We have been challenged by Aldi together with the Mail Online to try an experiment at home to see if our girls can be excited about eating healthy during Halloween season and to see whether pumpkin carving with my girls would help them to be more open to the thought of eating pumpkin and squash. This is always an issue because Halloween is generally associated with sweets and chocolates! It is inevitable!
We accepted the challenge because we thought it could be interesting to see if we can see any changes in them. Mail Online recently shared an interesting research that shows that letting your kids help in the kitchen and experience food with all senses can be a great way to create a positive atmosphere around healthy food.
We definitely wanted to give this a go and we started our trial with the girls straight away. Halloween is also associated with pumpkin carving, so we started the experiment by getting the girls excited about this activity first and then using the leftovers to cook 3 recipes that included pumpkin. My husband always carves a couple of pumpkins every year and the girls love it but this year we actually wanted them to be properly involved in the process so we asked them to help!
SHOPPING AT ALDI
My girls are aged 8 and 4 years old so they are at the perfect ages to be super excited about this! As we wanted to get them involved since the start we took them to Aldi to choose their pumpkins. This was, of course, a fabulous idea because they were talking all the time about the pumpkins, the designs and what recipes they would be helping to prepare in the kitchen afterwards. I thought we were definitely starting this challenge on the right foot!
Before we left the house, we discussed which recipes we could cook with the pumpkins. So after checking through Aldi’s website for pumpkin recipes, it was a unanimous decision to cook Roasted Pumpkin Soup, Gluten Free Pumpkin Pizza and Pumpkin Fries. So we prepared our shopping list of ingredients so we could prepare the recipes.
As soon as we arrived at Aldi, they chose the best pumpkins they saw. We then went around the aisles of Aldi looking for the various ingredients. They were super excited to get involved finding the ingredients for this! They managed to find everything we need, so after paying we went back home ready to start the next part of our challenge: pumpkin carving! Hurrah!
They were super excited to start carving the pumpkins. They love getting their hands dirty so they both enjoyed every single minute! The happiness on my youngest daughter’s face was priceless, LOL!
We asked both girls to choose their designs, so Bella, my eldest, chose a cat and Sienna, my youngest, chose a witch! We printed the stencils and stuck them with sellotape on the pumpkins. Bella who is older was more involved tracing the outline of her cat onto the pumpkin. Although daddy was supervising. In the case of Sienna, we let her be next to daddy watch this part as we were worried she might cut herself. She enjoyed it anyway! Especially after seeing how her design was coming into place on the pumpkin.
We put some tealights inside the pumpkins, turned off the lights and tested the results! They looked so cool! My girls were so pleased they couldn’t stop smiling, bless them!
After the pumpkin carving, we started the next stage of the challenge which was to begin cooking. We put all the ingredients together and got the girls in the kitchen to get involved. They were really looking forward to this part.
We started preparing the Pumpkin fries. Bella helped by cutting the pumpkin flesh into thin chip shapes. It was a little bit hard so she used some small scissors after daddy cut smaller pieces for her.
Sienna’s job was to pick up the pumpkin slices from the chopping board and soak them inside a bowl with water to help remove the starch. They both loved their jobs! They helped us with tasks that were appropriate for their age and watched on for the bits that were more complicated or needed an adult to do. We left the fries inside the oven and started our next recipe.
We put the ingredients together for the next recipe, Roasted Pumpkin Soup. This recipe needed more involvement and had more ingredients but the girls again helped with each task that they were able to do. They mixed onions, chopped pumpkin and garlic and placed it into a long pyrex bowl and which once ready went into the oven. They were very excited!
After a little while, Bella helped to move the contents from the pyrex into to a saucepan where mixed with the garlic and melted butter it cooked for a little longer. The last part of the process was blending all the cooked ingredients to turn it into a smooth soup. You can see the recipe and the process on Aldi’s website here.
Finally, we began our last recipe, Gluten Free Pumpkin Pizza. I was so curious about this and really looking forward to seeing the results. The preparation was a little involved as the base needed to be prepared first but the girls were very happy to help any way they could. This recipe has quinoa which is an amazing food from Peru, my birth country so I was very pleased to see it as part of the ingredients. It also has mozzarella, pesto, tomatoes and basil.
Once all 3 recipes where ready, it was time to try them with the girls. I was very curious to see their reactions. We tried the soup first. My girls like soup in general but they haven’t tried pumpkin soup before.
It really smelled amazing. You could smell the garlic around the house. So we all tried it and it was for me, the tastiest soup I have ever tried! Wow, I was so impressed! We liked it so much that we had a second bowl each! I was so happy to see my girls enjoying a meal that contained pumpkin!
So the soup was a success, so I was feeling very optimistic about the remaining recipes.
I was so surprised how good this pizza looked. You could smell the pesto. We were really excited to try it. My girls love pizza but none of us have tried pumpkin pizza. I was really apprehensive about this one as I really didn’t know what to expect! The base wasn’t as crispy as I thought it would be but the flavour was amazing! The pesto and mozzarella mixed with the quinoa, pumpkin, tomatoes and basil really made a difference! My husband and I really liked it.
Bella is very fussy with her food and she has always been reluctant to try new dishes. She eats veggies but it is not something that she will request all the time, of course. So I really wanted to see her reaction. Having enjoyed the soup so much, she really wanted to try the pizza. Being involved in the whole process was really good because she was so keen to try every single recipe she helped make.
She tried the pizza but unfortunately, she didn’t like the taste. I don’t know if it was because it didn’t have the consistency of a normal pizza because it didn’t have a crispy base. Also, she is not that keen on pesto so that could have been the issue. To be honest, I am not really sure what the problem was, but the important part is that she really wanted to try it and the best part is that she really wanted to like it. So this for me was a huge improvement. Just to see my girls excited about trying a healthy meal means a lot to us.
Sienna, on the other hand, liked the pizza and ate more than her sister, however, I don’t think she would eat it again though. Sienna loves her food. She has a great appetite, unlike her sister. She is always keen to try new dishes and she would be happy to just eat all day if she could, LOL! So I wasn’t thinking that she wouldn’t like it, so it really surprised me when she actually said at the end that she wouldn’t eat it again.
So it looks like the pizza wasn’t a success for my girls after all. What a shame because my husband and loved it!
Finally, we tried our last recipe: pumpkin fries. Wow, they were so tasty and the girls really liked them! Sienna liked them more than Bella but I was happy to see her trying them. Of course, they are not like proper chips but they reminded me a little bit of sweet potato fries. It is a healthy alternative to chips!
They were very excited because they were very curious about this particular recipe as it was the first one they helped with for the preparation. I am glad that both ate and that they would eat them again in the future.
After trying this challenge, I can say that despite my girls not liking one of the recipes, the whole experience was positive. They were much more open to trying the pumpkin dishes compared to simply offering a new or different veggie, because they were involved in the whole process. They both LOVED the soup and we will be preparing it again more often during the upcoming months. It’s perfect for the cold season. Overall this challenge was a success! We really recommend you to try this at home! Because we were all involved, it really made it a great family activity to do!
I would also like to say that Halloween is a day of treats and I wouldn’t change this custom either. My girls love the idea of doing this and a few sweets on the day won’t hurt anyone. It is, of course, interesting to see if overall you can keep some part of the season healthier than you normally would!
Mail Online published their article yesterday. They featured 3 mummy bloggers including us. If you would like to read the article you can read it HERE.
What do you think of this challenge? Would you try it? Do you think your kids would be keen on trying the pumpkin recipes?
*Disclosure: This is a collaboration with Aldi and Mail Online.
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