Following a season of birthdays and Christmas, my toddler has developed a fascination for unwrapping presents. A few days ago I harnessed this, and felt like a genius I must say, by teaching her to play in her room with her toys by setting a timer and promising a "prize" or "surprise". I set it to 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 30, and finally 40 minutes. I was completely amazed and shocked with how quiet the house was. I kept straining my ears to hear what she was playing with, and I would creep to her door and peer around the corner to see how she was entertaining herself. When the timer went off and she was playing nicely, she knew she would get a prize. Which was only a few dried cranberries, pretzels, or 1/2 an orange, but it was the presentation that got her extra excited.
I pulled out our stack of coffee filters and wrapped each "prize" with a twist on the top, or I folded it into a little present. Not only did she have the anticipation of receiving a prize, but it was hidden until she unwrapped it. I enjoyed watching her excited smile and hearing her giggles as she expertly unwrapped her "prize." Next, I would reset the timer, and go about my chores for the day rejoicing that she wasn't glued to the tv, and that her toys were actually being played with!
Anyhow, there is something about unwrapping a hidden nugget of goodness whether it is wrapped in paper, fabric, or food. That is why I developed these simple sweet and sour chicken dumplings. I came across a new way to use baking mix from The Daily Meal by just adding boiling water. The combination of chicken wrapped in dough is so simple and quick, that it will delight the child in all of us!