Something wasn’t right. I was craving something. I was missing something. At one time in my life, there was an absence of it. Why? Time. Lack of patience. Lack of energy. Lack of the ability to say no. How did I know it wasn’t there? I was crabby and cranky. Others in my house were crabby and cranky. There had been a lot of rushing. A lot of going. A lot of doing. But not a lot of being. Being together. Being together as a family. To overcome this problem while still being a busy family is easier said than done. But one thing I’ve learned to do is gather in the kitchen. As cooking together as a family builds more than meals, it builds a sense of belonging. It builds a sense of fun. It builds a sense of connection. And there is an easy way to make this all happen – through an at-home cooking club.
While as a family, we can be in all sorts of clubs. But this one doesn’t require any meetings or transportation or volunteering your time. It’s actually really simple since it’s right in your own home (check out my idea for an at-home kitchen counter cooking school in this video). And you get to eat the outcome. What about the why? Well, for starters, there’s virtual badges and prizes if you complete the lessons. But the greater why is the connections you create as a family all while you and your family become a blender bosses, pasta pros, genius graters, measuring masters, rad roasters and whisking wizards.
All courtesy of ChopChop Magazine’s virtual Cooking Club.
First of all – what is ChopChop? It’s a really fun cooking magazine for families with the mission to inspire and teach kids to cook and eat real food with their families. We’ve been subscribers in the past and it always was a burst of fun to open this magazine. It’s full of simple ideas that bring families closer together using that one room in the house everyone always gravitates towards. The kitchen. ChopChop believes that cooking and eating together as a family is vital in resolving the obesity and hunger epidemics. It’s a quarterly magazine available in both Spanish and English offering nutritious, great-tasting, ethnically diverse and inexpensive recipes. Plus there’s always fun facts, games and activities! It’s pretty impressive that ChopChop is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, where it was named publication of the year by the James Beard Foundation, and it two-time winner of the Parent’s Choice Award.
This is what I love about ChopChop – their food philosophy rocks and is real! They believe in the simple values of cooking together as family and sharing healthy, delicious meals. They don’t do calorie counts or post nutrition content, but everything in their publication is reviewed and approved by medical and nutrition advisors. Best ONE: They don’t demonize any individual foods.
So here’s what is super cool – they have developed the ChopChop Cooking Club to get families cooking together. Spending time together in the kitchen. Reconnecting. Re-centering. Creating those recipes to a nourishing life. You don’t even have to come up with the lesson plan. ChopChop will send you recipes to master as a family – for free.
All you have to do is join the club by signing up on their website. And commit yourself – like really commit yourself to cooking dinner together once a month, (that’s it!) for 6 months (6 recipes total).
Each month, ChopChop will choose one good, basic recipe that they think is essential for kids and families to learn. You and your family learn essential cooking skills like grating, measuring, boiling, simmering, blending and of course, chopping! And there’s more complex recipes if you want to advance your skills too. It’s an open invitation to you and your family. Just sign up at www.chopchopcookingclub.com and join for free! Once registered, you will receive your first recipe challenge. Each recipe will include step-by-step instructions, basic cooking skills, fun food facts, family discussion prompts, and shopping tips for key ingredients.
And love this! They will include information about how to turn the recipe into a balanced meal, with the help of MyPlate!
Once you complete the dish – you log in to your profile page where you can post a picture of your completed dish and earn virtual badges for completing the challenge. Badges will celebrate different cooking skills learned in each recipe, such as whisking, simmering, mixing, measuring, and grating.
New challenges will be issued at the start of each month. If your family masters the original recipe and wants an additional challenge, there will be variations and more difficult recipes to test kitchen skills.
Bonus! There will be prizes for members who complete all six challenges! And you receive a certificate of completion of the cooking club.
Isn’t this just the coolest thing ever? While I have subscribed (and paid) for cooking lessons in a box where the recipes are mailed to you – I think this is so much better because a) it’s free, b) it’s about families learning together and c) it’s a super easy way to connect each month as a family!
So, who’s with me?
I would love to know your biggest challenge in finding family time together each week or maybe you cook together already. Either way, leave me a comment and you will be entered to win a one year subscription to ChopChop Magazine and a ($25 value) box of the best cheese on earth – Cabot Cheese.
Disclosure – occasionally, I receive free samples of Cabot Cheese for use in recipes. And I received a free Chop Chop magazine issue for this post. I am partnering with both ChopChop and Cabot for this post. All thoughts are my own.
Comment today – the winner will be chosen October 30 at noon CST!