I'm all about simplicity right now when it comes to eating. Just the other day my husband was expounding upon the importance of a healthy diet for children. I completely agree with him, of course, and our philosophy has been that Dora eats as many organic, healthy, fresh, local, and unprocessed foods as possible. All of that being said, I have so much to do in the evenings right now that I really do need simple, quick things to make. I started writing this blog almost a week ago - and I'm just now getting around to posting it. That's how busy I am every day - I'm sure you can relate.
So, last week when we were shopping at Earthfare, a lovely little ball of freshly made pizza dough at the pizza counter seemed to have a beam of light shining on it. Usually, when I make homemade pizza, I make my own dough - it's quiet easy and fast to do so, and also very inexpensive. But with so many other responsibilities right now, I took the illuminated ball of dough as a sign.
The next night I set out to turn that little ball of dough into something fresh and delicious for our dinner. Usually when I'm cooking, Dora is entertaining herself in some other way. My husband works in the evenings so its always up to me to manage Dora while making dinner, and the result is that usually, she watches TV while I make dinner. There was a time in my life when I swore that no child of mine would watch TV, but I quickly learned that parenting is all about letting go of your preconceived ideas about what is right and just doing your best. To me, eating healthy, freshly made food is more important that avoiding TV. I see less harm in Elton John wearing his most flamboyant outfit, singing Crocodile Rock with a group of Muppets than I see in opening up a can of ChefBoyardee.
Instead of watching Muppets while I made the pizza, however, Dora insisted on helping me. She's "helped" me in the kitchen before, and the result has usually been a big mess. But, for the first time, Dora actually did help me - and we both really enjoyed it. It's like a new door has opened for us. I'm so excited about all the things I want to teach her in the kitchen, all the little memories I hope to make for her that will someday mean so much to her, like my own memories of baking with my mother.
1 ball freshly made pizza dough, room temperature (or make your own - The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen has an easy and fast recipe)
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
mozzarella cheese, freshly shredded
assorted pizza toppings (whatever you have lurking in your fridge)
1 (or more) helpful toddler(s)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until about 1/4 in thick and about the size of your pan. Transfer to a cookie sheet and brush with olive oil. Top with sauce and mozzarella cheese. Add your toppings and finish with some Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until top is golden and cheese is bubbling. Enjoy with your little apprentice, and leave the mess in your kitchen for after bedtime.