As a cookbook author and growing up with many relatives in the restaurant business, I feel it is my duty as a grandma to pass the pleasure of cooking and eating at the table with family on to my eight grandchildren. There is quite a difference in this generation than fifty-years ago. My generation was taught to eat everything on their plate, which included foods that made us gag. Even if you were getting ill from liver and onions, we had to sit at that large table alone for hours.
Speaking of eating at the table, I find most families today eat on the run due to family and work obligations. No one is sitting at a table having conversation about their day, friends, or upcoming events. And if they are at a table eating, they have headphones on, are on their cell or laptop. Do parents even check if their child’s homework is done? Do they know when parent teacher’s conferences are, know when to expect a report card, or if their children are actually in their beds? I am sure a lot of you do, but some slip by the wayside only to be eaten up by predators. We all are guilty of leading such busy lives that there is barely time to sleep.
There are many causes for today’s obesity epidemic. From low-income to sugar addiction, which is difficult to conquer along with carbs that turn into sugar. Some of us choose not to eat healthy. It is okay to indulge once in a while, being bored is a sure way to overeat as well as depression. Lack of exercise, which we can all do easily at home is not an excuse. Not getting enough sun isn’t good for our health and don’t forget about all the regulations on daycares. I know my children had way too much sugary juice. I am guilty of doing several items listed above.
My next cookbook, Cooking to Live, is going to be about my journey to lose weight the healthy way. I also need and want to be a better role model for my children and grandchildren from this point forward. Even though I am fighting the, “Mom…Grandma…can’t you cook something good like you used to years ago? Poor Grandpa…he can come to our house and eat.” Did I mention that in the past year, I have had foot surgery, right knee replacement, need left knee replacement, carpal tunnel surgery, kidney disease and I need back surgery. Maybe I should have lost this weight many years ago?
This mystery writer and cookbook author needs to lose about eighty pounds. So exactly how am I going to achieve this healthy weight goal you ask? My lifestyle needs to be about a healthy body, mind, and being around positive people. Children are positive for the most part at a young age until the hormones-testosterone kicks in.
Begin teaching children about healthy eating and cooking as soon as possible. No, I am not suggesting a sword fight with knives. You will know when your child is responsible enough to handle a knife. Even with that, many chefs get knife cuts. It goes along with the job.
The idea at first is to make something fun like my English muffin funny face pizza. Two-year-old Madyson, is a bit shy when her twin brothers aren’t around. She can count, knows her colors, shapes etc. I chose pizza for our first project because it is a happy project, a bit like a piece of artwork. Did I expect her to eat the pizza? No, but she did pick a few black olives and pieces of pepperoni off the pizzas. And she sampled the cheese and sauce with her fingers before the pizza was cooked. I delightfully ate a piece of her pizza after it was cooked. Then I told her how good…it tasted. Don’t forget to take photos of this project with the child’s finished product. This is a great dish to prepare around Halloween. A two-year-old isn’t quite old enough to carve their own pumpkin, but they can make a funny face on a pizza.
I am forever learning how to do modern technology. For the life of me, I spent four hours trying to download the cooking video on this blog. And then I had to change all my passwords and still don’t have it attached. Good grief!
English Muffin Funny Face Pizza
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Large cookie sheet, small bowls, plates, spatula, and cooking scissors
1 package sliced English muffins
Turkey pepperoni (cut two eyes, nose, mouth for each pizza)
Small 8 ounce package low-sodium, low-fat Mozzarella or Italian cheese
Small can sliced black olives, drained (about 5 per slice)
1 small jar low-sugar, low-sodium pizza sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the English muffins in half if they aren’t already. Give each child two halves English muffins on a large plate, or one at a time if the child is small. Use approximately two teaspoons sauce per muffin. Spread the sauce evenly on the top of the muffin. Add about five black olives on the top of the sauce. If the child is still learning to count, this is a good time to count with them. Top with cheese and press the cheese down lightly. (Have a parent cut the pepperoni to make two eyes, a nose and mouth for each pizza). Next, give the child the mouth to place on the bottom of the muffin. Then add the nose just above the mouth. And last, place the eyes above the nose on each side of the muffin. I find adding the mouth to the muffin first makes it easier for a toddler to position the pieces of the face.
Use the spatula to lift the pizzas off the children’s plates to the large cookie sheet. Have a parent place the cookie sheet with pizzas in the oven. Cook the pizzas for about 7 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Have a parent remove the pan from the oven. Place the pizzas on the child or children’s plates. Make sure you remember which pizza belongs to each child. Let the pizza cool for a few minutes. Slice into four or six pieces. Take photos!
Note: If adults are going to join in at dinner, you might increase the amount of ingredients. My husband eats two whole muffins, which makes four pizzas. He uses all the above ingredients. The only differences are he uses three pieces of pepperoni and a few real bacon bits. Add a few pieces of raw carrot and apple to round off the meal. Enjoy!