Greetings from Camp Mommy! We had a decent week last week, though the football--practice Monday-Thursday, 6pm-8pm--is totally throwing us off. So this week, I have lots of pre-made things so we can do an early dinner and snacks later....anyone who has done the late-practice-starving-kids shuffle, feel free to ring in with suggestions! Last week I tried to feed the boys early (their preference anyway) and have milk and homemade bread after. (Or on really hot nights, popsicles.) Thanks to Lauren for the bread recipe...the boys feel like they are getting away with something, having bread; I feel like I'm getting away with something, baking it with good-for-them ingredients. Sneaky cooking ftw!
On another note, the biggest success on the Very Hungry Caterpillar so far is the zucchini bread my friend baked for us. "It tastes like a brownie!" the young picky one said, and gobbled it up. Note to self: dig out that Jessica Seinfeld cookbook again. Sigh.
This week, we have lots of cousins rotating through, since there was the big graduation party last weekend, so lots of big-group cooking ahead...
Monday: leftover party food (and to answer my commenters...I have a 6 quart crockpot...I made the pork roast three different times, shredded it, and then reheated them together as one big batch).
Tuesday: barbeque chicken, corn on the cob, salad, cornbread (recipe below)
Wednesday: taco fest (meat, black beans, corn, salsa, taco sauce, lettuce, tomatoes)
Thursday: spaghetti and meatballs
Friday: what else? pizza, of course
We had a good week last week...I tried the corn salad (minus the jalapeno) from Raising Foodies, and I loved it, but really--it's fresh corn, what's not to love? I also followed her link to Weekend, where the quick Asian pickle recipe did me well.
We achieved another of our summer goals by getting out the bread machine and trying two different recipes. The one, alas, did not work because the bread flour had turned (no surprise; it was literally inherited from my sister-in-law, who passed away some time ago, and her husband's new wife found the flour tucked away in a freezer and thought if it were still good, I would use it. True, but the fact that my brother in law is (ahem) already remarried was a big hint that the flour was past its prime. But it was fun to do and the ducks at the local farm were happy with it. And Lauren's oat bread (not that I call it that!) made the adventure a success.
Also in the bread department, I am copying my dear friend Doris's trick to yummy cornbread. One of my favorite traditions in the office where I worked before I had kids was our holiday brunches. Doris almost always brought sausages on Pepperidge Farm rolls--so easy, such delish finger food for an office party--and deviled eggs. Then once she brought her famous cornbread, and I really enjoyed it. She laughed and said, "Honestly? It's from the Jiffy box, but I dress it up a little, and you have to use the right technique." And it was easy and kept in my head for forever, and then it wasn't there, and luckily Doris sent it along in an email so I'll never lose it again. And my picky one loves cornbread, and loves to cook with me, so here's what we're doing for the cornbread:
from Doris: Lately, I’ve been mixing my own ingredients and not using Jiffy, but basically: Drain one can of Green Giant shoe peg white corn or Niblets and stir into cornbread batter. Pour into lightly greased iron skillet, let rest a minute or two, and bake per instructions on the box. Insert toothpick to make sure it’s done in the middle. Serve right out of the skillet! You can vary the recipe by mixing in chopped peppers, onions, or other stuff. Enjoy! I wouldn't think these little things would make a big difference. But they do.
The real trick at this point for me is getting dinner on the table by 5. It's a big switch for us since Dad usually isn't home until 7, and we were trying for years to do real Family Dinners, but clearly, this is not in the cards for us for the near future. The kids are starving by 5, and trying to eke them along to 7 isn't good for anyone. So we'll let go of this dream for now, and work on Things That Work for where we are now. I'll let you know next week whether this plan got us closer to that goal.
How are others celebrating summer in dinners? Go see at I'm an Organizing Junkie!