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Fun for (F)All

October 1, 2016
Amanda Bohlen , MOV Parent

Autumn is officially upon us. We are surrounded by the fresh-crisp air and warm colored leaves. The fall is by far my favorite season. It's not too hot or cold, it's the perfect weather for hoodies and bonfires. There are lots of fun activities to do in the fall and I've put together a list of things you can do either inside or out. Some of the ideas below are nostalgic and will take you back to your childhood. Others of them you may already do or maybe haven't thought of doing. Find something that's going to get everyone involved and create lots of laughter. I've been told that laughter is the best form of medicine.

Jump in the leaves

Visit a local orchard and pick apples

Visit a corn maze

Carve a pumpkin

Have a sack race

Camp inside or out

Make a fort in your living room

Mix up some fall themed foods

Read a book

Take a fall foliage tour and look at the leaves

Bob for apples

Bake with fall flavors like apple, pear and pumpkin

Craft time with leaves, pinecones or scarecrows

Have a family night where you watch a movie or play some games

Cook up a big pot of soup

Have a scavenger hunt

Tell stories by the campfire

Everyone is different, so some of my ideas of fun might not be the same as yours. You have to find what works best for you.

Baking is my therapy. Some of you might cringe at the thought of cleaning up all those dishes after baking and start feeling very anxious and overwhelmed. Avoid those activities that create more problems for you then they are worth. Have fun and enjoy the fall weather. As always my column wouldn't be complete without a recipe. I'm going to give you two this month! One stays true to my love of baking while the other is an easy dip.

Below is a great recipe from What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl. This is a great base recipe. Experiment with other flavors like pumpkin puree in place of applesauce, pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon and mini chocolate chips in place of the apple.

Apple Oatmeal Muffins

1/2 cup milk, non-fat

1/3 cup applesauce

1/2 cup flour, all-purpose

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats (uncooked)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 apple (tart, cored and chopped)

Preheat oven to 400. Place 6 cupcake holders in baking tin.In a mixing bowl, add milk and applesauce. Stir until blended. Stir in flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix until moistened (do not over mix.) Gently stir in the chopped apples. Spoon into cupcake holders. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes before serving. Store unused portions in an airtight container. Makes 6 muffins.

One of my family's favorite fall recipes is Apple Brickle Dip from Taste of Home. A previous student of mine shared this and my family has loved it ever since. It's a great dip to take to fall parties. I only use 1/2 a bag of brickle chips per recipe. My husband prefers this with the brickle chips while I prefer it with the toffee bits. Let me know what you think!

Apple Brickle Dip Recipe

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 package almond brickle chips (7 1/2 ounces) or English toffee bits (10 ounces)

3 medium tart apples, cut into chunks

In a bowl, beat cream cheese, sugars and vanilla. Fold in brickle chips. Serve with apples. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Amanda Bohlen is the new family and consumer science educator for The Ohio State University Extension in Washington County. She received her bachelor's in family and consumer science education from Ohio University and her master's in curriculum and instruction from Ohio Valley University. For the last seven years she has been in the classroom teaching high school students' financial education, child development, nutrition and culinary skills.



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