by Marty Kelley
Pizza is dangerous.
I don’t think I’m telling you anything you don’t know here. We, as a people, have been warned since infancy about the myriad dangers of pizza. The warnings are a part of our collective knowledge. Don’t swim for an hour after eating. Don’t play with fire. Look both ways before you cross the street. Stay away from pizza. We know this.
And yet now, I find myself in the unenviable and dangerous position of being a judge at a pizza competition called Pizzafest. They might as well have called it DeathFest!
How can I be expected to survive an ordeal like this? We all know the dangers: hot cheese can jump off the top of a pizza and drop, like molten lava from a volcano, onto your lap. I will wear an asbestos apron, naturally, just like we all do when eating pizza.
What of the cheese that does not fall into your lap, but rather clings to the roof of your mouth searing and scalding your delicate palate until it seethes with angry blisters. I will make sure to dunk the pizza in ice water for at least 45 minutes, as we were all taught to do at our mother’s knee.
The toppings, though? What if a rogue pepperoni slides down my throat the wrong way? There are just so many things that could possibly go wrong. That’s why I’m judging this contest. I’m doing it for you. I’m doing it to protect you. If I judge this contest and eat this pizza, it will keep you safe.
And that’s what I want to do.
Marty Kelley, children's book author and illustrator, will be one of three judges at this year's PizzaFest Fundraiser and Online Auction. This is an all-you-can-eat (at your own risk) pizza-tasting fundraiser and all proceeds go to benefit the Children's Museum.
Tomorrow, March 17th, is St. Patrick’s Day. In a horrifying affront to my Irish heritage, I grew up loving the Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s. Irish or not, chances are you’ve tasted the bright green concoction that the fast food giant has been selling annually during the month of March since it was first introduced as the St. Patrick’s Day Shake in 1970 and then changed to the Shamrock Shake in 1978. (I can only speak for the New England area. The Shamrock Shake wasn’t available nationally until 2012!)What’s a shamrock taste like anyway? Answer: Mint (apparently)
I haven’t had a Shamrock Shake since I swore off fast food years ago, but when my son is old enough, can I really deny/insult his Irish heritage by withholding this seasonal mint treat? Yes and no.
Yes, I can absolutely stop him from having one. For several reasons. #1. A large Shamrock Shake is an astronomical 820 calories. That’s equal to almost 2 Big Macs or 3 Egg McMuffins. #2. It contains ingredients that are not good for a young child (let alone an adult), such as High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Heavy Cream #3. It includes ingredients that are so scary I can’t even pronounce them, such as Carrageenan, Monoglycerides, Guar Gum, & Polysorbate 80. In total, the Shamrock Shake has over FIFTY ingredients!
No, I will not deny him the deliciousness of the Shamrock Shake because I’ve found a healthy – but, and here’s the key: still very tasty – Shamrock Shake alternative!
The geniuses at Skinny Kitchen created a Skinny & Fat-Free Shamrock Shake that will quickly become a St. Patrick’s Day tradition in our home and most likely yours. It’s 16 ounces and clocks in at only 184 calories! Quite the difference, no? Plus, it only takes about 10 minutes to prepare.
Ingredients for Shake:
¾ cup fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt
½ cup fat-free milk
⅛ teaspoon peppermint extract or mint extract
5 drops green food coloring
2 packets Truvia, Stevia, Splenda or your favorite sugar substitute
3-4 ice cubes
Ingredients for Topping:
Fat-free or Light whipped cream, optional
1. Combine all shake ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Stop blender and stir with a spoon to help blend everything.
2. Pour into a 16 oz glass. Top with light whipped cream, if desired and enjoy immediately. You really don’t need the whipped cream. It still tastes great without it!
The Skinny Kitchen site has a lot more healthy recipes that the whole family will enjoy.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
ps – Don’t forget to check out this vintage television commercial of Grimace’s “Irish” Uncle O’Grimacey shilling the early Shamrock Shakes!