We needed a semi-fast meal for today's dinner due to soccer practice at 6. Our macaroni and cheese recipe (this is a similar recipe) took less than 20 minutes and I was excited to try it. I went to Meijer ahead of time to find 2.5 cups of organic cheddar cheese. HOLY EXPENSIVE! I found a bag of 1.5 for $4.99, so I grabbed two, but will be looking for cheaper options elsewhere.
I read the ingredients in the recipe and saw "1 1/2 cups uncooked whole-grain pasta, such as elbow macaroni or penne" and I stopped reading figuring it was telling me about other types of pasta to use. After the casserole was cooked (and slightly cooled), I scooped out a small part for each of the kids plate and a larger portion for mine. I dug right in! It was crunchy....
I grabbed the book and finished reading that portion "...cooked according to the package directions". Why in the world would it say uncooked whole-grain pasta and then, in the same line, say to cook it! Very frustrating, but completely my fault. I cooked it for 10 minutes longer, and it was a titch better, but the kids wouldn't touch it. I had lost their interest and trust. We had 5 minutes until C had to leave for practice, so we ended up with apples with peanut butter and applesauce.
With Halloween the next day, the next step was making treats. I have been asked by multiple people why I did this around Halloween time. Well, if it wasn't Halloween, then it would have been something else. It would have been birthday parties, or classroom parties, or work conferences. The only time that is the right time is now.
I found 2 recipes from the 100 Days of Real Food book that I was going to make. One was a popcorn and almond/cashew mix (think Cracker Jack) and a 4 ingredient peanut butter cup recipe (similar recipe here). I would be setting my kids up for failure if I sent my kids into the the Halloween war zone with no ammunition. Hud and B were VERY excited to help with the peanut butter cups. As you can see from the picture, we used an unsweetened cacao bar. Just like when you and I were kids, the thought of a chocolate bar was tempting, so you had to try it!! He said "Mmmm!" <pause> "MOM! I NEED TO SPIT THIS OUT!!". Luckily I was ready for it.
These were so simple to make. Hud was humming with pleasure when he was licking the spoon! By that time, it was ready for bed (the kids, not me. I had more ammunition to make). I made 2 batches of the "Cracker Jack" popcorn (one with almonds, one with cashews), followed by the 5 lunches we needed for tomorrow. I was stuck with the left over mac n cheese.
At this point, I was ready to be done, but I still had prep work to do for C's party. Making and grocery shopping for real food is tough. It's not easy. It's not going to get you into bed at 10pm the day before a children's holiday party. BUT, it will make you feel better and will detox your body of sodium and toxins (aka bloat).
Each of the kids got a bag with 2 chocolates (the rest were brought in for Hud's classroom party), a bag of "Cracker Jacks" (the rest was brought in for B's classroom party), cut up apple, and a Vitamin Water. I was officially helping in C's classroom, so I brought in a store bought bag of popcorn (only contained 3 ingredients!), Ghost Poop (aka mini-marshmallows - this I thought was a cute idea. Even though C couldn't have any, it was fun to bring in), and an orange/apple/grape pumpkin. It wasn't exactly like the picture, but if my Facebook friends can see a face, then I was good!
I laid in bed wide awake until past 2am. My mind was racing to make sure I had everything planned and figured out. Cross your fingers that the parties go well!
1. Read the entire recipe first. Including all parts of a line.
2. Always have a backup plan for food
3. Chocolate is fantastic