“I don't know”
The response from my 5-year-old when I asked him what he did during the day at school was a tad bit lacking in detail.
The response from my 8-year-old when I asked him how his day was just as revealing.
Cue the crickets.
Hello awkward and frustrating. I mean, I AM the mom, so couldn't I get at least a short rundown on how their days went?
My husband didn't have any better luck either. So we just kind of sat around the dinner table, wracking our brains until someone came up with something interesting to talk about. I shared how the dog barked at the guys working on the yard next door, my husband recalled a story about work, and the kids made annoying noises and interrupted us every few minutes.
Dinner at my house. Sound familiar?
We hear that having family dinner around the table, with everyone present, is how families bond and how kids grow up to be upstanding citizens of the world who will never even THINK about committing a crime or doing drugs.
But really, is there much value in it when you struggle to think of something to chat about, and then have the kids rushing through their meals and squirming in their seats until you excuse them?
It sounds kind of detrimental if you ask me. Like a chore.
After weeks of this, I thought to myself “there really has to be a better way”.
I have fondue memories
Then I remembered how much fun we had the last time we went to the fancy fondue restaurant for my birthday. We all gathered around the table, loading up our skewer-things with meats and veggies, and chatted the night away while our food cooked before our very eyes. No one squirmed to get up because their food was still cooking as we ate. Plus it's just plain fun to cook your own food as a kid, and I don't know any kid who doesn't love dipping things in sauces.
I wondered if maybe we could recreate that at home so that we could have FUN during dinner (at like 1/4 of the price)? I wouldn't have to really cook since we'd be doing that at dinner. I'd just have to prep some things and hmm…. then that pesky conversation thing stopped me in my tracks.
Making fondue sounded awesome but on a regular night at home, but we'd still struggle with topics to talk about.
Then, as fate would have it, my son's teacher handed me something one day after school that would change my whole outlook on meals.
So I set to work on a Paleo broth fondue dinner recipe that would make our mealtime fun, used what she gave me, and….
It was a blast. The kids loved it. My husband and I loved it. We ate delicious food and had fun cooking it. We talked. We laughed. We cried (ok, we didn't really cry. I just squirted myself in the eye with a lime, which made me tear up a little)
THE SECRET TO A GREAT MEAL
What was it that the teacher gave me that was so helpful? A list of conversation starters! I found it so helpful that I came up with my OWN list of conversation starters. Click the image below to grab it.
The Paleo Broth Fondue Recipe
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And as for the fondue? It's a meal we are sure to have again and again. It's honestly one of the easiest meals we make too.
I use Kettle & Fire Mushroom Chicken Bone Broth (use code THRIVING20 to get 20% off) to make it super simple because it already has a ton of amazing flavor already built in. You just need to add a few ingredients to it and, bam – you have extremely tasty fondue broth. Then cut up some meats and veggies, stir (or pour) some dipping sauces, and bring it all over to the table.
Here's one of my 1-minute no-speaking tutorial videos to show you how easy it is to make:
I used one of the flame burner type fondue pots in this video, but it's small and I find hard to keep a consistent temperature. If I were to get another one (which I probably will), I think I'd get this electric one. However, you can always do this whole recipe in a saucepan over the stove if you really wanted to. Not as conducive to encouraging conversation though.
Can't see the video? Watch Paleo Broth Fondue Recipe
Here's the Paleo Broth Fondue recipe!
Paleo Broth Fondue (Whole30, Gluten-free)
- •2 Cartons Kettle & Fire Mushroom Chicken Bone Broth
- •1 cup White Wine (optional)
- •3 Green Onions, sliced
- •3 cloves Garlic, minced
- •Meats to cook (choose 2-3 from list in notes)
- •Veggies to cook (choose 2-3 from list in notes)
- •Sauces to dip (see notes)
- Either in a saucepan over the stove or in a fondue pot, heat the Mushroom Chicken Broth, white wine, green onions, and garlic until boiling., then turn down to a simmer (sometimes this is easier to do on the stove even if you have a fondue pot, then just pour into the fondue pot when ready)
- Cube the meats and cut the veggies into small, bite-sized pieces
- Mix up the sauces (see notes for ideas)
- Bring everything to your table and everyone start cooking! Potatoes and butternut squash take the longest, so just dump them in and leave them for like 15 min. I also tend to just dump the veggies in too and just use the skewers for the meats. You can use a slotted spoon to fish the veggies and potatoes out. The veggies usually take like 5 minutes to cook. The meats are usually around 5 minutes as well, except for the shrimp, which is more like 1-2 minutes. Always make sure to check your chicken and pork when you take them out to make sure they are done, especially before letting kids eat it (since they might not know when it's done).
- Chicken Breasts
- Boneless Pork Chops
- Butternut Squash
- Yellow Squash
Sauce ideas: (if Whole30, be careful of your sauce choices)
- mayo + chili powder + lime juice
- mayo + curry powder
- sweet chili sauce
- a bottled salad dressing
- cocktail sauce
For dessert you could always clean out the fondue pot, throw in some chocolate (I'd also put in a tad bit of dairy-free milk to make it a bit thinner) and then use the melted chocolate to dip cut up fruit and berries in. Yum!
Now my kids' responses to questions are far longer and more involved than “I don't know” and maybe a tad bit fanciful at times, but wow – have I learned SO much about them! I look forward to chatting with them each day and finding out all that goes on in their lives.
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