Thursday, July 31, 2014

Healthy and Easy Dessert Pizza: A recipe from The Chicago Botanic Garden Executive Chef

Earlier in the week, my mom, my kids and I went to the Chicago Botanic Gardens to attend a media event about their edible gardens. It was a splendid morning, the day was nice and cool, perfect to enjoy time outdoors in probably the most beautiful garden in Chicago!

We started the day with a tour of the Fruit &Vegetable Garden guided by their resident horticulturalist Lisa Hilgenberg. She took us and the kids through all the beds and explained the different varieties of fruit and vegetables they had.

The kids had a lot fun playing at their outdoor kitchen and learning about healthy eating. They sorted common vegetables into baskets according to what their edible parts were: fruits, roots, stems, seeds, flowers, etc. Did you know that a potato is not a root? It is a tuber, which is really an enlarged stem!

Once they were done playing, Chef Michael Kingsley, the garden's executive chef, gave the kids a demonstration on how to make dessert pizzas and we got to try his fabulous Zucchini bread. These were a couple of samples of their Cafe's updated Sprouts Meals menu - they put a healthy twist on kid's favorites.

The kids enjoyed their pizzas, here is how to make them:

Start with a baked pizza dough base, spread some almond butter, cover with as many fresh fruits you have available and sprinkle with grated coconut flakes!! Easy right?

My kids were wondering if we could come up with another alternative to the almond butter. This was the first time they tried it and they were not 100% sure about the taste ( I liked it though). As you know, I like to play with recipes a lot and give them my own twist. So if you have some picky eaters, here are some other options that the kids want me to make for them. I agree with them, I think these are great options too!!

Nut butters: Instead of almond butter, try different nut butter alternatives like peanut butter.
Nutella lovers: Instead of almond butter, put Nutella and use only bananas and strawberries as the fruits.
Cinnamon swirls: Use peanut butter, fruits and sprinkle with cinnamon and icing sugar instead of coconut.

If you do not have ready baked pizza dough, I am sure they will be as delicious on pita bread too.

Let me know if you try them. I am sure you will love them all!

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