Friday is always a glorious day, but some Fridays are even more glorious--more welcome than others. This Friday is one of them. It's been a long, long, hard week, with too many afternoon meetings scheduled for consecutive days, and too much juggling, and scrambling to find last-minute babysitters, tired kids, tired Mama and Papa, head colds brewing in all of us, and of course, those middle school Open House visits, straining our juggling capabilities.
The Open House went well, I thought. As it turned out, we each only made it to the one school on Wednesday (I told you our juggling capabilities were strained), but it's one of the schools high up on our list of possibilities. It was a little surreal, though, and difficult to comprehend, truly, how I came to be sitting in a meeting room at the sixth grade house of a middle school. Maybe it's me who isn't quite ready for all this, I thought to myself as I sat there; maybe, in the end, L. will be the one who will truly be okay with it all. The older L. gets the more I remember from my own childhood experiences. I remember middle school in excruciating detail, and I can't help but combine some of my angst from my own experiences with the angst of the experiences we've had so far, and then they all blend together to make a most unpleasant/worrisome mixture indeed.
One thing I didn't like about the school visit was that the tours were led by 8th graders. While this had an element of charm to it, most parents were chomping at the bit for more information, and kept asking questions that our tour guide, for instant, couldn't answer. I don't know if most middle schools run their Open House tours this way, but I'll be curious when we visit the handful of other schools were considering, to see if this is common practice.
We didn't take L. with us. While I was there I saw lots of parents with their rising sixth-graders, including a few kids from L.'s current school. It had never occurred to us to take L.--the process of the middle school decision is complicated enough, I think, without opening up all that stress and uncertainty to L. Except for our base school, all the schools we're looking at offer admission based on lottery, a process that will be stressful enough for us grown-up people--I can't even imagine how anxiety-producing that would be for L.
L., however, was upset when I picked him up from school Wednesday afternoon.
"Well," he said angrily. "Do you have something to say?"
"What?" I asked.
"I know for a fact that the Open House for __________ school was today and YOU didn't check me out for it!"
For a second my confidence in our decision to not take L. wavered. What had we done? I told him he would get the chance to visit the school if we settled on it as the #1 choice. Did he want to talk about what we saw? Did he have questions about the Open House?
"I don't CARE about the Open House," he said, still angry. "I just wanted to get checked out of school!"
And then he banned all further discussion of middle school, the Open House, and anything remotely related to it, leaving me to drive off, with an unsettled, worried feeling in my stomach.
At dinner on Wednesday, I was reading the side of the Trader Joe's Crisp Rice cereal box that L. had put up in front of him to block the sight of our spaghetti dinner, and I saw a delightful-sounding recipe for no-bake crisp rice peanut batter squares.
No-bake is a glorious thing at 6:00 pm on a Wednesday.
Peanut butter is also a fantastic thing.
So are chocolate chips and agave syrup.
I used to love rice krispie squares but, of course they are not vegetarian and certainly not vegan, either. I used to cheat now and again and have them, because I have such a weakness for those gooey-sweet squares. But since switching from vegetarian to vegan, I'm trying to be more responsible in sticking with my principles, and so I've sworn completely off anything with marshmallows.
Happily, I happened to have all of the necessary ingredients, having stocked up on vegan chocolate chips the last time I was at Whole Foods. T. and I whipped up a batch of the squares in no time at all. The only downside was that they needed to set in the refrigerator for about an hour, but this didn't stop T. from eating gobs of warm, moist peanut butter and rice cereal off the back of the spoon and the sides of the mixing bowl.
Trader Joe's Crisp Rice Cereal Peanut Butter Squares
(Adapted fromTJ, of course)
Here's what you'll need:
1 cup brown sugar
1 Cup blue agave syrup (I get mine from Whole Foods)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 cups Trader Joe's Crisp Rice Cereal
Vegan chocolate chips
Combine the brown sugar and blue agave syrup in saucepan and bring to near boil, stirring often. Continue stirring until brown sugar dissolves--this will happen pretty quickly, so keep watch! Remove from heat.
Dump the sugar and syrup into a large mixing bowl. Add peanut butter to mixture, and mix well. Add 5 cups of the crisp rice cereal and mix well. Note: the recipe on the box said to use 7 cups, but I like my rice squares in general to be on the gooey side, and 7 cups seemed a little too dry. Tweak as you see fit. Add chocolate chips, then mix well.
Press the mixture into a greased pan (sorry, I hardly ever measure pans and I can't remember what size the recipe said to use, but you can eyeball it just fine) and refrigerate for about an hour or so until firm.
They are perfectly sweet, sweet like Friday.
I'm hoping there will still be some of these still left tonight, so I can enjoy a piece while Scott and I finally watch this film, which we got through Netflix over two weeks ago and haven't been able to see yet.