Entertaining fake outs

Oct 15, 2014 at 6:05 a.m. ET

No matter what season is upon us, it seems as though the amount of time that we planned to set aside for relaxing and unwinding somehow manages to be cut in half… or worse yet, non-existent.

And, as a new mom myself, I'm especially looking for any way to get a few extra special moments with my daughter. When it comes to family weeknight dinners, appetizers for friends that stop by for a quick visit or weekend snacks for our little ones, a few shortcuts in the kitchen that allow us to spend less time cooking and more time with loved ones go a long way in today's busy lifestyles. Continue reading for some simple entertaining "fake out" foods that pack a major punch of fun, yet require just a couple minutes of prep.

Waffle towers

This stack of sweet treats adds a festive presentation to any brunch, and best of all, requires just a handful of ingredients. Not only does it take less than five minutes to assemble, but it's the perfect way to get the little ones involved in the kitchen.


  1. Cook (storebought in the freezer section) mini round waffles or regular size waffles cut into 1/4-inch pieces according to instructions.
  2. Create a "waffle tower" by stacking fresh-sliced fruit such as raspberries, bananas or strawberries on top of waffles.
  3. Top "tower" with a bit of whipped cream andsyrup or a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Be prepared for guests to go back for seconds (and thirds).

Apple dippers

Apples are the perfect year-round treat and add a festive twist to any table. Try putting this snack out in the middle of the kitchen and watch it disappear in minutes as little ones grab a few slices while passing through the room.

  1. Cut a straight line off top of apple.
  2. Using a tool such as an apple corer, melon baller, knife, etc. core out the center of apple leaving 1/4-inch thick "wall."
  3. Fill apple with a delicious dip (caramel, peanut butter, honey, etc.)
  4. Top filling with apple slice or peanuts as garnish.

Cucumber veggie boat

Put a fun, healthy spin on a traditional veggie tray by creating a "dressing boat" for the dip.


  1. Slice less than 1/4 inch of cucumber (lengthwise) off the side of a cucumber.
  2. Using an apple corer or spoon, carve out inside of the cucumber to create a bowl-shaped form inside.
  3. Fill "bowl" with veggie dip, ranch dressing, hummus or dip of choice for a perfectly healthy and festive snack.
Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration with McCormick and SheKnows.