Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Top of the World

We needed a quick and easy break from the normal tonight. I remember dining by candlelight on the top of a freeway overpass with a date years ago. It was simple but the change in scenery made it special.

Little Mother carried the lightweight table, I carried the picnic backpack, complete with tablecloth, candle, and sparkly drink.

The girls loved watching the world go underneath them. Many passing under us waved. We waved back. We connected with a world we did not know personally and discussed the amazing fact that so many people we did not know were going about their business and God knows them all.

The food was a complete hit. Sunshine gave the Southwest Pockets a "V", our family's victory sign for a delicious meal. The other favorite was a simple snack of Nutella and apples.

Southwestern Bundles are a classy take on a simple favorite. Try them. They travel well and are fabulous and easy... a great combination!

Southwest Pockets
(Makes 8 pockets)

2 cups diced cooked chicken (I used the Costco canned chicken)
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 4 oz can diced green chilies
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cumin
2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup dry seasoned stuffing, coarsely crushed or seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds (optional but fun)

In a large bowl cream together cream cheese, 1/2 cup softened butter, green chilies, green onions, chili powder and cumin. Add chicken and combine; set aside. Separate crescent rolls to form 8 rectangles, pressing seams together. Place 1/2 cup of chicken mixture in the middle of each rectangle and roll up ends to cover filling.
Seal edges securely. Dip each folded roll into melted butter and then carefully roll in stuffing mixed with sunflower seeds. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Top with Black Bean Salsa.

Black Bean Salsa - This is also a wonderful dip for chips. Trust me it disappears!

1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 ounces frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped ripe tomatoes, drained
1-2 avocados, chopped

In a large bowl, combine beans, corn, cilantro, green onions, red onions, lime juice, oil and cumin. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Just before serving stir in tomatoes and avocados.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Picnic of Chance

To celebrate Spring, we took a walk around our neighborhood. At each corner we rolled the dice, at an even roll we went right, at an odd roll we went left. In addition, we rolled to see which numbered food we would eat.

Our picnic consisted of 6 items: Mediterranean Wraps/Bagels, Kale Crisps, Sweet Potato Crisps, Strawberry Ladybugs, Soda, and Rice Crispy Treats. The roll of a six meant we ate the Rice Crispy Treats first. The roll of the dice continued till we had gobbled up the entire picnic.

The dice took us around our neighborhood in new ways. We picked out our favorite landscapes and houses. At one point my children said, "Mom, those people driving by are staring at us!"
"That is because they are wishing they could have such a nice picnic too."
"Oh. O.K."

Here are some of our picnic foods. The Kale Crisps and the Ladybugs came from Family Fun.

Mediterranean Wraps- So healthy and absolutely delicious!
Rosemary Wraps
Gouda Cheese
Honey Maple Turkey
Olive Salad or imported olives, chopped
Mixed Greens

Layer the ingredients on a wrap. Roll up and cut in 1/2.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes - We eat these like candy... and no, I don't like sweet potatoes.
2 sweet potatoes, sliced thinly
olive oil
Kosher Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray cooking sheet with olive oil spray or cover with olive oil. Toss sliced potatoes with a little bit (1 T) olive oil till coated. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Salt and pepper and sprinkle with Rosemary. Roast for 16 minutes.

Kale Crisps- I knew these were a "healthy snack" but wasn't sure if the kids or husband would eat them. I thought they had a bit of a kale aftertaste. BUT, everyone had thirds and fourths. They all asked me to make it again. Next Time I'll experiment with a season salt.

Olive Oil
Kosher Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coarsely chop Kale, place in bowl or plastic bag and toss with 1-2 T of olive oil until coated. Lay on baking sheet with none overlapping and sprinkle with salt. Cook 8 minutes or until crisp.

Strawberry Ladybugs
Red Grapes
Chocolate Chips

With a sharp knife, score the back of the strawberry to make the wings. thread the strawberry on a skewer. Top with a Grape. With finger, press in chocolate chips for spots.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools Day Dinner

I experienced limited success trying to give my children fun jokes today. I tried to redeem myself at dinner. Early in the day I unveiled the menu. Backwards, of course, because it is a crazy type of day.

Strawberry-Banana Lemonade
Cupcakes with a side of Broccoli Salad
Eggs over easy, their favorite
and for dessert, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

We dressed in our most foolish finery.

We dined at a most foolish table. Ties hung from the chandelier, boots held flowers, and the side dishes rode on trucks. (I love hot glue!) It was so fun to give the little truck a push and see it roll to the next person!

Ladybug kept flatulating when she moved. (poor girl was sitting next to me and I was thrilled to work a push button whoopee cushion for the first time so I got a little carried away).

Two at our table kept spilling their water because they had holes poked under the rim of their cups.

After dinner, we played truth or dare. Dad ran around the yard in his finery squawking like a chicken. We found that Ladybug's teacher caught her picking her nose. Sunshine stood on her head and drank water... and then went nuts with the whoopee cushion which was her favorite part of the evening.

Dinner was consumed. Everyone loved it. YEAH!!!!!

Cupcakes were meatloaf cupcakes frosted with garlic mashed potatoes dyed a lovely pale purple.

The Strawberry Lemonade was difficult to slurp through a straw, though we all had a great time trying, because it was jello.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches really were what they seemed. I just made the sandwiches with toasted angel food cake and the cheese was strawberry cream cheese mixed with Cool-Whip and dyed a lovely orange. Finally my sort of success on April Fool's.