Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pizza Pick Me Up

     After Monday and Tuesday last week I was really not in the mood to deal with a failed dinner idea. I was a bit punky, my daughter was a bit punky... we really just needed something to cheer us up. I tossed around a couple of ideas in my head but had no clear idea of what I wanted going to make when I walked into Trader Joe's after my Wednesday workout. 

     I knew I couldn't spend too much time browsing the shelves since I had to get home to Mom. Two days after surgery and I left her alone... after making sure she had her coffee, breakfast, and whatnot. Still, didn't want to leave her hanging. Anyway, I usually find my dinner ideas come together fastest if I pick out my 'protein' first, so I head to the vegetarian/vegan area and browse their selection.

     Nothing really struck a cord with me this time though. I was just... stuck. Reluctantly I pick up a pack of extra firm tofu. I have a few recipes waiting for me to try that guarantee the enjoyment of even non-tofu eaters. Okay... I guess I'll try one of those? I don't know. I was really not feeling the healthy eating thing. Tofu in hand I browse the rest of the produce section hoping to find some real inspiration and fast. Five minutes later and still not feeling anything except the need to use the restroom, I put the tofu back on the shelf  and take a quick pit stop.

     It's on the way out I finally see something that inspires me... pizza dough! Three varieties even! I briefly consider the whole wheat one, then decide on garlic herb. Pizza sauce is even conviently right next to the dough so I didn't have to waste time trying to find it. Dough and sauce in hand I look at everything in a new light. Wasn't there a ground veggie protein kinda like ground beef? Yep! Onions, peppers, and mushrooms round out my veggies. I even have three different bags of grated cheese at home that I should use up, so that's perfect. I grab a particularly beautiful bouquet of roses for Mom to cheer her up, and check out excited for dinner again. Pizza may not be exactly healthy, but for as far as pizzas go... this one is healthier than the usual pepperoni/meat lovers/what have you that I would have normally had.
All the makings for pizza and all from Trader Joe's

     Making dinner from there was a snap. I browned the 'meat', chopped my veggies then added them to the mixture, stretched my crust out, topped, baked, and enjoyed. Tell you what, having pre-made dough was awesome. I have yet to find a recipe that I'm happy with, so I didn't have to fight with that and start dinner hours ahead of time just so we could eat at a decent hour. Just pull it from the fridge a few minutes before you want to start and viola!

     My daughter was fairly thrilled to be having something so close to 'normal' food this time. It was familiar looking and she has yet to meet a pizza she hated. She was optimistic throughout the prep and cooking periods saying things like "Smells soooo good", "I can't believe I'm having pizza tonight!", and "Can I try some of that now?" I tease her a bit and tell her she has to wait until it's all done, no previews available tonight.

Can you smell the browning cheese?
     As dinner comes out of the oven she excited jumps up from the floor where she's watching tv/doing homework/coloring and sits at the table with a huge smile on her face. I cut her about an eighth of the pizza, and join her with two slices for myself. I even had a little extra sauce heated up for dipping the crust into between us. After giving it a minute to cool she takes her first bite and... doesn't like it. Puts it on the plate, shakes her head no, makes an 'unt uhh' noise, crosses her arms and learns away from the table. My heart just about sinks... I couldn't believe I made something she didn't want to eat, again.

     Perhaps a bit delusional at this point, after playing nurse, cleaning house... ya know, doing the whole responsible Mom thing, I ask her to take another bite and reconsider her opinion. She does and isn't much more thrilled. Well, it's dinner anyway so she has to finish her slice. I cut it into pieces so she can countdown how many more bites she has and (somewhat less) happily eat mine. I think it's great by the way. I had to remind myself not to eat any more than those two slices. I could have easily eaten half that pizza.

     A sneak peek over to my daughter's plate reveals that dinner is disappearing quite quickly for a girl that gave me that reaction to her first bite. Usually I have to bargain dessert options when that happens.. not this time though. She ate her whole slice without even a sigh of discontentment. And then something truly surprising comes out of her mouth, "Mom, can I have another piece?" What the what?! Wait up... hold the phone... this is out of left field. She didn't like it. She almost refused to eat it after just the first bite! Now she's asking for more? I don't even know... but I'll take it. I do deny her a second piece though. Not to be mean, but because she was asking about dessert before dinner and that question was just waiting to be asked again. I tell her I'd give her a second piece, but then she might not have room for her two cookies. Totally not true, she could easily have eaten another slice and then two cookies. But she doesn't know that ;-) silly mom trick I've picked up... make them think they need room for dessert so they don't overeat dinner and then add dessert to the calorie count.

     Anyway, her final thumb rating came in at "All the thumbs up in the whole world" so without stopping to examine too much into the change of heart, I put this down in the win column. She loved the leftovers just as much as she ended up loving the first go around.

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