Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dinner and Dessert on Day 7

It totally shocks me that today is only the 7th day of school.  I was just saying today that it truly feels like we never left.  With the new mandates and standards and pacing guides, I am already working these poor 10-year-olds like nobody's business - not to mention working myself!

Exhausted or not, I had a meal planned for dinner tonight and I was determined to get it done.  I am obsessed with roasted vegetables.  Perhaps you noticed this since I have been mostly living on my roasted vegetable chickpea salad.  So when I spotted Giada De Laurentiis' baked penne with roasted vegegetables, I was pumped. It actually didn't take too long either; I started when I got home from school and it was ready about 20 minutes after Mom came down from getting Dad to bed.  The vegetables roasted for about 20 minutes, and took up two huge baking sheets.  There are onions, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms (I couldn't find crimini; I just used those regular white ones you always see), red bell pepper, and peas; in fact there are more veggies than pasta, which makes me feel like it simply must be healthy.  Never mind the fact that there are three -count 'em - different types of cheeses melted in there (smoked mozzarella, parmesan, and fontinella, although it called for fontina but Stop & Shop didn't have it).  Pasta, cheese, tomato sauce, and tons of amazing roasted vegetables: what's not to like?  Mom, Mark I devoured this meal and I even caught Rach having seconds despite lots of whining about the mushrooms (she did say it would be her favorite meal ever minus the shrooms and plus more pasta).  Mom said she loved it and claimed to be full far earlier than she wanted to be because she'd have liked to keep eating.  It is really filling for a vegetarian pasta dish!  Anyway, big success for dinner!

Then Mom gave me a list of recipes that she would prefer for dessert.  Most of them were weird, as expected, but I finally decided that I would just give the woman what she wanted, and I made date nut bread.  I don't love dates or nuts, and the recipe seemed to have a frightening lack of flavoring (where is the vanilla!?).  Mom said it relies on the dates and the nuts, and that was even more scary.  But it was pretty easy to make, and it was nice to finally have Mom excited to try something I was baking!  The recipe is from some lady at our church and Mom claimed it was a good one.  So, I made it.  An hour in the oven, and out came a dark-colored, rather good-smelling loaf of bread.  I cut slices for Mom, Mark and me and followed Mom's directions by putting some cream cheese on top (who knew?).  I will say that I was pleasantly surprised.  I wouldn't say this is the best thing I ever ate, but it was better than I thought.  Mark said he liked it too ("this is wicked good")... and as for Mom?  The moment of truth??  I will let these pictures speak for themselves. 

P.S. Linny come back and visit before she eats it all!

baked penne with roasted vegetables

Lola's Date Nut Bread

1 cup dates, chopped small
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a loaf pan.

2) Mix dates, nuts, baking soda and boiling water together in a bowl.  Set aside and let cool.

3) Cream sugar and shortening until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time and beat.

4)  Add the date nute mixture and beat well.

5)  Add flour and mix.

6) Pour in prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour.

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