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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kid-friendly Dinner

I am making the kids macaroni and cheese, steamed carrots and broccoli, applesauce with cinnamon and fresh bread for dinner tonight. It is sort of a "thank you in advance for being good for the baby-sitter" dinner, since I am getting to GO OUT for a drink with my HUSBAND tonight! This (in case you missed the DRAMA CAPS) is a big deal. My husband and I are in possession of your standard two year old and frankly she has been too high maintenance until recently to entrust to a teenager. But now that she has been successfully potty-trained for 6 months and has recently been a bit more reasonable we have decided to chance it. So here's the story, we're going to go out for drinks at a restaurant and piano bar that is within walking distance of our house, the babysitter will have my hubby's cell number, the 8 year old will have my cell phone, the baby-sitter's mom lives one street over from us. I think we will probably only be out for an hour or two at the most, including walking time. Perfect window for a first time trial for baby-sitting, right? Right.

So, a note about macaroni. Once upon a time my fomer boss told me the secret to all fabulous macaroni was to replace half the milk with sour cream. Like whatever recipe you use, just use half milk and half sour cream. Well, I had his macaroni and cheese and I have to say it is delicious! But seriously, I can't make mac and cheese like that all the time, not with a straight face anyhow. However the idea stuck with me and since then when I have been making macaroni I have been thankful for having that little nugget tucked away. For instance there have been times when I have been low on milk and been able to pull the half sour cream/half milk trick as an extender. I was once completely out of milk and I subbed in some half and half, that totally worked too. I even used half heavy cream and half water and THAT worked. So if you are anything like me and the thought of jumping in the car to retrieve ONE ITEM (drama caps!) makes you feel like kicking inanimate objects, maybe you can file these away as emergency substitutions.

The bread that I made today is from the aforementioned "A Year in Bread" blog. They have a wonderful bread there called "Farmhouse White" and they have full instructions and pictures and can basically walk you right through making this wonderful treat. There is also a Farmhouse Whole Wheat bread recipe, but I usually make the basic Farmhouse White, but I use soft winter whole wheat to make it. When you see bread called "white wheat" that is usually what it is. The best thing about this bread recipe is that it makes 3 loaves at time. One to devour immediately with butter, one to cool and store, and one to give to a friend! At least until you get to the wondrous stage where making bread is "no big deal", you do it all the time, and then you get to cool and store 2 loaves, but I still like to give one away. Another thing I like is that it is a very basic recipe that lends itself easily to all sorts of wonderful experimentation. Add some honey instead of sugar or even add molasses, use milk or water or a mixture of milk and water if you want, add in some oat flour or a few wheat berries, it is very versatile and makes great sandwich bread.

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