real food. real life.
Whew! What a busy weekend! 2 Birthdays and Father's Day! My teacher-planning skills were put to the test this week - making and checking to-do lists, planning menus and activities... I am glad it's over. But, hey, who am I kidding - I loved it all. Tiring - yes. But I loved every second of it.
Hannah celebrated her first birthday (and, I, my 31st), and then Lee had his very first Father's Day today. We had about 40 people over to our house on Saturday for the big festivities. BBQ, presents, birthday cake. The whole deal. It was a lot of planning, but it all worked out great. We had amazing sunshiny weather, which helped immensely as the kids played in the yard and everyone was able to come and go from the deck to the kitchen. Definitely makes our little house feel a little bigger when we can use the outdoors!
A big part of the planning was food, of course. What recipe I wanted to use for Hannah's birthday cake, of course, hoping to make it sugar-free and not use dairy. What easy, make-ahead or cook-easy foods to serve a crowd of children-grandparents, but still trying to keep it true to my style of cooking - healthy and delicious. We settled on BBQ burgers with side salads for the meal, and chocolate beet cupcakes with chocolate avocado frosting for dessert.
The burgers we made ahead of time, with pork, fresh chives and spices, oats and an egg, and froze them. Easy to grill up. I also made a batch of veggie burgers the day before, which were eaten up, so wasn't a waste! (Yes, we did have hotdogs as well... I just can't escape them, no matter how hard I try!)
I tried to find other frosting recipes to try for Hannah's cake, but nothing could beat the simplicity, fool-proof recipe, and delicious texture of avocado frosting. So easy to make, stores so well, and tastes great.
For the salads, I wanted to make a couple. But they had to store well in the fridge so I could make ahead of time, use some of the local ingredients I had from the farm share, but appeal to both children and adults. For one salad, I settled on a simple pasta salad with just some grape tomatoes and peppers and simple sweet dressing. That's easy to make ahead of time, and usually, something children will eat.
The second salad was a new one for me! I wanted something like a coleslaw, that could be made a day ahead of time, but still offer some use of leafy greens or something healthy. I looked around on the internet and came across this pairing - Kale and Apple. Perfect - I have tons of apples at any given time because of the farm share, and could easily find kale this time of year. Kale is such a thick leafy green and can hold up to a dressing for more than a few hours. Plus, it may be something not many have tried. I love introducing new food! It's got a nice crunch, as well. Paired with a sweet apple - it worked out great! I used a poppyseed dressing, just using some basic kitchen essentials. It held up really well, looked pretty, and tasted wonderful! I was impressed! So, here it is! Try it at your next BBQ!
Total Time: 10 minutes??? Just slicing, shaking, and combining :)
1 big bunch of kale
3 apples, any kind!
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
Pinch of sea salt & pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
What to do:
1) Cut the thick stems out of eat leaf of kale. They are bitter tasting and not needed. Roll the leaf up and cut down, sliced into thin pieces, similar to that of a 'slaw'. Place in a large bowl.
2) Slice up apple in a similar way, match-stick style. Add to kale and toss together.
3) For the dressing, place all other ingredients in a jar or plastic container. Cover well and shake! Shake until evenly combined. Test taste and adjust ingredients, if needed (sometimes a bit more sweetener or salt). Pour over kale and apples and toss well to combine. Let sit, covered, in refrigerator for about 15 minutes if serving right away, or refrigerate for up to a day ahead. It should still be crunchy and delicious.
We really cooked these things. From scratch. On weeknights. And we even had time to do the dishes.
They have real, simple ingredients that you'll find in your cupboards. They're healthy and delicious. No lies.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment below!
Here's a pic of me and my babies. Just because.
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