Dinner and conversation. Which can be problematic some of the time.. a subject for a different blog though.
I like to make dinner entertaining, and to that end have been having "theme dinners" for several years now.
Theme Dinners have a theme (go figure) usually relating to something that happened in history on that day or something that is happening in current events.
One of our first theme dinners was on a Veteran's Day. We wanted to teach The Children about what veterans were, so our menu was war themed. We had "Redcoats in a Blanket" for the Revolutionary War, "M*A*S*H'ed Potatoes" for the Korean War, "Kaiser Rolls" for WWI... you get the idea. Then we got the opportunity to talk about each war at dinner.
For the 2004 summer Olympics, we had a Greek dinner, with authentic Greek food. We bought special plates (at the dollar store) and at the end of the meal we all threw our plates into the fireplace! The Boy, who was 3 at the time, had eyes as big as the plates when he yelled "Oplah!" Cute. Later The Mr and I took the shards of the plates and made this mosaic to remember the Olympics and our dinner (can you see the Olympic rings in it?).
We made Mount Zentmore for President's Day one year when my sister was visiting. This was a great project where we got to stick our faces in goo that sets up into a form that you can pour plaster into. Worth the effort I think... you might ask my sister if she thinks so too as one of those is her face.
Sometimes we do crafts - this is one our "Christmas Cards for Santa" dinners where we all wrote (painted actually) a card to Santa on a ceramic tile.
We turned our house into the M.S. Zentdam when we had a cruise ship themed dinner (and yes, we had a lifeboat drill - mandatory attendance).
Tonight our theme was International Pasta. We found some great pastas at the Farmer's Market the other day. We bought some curry angel hair pasta and some habanero radiatore. We had a lot of great produce to use, so I tried to put it all together.
We had Italian sauce, with whole wheat penne, Caribbean jerk chicken with mango sauce over the habanero rotini and Indian cilantro cream sauce over the curry angel hair.
And of course, fresh baked French bread....
All of them were tasty. The habanero pasta was crazy spicy. We made The Children each have some of all of the pastas. They actually did a great job, given the spiciness of the habanero... and actually the spiciness of the Italian pasta too (my favorite sauce is pretty hot).
The Boy drank a lot of water...
The Girl does not like her picture being taken...
So for dessert, after a crazy meal, what do we serve? This:
Fruit and ice cream. Avocado and mint ice cream (the brownish green rectangle thing at the bottom of the pile of fruit). I know. Very weird. We didn't tell anyone what the "secret ingredient" was, and no one could guess. Imagine that.
The odd thing was, everyone liked it! And, it calmed down the heat in our mouths.
All in all, a great success of a meal. No one (insert "The Children" here) yelled at each other, and we all enjoyed the food. Makes the work worth every minute.