Civil War Camp and the Best Apple Crisp in the World

Back when I was a 5th grade teacher, my students and I participated in a Civil War Living History Program on Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay. For 24 hours, we lived the life of Civil War soldiers - we dressed in uniform, hiked to camp carrying all our supplies, and cooked our meals on an authentic wood stove. We used semaphore to send messages, compasses for orienteering, cleaned and fired muskets, and shot an actual Civil War cannon. The program is absolutely amazing and without a doubt one of the coolest things I've done in my life. (Here are more of the coolest things I did as a teacher. It's one of my favorite blog posts of all time.)

Check out the bottom left picture. That's me with my back to the camera and my soldiers (students) at attention. If you look carefully, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. If this camp weren't cool enough already, try waking up to that view. Amazing.

Here are some of my kids with their muskets. I love the bottom picture where you can see just how large Civil War-era muskets were.... taller than many of the kids!

The kids did all the food prep, including tending the wood fire.  

We hiked a minimum of 10 miles in 24 hours, much of it uphill and much of it carrying gear. When mealtime came, the kids were STARVING.  

They absolutely stuffed themselves with the delicious beef stew and bread they had spent the day making. And when it seemed like no one could eat another bite, out came the apple crisp they'd made. It smelled amazing and tasted even better. Over and over I heard, "This is the best apple crisp in the world!" So true.  

I hadn't had The Best Apple Crisp in the World for over six years. Steve and Trevor had never had it. So when my mom gave me 15 pounds of apples from their tree, the first thing I did was go to the file cabinet and dig out the recipe from Civil War Camp. The only problem... the recipe made 44 generous servings!

I decided that 44 servings of apple crisp would probably not be the correct amount for our family of 3. But 11 servings was reasonable. As I was dividing amounts like 2 1/4 cups by 4, it made me smile.  ll those 5th graders over the years who asked when we'd ever divide fractions in real life? Well, here you go!

Once I did the math and rounded quantities to reasonable amounts, Trevor and I got to work. 

Here it is, The Best Apple Crisp in the World!


Apple Crisp

                                              3 lbs. apples                                            1 c. flour
                                              juice from one lemon                            1 c. oats
                                              2 T. cinnamon                                         1/2 c. butter, softened
                                              1 c. brown sugar

Peel and slice apples. Pour the juice from one lemon over the top of the apples and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon over apples and toss again. Place in ungreased baking pan. Combine brown sugar, flour and oats. Stir in softened butter and mix until thoroughly combined. Spread topping evenly over apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until apples are soft and topping is crisp and golden.

I may not ever actually go back to Civil War Camp, but this apple crisp brings back so many wonderful memories.


  1. Those pages about the civil war camp are awesome and that apple crisp looks amazing!! Gonna have to pin that!!

    Ohhhhhhh and I forgot to email you back ... I made the Brookie surgery page for a pub call :) I didn't get chosen -- she is supposed to have 5 more surgeries though .... even though I am not sure insurance will approve it :)

  2. Hmmmmm....yummy! :)
    Love your pages about the camp. The kids looked like they had fun! :)

  3. Cindy! You are an amazing woman!!!! I love that you shared your civil war camp experiences with us through your scrapbooking!!!! And can you please figure out how to e-mail me some apple crisp???

  4. What a cool adventure for your 5th Graders! And I love your comment about actually having to use dividing fractions in real life. It made me chuckle! Just the other night I told my daughter, who is currently learning how to divide fractions, "I don't know why they teach you this stuff, you'll never need it in real life!" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!

  5. The Civil War Living History program sounds amazing. I love learning about the Civil War and have visited many battlefields. Each one is a revelation. Gettysburg National Park is my favorite. I've been three times. You can't go and not admire the men who fought. You have great photos of your trip and documented it so well. What a wonderful experience.

    The apple crisp looks heavenly. Must try!


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