One of the kid's favorite dishes is cauliflower casserole, and for the record, it's a great way to get them to eat cauliflower. In fact, it keeps them coming back for more. It takes a little preparation, and it requires baking, which I always equate with a big production, but man do they love it, as do mom and dad. The plan was to make casserole and bagels, since I loathe the idea of using the oven to make just one thing. It just seems wasteful.
In the morning, I made the sponge for the bagels and let it sit pretty much all day, mainly because I had so many manly things to do in order to compensate for my Martha Stewart aspirations. After taking A to guitar lessons, where KR was astute to teach her my favorite song, Orphan Child, I did school work with the kids, then went to work on the barn. After lunch and doing the dishes, I set about getting dinner ready.
Normally it's nice when the kids want to help, because it shows they're interested and it can be a lot of fun. But when you are pressed for time and are juggling many things, having kids in the kitchen can up the stress level and complicate matters significantly. Still, you don't want them to feel unwelcome, and we adults need to lighten up. So they joined me in all the preparation. N in particular likes to stir and saute and I know is longing to chop with the big knife, but that's a few years away. Also, I figured R wouldn't be home for several hours, so I had plenty of time to clean up all the disasters.
We had a great time using our beautiful new food processor to make bread crumbs, and it was worth the entertainment value alone. We also discovered a good accompaniment to dinner - baked beans. If you get the right brand, they don't use high fructose corn syrup, and it's all natural with no artificial preservatives or colors. Good enough for us, and they taste great. We also found they go well with the casserole. Throw in sweet potato soup, and you not only have a great vegetarian meal, but you get plenty of fiber and protein, and you've covered your veggie colors (green and a red or orange).
Now for the good part. Yesterday I whined about having to make R's raisin bread late into the evening because I'd run out of time during the day. Of course it called for a repeat performance. Since there was so much going on, I couldn't make the bagels until after dinner. I toyed with the idea of either just tossing out the dough and quitting while I was ahead, or leaving it in the cold room until the next day. At the prompting of the kids, however, we decided to forge ahead, with them helping. They actually like making bagels because it is kind of fun... kind of.
Anyway, we managed to get it all done, though I wondered to myself how I get into these situations. Wouldn't it be easier to just buy the things? Yes and no. They don't sell them right around the corner, it's a bit of a trek to get to a bagel shop, and they are expensive. So yes, it is easier to buy them, but not as gratifying or economically savvy (they are both related) as making them.
Besides, you have to ask yourself, what would Martha Stewart do?