Cooking Up Fun After-School Treats

Since all I have to report to you on the knitting front is that I am nearing the end of the collar that I restarted yesterday, I thought today I would share something off the usual knitting & spinning chat and very much on the topics of food & family. I’ve had a lot of friends on social media reaching out for school lunch & after-school snack ideas, so I thought I’d share some things that I’ve been piecing together here at our house over the past couple weeks.

If you are a regular here on knittingsarah.com, you’ll be aware that my kids both started school last week. It’s new for us — both kids being out of the house all day — so I wanted to do something extra nice for them when they got home these first couple weeks. The goal was to make them feel special and soften their transition into school as well as keep me busy & feeling connected to them during the day when they are away. While at the library looking for books on lunch box food ideas, I spotted some kid-friendly cookbooks that looked awesome. I brought them home figuring I’d page through them and get an idea or two. Who would have thought both kids would grab them as soon as they spotted them, pour through them &  fall in love with all the special treat ideas?  Their impulse, of course, was to make them all immediately. Thankfully we live a life of moderation, so the kids understood that we would take our time trying out different recipes. They aren’t all exactly the poster recipes for healthy eating, so we needed to space them out. Most importantly though, this mama had to go shopping!

20130910-153655.jpgWe started with ‘Fairy-Tale Floats’ from A Princess Cookbook by Sarah L. Schuette after the first full day of school — strawberry ice cream & lemon-lime soda. See what I mean? Not exactly the healthiest snacks, but a super fun treat for my active kiddos who enjoy some pretty darn healthy packed lucnhes & dinners! We also tried out ‘Princess Parfaits’ (basically yogurt + granola + fruit) as well as ‘Castle Crunch’ (Lucky Charms + peanuts + cranberries).

20130910-153803.jpg A Dinosaur Cookbook also by Sarah L. Schuette had some top picks, too, including ‘Fossil Tracks’ (crackers + peanut butter + chow mein noodles) & Jurassic Juice (fruit juice + frozen juice cubes with a fruit snack inside) the latter of which has been extra special since it’s been very hot here the last couple days. The biggest hit by far though was the very desserty ‘Lava Flows’ in which you place a marshallow in a mini-graham cracker crust drizzled with chocolate syrup (add a few red sugar sprinkles for added visual effect if you have them) and pop it in the microwave. Voila! Instant edible volcano! This one was a HUGE treat and super exciting for the kids!

20130910-153646.jpgWe’ve also been looking through this neat cookbook — The Do It Myself Kids’ Cookbook by Laurie Goldrich Wolf. I am planning to surprise the kids tomorrow after school with Apple Puzzles (cored & sliced apples ‘glued’ back together with peanut butter). I also really like the ‘Fresh Fruit & Yogurt Cones’ (flat-bottom ice cream cones filled with fresh fruit & drizzled with yogurt). There are some great sandwich ideas in here, too, that I hope to try soon. What’s even better is that most of the recipes in this book are designed so the kids can make them themselves, so I’ll be slating some of these do-it-yourself recipes for dinners over the coming weeks. They’ll like that almost as much as I will!

20130910-153626.jpgLast but not least, I have been browsing Best Lunch Box Ever by Katie Sullivan Morford. Written with school lunches for kids in mind, I found a lot of these recipes of a little more refined palate than my kiddos have. I’m pretty sure I could manage a spin on her ‘Cobb Salad’ though as well as a couple of the cold salads that mine would like. I am definitely planning to try out the ‘Juice Box Applesauce’, fruit salads, ‘Coconut Granola Bark’, & ‘Sour Cherry Oatmeal Bars.’ I’ve heard a lot of people crazy for kale lately, so it’s worth mentioning this book has a recipe for ‘Parmesan Kale Chips’ that looks delish.

We’ve sure had a ton of fun in our kitchen the last couple weeks & it’s bound to get better as time goes on and we add recipes to our repertoire. The kids were quick to point out that the dinosaur & princess cookbooks have other themes in the series: An Astronaut Cookbook, A Ballerina Cookbook, A Football Cookbook, A Superhero Cookbook… and many more. I can’t wait to check them out!

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