Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Catching a Rainbow" Dinner Date

Back when the 5-a-Day program was still in vogue, one of its themes was to "Catch a Rainbow Every Day". So cute! A few weeks ago, I bought an erasable whiteboard and a rainbow of dry erase markers, and now every day Abby and I draw our fruits and vegetables as we eat them. I tell Abby that we want to try to eat a rainbow every day to help us be big and strong. The motivation to draw works really well, and Abby has eaten a rainbow most days since!

Now, I'm not too picky about having both a blue and a purple, and I'll let yellow slide if we have plenty of orange, but we always aim for a red, an orange, a green, a blue or purple, and a white. Here's how the board looks at the end of a typical day (clearly, I let Abby draw her own foods on this!) (and if you're laughing at my random red-green blob... it's supposed to be a mango.)

I found some other cute ideas on encouraging children to "eat a rainbow" at They have a lot of other fun stuff in their nutrition section, so poke around! And of course, the 5-a-Day program is outdated now, but the Fruits and Veggies Matter site has some useful information and tips, too.

Hidden Rainbow Pizza
(this is probably the worst "food" picture I've ever taken. It tasted way better than this looks)

Super-Easy Pizza Dough (I made a double batch and then froze half of the pizzas for future yum!)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup baby carrots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
oregano, salt, and pepper
1-2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 jar of your favorite marinara (or 2-3 cups of homemade marinara)
Cheddar cheese

Prepare the pizza dough. Prepare the sauce during the second rise (when the dough balls are resting for 30 minutes):

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add all vegetables and garlic to the pan. Season with dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes - until the carrots and onions are tender, but before the zucchini and yellow squash get too squishy. Remove from heat and stir in the baby spinach.

Dump vegetables into a blender. Add about 2 cups of marinara sauce and blend until smooth, adding more marinara as needed to achieve a smooth texture.

Preheat oven to 450F. Form the dough balls into pizza rounds. Top each round with some sauce and ample cheddar cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the pizza crust is golden and the cheese is melted.

This pizza is all about the hidden vegetables - I am a fan of hiding vegetables for a picky eater, but alongside the pizza, we also served some cut-up, colorful, raw veggies. Abby only ate the carrots, and Neko stuck to just the carrots and tomatoes, but at least the veggies were offered!

Fruity Brownie Pizza
I could eat this entire thing by myself. And I almost did.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 oz white chocolate
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 banana
1/2 packet of acai pulp (available in the freezer section - leave it out if you can't find it, but I wanted a purple!)
a rainbow of chopped up fruit (we used cherries, strawberries, mango, and blueberries - I wish I had bought some kiwi or green grapes!)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously coat a 9-inch round cake pan with non-stick spray.

In a small bowl, combine butter and white chocolate. Microwave in 30 second intervals, whisking well in between, until melted. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Whisk in the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate-butter mixture. With a spoon, stir in the flour until just combined.

Smooth the batter into the cake pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, until set in the center. Let cool.

When cool, mash the banana well with a fork. Stir in the acai pulp (only as much as you need to make it smooth and not too runny). Spread the banana-acai mixture on as the "sauce". Top with chopped fruit. If you're feeling nice, serve it to your family. Otherwise, go hide in a closet with a fork and the brownie cake!

Here's the board for the girls' dinners - a whole rainbow, tucked in their tummies!

... and I have no idea what an acai berry looks like.


LaDue & Crew said...

Wow, now these look like fun, delish, dishes!

Jenna said...

i love the eat a rainbow white board idea and drawing. would you like to guest post this on kid appeal?

MaryAnne said...

I love this idea!

SkylarKD said...

The image on the book reminds me of the Canada Food Guide!