Make Your Own Fall Fun + Apple Muffins

“It’s no fair!”

We get a lot of that around here. This time, my big girl was disgruntled that the cooking class in the school enrichment program was only for bigger kids.

So we had our own cooking “class.” We invited some friends, and although we ended up with a smaller group than we hoped, we had fun with apples.

The kids peeled, cored, sliced, and grated apples. They measured sugar and spices in between playing with Legos. Then while things cooked, they became ninjas and butterflies. I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen in the regular cooking class.

Up next: Pumpkins

Easy Apple Muffins

2 medium apples
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 egg
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

  1. Grate the apples into a mixing bowl. Pour sugar and spices over apples and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat over to 350.
  3. Mix egg and oil into the apple/sugar/spice mixture.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine.
  5. Fill greased muffin pans and bake for 20–25 minutes. (Makes about 18-20 small muffins and 12 medium size ones.) Alternately pour the batter into a greased 8×8 cake pan and bake for 50–55 minutes.)

    I love fall foods and getting back into baking after a summer of using the oven less. I love cooking with my kids even when it’s messy or looks a lot more like dress up play. I love that they wanted to share this fun with friends.

What do you love?

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Pride and green coriander

Waiting for green coriander—and keeping the pollinators happy

Waiting for green coriander—and keeping the pollinators happy

Tick Tick  Ticktickticktick

A cluster of tiny green seeds rolls through my fingers into a plastic bowl.

“I think everyone really loves my green coriander pesto,” my big girl says as she strips seeds from the plants I’ve pulled. “Well, except for some of the kids. Because they’re picky.”

She’s been anticipating this moment since early spring when I began finding cilantro everywhere. We noticed the plants getting bigger and sending out feather, carrot-top like leaves. We watched bees buzz the tiny white flower clusters. And we found the first tiny green seeds. Now, some of the plants have gone from full flower to full seed.

To everything its season, and this is the season for green coriander.

Two years ago, I cooked with green coriander for the first time, making the green coriander–marinated chicken from Grow, Cook, Eat. Picking green coriander (and later the dried, brown seeds) became a summer afternoon activity with the kids asking if we could pull one more plant to strip. As long as everyone had their own plant and their own bowl, squabbles were minimal.

Last summer my big girl decided we should make pesto with the green coriander. We talked about the things that usually went into pesto and she picked what she wanted to put in. Here’s what she came up with:

K’s Green Coriander Pesto

1/2 cup green coriander (roughly seeds from 3–4 plants)
1 scant cup parsley leaves
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup olive oil
Two good squeezes of lemon juices
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Romano cheese

  1. Run the green coriander, parsley, garlic, and walnuts in a food processor until smooth-ish. (The green coriander will still be a little pebbly, but all the seeds should be somewhat ground up.)
  2. Add the olive oil and lemon and whiz to combine.
  3. Stir in the cheeses.
  4. Taste and add more lemon juice or oil if needed.

This has a crunchier texture than most pesto. We love it on chicken and crackers. We’re less fond of it on pasta. I imagine that the bright green, citrusy flavor would be good with fish or shrimp.


My big girl was so excited to bring green coriander pesto chicken to a pot luck last night. If rosemary is the smell of jealousy, maybe green coriander is the smell of pride.

What are you creating with summer’s bounty these days?

Boredom busters and fairy soup

“I’m bored.”

My five-year-old is usually pretty good at entertaining herself, but today, as happens more and more in the afternoon, she started pouting, “I’m bored.” I threw out ideas, all of which led her to wail and writhe on the floor, saying, “I don’t know what to do. I’m bored.”

I bit back a sarcastic comment about all her toys. I didn’t order to clean the play room. I abandoned temporarily my own plan to get back out in the garden. “We’re going to do a project,” I told her.

“What’s the project?” she asked as I laid out a handful of colored pens and a stack of old  business cards on the porch table.

“We’re going to write down our ideas of things to do when we are bored.” I half expected her to start pouting again, but she jumped right in, “If you’re bored, you can . . . ”

  • Do art
  • Ride your bikeIMG_3084
  • Play with your dog
  • Play with your dolls
  • Watch birds in the sky
  • Set up the box fort
  • Weed the garden
  • Pick food from the garden
  • Play a board game or card game
  • Look at books
  • Do a word search or maze
  • Dust
  • Swing on the swing
  • Blow bubbles
  • Wash the outside toys
  • Play with chalk
  • Hula hoop
  • Give wagon rides
  • Go on a scavenger hunt
  • Make a fairy house
  • Catch bugs
  • Play with Play Doh
  • Look for stuff for fairy houses

When she tired of listing ideas, she seized upon the last one we came up with—look for stuff for fairy houses—grabbed a basket, and went collecting. I weeded the garden and occasionally handed her things to add to her pile. I’m not sure how well our boredom busters will work when the next round of “I’m bored” starts, but making our set of idea cards broke the cycle today.

Inspired perhaps by her fairy house search, she asked to have fairy soup for supper. She described it me, made it, and ate it. I don’t know why it’s called fairy soup, but here it is.

K’s Fairy Soup

Seasoned black beans
“messy” cheese (shredded Mexican blend)
tortilla chips

  1. Spoon black beans into a bowl. Take only as much as you will eat.
  2. Add two child’s handsfuls of shredded cheese. Heat to warm the beans and melt the cheese.
  3. Stir in a spoonful of salsa.
  4. Crumble a few chips over the mixture, again taking only what you know you will eat.
  5. Serve with additional chips for dipping.

boredom busters
How do you deal with
“I’m bored?”