looking to have more fun with food and encourage your kids to try new things? yeah, me too. that’s why I created the food+fun challenge. each week, we plan out a week of fun themes and play with our food. if you want to read about how this got started or find a list of 35+ kid-friendly themes, you can find that here in the initial post.
week one was such a hit that everyone agreed we should continue with our food+fun challenge. everything felt easier this time around, especially since the kids were 100% on board and excited about the possibilities. to my utter delight, the kids both requested that we do a secret ingredient challenge every week; they loved the guessing game that ensued and i love trying to trick them and/or sneak random and unexpected ingredients into our meals. clearly a win-win on that one!
some highlights from the week included finding and enjoying lots of mini foods, a pie tasting party for pi(e) day, and going bowling in honor of bowl day.
these are the themes we chose for our second food+fun challenge menu:
M: chicken noodle soup
T: use it up day + pi(e) day
W: secret ingredient day
Th: crunchy day
F: green day
Sa: mini food day
Su: bowl day
see below for the delicious details of what each day entailed and also for the recipe links so that you can get in on the fun.
national chicken noodle soup day!
monday just so happened to be national chicken noodle soup day, so it seemed like a slam dunk to make a batch of chicken noodle soup in its honor. the kids kind of groaned at this one because they aren’t the biggest fans of soup (who doesn’t like soup?!) but they gave it a try and deemed it to be okay. the hubs and i deemed it to be better than okay (a LOT better) and thoroughly enjoyed our dinner.
we even decided that the organic fusilli corti bucati pasta noodles from trader joe’s were hands down the best noodles for chicken noodle soup ever.
- easy chicken soup from salt and lavendar
use it up day + pi(e) day
use it up day is a fancified (and way more fun) way than saying we’re having leftovers for dinner. but that’s truly what it is. we raided the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry and found something for everyone to enjoy! the kids always love this day because they get to raid the pantry or freezer for their favorites. and all in the name of creating space in the refrigerator and freezer to make room for more yumminess.
the books (affiliate links):
- mae among the stars by roda ahmed and illustrated by stasia burrington
- look up with me, neil degrasse tyson: a life among the stars by jennifer berne and illustrated by lorraine nam
- code breaker, spy hunter: how elizabeth friedman changed the course of two world wars by laurie wallmark and art by brooke smart
- star stuff: carl sagan and the mysteries of the cosmos by stephanie roth sisson
secret ingredient day!
for week two’s secret ingredient day, I got a little carried away. i made some green smoothie muffins, vanilla zucchini muffins (and used the leftover zucchini for some zucchini and corn fritters), and the most delightful peach chicken that wasn’t necessarily a secret but no one could figure out that it was peaches. 😂
we all deemed the muffins to be gross (both were oat flour based and had a really odd texture). oh well, lesson learned. oat flour muffins are not a favorite. the chicken, on the other hand, was a true stand out. the hubs and i basically licked out plate clean and i got to enjoy the leftovers for another day.
- chicken with peaches from julia’s album (i ended up using canned peaches instead of fresh, and swapped in fresh basil for the thyme since that’s what i had on hand)
crunchy day was another crowd favorite because it involved things like potato chips, corn chips, carrots, and anything else that packed a serious crunch. it also called for hard tacos because boy do they every crunch. the best part about the day for me was the marinade for the chicken. it was absolutely delicious. the hard shell tacos were less delicious (we are more of a soft taco kind of family, so i’m sure we will try this one again with a different wrapper…)
of course, we also had to try the viral fruit roll-up and ice cream hack (a scoop of ice cream on a fruit roll-up) that’s been going around instagram. we all had a LOT of fun with that one and highly recommend for a fun treat/surprise to shake things up. you can see what i’m talking about in the last slide of the post linked above.
all in all, i feel like we only scratched the surface on crunchy day and look forward to revisiting this one again soon.
- grilled chicken street tacos from modern meal makeover
green day (in honor of st. paddy’s day)
we decided to do another food by color challenge since the friday we did this was st. patrick’s day.
our day started off with a rousing playlist of green day songs and green smoothies. the kids usually love those, but realized they wouldn’t have their usual bagels in the morning and got a little grumpy 🙃. i packed the big kid a few of the green smoothie muffins from secret ingredient day along with her usual lunch and i enjoyed a big green salad for lunch. dinner was orzo with pesto and peas and was delightfully green. to their credit, the kids both tried it and semi-liked it, which is a huge step forward and what i am going to call a win.
- orzo with pasta and peas can be found on page 133 of the recipe archives ebook
mini day might be my favorite day ever. we had a blast with this one and really loved finding mini foods to enjoy. turns out there are a ton of things to choose from and we enjoyed some mini cinnamon toast waffles, mini fruit salad / kebobs (on toothpicks!), mini bagels, mini glasses of fresh squeezed orange juice, mini pretzel dogs, mini hamburgers (aka sliders), mini gnocchi, and mini donuts. the kids were even excited about grocery shopping, which NEVER happens, and were on the look-out for any and all things mini.
highly recommend this day if you’re looking to shake things up.
bowl day is exactly what it sounds like: eating everything in a bowl for the day. it can be things that are traditionally served in a bowl like cereal, soup, salad, or pasta. or it could be a sandwich plopped into a bowl. in other words, if it’s served in a bowl, it counts. we also took this one quite literally and took the kids BOWLing for a fun surprise.
it was also national oatmeal cookie day, so of course those were also served in a bowl.
breakfast: egg and sweet potato hash for the grown ups and eggs and toast in a bowl for the kids
lunch: salad for mama and a sandwich and mac & cheese for the kiddos
treat: oatmeal cookies
dinner: out for italian (so mine definitely came in a bowl!) and then went bowling
another fun week with food! we are absolutely loving the food+fun challenge and have loved picking new themes and exploring new foods each week. our favorite days this go around were mini food day and bowl day (obviously). our least favorite of week two was the meals from secret ingredient day but we still love the theme.
want to follow along with the food+fun challenge in real time? make sure to follow me over on instagram at @emilylevenson. and if you decide to create your own food+fun challenge, please tag me!! i want to cheer you on.