(BPT) - Crisp air, changing leaves and cozy knit sweaters signify the return of autumn. Fall can be a busy time for most families, juggling back-to-school routines, carpools, homework, after school events and sports practice. Now is a great time to slow down, bring the whole family together and enjoy all of the exciting activities fall has to offer.
Here are a few fun ways to spend quality time with your family and relish in fall to the fullest:
1. Visit an apple orchard.
This is a great way to make the most of the beautiful fall weather and do something active with the family. Use apples to make apple sauce, a tasty tart or just slice them up for a great on-the-go snack. Try unique apple varieties you've never tried - they all taste a bit different! Pack a picnic for the orchard and include Marzetti Caramel Dip Snack Packs to dip the apples you pick. The dips are an easy and fun way to treat your family to the flavors of fall. And with varieties like Old Fashioned and Fat Free, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
2. Go for a nature walk.
With the vibrant, colorful leaves and the cool, crisp air, autumn is a great time to get your family outdoors and learn more about nature in a local nature preserve or state park. Pick up a few fall mementos along the way to integrate into crafts. For example, bring home some colorful leaves and decoupage them onto the outside of a mason jar to create a seasonal fall candle holder, or create a lively fall-inspired canvas incorporating several different leaf shapes and colors.
3. Gear up for Halloween.
Host a Halloween themed get-together by incorporating fun foods the kids can help prepare and will love to eat! Use a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter to create cut-out cookies and involve the kids in decorating - with everything from sprinkles to frosting. Or, for a quick and easy themed treat, try making marshmallow lollipops drizzled with chocolate or caramel dip, then use chopped nuts or candy bits to make ghoulish faces.-
4. Visit a local farmers market.
Fall offers a whole new repertoire of amazing fresh fruits and vegetables. Encourage your kids to try new items like figs, acorn squash or cauliflower. If they find samples that they enjoy, purchase a few and find a way to incorporate them into your next meal. You can also buy items such as tomatoes and pickle peppers in bulk, and then can at the end of season to store for the long winter ahead.
5. Have a bonfire.
As the weather cools down, bonfires are a great way to stay warm at night and make lasting family memories. Gather everyone together and reconnect by huddling around the fire in cozy blankets. Pour mugs of warm apple cider and munch on Nutty Caramel Popcorn while swapping ghost stories over the glow of the fire.
Nutty Caramel Popcorn
1/2 cup Marzetti Old Fashioned Caramel Dip
2 tablespoons butter
8 cups popped microwave plain popcorn
1/2 cup peanuts
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set it aside. Melt butter in small saucepan. Stir in dip; simmer over low heat five minutes, stirring frequently. You can even substitute other Marzetti dip flavors, like Peanut Butter Caramel or Sweet and Salty Caramel, for a tasty twist. Pour mixture over popcorn and peanuts in prepared dish. Stir until evenly coated. Bake 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely in dish on wire rack, about 45 minutes.
For more family-friendly fall food inspiration and to find information about other tasty recipes, visit Marzetti Kitchens.