Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Best Dinner Ever

Not the best meal ever (although it was very good, addictive really), but this is what Josie declared while eating her third or forth helping at 9pm (long after dinner was over). I guess we should back up...

Yesterday was like most of Spring Break - filled with friends. We had friends over almost nonstop from 10am until 9pm. I love days filled with friends! Especially our morning friends. We adore this family and their soon to be five beautiful children, but alas they are moving away very soon. It makes us all sad but I know better than to get too attached to people in our college town. Countless friends have come and gone. It is just to heartbreaking if I think about it too long so I think about their new adventure and hope that we'll see them some time in the future on this small planet of ours. The other hard thing about them leaving is how well everyone gone along yesterday. With seven kids playing there is bound to be one issue, but nothing yesterday. They are also a homeschooling family with their eldest a little older than Parker and with Parker seriously debating homeschooling again it is hard for him to see a friend leave the area.

The afternoon was filled with our neighbor friend who is between Josie and Dema's ages, but is really Josie's friend. The girls started out hanging out on our porch while it rained and as the storm blew in we transitioned inside. Her dad and I chatted all afternoon while the girls played ponies and princesses. So nice for Josie because she wants to spend every second outside and playing with a friend helped her get through the rainy/stormy part of the day. Josie has joined her friend for dinner a couple times recently so they wanted to continue playing and have dinner together again, but I had absolutely no idea what I was going to make. Fridays are clean out nights since we typically haven't been to the co-op since the beginning of the week. So our friend went home sad that she couldn't have dinner with us.
Quick-Fix Vegan to the rescue! Sicilian Stuffed Shells was just what the evening needed. Josie and I had a great time going out to the freshly washed garden (thank you, rain!) and picked some parsley. Josie ground the fennel seeds as I put the walnuts, golden raisins, etc. into the food processor. Josie mashed the tofu with the nutritional yeast. I whipped up my marinara sauce. Josie asked if we could make a butternut squash too. Of course! She peeled the squash with some help with Rob as I stuffed the shells.
As we were putting the shells and squash in the oven, we all lamented that our friend didn't stay for dinner since we had plenty. So Rob and Josie walked across the street to see if she still wanted to join us. She did, but her parents were a little nervous since she doesn't always eat for them so she might not eat at our house. I wasn't worried because four kids eating together makes it almost impossible for one not to eat. Right before I put dinner on the table, another neighbor came over to share her news that she was going to be a grandmother again! Our friend's dad came over to see how his daughter was and ended up in Rob's office watching a basketball game on his computer so the kids ate by themselves which works well. I lost count of how many servings Parker had, Josie and Dema had seconds, and our little friend ate hers without a complaint and said it was good. I asked our friend to help make "dessert" because she was impressed that Josie helped make dinner. In our house dessert is almost always fruit so I had her cut some bananas, I spread the almond butter on the bananas, and she topped them with a chocolate chip and cranberries. After dinner the kids were all bouncing off the walls so I included our friend in a new after dinner tradition of ours. We ran a couple laps around the park. The girls did some yoga and dressed up before it was time for our friend to go home. I love our neighborhood.

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