Things To Do While The Kids Are Home

Getting ready to put a foil-wrapped banana on the coals.

Getting ready to put a foil-wrapped banana on the coals.

I am blessed to live in a rural area.  With young kids this can, sometimes, be a challenge though because many of the things kids want to do are a good distance away.  On the other hand, we are able to do things that city dwellers don’t have easy access to.  One of the favorite activities this time of year are bonfires.  Yes, this can be a little hard in the city, but with the advent of the Chiminea it is not impossible.

One of the old stand-by’s for bonfires is S’mores, which are roasted marshmallows and a piece of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker for those unfamiliar.  Variations include using Reese’s cups instead of chocolate bars or Oreo cookies instead of grahams.

Another, perhaps less well known fireside treat is roasted bananas or apples.  If using bananas, leave them in the skin but slice them lengthwise.  Don’t cut all the way through, leave the skin to act as a “banana boat” to hold the goodies.  If using apples, pears or other similar fruit, cut the core out but don’t go all the way through on these either.  Next take your favorite fillings and stuff them inside the cavity.  For bananas you can use chocolate, peanut butter, marshmallows, jellies, nuts, caramels, etc.  For the apples I like brown sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup, peanut butter, walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries…you get the idea.  Let your imagination run wild!  After you stuff these fruits to the point they are no longer resembling health food, wrap them in foil and stick them in the embers.  You may need to turn them a few times to cook them evenly.  While you wait, roast a few dogs or marshmallows.  When they are soft and steamy pull them out and open the foil enough to allow cooling.  This is the hard part.  DON’T burn your tongue!  They will be VERY hot!  Once they cool, dig in and enjoy!  You can, of course, bake these treats in your oven, but you will miss the ambiance of the fire.

At our last bonfire we asked each other where the term came from.  Can you guess?  We couldn’t so we Googled it…most sites refer to the origin as being “bone fire” where animal bones were burned to get rid of the waste.  Now you know.  Perhaps this bit of trivia will further enhance your youngster’s enjoyment of your next bonfire!  In any event, be safe, have fun and make sure not to leave any hot embers unattended.  Please share with us what sort of things your family likes to do together!