Fake-out apple crisp: a fun cooking project for kids

On a recent afternoon, my 10-year-old, Wyatt, was looking for something to do. His brother was on a play date, he’d already finished his homework, and his daily dose of screen time was hours away. Before the refrain of “I’m bored!” could start, I suggested that we cook something together. He was game, so we set to work on a fake-out apple crisp inspired by the box of Cinnamon Snack Grahams on our kitchen counter (from Horizon Dairy, a sponsor of this blog).

I first started giving Wyatt cooking lessons several years ago and he got pretty good at quesadillas, scrambled eggs, Caesar salad and a few other dishes before I sort of forgot to keep teaching him new dishes. It’s definitely time we start adding a few new recipes — and cooking skills — to his repertoire. This apple crisp comes together pretty quickly, so it provides instant gratification and it’s also a great way for Wyatt to practice using a knife.

Fake-out apple crisp: a fun cooking project for kids

Here are the ingredients we used for this dish:

And here’s how we made it:

Fake-out apple crisp: learning to chop apples

I started by teaching Wyatt how to trim, core and chop the apples. I had planned to have him peel the apples before he cut them up, but the vegetable peeler was in the running dishwasher, so we skipped that step. No matter — no one even noticed the peel in the finished product and we got a bonus hit of fiber!

Whoop! Whoop! Fiber!

We don’t have an apple corer so Wyatt used a paring knife to cut the cores out of the apples. He had a hard time at first and I talked a lot about keeping his fingers behind the blade of the knife (sometimes more frantically than others), but after a few chunks he got the hang of it pretty well.

Fake-out apple crisp: learning the difference between a chop, a dice and a mince

When all the apples were cored I took a minute to show him the difference between a chop, a dice and a mince. We were going for diced apples for this recipe.

Fake-out apple crisp: things start getting silly

Dicing the apples was much easier than coring them and pretty soon he started getting silly.

Fake-out apple crisp: oops! Things got a little too silly

Oops! Too silly. He nicked his finger with the knife!

Fortunately the cut wasn’t too bad and once he was patched up with a band-aid he could get back to work. Of course it would have been better if he hadn’t cut himself, but a tiny little cut can sometimes be a good reminder that you should never get silly when you have a knife in your hand. Am I right?

Fake-out apple crisp: brown the apples in butter, add sugar and stir to coat

Time to move over to the stove. He set a saute pan on medium heat, then added a tablespoon of butter. Once it was completely melted, he added the apples and tossed them until they were entirely coated with butter. We put a lid on the pan and let them steam in their own juices until they were soft all the way through. This took about 10 minutes, but you should give them a stir and check them every few minutes.

When the apples were soft we turned the burner off. Next Wyatt sprinkled in some brown sugar, stirring, tasting and adding more until he thought they tasted just right. I think it goes without saying that he was quite liberal with the sugar!

Fake-out apple crisp: divide the apples between 4 small dishes

When the sugar had melted and the apples were nicely coated with the sauce, he divided them equally between four bowls.

Fake-out apple crisp: crush the grahams and sprinkle on top of the apples

Next, it was time for a crispy topping. This is were the “fake-out” part of the apple crisp comes in. Instead of making an oat, sugar and butter topping and baking the crisps in the oven we took a major short cut. I pulled out a big handful of Horizon Cinnamon Snack Grahams and then Wyatt smashed them up with a rolling pin. Next he sprinkled a healthy amount on each bowl. It added a nice crispy crunch without a big mess.

Fake-out apple crisp: enjoy your treat!

Finally, it was time for Wyatt to sample his creation. His reaction: “Amazing! This is the best thing ever!”

And then he asked if he could make a second batch!

Do you give your kids cooking lessons? What have you taught them to cook?

Visit Horizon’s website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for more delicious activities to spark kids’ curiosity!


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.

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10 Favorite Kid Lunches of 2015 (so far) -- lots of fresh ideas to get me through the end of the school year!

When I decided to stop posting my weekly bento round-ups at the beginning of the year I had the best intentions. I was still going to post round-ups but they would be themed and extra informative. They were going to be the BEST BENTO ROUND-UPS EVER!!

But here we are — in the middle of May — and I’ve barely posted anything at all this year. The truth is that I’m off my bento game at the moment. Mornings are rushed, the kids are being picky about food and I just don’t have the gumption to pack super cute lunches at the moment. It’s all good though. I’m still packing the kids bento lunches every day and I still make them cute sometimes — they’re just leaning more toward low-key than they are toward super fly. Here are some of my favorites from the past few months:

Fancy Star Wars lunch

First up is one of the fanciest lunches in the bunch. I promise that the rest of these lunches are not this decorative!

I packed this Star Wars bento in our LunchBots Cinco for Augie. All those little compartments are fun to fill! It had pretzel thins, blackberries with a clone trooper ring, a clementine with a Yoda ring (I put the orange in a silicone baking cup so it wouldn’t roll around), cucumbers, sugar snap peas with a Luke Skywalker pick, and sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches in Chewbacca and R2-D2 shapes. (The cutters are no longer available but you can sometimes find them on eBay.)

Bagel lunch in the Yumbox

Wyatt has newly rediscovered his love of bagels and cream cheese so I’ve been packing them in his lunch quite a bit recently. This lunch is a great example of the way I’ve been packing them. He doesn’t usually eat a whole big bagel, so I generally cut them in half, or I get the mini kind. Typically they are filled with cream cheese, but sometimes I give him jam or sunbutter or both. The sides in this lunch were carrots, a mandarin orange, kiwi chunks and some Chex Sweet and Salty mix (we received a bag of the Chex Mix as a free sample and it was delicious). This was packed in our Yumbox Panino. I used the same silicone cups to keep the carrots and orange from flying all over.

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Cute Stuff I Bought at Daiso

April 16, 2015

Last week I stopped by one of my favorite stores in the world: Daiso Japan. Daiso is a Japanese “100 Yen” store where nearly everything costs $1.50. It is jam-packed with lots of cute and practical Japanese items and when I go into one it takes just about all of my will power to stop […]

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My Week in Photos

March 20, 2015

For many years, I posted a weekly round-up of photos from our week on Wendolonia. As the bento and lunch stuff picked up, the daily life stuff fell by the wayside and honestly I’ve begun to miss it a little. A lot of these photos have moved over to social media. I post to my […]

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Quick Lunch Box Recipe: Taco Mac and Cheese (Gluten Free!)

March 16, 2015

Send your child to school with a hot, tasty lunch by throwing together this quick recipe for Taco Mac & Cheese in the morning.

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Lunch Box Staple: A Dozen Ways to Pack Ham

March 13, 2015

This is the first installment in an occasional series showing different ways to pack lunch box staples in kids’ lunches. Do your kids love ham? Mine do! I buy ham for their lunches two or three times a month and it shows up in their lunch boxes almost every week. It’s a tasty and versatile […]

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