer, shave off about 1tbls of lemon rind yellow only – careful to not shave the white pith it is bitter. Save the lemon for another use.
I. I would then cover the crockpot and cook on LOW for 6 hours or 2 ½ -3 hours on HIGH – if you are not home or doing it overnight, be sure to use a programable crockpot and set it to move to warm when time is up, as the longer it is over cooked to more flavor you lose.
L. When it is done, be careful it will be hot!
M. Remove cinnamon stick(s). Use an immersion blender, to smooth. Mash with a potato masher for chunkier applesauce – you will see more of the skins. Run through a food mill to remove any tougher skins, or place small amounts in a blender being careful it doesn’t splatter.
N. After blending – I taste and add a bit more honey if I wish it to be sweeter. This is great for a snack when the kids come home…they can dip pretzels, graham crackers or just simply eat alone. My son like eating it in an ice cream cone.
3. Pita Chips with Salsa
A. I would bag up a serving size of pita chips in a Ziploc baggie – a serving size is typically 21-26 chips (check your chip bag for an accurate serving size)
B. To make homemade salsa (kids loved this especially in the summer when we could use the veggies from the garden)
C. Chop and Prep Ingredients
1. I chopped up tomatoes (if using canned I used fire roasted tomatoes chopped) (IF using fresh it is your choice to peel or not…I never did)
2. Chopped ½ of an onion (sweet or white) – you can let it sit in cold water for 10 minutes or so to soften the onion flavor this is called de-flaming.
3. 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
4. 1 medium bell pepper – red, green, orange, or yellow (you can go for the hot peppers just be sure to remove all the membranes, seeds and stems. -but my children didn’t like the hot salsas, so we stuck to bell peppers
5. Half of a can of sweet corn
6. ½ cup of fresh cilantro
7.The juice of half a lime – I always used 1 full lime as I likes the citrus taste…use your judgement.
D. I would blend it all and let it sit in the fridge overnight. This is a chunky salsa, You can pulse it in your food processor to the consistency you like.
F. Grab a pita chip bag and enjoy.
3. Peanut butter with bananas
A. 1 yellow banana per person peeled
B. Cut banana in half lengthwise
C. With the two cut sides facing up, place dollops of peanut butter onto top of one half of the banana.
D. Cover that half with the other half, refrigerate for 30 minutes
NOTE: (my kids loved it when I left a plastic picnic knife and a banana and the jar of peanut butter for them to cut the banana themselves and make their own snack. Refrigeration not often necessary when done this way…for younger hands, I would put some peanut butter in a small Ziploc bag and have them squirt the peanut butter on banana that way. Just snip off one of the corners of the bag and you have an instant squirter.)