2nd Annual Brown Bag Challenge

A few weeks ago I led a group of energetic staff of the R.Kirk Landon Learning Center in their 2nd Annual Brown Bag Challenge. The idea was for them to use their creative minds and make an appetizer using all of the ingredients in the brown bag they selected. When we did this last year, I took much of what they needed in way of tools and small equipment, but this year, I just brought knives for them to use. There is a small kitchen at the center so I knew that they could find whatever else they needed. Like the outcome of last year's challenge, this year's was just a spectacular.

I have an outcome in mind when I am putting the individual bags together and it is always interesting to see if the group comes up with what I had in mind. Some do, adding their own twist to it, and some don't, which then gives me new ideas.

As with last year, they were tired after a long day and seemingly a bit leery about the whole challenge, but within minutes of choosing their bag and getting to their work area, they are back into full swing. The laughter and craziness was non-stop for the next 45 minutes. It was so much fun to go from group to group and interact with them. The group that had the dessert bag was having a bit of a time deciding how to whip the heavy cream and were just about to head to the kitchen to see if a hand mixer could be found when I shared with them that they could easily whip the cream by hand with a whisk in a matter of minutes. They did and were so surprised of the ease! They later told me that they were going to do this with their kids at the center. What a great learning experience!

At the end of the 45 minutes, each group had to present their dish. They had to tell what items were in their bags and what their final product was. I only wish I had a video of the group that rapped about their dish! I laughed until I had tears in my eyes!

I went from group to group taking "action" photos. Unfortunately my camera battery died at the start of the event so I was left to use the camera on my Blackberry, which doe not always take great pictures. I apologize.

Here is a picture of their creations as they presented them.

Upper left: Veggie sushi rolls
Upper right: Parmesan pizza bites
Right middle: Tomato bruschetta
Lower right: Creamy hummus and pita points
Lower left: Puff pastry "shortbread" with strawberries and whipped cream

Looking forward to our 3rd Annual Brown Bag Challenge next year!