Monday, February 17, 2014

The Jungle Book Family Dinner to Inspire Your Wild Bunch

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. All opinions and experiences are my own. #JungleFresh #CollectiveBias

As a child I remember how much fun it was to be transported to foreign lands and far off places in a book or movie. Some of those journeys are still as fresh in my mind as the day I traveled there in my imagination.

Right now is an exciting time for me as a parent. My son has started to read. He may never come face to face with a tiger or travel to the moon in real life, but he can through words. To keep up his never ending curiosity I have been buying him the Step into Reading books with his favorite Disney Stories. Last week I introduced him to the characters from The Jungle Book. He must have read Jungle Friends to his sister and brother a dozen times since then.

This was a new story to him. A movie I loved as a child, but hadn't been able to share with him until now.

To reward Owen for all his hard work and reading achievements, I wanted to throw him a special movie night with a The Jungle Book inspired dinner and the classic movie itself. I wanted my kids to feel like they were swinging from the trees in the Jungles of India.

We headed into Walmart because I could do all my fresh fruit and vegetable shopping for our healthy #JungleFresh dinner as well as grab the new Diamond Edition of the movie. Our store even had movie displays sitting next to the bananas in the produce section.

For our little kid-friendly jungle celebration, here was the menu:

Appetizer - Ants on a Log
Main - Honey Glazed Chicken & Sweet Potato Skewers 
Side - Coconut Rice in Banana Leaves
Side - Fresh Fruit Salad

No movie meal would be complete without ants on a log, right? Well, this is our version of the classic snack - bananas with Biscoff spread and dried cranberries.

Remember the lyrics to Bare Necessities? Baloo makes a comment about finding and trying a few fancy ants. Well, here is our version of "fancy ants". My kids love this peanut-free version.

And we had to include a fruit salad. Using a variety of fresh fruit in the product aisle, I make our family favorite Vanilla Yogurt Fruit Salad.

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Vanilla Yogurt Fruit Salad

You Will Need:

  • 1 ripe pineapple
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1/2 c. mandarin orange slices
  • 1/2 c. green grapes, halved
  • 1 red apple, diced
  • 1/4 c. vanilla low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 vanilla bean, seeds removed
  • honey, to taste
Take a whole ripe pineapple and slice off one third of the side to make a pineapple bowl. Cut around leaving at least 1/2" of fruit around the sides of the bowl. Cut and scoop out the fruit. Sqeeze a little lemon juice on the sides, and inside the pineapple bowl to keep it from browning. Cut the removed fruit into bite-sized peices and squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top.

In a medium bowl, combine all the cut fruit. Drizzle and toss with a little more lemon juice. Use sparingly to keep the fruit fresh. Set aside.

Whisk together the yogurt and vanilla beans, sweeten with honey if necessary. Add to the fruit and toss to coat. Spoon the fruit salad into the pineapple bowl for serving.

Then I steamed up coconut rice, my daughter's favorite, and served it wrapped up in banana leaves. It was just for fun, but the rice was delicious regardless. This version is easy, simple and savory.

Coconut Rice

You Will Need:
  • 1/4 c. yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 c. Jasmine Rice
  • 2 c. low-fat coconut milk
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tsp. salt
Saute the diced onion in oil over medium heat until translucent.  

Rinse the rice and drain well. Add  water, coconut oil and salt to a rice cooker and cook as directed by your machine, or simmer as usual. Cook until tender, fluff with a fork and serve. 

Then I made a simple honey glaze to cook and serve with my sweet potato and chicken skewers. Another easy recipe to make, it is fresh and simple enough to even please the kids.

Honey Glazed Chicken & Sweet Potato Skewers

You Will Need:
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. lite soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. mirin
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • salt and pepper
Soak 8 wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

Steam the sweet potato pieces until they are tender, yet still firm. Let them become cool enough to handle.

While waiting, prepare the honey glaze in a small saucepan. Whisk together the honey, soy sauce, mirin and canola oil and bring to a simmer. Let it reduce till it coats the back of a spoon. Reserve half the glaze for serving. Turn off the heat and prepare your skewers.

Preheat your grill to medium. Build your skewers by alternating chicken and sweet potato pieces. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and then brush the skewers with glaze. Oil the grill and then cook the skewers for 4-5 minutes on one side, turn and grill until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Brush with skewers with the remaining glaze and serve.

After our fun meal and then watching a tale of friendship, my kids felt a little closer to each other...if only for a few minutes.

Both of them are part of a new generation experiencing why Disney's The Jungle Book is such a beloved classic. Owen has been singing "Bare Necessities" around the house since our viewing and Audrey has been inspired to dance.

Be sure to check out your local Walmart for the Blu-Ray/Combo Pack Diamond Edition release of Disney's The Jungle Book. Walmart is the only place where you can grab an exclusive offer for a FREE Jungle Book lunch box.

How would you go #JungleFresh with your family?
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