Thanks so much to the folks at Pillsbury for sponsoring this post and for providing Pillsbury products for me to have some fun with.
We are a late family. I say that to explain that we eat dinner late in our home. It’s not really done on purpose and more suits our needs to have a full meal together while sitting at the table so that we can connect and talk to one another in the evenings. It also helps when my oldest daughter, who has a home of her own now, comes over after work and kickboxing to eat with her brothers, The Cuban, and me.
We are also a family full of nicknames. “The Cuban” is a misnomer because he’s neither Cuban nor a sandwich, but it stuck.
Since we eat after 7pm each night we have instituted healthy snacking options. Sometimes this is as easy as grabbing an apple or banana from the fruit bowl but we are not opposed to creating something new to keep the children’s stomachs happy while they wait for dinner. That’s where the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest comes into our happy family story: every year we say we’re going to enter and test out recipes on the children only to forget to actually sign up for the contest!
I told you we were a late’ family.
When we first began looking into the contest The Cuban went out and bought every Pillsbury product he could get his hands on at the grocery store. Biscuits, crescent rolls, pie crusts, and pizza crusts took over the space in the refrigerator normally saved for gallons of milk and cream cheese and pot roasts. We even bought all the partner brands Pillsbury is associated with and soon our heaving refrigerator/freezer was filled with Smuckers and Green Giant and Yoplait. Normally, I don’t even like frozen vegetables so we made a lot of testing recipes. Eventually, my teenaged sons were used to us calling them up to the kitchen (as they live in the basement where the television is actually a projector that displays on the huge wall since I refuse to buy a flat screen tv since all our money is going towards food products!) to have a “treat” before dinner. We’ve taken to calling them “treats” because they usually associate a snack as something like an appetizer. Let’s face it: teenage sons must be carefully dealt with so you don’t turn them off to trying new things.
Like pie. The Cuban is constantly making pies.
My sons, both affectionately known as Mouth 1 and Mouth 2, are enormous boys. They each cleared 6 feet tall by the time they were in high school and they have been known to clear out the cupboards before The Cuban and I get home from work. This is probably why we buy products that they’re too afraid to test out on their own. (See also: lazy) The only problem with this is that they started coming upstairs to the kitchen to watch us take out a bunch of products from the fridge and start mixing and matching them up until we found a magical combination. Food and kitchen utensils are strewn about and our home-y family kitchen is transformed into a test kitchen with additional elbows and mouths testing out recipes.
I mean it when I say we test a lot of recipes in our kitchen. But we have enough get-togethers with friends who have given us the confidence to try new things. Every time he makes something that’s a hit with family and friends he puts it on this invisible list of things he would make if we owned a restaurant.
Our favorite family-tested recipe? Taking Crescent Seamless Dough Sheets and cutting them into squares to put into muffin tins where we stuffed them with Boursin cheese and various jams like Concord Grape and Red Plum for a little sweeter “treat”. It was all trial and error and, believe me, my waistline took a hit, but I wouldn’t trade that for all the fun times we had in the kitchen voting on which after-school treat to make each day. As my boys got more involved in the making of the treats our family time became more special and they learned how to take simple ingredients and make delicious foods that they are capable of making themselves someday.
You know. When they have to feed the mouths of their children.
I hope they keep a second refrigerator in their garage.