We have just wrapped up a busy but wonderful week here in the L household. The tree is up, the outside is decorated and almost all of the gifts are under control! It's been a bit weird to miss all of the social gatherings that usually take place this time of year.....the fun in dressing up, dinners out, walking from cocktails to dinner all bundled up in the cold with friends...it's those little things that have made this year a bit melancholy.
I am grateful for two Zoom Happy Hours this week and the Cards Against Humanity/ugly sweater party that is being scheduled!
Pad Thai: Making a weekly meal plan, if you are me, always becomes more complicated than it has to be. I can't seem to settle on a wheelhouse of meals, so I am always trying something new. Problem #1: I make more work for myself - Problem #2: I go through creative, enthusiastic planning periods...and then complete ruts - Problem #3: You have set the bar very high and cause yourself to have to hustle to maintain the standards YOU set. Sigh. Well - the Whole Foods app has this sneaky way of recommending items, just as I am about to check out. Last week, this was a box of frozen zucchini spirals. So of course, I threw two into the cart - having no plan of how to use them. Thank goodness for indexes in cookbooks, because Ami Valpone, and her cookbook called, Eating Clean (get it here!) saved the day. You can read more about Ami, and this delicious Pad Thai recipe, here!
Outschool: Okay - I accidentally discovered this program through the magic of a google search! In trying to find Covid friendly online offerings to keep the child engaged with other children and interested....I searched online Lego classes (expecting to find nothing)l Outschool describes themselves as a "marketplace for live online classes for kids". They have everything from legos, to biology to farting....tons of classes and teachers...and most classes are around $10.00. Score. So, since G had an amazing school week, and because Fridays are hard....I registered him for the Master Lego Challenge class. It was adorable and a great way to introduce the kids to something different in this Covid infested world. I highly recommend checking out their courses, or looking into becoming a teacher within their online platform!
Nuts: I go through periods of time where nuts are my favorite snack. So much so, that I can tend to overdo it with cashews, pistachios or pecans. This is especially a problem if they happen to be candied or flavored....who wants boring food anyway? I had a hankering for salt and pepper potato chips (my favorite!), so instead of denying myself completely, but in the spirit of healthy eating, I decided to make salt and pepper cashews. This is way easier than I assumed, and I don't know why I haven't made them before.
1. Place as many cashews, as you would like to make, in a bowl and toss them with a little more olive oil than you assume they need (not dripping in oil, but heavily coated). Save the bowl!
2. Spread out evenly on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 until lightly browned - being sure to stir every few minutes. These took about 12-15 minutes to bake.
3. Let them cool for a few minutes, slide them back into the bowl and toss with salt and pepper to taste (I used a lot of pepper!)
4. Store (if there are any left to store) in a glass jar!
Gingerbread: Each week, G's best friend and his Mom come over for a socially distanced, outdoor play-date. They are in typical fashion, unorganized and free, but, I wanted the boys to get to do something Christmasy....so I offered up the idea of a cookie decorating party....which I think was well received by all. I used a Gingerbread recipe and cream cheese frosting recipe from the NY Times Cooking App (get it! worth the $4.99 a month!). We didn't have any fancy piping tips for the icing, so I placed it into baggies, massaged some food coloring into it and cut the tip off for decorating! Needless to say, it was a super fun and delicious afternoon : )