I have finally done enough unpacking to feel comfortable inviting some people over to my house. The apartment is still not stranger-ready, really, but it is looking good enough to have friends over. Woohoo!

On Friday of this past weekend, I had two other single moms from my childrens’ school over with their kids. I am glad I have the bigger apartment to accomodate 3 moms and 6 kids (mostly the 6 kids–they need a lot of space!). I got out my cool appetizer platter and put roasted garlic hummus in the center, then piled sun-dried tomato and basil Wheat Thins, baby carrots, olives, pickles, dried plums and a spicy nut mix. I gave the kids some veggie sticks, which sound healthy, but is really just slightly healthier junk food. Many of them came in and ate pickles, olives and baby carrots, too, though. One 6 year old boy even drank some of the pickle juice! Just a little bit, because we wanted to see if he really would like it. He said it was good, but he didn’t clamor for more when it was done ;-).

For dinner we had chickpeas and yukon gold potatoes cooked in a store bought vindaloo sauce that was actually nicely spicy. I find that a lot of store-bought sauces are too bland for me, but this one had a definite kick. We had brown basmati rice cooked with bombay saffron rice spice and Thai green beans from Trader Joe’s. I was worried that it wouldn’t be enough food, but many of the children were too busy playing to eat much, so I had plenty of leftovers to enjoy.

I had so much fun having people over on Friday that I did it again on Saturday. This time I invited my friend Mandy, her 11 year old daughter and one of her neices, A. My daughter has been wanting to do more with A for some time, but she goes to a different school, and I am not friends with her mother, so we don’t see them very often. This time we were pretty casual. We had some hummus and flatbread for an appetizer, and I made a pasta with carmelized cauliflower recipe from the most recent issue of Vegetarian Times. (Have I ever mentioned how much I love that magazine? There is always something in there that I want to make, usually more than one thing. In this same issue is a wonderful looking vegan moussaka, which I am going to make sometime when I have more time available. And some adorable cranberry molds I am going to use to replace my gelatin based cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, as mentioned below.) Everyone ate at least some of the dish, which I consider a success with picky pre-teen girls.

On another note, I was mistaken, the children will be with me for Thanksgiving this year! There are definitely some times when I am glad to be wrong. I am still doing most of my cooking at home, though, and avoiding the smoke.

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