summer activity | fun with food

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, Balance, Food & Fitness29 Comments

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!

As I said at the beginning of this post, if you’re interested in trying Blue Apron, the first 50 readers to sign up with from THIS LINK will get $50 off their first two weeks of meals.

Just in time for summer.

summer activity | fun with food

Related Posts

florence | the 163-year-old pen & paper shop

kittens & crochet

creative frontier

October 2019 Favorites

29 Comments on “summer activity | fun with food”

    1. It’s a tea towel from Target. I think they had placemats and tablecloths in that pattern, too, though.

  1. I don’t know much about diabetes but I’m guessing the ‘crust’ was the issue? My niece made and served ‘cauliflower crust’ pizza as an appetizer at a family event last year – and it was amazing! The texture was surprisingly convincing as ‘crust’ … then of course you can add whatever topping you choose! Maybe Calvin can enjoy pizza with the family after all?

    1. He could’ve eaten the pizza, but his blood sugar was high, so he just needed to wait until insulin brought him down. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does sometimes. He’s such a trooper with it!

  2. My boys have always wanted to help cook from the time they were little. I’d sit them on the counter & let them stir things. They are both really good cooks. Although very different. One lives on a farm & does a LOT of outdoor cooking…both grill & campfire. One is my city mouse & is always checking for different recipes & exotic cuisine. (Both really like cheeseburgers, ketchup only & bacon though!)

    Start them young while it’s fun for them.

  3. I believe that same Blue Apron steak, zucchini and mashed potato meal is on the menu tonight at my house. We started using Blue Apron because my hubby does all of the cooking. He doesn’t mind the actual cooking part of the process, but really doesn’t care for the planning/shopping portion of the task. It’s also a great way to try new things that we wouldn’t otherwise eat. I have to admit, I never thought we’d be good candidates for a service like Blue Apron, but we’ve been using it for about a month now and we love it.

  4. We have Blue Apron at my local Publix store in South Carolina! They fix part recipe of the day and have the ingredients all together for quick shopping. If you luck into being there when the recipe is ready you can sample it!

  5. I love blue apron and Marian’s dad actually made one of the recipes a few weeks ago when I was swamped 🙂

  6. When my boys were about your boys age, we started letting them pick out a recipe every week to try. Then we would shop for the ingredients and they would make it. (one at a time, [with a parent helping until they learned to read recipes] so it ended up being twice a week). Soon they moved onto not just the main dish but the entire meal, dessert and all. Now they are both daddies and do a good share of the cooking at their own home. So proud of them both. They both married girls who were not experienced with cooking, so it was so fortunate there was someone who knew their way around the kitchen. They both love to cook and are now letting their kids help in the kitchen. So many people don’t because it makes a bigger mess and takes more time. But since most schools have dropped their “basic life skills” or “Home Ec” classes due to budget cuts, it’s more important than ever that they learn the skills at home. I think it also helps them be more aware of what they are eating and how much more economical it is to cook at home vs. eating out. Even when they were in college they did most of their own cooking because of limited budget. Keep up the learning experience!

    1. What a wonderful testimony to you as a mom. 🙂 I love hearing that about your boys, now men. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hmmm…it’s there. You can click any of the “Blue Apron” linked text or the text that says “THIS LINK”. Here’s the link, anyway, just to make it easy!

  7. I know everything about type I diabetes, as my 14 yr. old grandson has it, does Calvin have the pump?

    1. Yes, he’s on a pump. We had just changed it and he can get high towards the end of the life of a pod, so he was running too high to eat that many carbs. We gave him a correction and he came down and ate dinner a little later.

  8. Our local grocery store is doing meal kits now, from $15-20 for a 2 person complete meal. I like that it is assembled close to home and a little less waste. Anyhow, it’s a neat concept for busy folks or those cooking for one or two. And lots cheaper than going out to eat.

  9. Ooops. You left out the link and you missed inserting the “Blue Apron” name in the 2nd and 4th paragraphs under the last picture. Ha! You must be as busy painting as I was today!

  10. There are no links in the post I’m reading! I only know from just now reading the comments that you were partnering with Blue Apron!

  11. Blue Apron is great! We currently use Hello Fresh and Home Chef. I will say side portions seem to be more on these plans. My son and his girlfriend moved to Brooklyn, NY from South Carolina and had a ways to walk to the grocery store. I told them I would pay for a year’s worth of meals from one of the above since they are young and just getting started. Then I decided now that my husband and I are empty nesters these plans would be great for us! I would never consider not doing one of these plans! I have tried new things and it kind of makes me feel like a chef! We just look at both plans each week and decide which meals we like the best for the week and alternate plans based on that.

  12. We had this pizza too – it was so good!! Blue Apron has been a lifesaver for us during baseball season.

  13. My son is also on the omnipod. Does he use the Dexcom with it? It’s awesome! He’s had diabetes since 2, he’s now 21 and very healthy. I remember many meals my son had to eat carb free or wait. It’s hard to see that but I think it bothers us moms more than the kids sometimes. 🙂

  14. Beautiful photos! PS: Looks like your disclosure statement is missing the sponsor name. 🙂

  15. Marian, my husband and I just had our first two Blue Apron meals, and we are hooked. The ingredients were so fresh (and colorful). Not only was it so much fun to cook together but one was the best meal I’ve literally ever eaten. Can’t wait to get this Friday’s delivery and have fun cooking again this weekend. Now I’ve been given the opportunity to share one meal with each of three friends, and I know they’re going to love it, too. Thanks so much for partnering with Blue Apron to introduce us to this great company.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *