Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Just my (pot)luck

I get the purpose of potlucks, they sound like a good idea... but I loathe them. I am not big on cooking, that's no secret. But the annoyance of potlucks is compounded when you have toddler. Bean, like most little ones I imagine, does not give a crap that I need to cook something, and that it has to turn out edible lest I be shunned and whispered about suspiciously by the mothers from whom I am seeking acceptance. He wants me to hold him while I prepare the food. He wants to grab the knife. He wants to touch the burner. No forbidden treat or tantalizing television show will distract the kid from what mommy is doing. Because whatever mommy is doing at a given moment, it's the awesomest. thing. ever.

Last Friday, Bean and I had an Easter potluck with the moms club. There were about 45 moms and kiddos there, the majority of whom I do not know yet, so it was a bit overwhelming. But I chatted with a mom who recently moved up from Cali, and she seems like a good potential friend. So now I will keep an eye out for her responses to the moms club event evites in the hopes of attending another activity with her soon. (Internet "research" is a favorite hobby of mine, when I'm not blogging or lip synching to Prince on my iPod. It's different than stalking, because I'm not creepy. Or so I like to think.) Anyway, before the potluck, I spent hours trying to find something to bring that fit the criteria 1: easy to make, 2: inexpensive, 3: could be prepared in advance, and 4: easily portable. I even called DH at work, whining in desperation and trying to bait him to tell me just to skip the event. (My life is so hard already!) I eventually found this, which we made together the night before. Yummy, it was delish. And the best thing is that the final product is ambiguously white and lumpy, so most people passed it by. (Those that didn't, for what it's worth, came and found me to rave.) As the dish flew under the radar for the most part, I ended up with leftovers. Which I may have held in my lap for the ride home so I could eat it out of the bowl with the serving spoon at red lights. And I may have dripped some on the seat belt and my sweater. But then again, maybe I didn't!

So anyway, I was extremely proud of myself for coming up with a good solution for the dreaded potluck, and tucked my recipe away for future parties. Then I got the evite for the New Members Potluck with the same moms group... for next week! GASP! I obviously have to bring something else, right? (Another mom already signed up to bring something similar anyway, grumble grumble.) And then in preschool today, we were told about the Family Night end-of-the-year celebration in two weeks, which is -- you guessed it -- another POTLUCK! Making this one more tricky, it needs to be a finger food that can be shared with the munchkins, who are 11-months-old to 19-months-old. I beg of you, readers, please share any recipes or links to recipes that you like bringing to potlucks. It will save me hours of searching, and I'll be forever grateful.

Now, some random pics...

I don't know what it is about being nakey that gets Bean all fired up, but there's nothing like stripping him down to his diaper to give him a burst of energy.

Bean loves the Easter present that Grandma M. and Grandpa J. sent to him. DH is already counting down until he can turn Bean loose in the yard with a real mower (another five years or so, right?).

DH and I dyed eggs after Bean went to sleep on Easter. (Poor DH, he always humors me.) It was good practice for next year when Bean can help -- I've lost a bit of technique over the years, as is evidenced by my egg holder getting caught under the shrink wrap stuff when I put it in hot water.

Previously confirmed that Bean doesn't have an egg allergy, the next morning I gave him some of a hard boiled egg to try. Before even taking a bite, he stared at me with this face for a solid two minutes (which is one-and-a-half minutes longer than his normal attention span -- he must have really wanted to make his point!).
Tonight I have come to the hard-learned realization that spaghetti should ONLY be a post-nap lunch item, and NOT a pre-bed dinner course. My tired monkey rubbed the sauce all over his hair and eyes as he began giving his "I'm sleepy" signals in the high chair, which then led to an impromptu bath. (The only reason his tummy is clean in the pics is because I had a bib on him. Not sure what the point of that was, exactly, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.)


Kristina P. said...

I love potlucks, and have some great recipes, but not when you add the toddler angle into it! Yikes!

Anonymous said...

finger foods makes it a bit harder. i'm a big fan of pasta salads at potlucks, puppchow is always good but it has peanut butter which may not be good for the toddler crowd. my all time favorite potluck secret is to buy frozen mini meatballs and mix them with sweet baby ray's bbq sauce. heat, toss in a crockpot to keep warm and you are done. they are amazingly good and everyone will ask you how you did it. but again, not really finger food. you could do the pita/veggies and hummus thing no cooking required. i'll think on it and get back to you, i love food ;)

Soxy Deb said...

Here's something I did for a potluck once upon a time, back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. It may sound gross (actually it does sound gross) but it really is yummy. this wont do for your potluck with the ickle ones though. unless the moms dont mind looks that will match Beans in the above photos.

Hotdogs - cut up into 3rd's (or whatever size you want to cut them into), spaghettti sauce (whatever brand you like, but plain sauce - no herbs or anything) and grape jelly.

Add all these into a crock pot and let it cook on low for a few hours. Use as much jelly and sauce as needed based on how big a crock pot and how many hot dogs you use. It's not exact.
But I swear - it really is delicious. It's always one of the first things to go at my Christmas eve gatherings. Of course that could be cause the other things are stale chips and toast, but who can be sure.

Kathy V said...

I love the spaghetti photos.

How about mini pizza bagels. a little cheese and sauce on a mini bagel. heat them just enough to have the cheese slightly melted. You can add a slice of pepperoni (or not). most kids love em! Easy and finger food while avoiding a lot of allergy stuff. Hope that helps.

Coffeegrl said...

Ummm. I'm with you. Can't stand potlucks with a toddler (used to enjoy them a lot). I have no idea what to make.

Anonymous said...