Our kids get free books from Reading is Fundamental. We decided to do a Dr. Seuss-themed holiday reading extravaganza for our book giveaway. (Kid: “Why Dr. Seuss? Is it his birthday?” Me: “…No, we just like Dr. Seuss.”)
I wore whimsical footwear for the occasion.
We invited parents and family to be a part of our book party, and as such served refreshments. Since I got seriously tired of almost-empty boxes languishing in our kitchen for far too long, I decided to make Clean Out The Pantry Snack Mix.
The dry goods:
Ritz crackers. Animal crackers. Graham crackers. Cheese Nips. Corn Flakes. Frosted Flakes. Cheerios. Grape Nuts.
Considerable textural and flavor variety, eh?
The fun glaze ingredients:
Nuked together. It smelled like delicious sin.
Did not capture the final image, but suffice it to say that Snack Mix is more like Crack Mix. Actually, the kids were largely uninterested. But the staff, oh the staff. We could not stop.
Another party supply was an awesome, culturally-appropriate, super nutritious thing sent by the food bank:
Beautiful fresh ripe avocados!
For for mashing… tortilla chips in the background… that can only mean GUACAMOLE.
I’m sure that the parents of the kids I work with make far, far superior guacamole to my own, but all things considered I did all right. I used gorgey fresh avocado (so perfectly ripe! I’m guessing the food bank got it because the grocery store had to move it cause it’s so ripe and I say LUCKY FOR US!), salsa that already had a lot of goodness (tomato, onion, chiles, spices), and fresh lime juice.
I brought the limes from home. Yes, they are unattractive (we buy large Costco bags and some of them don’t get used for… kind of a long time). But they are fine on the inside, honest.
All mashey mashed together and we had ourselves a beautiful bowl of guacamole.
Another one that the staff went CRAZY on. And we have leftovers (it was a LOT of avocado!).
Storage tip: if you want the avocado to keep from turning brown, refrigerate it with plastic wrap pressed down on it and also- this is key- leave a pit in. There’s something chemical about having the pit in it. I don’t get it, but it’s cool and it works.
So as usual I prephotographed these things before our event and got nothing from the event itself. Though I’d never show our kids’ faces in the blog anyway, obviously.
Anyway, as so often happens, I worked late and then sat around with my coworkers wrapping up the day, cleaning up, and kvetching about our job. Which is fun, and necessary because despite having a fun job it also has its stressful moments. However, the eating of the ludicrous amounts of snack mix, guacamole, and Swedish Fish was NOT necessary.
I came home and had no interest in dinner but wanted to precook for potluck, ideally something wholesome to undo some of the abuse I had just wreaked on my body. Seriously, this job!
Anyway, inspiration struck. My aunt had sent me a text earlier this week:
I lacked the energy or the desire to research and then execute something ambitious from Epicurious, but I sure as heck had carrots:
Remember the monster carrots I cut up at work? The kids barely ate any.
We tried to put them out again today, and the kids and the parents… barely ate any. My boss said that rather than food going to waste (shame shame shame never ever!) one of us should just take them home, which I did.
I just did a super basic carrot soup, beginning by sauteing onions and ginger on medium-low heat until the onions were very soft.
Then I added the carrots, and covered them with water. Felt like being virtuous and cupboard-cleaning some more so I added the last fifth or so of a can of orange juice concentrate in our freezer and the last of a basically empty jar of paprika. Then brought all that to a boil, and simmered, covered, until the carrots were tender. Then blended in phases in a blender with some chopped fresh parsley.
For flavah, I finished it off with sherry, balsamic, salt and pepper, cumin, and a bit of honey.