Yesterday, our family went out for lunch together (to the "ham store" -- see this post for another funny story about this place). Our children love this particular restaurant, and they eat better there than almost any other place -- even home, sometimes. So we weren't that hungry for dinner, but, and you can call me crazy here, I feel somewhat guilty if I don't provide sustenance of some sort for every meal.
Enter CPod. I was playing outside with the kids when he got home from work. Inside, left to his own devices, he decided to cook up some steel-cut oats for dinner. (He's really awesome, I know.) If you haven't tried them, you should, especially if you're an oatmeal fan in the first place.
Now, Lil' Maa-Maa can eat himself some oatmeal. He loves every bite -- or at least every bite that doesn't somehow drip down the front of his shirt to the chair or hardwood floor (the kid is supremely mess-making talented). The twins? Not so much the oatmeal fans.
ConMan has been known to fake-wretch if my culinary efforts do not meet his standards (read: Honey-Nut Cheerios, Eggo waffles, hors d'oeuvre-like slices of ham, cheese and crackers, applesauce, grapes, and string cheese -- you get the picture). And G-Dog accidentally-on-purpose spills anything he doesn't want to eat. ("Oh, no, Mommy, it's been on the floor. I can't eat that!" Unless, of course, it's a cookie, in which case the 10-second rule is sure to apply.)
So CPod and I stood in the kitchen wracking our brains, trying to figure out a way to get them to eat oatmeal when, and I'm totally bragging here, I had a moment of absolute genius: what works in cookies, will probably work in the bowl. And that's how we came to put chocolate chips in our cereal. Let me tell you, I am a believer. If you add the chocolate chips to the oatmeal the same time you put in your sweetener of choice (mine is dark brown sugar), stir briefly, and then immediately pour a little milk on top, the chocolate melts, but doesn't entirely lose it's shape . . . yummy, gooey, lusciousness in a bowl. And it's good for you! Two of my kids actually liked it. ComMan was the hold-out, but we persuaded him to eat three daddy-sized bites, and then I could go to book club with a clear conscience.
In other news, yesterday, the twins and I went on a preschool field trip to a local farm. Everyone came home with a little mini-pumpkin (G-Dog was absolutely insistent that we get an extra one for Lil' Maa-Maa, who spent the morning with his daddy walking our land and going out for breakfast) and then everyone went to bed with a little mini-pumpkin, too. Adorable! It's like they think they're stuffed animals or something. I caught ConMan and G-Dog watering their pumkpins this morning, because then they could grow into big pumpkins. How can you be mad about that mess of water all over the floor?
Also, I've decided to boycott the game Jenga for . . . oh, the rest of my life. Not because I've played it lately, at least not officially. But because I had a really awful experience at the grocery store the other night. Let me explain.
I make a really fantastic salad with spinach, apples, walnuts and cheese. Out of walnuts, though, so I picked some up at the store late the other night . . . really late, like 11PM. And I'm really trying to be frugal, so instead of buying the prepackaged walnuts, I tried to use the self-service bins where you pull the handle, and the chute opens up to fill your bag with your desired nut variety, or trail mix, or whatever. Tried. Over and over. Because those walnuts were crammed in that bin just like Jenga pieces. Every time I pulled the handle, one walnut would loosen just the slightest bit, enough to give me hope that maybe next time it would fall, and if one could fall, the 6 ounces I needed might soon follow. Here's how it went down: Shake the container (violently, repeatedly -- no one's around, it's nearly midnight and the store is about to close), pull the handle, about a thousand times, catch my one walnut in the bag. Mind you, the bin is on the bottom shelf, so I'm like half-way sit/squatting on the dirty grocery store floor. Repeat. Again. Again. And somewhere in the back of my mind, I know that eventually, just like Jenga, the entire house of cards is going to fall and I'm going to end up with a lot more walnuts than I bargained for. Which is exactly what happened. Oh, well. Walnuts, anyone?
And here's the recipe for the salad:
Granny Smith apple, peeled and thinly sliced
Small cubes of sharp cheddar cheese
Dress immediately before serving with:
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. maple syrup (I know!)