Green Eggs and Ham

I hate for any meal to be a battle with my two-year old, but especially breakfast.  Mornings are crazy and chaotic at our house with everyone trying to get to work and school at various times and of course the house must always be immaculate in case someone (anyone!) decides to come look at it.  So the last thing I need is to spend an hour coaxing my son to eat something he’d really rather not.  Thus, although my primary goal with any meal is nutrition, at breakfast I try to let Aiden decide, from the options I give him of course, what he would like to eat.  This morning I ran the gambit of all the choices and each was answered with a resounding “NO!”  “Would you like oatmeal?” I asked.  Toast? Pancakes? Fruit salad? Cereal? Granola Bar?  No, no, no, no, no, and NO.  Finally, somewhat exasperated, I asked him, “What would you like to eat, Aiden?”  He answered with a challenging smirk in his eye, “Green eggs and ham!”  My first thought, as a tired, busy mom, was “Seriously, Aiden?!?  No . . . pick something else.”  But a quiet voice in my ear reminded me of one of my parenting goals – only say no if it’s absolutely necessary since there will be ample opportunity to do so.  And why not think outside the box?  So I pondered it for a second and stepped up to my little man’s challenge.  “OK!” I said, “I can do that.”

So I pulled some spinach out of the freezer and set it to boil while I cooked up some bacon (turkey for us, not ham . . . don’t tell Aiden).   When the spinach was finished, I drained it and put it in a blender with 4 eggs, about 2 servings of egg substitute (trying to curb cholesterol), 1% cheddar cheese, dill, garlic salt, and pepper.  I blended it till it was a slimy green mass of uncooked egg (yum, right?) and then put it in a skillet and scrambled it till it was well done.  Add to that some dark wheat toast and VOILA!  A balanced breakfast of green eggs and “ham”.

I asked Aiden if he liked it.  “Try it. Try it and you may, I say!”  His response: “It’s dewishous!”  To top it all off, we read the book while we ate and he kept proudly exclaiming, “Just like I have green eggs!”  It was delightful.  Proving once again that it always pays to be open-minded and stretch your boundaries a little.  And since children have very few boundaries as it is, they make outstanding coaches.  Bon Appetit!

Can Pizza Be Part of a Healthy Diet? ABSOLUTELY!

My husband and I are attempting to re-focus our efforts on healthy eating. Of course, this means a variety of things to a variety of people.  My understanding of the phrase “eating healthy” might make other, more devoted dietitians laugh at my mediocrity.  But regardless of where your standards lie, pizza is generally not on the list of things one thinks of when imagining a healthy meal. At least not any pizza you can buy “hot and ready” for $5.99 plus tax and grease.  But what about the type of pizza you can actually still call a pie? One made with all fresh, farmer’s market ingredients?  I’ll let you decide for yourself, but in my book, it is a resounding YES! and my family thought so too.

Italian Vegetable Pizza Pie

The Crust –
French Bread Dough (your own or ready-made)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Italian Seasoning
1 tsp Minced Garlic

Pre-heat oven to 350′  Start with your favorite recipe for french bread dough, or buy it ready-made at the grocery store.  I used the french bread from Pillsbury’s new line of “all natural” doughs, but I’m sure many of you would prefer to make your own. Roll  out the dough on a greased cookie sheet.  (If it keeps pulling back on itself, roll it out on the counter first and then place it on the greased sheet.) Brush the dough with the olive oil and Dijon and sprinkle with black pepper, italian seasoning and garlic.

The Filling –
1 Large Fresh Tomato, Halved and Sliced
1/2 Yellow Squash, Sliced
1/2 Zucchini, Sliced
2 Large Baby Bella Mushrooms, Sliced
2 Green Onions Sliced
Handful of Fresh Spinach Leave
6-8 Large Fresh Basil Leaves, Chopped
1 Container of Crumbled Feta Cheese
More Freshly Ground Black Pepper

After slicing the tomato, remove all the seeds and discard (so they don’t make the dough soggy). Dry the tomatoes on paper towels and arrange in a circle in the center of the prepared dough. Layer all the remaining vegetables on top in the order that they are listed. Sprinkle with the freshly chopped basil and ground pepper and crumble the feta cheese over the top. Stretch and roll the dough over the top of your layers and pinch together.  If you cannot get it to stay up, you can pin it with toothpicks or kebab skewers. Bake in the oven at 350′ for approximately 30 minutes or untill the crust begins to brown.  In the last 3 – 5 minutes, bring the oven temperature up to about 400′ to brown the crust and make it crisp.  Tada!

If you give this recipe a try, I would love to hear how it goes!  Or, if you’re like me and you never stick to a recipe, tell me about any improvements or changes you make along the way.  Happy cooking!