I admit it. I have hit a dining “wall” with my 22-month-old Little Foodie. My closest friends and biggest critics are often skeptical about my family’s ability to enjoy a dining experience with a 5-year-old and a 22-month-old. And while they both still enjoy a variety of foods, Little A’s patience has dwindled significantly. Our evenings out of late have included an immediate request to order the second we sit down (even if we have never seen the menu, it has become a game-time decision), the check, and a to-go box (just in case), all in one fell swoop.
It was a rude awakening for us when Little A just couldn’t manage to hang out for a long meal; clearly our dining experiences with Big A were an anomaly. So instead of watching our little man morph from Dr. Banner to the Hulk trying to bust out of his high chair after he is sated, we have come up with more fun and interactive meals with friends at home. Lately, we have enjoyed hosting weekly pizza parties, where the children are free to roam in between creating some of the most delicious pizza (it’s all about the dough) I have eaten.
I used to buy my pizza dough at Trader Joe’s, Publix, or Your Dekalb Farmer’s Market until an issue of Bon Appetite magazine with bubbly, charred-crust pizza on the cover caught my and Little A’s eye. It became a go-to magazine for him to peruse as it sat on my coffee table for months. I always thought making pizza dough from scratch would be such a hassle, until one day I sucked it up as something fun and easy for Big A to create with me in the kitchen. We have been making homemade pizzas almost weekly ever since. The only advance prep is the no-knead dough, which needs to sit overnight to ferment. Grab your favorite toppings and a simple can of crushed Marzano tomatoes, and you are in business. Let your Little Foodies get creative. Big A still enjoys her signature creation of “Edamame and Salami” which she developed as soon as she could say the rhyming duo. Here are some other fun topping suggestions.
Veggies: Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Red Peppers, Peas, Spinach, Brussel Sprouts, Roasted Zucchini, Roasted Eggplant (I buy all pre-bagged at Trader Joe’s).
Proteins: Uncured Salami, Proscuitto, Grilled Chicken, Crumbled Veggie Burgers, Sliced Turkey or Chicken Meatballs
Cheeses: Bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls), Shredded Mozzarella, Ricotta, Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
While the blog isn’t going anywhere, stay tuned for more creative at-home foodie activities and restaurants that have great take-out!