This post is part of the YummyMummyClub.ca and Maple Lodge Farms #FamilyFirst sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.
Maybe it’s the June doldrums after months of school lunches and shuttling from soccer practice to skiing with grumpy, tired kids who seem less than appreciative. Maybe I’m in a rut trying to feed the boys creative, healthy foods with constant resistance. Or maybe parenting it just hard. I think that is probably it.
Telling someone not to touch a hot stove invariably ends up in them wondering how hot it actually is. One parenting photography trick has always been to tell the kids not to smile, invariably resulting in the best happy photographs on the wall! Somehow nutrition seems to meld into the same category. The excellent series of books by Amy Krouse Rosenthal about Little Pea, and how he only wanted candy but was not allowed until his vegetables were done never went over very well with my little one. He would eat candy 100% of the time and has a tiny appetite, so it’s important that most of what passes his lips provides nutrition.
Many of you know that I live on a little island in the Pacific Northwest. While stilettos are very ‘me’, so is composting, canning and growing herbs and vegetables. Nutrition and knowing exactly where our family’s food comes from is very important to me, which I suppose is why I get deflated and frustrated when the kids would rather devour a sugary cinnamon bun than my homemade pesto, or run to the candy aisle every time we are at the post office. My saying ‘no’ invariably ends in a fight, frustrating everyone involved. There must be a better way.
The family had a chance to participate in an event with Maple Lodge Farms. Mimicking their corporate philosophy that has been espoused throughout the four generations of family ownership, the event was about putting family first. While I have the best intentions for my family’s nutrition, my rushed lunchbox creations just aren’t interesting and the kids aren’t enough involved in the process. Further, when we fight about how much they eat or their nutrition choices, my goal of putting my family’s nutrition first backfires when both parties end up frustrated. We were excited to work as a team to change the game.
Charged with creating a ‘Family Sandwich’ we worked as a team to develop something meaningful, nutritious and fun for the family. On the day of the event, however, one family member was missing, so our older son represented his Daddy by creating a special sandwich filled with all of his favourites. We crafted two specialties and I proudly present: The Pokeball Sandwich and Daddy’s Delight!
The Pokeball Sandwich
The trick to this sandwich are the layers produced by cookie cutters. My youngest chose this to represent the family because (and I quote) “A pokeball lets trainers catch Pokémon and store them inside the balls. They can then travel over long trips without their power decreasing.” Now we all know. Dare you to open your next dinner conversation with this knowledge.
Step 1: Use a round cookie cutter to create circles with four slices of bread, two slices of cheese 2 pieces of lettuce, a tomato, and 4 slices each of Maple Lodge Farms Roasted Chicken and Chicken Bacon. Eat all of the excess.
Step 2: Spread mayo on one round of bread. This will form the bottom layer.
Step 3: Create a tower. We did the following – bread, mayo, chicken, mayo, bread, cheese, gummi worms (you can leave these out. It was a ‘family compromise’), mayo, bread, mayo, chicken bacon, cheese, lettuce, bread.
Step 4: Spread cream cheese over the top layer of your sandwich.
Step 5: Thinly slice strawberries so that one half of the ‘ball’ is covered with red.
Step 6: Add a round gummy candy to the centre.
Step 7: Spread multi-colour gummies around the plate to represent all Pokémon types: Water, Grass, Dragon, Fire, etc.
In the absence of Daddy, my older son decided to craft a special creation to take home. We spend hours watching Triple D, Bobbly Flay, and You Gotta Eat Here on the Food Network, and to my delight a few lessons have stuck (maybe not so much knife skills…). The star of this sandwich was the Maple Lodge Farms Jalapeno Chicken Breast (link). Daddy likes it spicy.
Step 1: Slice a ciabatta or other hearty bun lengthwise and lightly butter both sides. Daddy is very health conscious.
Step 2: Layer as many of the following as possible before the tower collapses: Hot mustard, lettuce, Maple Lodge Farms Jalapeno Chicken Breast, Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, Maple Lodge Farms Chicken Bacon. Ok maybe he’s not that health conscious. Avoid tomatoes at all costs.
Step 3: Garnish with olives on fancy skewers to hold it all together.
Armed with our two sandwiches, we presented each and came away with more than a prize – we bonded in the kitchen, and the boys ‘played’ while creating nutritious lunches that had a story. As a writer who creates stories every day and knows the value of educating through entertainment, it’s embarrassing that I didn’t think of that. In future, we’ll watch a few more food shows, and I am officially off the hook for making the school lunches. I may need a kitchen reno, though so the counters are at an appropriate height…
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