Saturday, October 22, 2011

After School Snacks

My husband and I have extremely different views when it comes to snacks for our kids. He was raised on Little Debbie, Hostess Cupcakes and Donettes. They never hurt him, so he doesn't see the harm. Anytime we go shopping together, it never fails. He picks up the box of Swiss Rolls, I huff and roll my eyes and assert the fact that I never buy those. He shrugs and puts them in the cart. Later that day when I see him eating said "trash", I assert that he is not eating real food. The ingredients list on the box reads like a chemistry experiment. There are few recognizable things near the top and then a laundry list of chemicals. On top of the preservatives and ingredients that seem to have very little purpose that I can surmise, are the artificial colors and flavors. They have to insert more chemicals to trick people into thinking that the thing are eating is food. But enough on my rant. They taste good to him and it would be depriving our children to not provide one of the basic staples of American Childhood. Ugh. He buys the junk food, I provide the more wholesome snacks, and after the first day when the snack-cakes and prepackaged cookies are all gone, they switch to mom's standbys. Which, incidentally, cost a fraction of the price and last the whole week.  One of the pulls of prepackaged snacks being availability, portability and personalization, I am big on making snacks that have the same. For these apple pies, you can wrap them individually in waxed paper and freeze them. They microwave to piping hot in about two and a half minutes in my nuker, and the kids can have steaming hot apple pies whenever they want them.

Filling:       6 apples, pealed and cubed (I prefer red)
                1/2 cup flour
                1/2 cup granulated sugar
                1/2 cup brown sugar
                1 tbsp cinnamon

Mix the flour, sugars and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl, toss in the apple cubes and stir to coat.

Pie Crust: 3 1/2 cups of flour
                1 tsp salt
                1 cup of vegetable shortening or lard
                Some water

          I rarely measure, so these are approximate measurements. Mix the flour and the salt, then fork in the lard or cut it in with a pastry cutter or two butter knives. Just break down the chunks of shortening to pea sized bits. Then slowly add the water. Some people use a fork for mixing, I just get in there with my hands and stop adding water when the mixture sticks slightly to my fingers but pulls off easily. Flour the counter and roll out half of your dough. Divide it up into twelve squares and line each muffin cup. Use a fork or knife to pierce the bottom of each pie crust. Fill it up with filling, making sure you round it up nicely, then roll out the second half of pie crust.

Again, cut it into twelve squares, top each pie. Make sure you do not have a "muffin top" hanging over the side of your little pies. Use your fingers to gently push the sides of the pies into each cup. Otherwise, it will be difficult to get them out without breaking off the tops. Take a fork and prick the tops of each pie. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how brown you want your crust. They're not pretty, but they're not for company either. Just something to throw together on a weekday afternoon.

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