Giveaway: $250 of MightyNest Kitchen Tools and Tableware
When I was little, one of my favorite things to do with my mom in the kitchen was make “Chicken on the Beach”. It’s just breaded chicken cutlets fried in a pan, but my mother created this whole story to make it more fun for us to do together.
The chicken wasn’t getting dipped in egg, it was going for a swim in the ocean.
The chicken wasn’t getting coated in bread crumbs, it was playing in the sand.
The chicken wasn’t frying in a pan, it was bathing in the sun.
As a kid, the story was an easy way for me to remember all the steps on my own. It was also one of the first times “cooking with mom” wasn’t just standing there and observing— there was real responsibility involved.
When Mighty Nest asked me to take their latest healthy living challenge called “Empowering Your Kids in the Kitchen“, the first thing I thought about was teaching Mazzy to make “Chicken on the Beach”. The theory is if kids are more involved in choosing and cooking their food, they might actually be more interested in their meals and open to experimentation.
We all know I would do anything to have less picky kids.
A few weeks ago I took Mighty Nest’s first challenge to use eco-friendly reusable containers for Mazzy’s school lunch. As a result, I started experimenting with their Bento boxes in hopes they would get Mazzy to try new things. Mazzy continues to like the Bento Boxes and I really like making them. They help me give her a variety of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, which she almost always finishes. (Imagine that!) But, I wouldn’t say her picky eating habits have changed. She still wants turkey sandwiches every day. And she rejects every new food item I introduce.
When I originally decided to take this second challenge, I thought I would be trying to expand Mazzy’s lunch options by using some of the things you guys suggested in my previous post. But Mazzy isn’t quite ready for experimentation at school, especially since it’s only her second week of kindergarten. Maybe I’ll be more open to challenging her choices later in the year.
First up, making “Chicken on the Beach” paired with broccoli and a side of ketchup. Her choices.
Mazzy loved cooking. She loved the story. She loved that I gave her relative autonomy in the kitchen. She made every single piece of chicken with gusto, like she has watched some characiture of a chef on YouTube. Which is entirely possible.
Having her help was a huge success.
When it came to plating, she watched as I put the chicken strips in a fancy Mighty Nest tray with compartments (similar to a Bento Box). The chicken strips looked a little lonely by themselves so Mazzy suggested I put tomatoes between them, which totally did the job.
Did being involved change the way Mazzy ate dinner?
Ummm…. yes and no.
She helped me set the table and we all sat down together which doesn’t usually happen. And we chatted about kindergarten instead of her begging for a treat the entire time. She ate what she usually eats— most of her vegetables and very little protein.
“But you made it? Aren’t you proud????”
“Yes, but I don’t want to eat it.”
Next day, we made “Deconstructed Mini Meatballs”, which means I put those three tray compartments to good use. Pasta in the large section, mini turkey meatballs in the medium section and pasta sauce as a dip in the smallest section.
Mazzy donned her adorable new kid-sized apron from Mighty Nest. I told her fold her arms and lean back, like they do in the opening credits of Top Chef. Mazzy had no idea what that meant, but humored me anyway.
Then she and Harlow had a blast rolling the ground turkey into balls. They did a great job and took it VERY SERIOUSLY.
When they were done, they went into the other room to play while I cooked them. Then I put together the trays with the pasta and sauce and placed them on our new placemats. I even added little toothpicks to the meatballs because I thought that would make dinner more fun.
FYI- Mazzy and Harlow both claim they don’t like tomato sauce, even though they both like pizza. I thought this would be an easy non-committed way to get them to try tomato sauce and obviously, once they tried it, they would realize the error of their ways.
“Wow! We are idiots! Tomato sauce is delicious! It tastes like pizza!!!”
It didn’t go down that way exactly…
Harlow immediately freaked out about the tomato sauce. “No ketchup! No ketchup!”
“That’s not ketchup, Harlow. It’s tomato sauce.”
“No ketchup! NO KETCHUP!!!!!”
Uh-oh, tears were forming. I grabbed the tray and wiped off the “ketchup”.
“Mazzy, you’ll try it, right?”
Well, there goes that. They did eat most of their pasta, broccoli and meatballs, so that’s a win. And the toothpicks were a hit. Harlow was particularly enamored with the meatballs and it’s usually even harder to get her to eat protein than her sister.
The last dish we tried was a stir fried rice, which is a great option if you want to use all the random leftovers from the rest of the week to create something new. We had white rice from Chinese takeout and leftover peas and corn. I had Mazzy toss it all in a bowl and mix in an egg (yay for sneaky protein!).
Then I fried it up and served in a glasslock container that could be easily covered and stored in the fridge if they didn’t finish.
Mazzy wouldn’t touch it unless I picked out the peas, but Harlow went to town. This will be a new go-to for her, for sure.
Lessons Learned from the Mighty Nest Challenge:
1) Mazzy loves cooking with me in the kitchen. It is a really fun activity for us to do together and makes cooking much less of a chore.
2) Mazzy loved the apron, the kid-sized bamboo cooking utensils, our new placemats and the fancy TV trays from Mighty Nest. Harlow loved drinking from the insulated Think mug. “Coffee!!!” she screamed, even though she was drinking water. All the Mighty Nest products helped establish a more kid-centered approach to the kitchen and meal time.
3) Mazzy is still the pickiest eater I know.
4) There is hope for Harlow.
Whether my kids are still picky or not, I am all for taking steps in the right direction and will continue to involve my daughters in the kitchen— helping pick the menu, setting the table, or cooking the meal. If you would like to try the Mighty Nest challenge yourself, take the pledge to “empower your kids in the kitchen” by signing up with the widget below. This will also enter you to win $250 of MightyNest products, geared to make hand-made lunches and dinners more fun. This giveaway is only open to MommyShorts readers.
Additionally, if you identify your local school when you enter, you’ll support them in the Mighty School Challenge, where schools can win up to $10K this fall.
Speaking of winners, congratulations to Katie Leary, who won the last Mighty Nest Challenge! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize.
This post was sponsored by Mighty Nest but all thoughts and opinions are my own.