Slow-cooked cinnamon apples

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Posted: Friday, November 2, 2018 6:00 am

Last week the third-grade teachers at Hillsboro Elementary invited the parents of their students into the classroom for an all-day apple fest.

I love to help out with my kiddo’s school activities, especially when food is involved.

The two teachers, Ben Strand and Cassie Sandberg, put together a slew of educational activities focused around apples.

And my goodness, do those teachers have their hands full – at least from what I witnessed in Mr. Strand’s classroom.

Not that the kids are bad; they’re typical rambunctious 8- and 9-year-olds, with tons of energy and loads of questions.

I’m of the mindset that most teachers qualify for sainthood in the first place, but watching Mr. Strand deftly corral his class – in which the boys greatly outnumber the girls – amazed me. I could barely keep my small group of students from throwing dice at each other’s heads, but one quiet word from Mr. Strand was all it took for them to sit up and behave.

He’s the kid whisperer.

Seriously, my kiddo is thoroughly enjoying third grade, in part because his class is old enough now to appreciate and learn from these types of interactive lessons, but mostly because he adores the heck out of his teacher. (I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Hillsboro Elementary has some truly amazing educators.)

And I appreciate the opportunity to interact with my kid and his classmates. When they were preschoolers, I used to help with the kids during lunch hours and to occasionally read in the classroom. Between that and chaperoning field trips, I’ve gotten to know most of my son’s classmates at one point or another. They’re a smart, inquisitive, sweet and caring bunch, and they’re of the age that when they’re not throwing dice at each other’s heads, they still like to snuggle in and read with a grownup. (That’s my favorite part.)

And they also love them some apples – especially the SweeTango variety (similar to a Honeycrisp), according to the results of the class taste test, followed by the tart, green Granny Smiths. (Braeburn apples, one of my favorites, gets zero love from third-graders, just FYI.)

Any of those varieties of apples will work in this quick and easy make-ahead dish, depending on whether you want the end result to be on the sweeter side or have a bit more of that sour tartness.

This is one of the hubby’s favorite side dishes, especially with BBQ ribs, and we’ve made it dozens of times, usually using Granny Smith apples.

Whichever apples you choose, be sure to buy extras to send to school for your kids’ teachers. They deserve a reward.

For the recipe, see the Banner's online or print edition.

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