Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cool Food and Cool Moments

This week we have very unexpectedly had two unusual meals for dinner. Both turned out ok, but neither one really conventional "dinner".

First was two nights ago. I was procrastinating about dinner and actually dozed off on the couch and while I was, Jonathon took his brothers to the stove with beans they had just removed from the pods and proceeded to cook them "for his dinner". These are green beans that grew in our garden that grew too big, so we left them on like seed beans and then picked them all. So we have a pile of these long white bean seeds that are just starting to dry.

Well, Jonathon had a little pot, James had a little pot, and Jeff had a little pot- all with beans and water in them on the stove cooking for dinner. Not only did they have their stuff in the works, but that left me with virtually no room to do anything else. So, I improvised. I did a little searching and came up with three bean dips that seemed slightly appetizing and told them they could each make one and then we could all try them to see what we liked best. I was happy with the results.

Jonathon chose a Cheese and Bean Pate. It included his beans, ricotta cheese, lemon juice, some herbs and seasonings and getting chilled in the freezer for a short time. We ate it with crackers. Yummy!

James got a Mint Bean Spread that had a little Middle Eastern flare to it with fresh mint (I LOVE MY HERB GARDEN!!!) tahini (sesame seed paste(yes I had this on hand...along with all the other weird ingredients I needed for these meals)), the beans, and some garlic and onions and such. It was much chunkier than Jonathon's and went well with veggies. It had a bolder flavor and while I thought it was good, it was not a fave of the kids.

Jeff got a Mexican bean dip that actually called for pinto beans, but we improvised. It had the usual tomato paste, cumin, onion, jack cheese, etc. that is in a mex. dish and was baked hot in the oven. Served with chips, this was a winner too.

Somehow with just these three dips and various dippers, we all ended up satisfied.

Oh, well, I had some unbaked cookie dough and some chopped up mini Crunch bars that I turned into a small dessert treat. And THEN everyone was happy.

Tonight, however was the kicker. I FORGOT to put my meat in the crock pot and so didn't get it in until about 3:30- (This = TOO LATE) Anyway, I was planning to have some Dijon beef with hot buttered noodles, fried eggplant crisps(from our garden) with mozzarella and oven dried cherry tomatoes (garden) and sauteed cabbage (garden) with apple pie for dessert (apples going bad in the fridge). I know this sounds really even sounds ridiculous to me- I didn't even have anyone coming over. But I was inspired by the eggplant -first ones we've gotten, and hadn't had cabbage in a while, and the meat and noodles were easy. Oh, and the pie, well, I cut apples while Brandon prepped lunch today, so that made that easy. (He's on vacation.) (And I use these little curvy line things a lot!) Anyway, the meat wasn't cooked and somehow I decided that since we didn't have any meat, then we didn't need noodles to put it on. So that left us with eggplant and cabbage for dinner. With apple pie to wash it down.

We consumed ALL the eggplant. Even Rachel liked them- except the tomato part, but the others even liked that. I think I had almost 50 fried slices. MMMmmmmm! in those cool Japanese bread crumbs too- Panko, it's called. With a little mozzarella and tomato on top, they were good. I added a little salt to mine, cause I knew I forgot to add it to the flour and they were perfect. The cabbage stood up well to the kids too! I cooked it in a combo of beef broth, butter, mustard, and s&p...and maybe something else...I can't remember- but it was good. Jonathon went back for seconds and just raved about how much he loved cabbage!

Then we had the pie for dessert. I had one granny smith and several gala apples, so a bit of a mix. And I forgot and only made one crust, so I did a crumb topping- but with regular sugar instead of brown because I had run out. Bottom line- it was devoured- AND I made two pies, so one is delightfully awaiting breakfast in the morning to be sided with some hot scrambled eggs and I think perhaps some grits. I have some fresh kiwi that needs to be consumed as well, so that might come out in the morning too.

After dinner, (I love my kids!) Jonathon poked out his belly and said, "Look how stuffed I am!" Jeff replied, "Yeah, now we need to do some work!" So we all spontaneously left the kitchen the disaster that it was and trooped outside to stack wood for about 10-15 minutes. We got a little chain going and stacked a bunch of wimpy wood and then the boys tried to find the biggest pieces they could. I had a couple of things land on my bare foot in the process, but even Joseph was trying to stack his little branches and all that cuteness made up for the mistakes. was a good time...Hooray for good food. Not necessarily what I would have planned on, or shopped for, but we ate what we had and it was fun too! Praise the Lord.

Amusing thought to leave you with:

Words Defined by James

Receipt: v. to get up and move to another chair


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