What’s For Dinner?

The proof of the pudding is the eating.  ~Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Cheyenne-Piper-&-Kyle-at-Bethel-Church-2005-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle & his cousin Cheyenne Piper at Bethel Lutheran Church. 2005

Ever since Kyle was a little tyke, he’s been very structured, eventually including his eating habits.  Truly.  It could be ten o’clock at night and he’d sit back in retrospect asking, “What was for dinner?”  Usually I ask, “Are you hungry?”  With Kyle’s response of, “No, but I wanted to know what was for dinner?”  Seriously?  Oh, yes!  Like he’s taking a tally or checking of his daily list.  He’ll even reiterate what he ate and what category it was considered, either breakfast, dinner, supper, or snack.  Kyle can’t simply eat when he’s hungry and leave it at that, he has to place it in a mental check box.

On a side note, in our household, we call “lunch”, dinner.  So what do we call dinner or the last meal of the day?  Supper.  Yes, dinner is our midday meal, or commonly called lunch, and supper is our later day meal, or sometimes called dinner.

Anyway, when conversing with Kyle over his meals for the day, a big WARNING needs to accompany this discussion.  If you try and assist Kyle recollect his food consumption for that particular day, and you categorize a food item as part of the wrong meal, or worse, call out an item eaten from the previous day, he’ll call you out on it and make a big deal about his supposedly missed meal, even when he’s not hungry.

Example time.  Now I can’t exactly recall a specific conversation between us, but they basically go like this:

Aunt-Heather-Piper-baking-in-Pittsburgh-Apartment-1995

Me making cupcakes in my apartment in Pittsburgh (Beechview on Broadway Street) 1995

Stage:  (It’s 10:00 pm on a Saturday night and Kyle is laying on the couch watching television, winding down before bed.)
Kyle:  Aunt Heather what was for dinner?
Me:  (Not thinking to hard on the question)  I don’t know, are you hungry?
Kyle:  No, I just wanted to know what we had for dinner.
Me:  I don’t know, steak and eggs.
Kyle:  No that was breakfast.
Me:  Oh, we had grilled chicken and potatoes.
Kyle:  No, that was for supper.
Me: (Getting frustrated over a pointless conversation.)  I don’t know!  Are you hungry?
Kyle:  No, I just wanted to know.
Me:  If you’re not hungry does it matter?
Kyle:  No
Me:  (LIGHT BULB!)  Oh, we had sandwiches!  (Now feeling pleased with myself for finally remembering.)
Kyle:  Oh, yeah that’s right!
Me:  Now do you want me to review all your snacks including the quart of chocolate milk you drank in one gulp?  (Sarcasm and silliness, for I truly don’t care what Kyle eats or how much, as long as the majority of his consumption is healthy, and in moderation for the not-so-nutritious food items.  Please note, the remark about the chocolate milk was not an exaggeration.  He really does fill up a quart jar with milk and chocolate syrup, and gulp it down instantly.  I guess he’s a growing boy.)
Kyle:  (snickering) No.  But what was for dessert?
Me:  I saw you eating Oreos earlier.
Kyle:  Yeah, but that wasn’t dessert for supper.
Me:  You don’t have to have a dessert for every meal.  Desserts are only for special occasions, or as a rare treat, not for everyday.
Kyle:  Why not?  I like desserts!
Me:  I do too buddy, but it’s not good to have all that sugar and fat.
Kyle:  I like sugar.
Me:  I know!  Same as your dad!
Kyle:  (Snicker, before he heads off to bed, satisfied that his checklist is completed.)

Dad-U-Sonny-Jeremy-Nicole-92-Christmas-Party-Aunt-Heather-Piper

In the back row: Dad, Uncle Sonny & Jeremy. Uncle Denny’s back is on the left & Nicole on the right. Christmas Party 1992

Perhaps this strange and sporadic phenomenon is partially my fault.  When Kyle was little, I became aware that when he wasn’t with my family, he’d miss meals or the sustenance eaten was less than par, not healthy in the slightest.  So I began to teach Kyle to eat at least three meals a day, and snack healthy in between.  That’s about the time I taught him about nutrition.  I especially stressed the importance of breakfast, which was completely omitted from his diet before school.  Or worse, he’d eat his jelly sandwich and crackers on the bus headed to school because he was hungry, and then have to go without for the entire day.  It broke my heart to think of Kyle sitting in the cafeteria with his friends, watching them eat their lunches, while he was hungry.  I’m not saying a jelly sandwich (at the time he hated peanut butter, so that was his PB&J minus the P) is the most nutritious for breakfast, but it’s something.

Naturally, there’s always an excuse, but with a five, six, seven, eight, nine and even a ten year old, there doesn’t need to be an excuse, simply doing what’s right for his well-being.  This is paramount during a child’s developmental stages.  Plus, it’s good habit forming.  Granted, to counter act this, over the years, I began my mission to teach Kyle to make himself some simple and quick dishes to equip him to fend for himself.  Like what?  Oatmeal in the microwave  or eggs. (Yes, Kyle has always known how to make eggs and to properly and safely use the stove and oven since he was probably two or so.)  Grabbing a banana or apple isn’t too taxing and is an acceptable breakfast or snack, both of which Kyle loves.  Even toast would be better than nothing.

On another side note, I also gave Kyle money to buy a hot lunch, not saying the cafeteria meals were any healthier, but at least it was food for his empty stomach and a warm meal.

Well, enough heavy.  Kyle is now a healthy teenager, one who still confirms his three meals of the day.  Maybe something really did sink in when I was teaching him about healthy eating habits.  I hope so.  I only want Kyle to have every opportunity in life, and that includes eating healthy and staying that way for a long time.

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Farming & Planting,Hunting & Fishing,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Egg Sandwich Spectacular!

But to be part of helping create a character and be a part of something from the beginning – the excitement of it – it doesn’t get any better.  ~Sarah Chalke

Egg Sandwich Spectacular Aunt Heather Piper

Pouring in the eggs 1/8/12

When Kyle was little he would eat all sorts of fruits and vegetables.  He loved salads, they made him happy.  He ate peas, carrots, cauliflower, spinach and broccoli.  I was so happy about Kyle’s food choices, especially since he was so young and starting good eating habits early.   Then, at about the age of five or six, something drastically changed.  He decided he didn’t like vegetables anymore.  What?  You see, my whole family loves vegetables.  There was never a time I could remember not eating vegetables.  My mom said, when we were little, referring to me and my brother and sister, she used to feed us everything they ate for dinner.  That meant it usually was hunted locally and grown from the garden.  Mom had a hand food grinder to break the food down small enough for a child to consume.  So you see, when I say I’ve always eaten venison and fresh vegetables, I really mean it.  Mom almost never fed us processed, store bought food.

Egg-Sandwich-Spectacular-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Adding the cheese... 1/8/12

So what happened to Kyle’s food choice?  I have no idea!  What seemed like overnight, he drastically changed his eating habits.  Kyle awoke from this change and decided to be stubborn, only eating macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, and pizza and such.  Now I will have to admit, he didn’t give up the fruit, which I was pleased with.  In fact, his love for blueberries grew more so.  Ok, so fruit problem averted!  But what about the vegetables?  I tried forcing him to eat the fresh vitamin filled necessities of life.  That was a no-go.  I tried bribing him and sneaking it in his food, which sometimes worked. You name it, it was attempted.

Egg-Sandwich-Spectacular3-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Can't forget to make it a sandwich.. 1/8/12

I really was beside myself!  I take that back, we were all beside ourselves.  It was completely unheard of to be a picky eater in the Piper household, until we had a small breakthrough.  I’ll give my mom credit, she’s pretty clever.  One day, mom made Kyle a veggie and cheese omelet.  But Gigi didn’t stop at that, she put her dormant marketing skills to work and called it… The Egg Sandwich Spectacular!  You see, Kyle did love his egg sandwiches, so mom jazzed it up with vegetables including broccoli, mushrooms, green peppers etc. whatever was in the refrigerator.  He loved it!  Kyle proceeded to rave about this special sandwich.  He told Nicole and I about it and how good it was, and how healthy.  He told my sister, when he visits her for the ‘Kyle and Aunt Nikki Week of Fun’, (a week Kyle stays with Nicole in the summer) she had to get the ingredients to make this for him.

Egg-Sandwich-Spectacular-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Yummm! 1/8/12

That was a few years ago now.  We still make the Egg Sandwich Spectacular.  I didn’t realize how special that breakfast sandwich was until two weeks ago.  Kyle had to write a “How To” paper on anything he wanted.  Not only did he have to write the paper, he had to demonstrate the chosen subject in class.  So Kyle and I sat there and tried to brainstorm ideas.  He wanted to do something no body could do.  I don’t blame Kyle’s thinking ’cause that’s where my mind was too.  Something Kyle can do that no one else can… I was throwing out ideas, silly, but they were ideas including skinning a dear, shooting a rifle, building Lego’s, which I was told was not unheard of.  My bad, he’s right, he was in a classroom full of Legomaniacs.  Just then, Kyle said, “I know Aunt Heather! I can make an Egg Sandwich Spectacular!  That’s something me and Gigi made up and no one ever heard of it.  Plus it’s healthy and good for me.”  I was taken aback, not realizing how much that sandwich means to him.  Then, me being me, I started to outline the logistics in my head.  I said, “You sure you’d be allowed to cook in school?”  What was I saying?  I want Kyle to think big and not worry about such minor details.

Egg Sandwich Spectacular Aunt Heather Piper

Final and most important step 1/8/12

So I agreed to help him.  He started to write his paper only asking me a few clarification questions as they arose.  Once he was done, I checked the paper for accuracy of spelling and proper order to the cooking method.  He did a great job!  He even wrote it like he was selling the sandwich, promoting the health benefit and the additional varieties that can be made.  He is too much!

Egg Sandwich Spectacular Aunt Heather Piper

I slipped a post-it note into the box of ingredients

Just then, Kyle sprung into the day of the demonstration on me.  He said, “Ok Aunt Heather, we need to get all the ingredients together and you have to take me to school and pick me up.”  Now I have no trouble hanging with Kyle and changing my schedule around for him, but this time was less than a week’s notice and I didn’t know if I had meetings that day.  I told him I’d figure something out, but he would have to ride the bus.  I’d make sure he’d have the proper instruments, including a portable burner to cook the eggs on.  When I asked him if his class was in the morning or afternoon, he said, “Ya it’s either in the morning or the afternoon, I’m not sure but it’s definitely on Wednesday.”  Thanks, that was a big help! sarcasm He texted me later that week to tell me it was in the afternoon.

I thought I could take a half day off of work, bring in the material and then I could videotape Kyle.  I was so excited to record him and watch him make the Egg Sandwich Spectacular!  Then my dreams were crushed by a 10-year-old who said he really didn’t want me to watch him, let alone videotape him in his class.  I felt like a little kid that wasn’t allowed to go out and play.  Kyle informed me that I was able to drop all the ‘stuff’ off during lunch and have it picked up by 4:00 pm.  I wasn’t happy about missing this, but he is getting older.

Egg Sandwich Spectacular - Aunt Heathe Piper The Sunday before, Kyle broke some more news to me that he needed to do a practice run.  Very logical thinking of Kyle, to practice before the actual presentation, but very typical to wait till the last minute on a Sunday night.  Good thinking!  That is until Kyle said he needed pictures of him making the sandwich for his poster board.  What?  You also have to make a storyboard?  This was actually a good thing, but I like getting things done early.  While he was practicing we were able to prep the ingredients for his big cooking day, trying to be prepared.

The day of the presentation I was thinking of him and a little nervous.  I wanted everything to go smoothly.  Taking my lunch break to run the material out to his school, I was able to show the teacher how to use the portable gas stove, courtesy of DeNunzio’s restaurant.  When I picked Kyle up for swimming the same day, I couldn’t wait to hear how it went and what the teacher thought.  He was very blasé about the presentation.  He just said, “Ya, it went ok, I couldn’t make enough for the class because the teacher set the skillet on the cutting board and it melted.  She said if I put the skillet on the fire it would burn the bottom.”  He was disappointed that he couldn’t make enough for the entire class, meanwhile I thought the teacher ruined my Pampered chef cutting board and my skillet?  It was a great experience for Kyle and I enjoyed being part of it!

How to make one Egg Sandwich Spectacular by Kyle Piper

Egg Sandwich Spectacular Aunt Heather Piper What is healthy and can come in a variety of different combinations?  None other than an egg sandwich spectacular!  The reason I said a variety of combinations is because the ingredients are optional except for the basic eggs and bread.  The ingredients I use are, 2 slices of bread, 1 button mushroom, 1 head of broccoli, 1 egg of course, a tablespoon of milk, 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese.  You need 1 cutting board, 1 pearing knife, 1 fork, 1 small bowl, small skillet, a rubber spatula, a tablespoon of olive oil, and a stove to cook the eggs on.  Last you will need a plate to serve the sandwich on.

First, you will need to dice the broccoli and mushrooms, heat the oil in the skillet on medium to high heat and cook the broccoli and mushrooms till tender.  While the broccoli and mushrooms are cooing, crack the egg in the bowl, add the milk and the beat the egg with a fork until completely mixed.  Once the broccoli and mushrooms are cooked, pour in the egg and milk mixture.  Use the fork to evenly spread the broccoli and mushrooms throughout the egg and milk mixture.  After about a minute use your spatula to check under the egg mixture to see if it is lightly golden.  If the egg mixture is ready to flip, cook it on the other side and add the cheese on top of the egg.  Once the bottom of the egg mixture is lightly golden and the cheese is melted, place the egg between the bread slices.

That is how to make my healthy sandwich spectacular.  Or you can make your own variety by adding ham, green or red peppers, onions, and much more.  Hope you love it. Bye.

posted by auntheather in Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Reminiscing and have No Comments
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