Today was a long though lovely and sunny day here in D.C. We all had cereal for breakfast and headed out to the Metro to get to the National Zoo (which is part of the Smithsonian, who knew?) We had a wonderful day seeing all of the animals and visiting the exhibits. We saw a lot of animals considering the morning started out so cool and nippy, but they were front and center in many of the enclosures. We saw the most amazing otters, a fishercat, red pandas, giant pandas, elephants, birds of all kinds! By 12 noon we were all starving so we went to the Panda Cafe in the park to have some lunch. The kids meals could be purchased in a cute reusable, insulated lunch bag and came with an entree, french fries, apple sauce and an HonestKids apple juice for $8.95. When we considered the cost of buying the lunch a la carte and getting the kids a souvenir we could clearly see it was a deal. The rest of the day was spent looking at the big cats and the great apes. AMAZING time was had by all.
Got home tonight and made a box of Vegetarian Sloppy Joes by Fantastic Would Foods. I have only used their mix before to make falafel so I was taking a chance on their sloppy joes. I somehow misread the box and didn't realize it called for 3 oz. of tomato paste. Fortunately while we were out today I picked up some extra ketchup packets at lunch to sub in for it. I also used some melted butter instead of the oil the mix called for rather than try and skim some olive oil out the the salad dressing. The mix was very easy to make, the butter and ketchup didn't seem to affect the taste or the texture. We served the sloppy joe mix on the whole grain sandwich bread we bought. All in all very yummy.
I also made some oven baked onion rings, a very easy recipe. Just get two egg whites and season them with salt and pepper, dip your sliced rings of onion in the egg whites. Then roll and cover the rings in bread crumbs, put on a baking dish and bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Here's where I made my mistake... I cut the onion rings too thin! Some of them burned to a crisp! If I had made the rings a standard 1/4 inch thick they would have been fine. The ones that didn't burn were great. :)
I also made a box of Annie's Macaroni and Cheese, something I knew the kids would eat regardless. They were lukewarm on the onion rings, okay with the sloppy joes and of course ecstatic over the mac and cheese.
Tomorrow we are hitting the American History Museum, and the Natural History Museum... we've already hit the National archive, the Old Post Office, the Mall and the Washington Monument. Any other places we should go while we are here?