Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fall Fun - In the Kitchen

In keeping with our Autumn traditions, there were several "in the kitchen" activities that I wanted to do with the kiddos this year. The first one was making caramel apples. I can remember doing this with my family as a child, and we gave it a try last year, but I didn't care for the caramel we used. This year, I decided to do things a little differently. 

We did this one weeknight in October before the kids went to bed. Can you tell that Brianna was pumped? Haha!

I had purchased two packages of Kraft brand caramels, so we started the process by unwrapping all those little individually wrapped caramel chews.

Then, we added some water to them and melted them in a saucepan on the stove.

Brenson loves to help cook . . . if Brianna does it, he wants to do it, too!

We had five apples that we put skewers in (next time we'll use popsicle sticks . . . I just didn't have any on hand).

Brenson wasn't quite strong enough to get the skewer in the apples, but he sure gave it a try.

Then, we took the apples and dipped them in the caramel.

This worked out great EXCEPT for the fact that I let the caramel get a bit too hot. I'll know better next time!

Daddy was playing with the camera while Brianna and I were dipping apples :-).

You can kind of see in this photo that our skewers weren't holding up too well under the weight of the apples AND caramel . . . that's why we'll use popsicle sticks in the future!

Brenson wanted his turn to help.

My problem with the too-hot caramel was getting worse at this point. Oh well!

Not sure what's going on here . . . cute pic of Brianna though!

Since it was right before bedtime, I didn't let the kids sample the apples that night. However, we did enjoy them the next day after lunch.

Brenson approved!

A few nights later, we decided to carve one of our pumpkins. I don't really like to do the carving part - and the kids are too young - so that's why we only did one.

Daddy cut the top off, and we let Brianna stick her hand in to help clean it out.

She was not impressed. I LOVE her face in this photo!

Brenson was very hesitant to put his hand in that pumpkin.

Brianna tried to encourage him, but he never did really put his hand all the way in. (Excuse the fact that he's not wearing pants . . . oops :-).

So, poor Daddy was left to clean most of it out by himself (because you know I wasn't about to stick my hand in that goop, ha!)

We drew our face on the pumpkin, then began the carving.

Both of the kiddos were eager to help with this part!

While it was Brenson's turn, Brianna put these plastic teeth in her mouth and cracked me up!

I was trying to be silly with Bren, but he thought I was going to touch him with the pumpkin mouth. Ha!

Brianna was more willing to be silly with me (no surprise!)

After Daddy finished our pumpkin-turned-jack-o-lantern, we put a candle in it and took it outside.

We all loved the way it turned out!

I know you can't tell, but they really did like it. Really!

I saw the next idea on Pinterest, and Brianna was a good sport to try it with one of her little pumpkins she had picked out for her room. We thought it was funny!

After carving the pumpkin, we decided to clean and roast the seeds. We did this last year, and enjoyed snacking on the seeds so much! Plus, pumpkin seeds have lots of good nutritional value.

Cleaning the seeds . . .

still cleaning . . .

All clean!

After cleaning the seeds, we poured them on a cookie sheet covered in foil (for easy clean-up).

We smoothed them out (so that no seeds were overlapping),

then sprayed them with olive oil and salted them a bit. We baked them in the oven on 200 degrees for about an hour. We like ours pretty brown.

I didn't take a photo of the finished product, but they were super yummy! We actually cleaned out another pumpkin later in the month just so we could bake the seeds.

We also baked pumpkin muffins this year. Click here for my recipe . . . they are SO good! Next year, I'm hoping to add baking a pumpkin pie to our list of Autumn kitchen traditions!