Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. As always, all words and opinions expressed are honest and my own. (Oh,, and the first 50 readers to sign up will get $50 off their first two weeks Blue Apron, so you might want to stick around.)
Our vacations are behind us and now the bulk of the summer is ahead of us. This is the first summer where my sons aren’t going to a day camp (or we’re not moving across the country), so we’re going to need to find lots of things to do to fill the long days. Of course, the usual pastimes are on the list – playing with friends, swimming at the pool, outings to local parks, fishing, and bike rides. But we’re also hoping to sneak in some learning, work, and other enriching activities.
One of those enriching activities we did this weekend was cooking a Blue Apron recipe together.
I have to admit that I don’t tend to involve my family when I’m cooking. Sometimes we’ll bake cookies together, but usually I’m flying solo when preparing meals. I’ve realized I’m not only missing a great opportunity to get some help and spend additional time with my boys, but I’m also missing the opportunity to teach them the basics of how to prepare and cook food. It’s important for them to learn that food doesn’t just magically appear!
A Blue Apron recipe is perfect to work on together, because all of the ingredients are gathered and there are specific directions (with pictures) that are easy to follow.
I selected pizza, since the dough is fun to work with and they can be very hands-on with the toppings and mixing the salad. I chopped and prepped the ingredients and then called them over to help make the pizza.
As soon as they spotted the dough, it became clear to me that we would need to deviate from the recipe and make two pizzas instead of one, so they could both shape a crust.
I tried to show them how to stretch the dough, but they each needed to figure our how to work with the sticky ball all on their own.
It was a good chance to talk about gluten and yeast and how bread rises and what makes it sticky and elastic. We also talked about letting gravity help you stretch the dough. (See…sneaking in a little learning!)
We did eventually end up with two somewhat round, although rustic, crusts. The nice thing is that pizza is very forgiving and it didn’t have to be perfect.
While the shaped dough rested. Marshall tore the kale leaves and helped me mix the salad…
Whenever they asked what to do next, I referred them to the recipe card, so they could read the steps on their own and see what needed to happen in which order.
With the salad mixed and the dough rested, it was time to top the pizzas. Marshall spooned on the sauce…
…and Calvin sprinkled on the cheese. (See Sebastian’s photobomb?)
It ended up being a good thing we made two pizzas, since the boys just wanted cheese on their pizza. So, we had a kid’s pizza and adult pizza.
Calvin (who is type 1 diabetic) had high blood sugar, so he wasn’t able to eat the pizza when it was out of the oven, but Marshall couldn’t wait to eat “his” pizza that he made. Calvin gave his half to his friend who was at our house for a sleepover. The boys said the pizza was delicious. Marshall said it was some of the best ever.
I’m a big fan of good, homemade pizza, so I enjoyed it as well, even with the wonky, rustic crust.
We have another Blue Apron meal of steak, mashed potatoes, and zucchini that we’ll make later this week to have some more fun with food.
I’ve shared about Blue Apron before and the many reasons why I enjoy getting a couple of pre-planned dinners in a box now and then. One of my favorite things is that I don’t have to think about planning dinner. All of the ingredients and the recipes are planned for me, taking some pressure off during busy evenings when school is in session. I also love learning professional cooking techniques and experiencing new flavor combinations. Since I’m the one preparing the food, I can replicate what I learn when preparing other meals.
And now I’ve learned it’s a fun family activity!
Just in time for summer.