Friday, September 7, 2007

An After School Snack

By the time Abigail gets home from school every day she's a starvin' marvin. Lucky for me, she's always been a fan of "healthy snacking." Her favorite snacks are a piece of fruit or a bowl of veggies with dip. This year she has ballet twice a week, so I'm trying to ramp up the nutritional profile of her snacks a bit on those days. For example, instead of veggies with ranch dip, I'm going to try veggies with a bean dip of sorts. Or instead of a cup of yogurt, a yogurt parfait with granola and berries. She needs energy to get through ballet and finish out her day without being exhausted.

Yesterday's snack was an Apple Dip to go with her apples. Sometimes she likes peanut butter with her apples, but she also really likes a caramel apple dip. I still remember discovering this dip as a child. After church on Sunday mornings we always had a fellowship time that included food and snackies. Different people would take turns offering to make something for the after church get-together time. There were some ladies in the church who, when it was their turn to prepare something, everyone managed to make their way back for a little bite of whatever delight made an appearance that day. On one such day we were greeted by a large bowl of brown goo and a mountain of apple slices. It looked like peanut butter, but it wasn't long before everyone realized there was treasure in that there bowl. For weeks after that, there was caramel apple dip and apple slices- and it still remains one of my favorites.

Incredibly easy to put together, it's the first thing I think of when the fresh apples start rolling in each fall. As the Paula Red's are hitting the shelves, it's time for Apple Dip (not to mention the pies, cobblers, cakes, sauces, and other delicious apple confections). I like to make my dip with Neufchatel cheese, and while you could use full fat cream cheese, it really doesn't need it. The added bonus is that the Neufchatel is soft straight out of the fridge and whips up beautifully. For extra flavor, use dark brown sugar, as it deepens the caramel flavor a bit. You could also add a dash of cinnamon if you feel inspired.

Apple Dip

1 8-oz block of Neufchatel Cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup brown sugar

Combine everything in a bowl and mix with a hand mixer on low speed until well-combined. Allow to sit for a few minutes for the sugar to incorporate into the cream cheese. Serve with apple slices or other fruit pieces for dipping.

Keeps covered in the fridge for several days.


Rachel said...

mmm - i, too, remember discovering caramel apple dip. thank God for church ladies! =)

i thought of you last night while watching "Good Eats". alton made lentil cookies, and i thought of how you're always trying to be sneaky with health food for your kids. i thought i'd share...,1977,FOOD_9936_35628,00.html

Erika W. said...

Lentil cookies!?!

Anonymous said...

There are so many good fruit dip recipes out there! I have tried this one and it's great! I love the dip at Jason's deli, and the manager told us that it is just brown sugar, gand marnier and sour cream. Yum!

- Kelly

Erika W. said...

Mmmm. Grand Marnier. May not be the best idea for an after school snack though...but maybe for Mommy. ;-)