Last night, after a dinner hour when the girls painted the dining room in a fine mist of glitter and spaghetti sauce and drove me to the precipice of insanity, the girls were finally sleeping soundly. Mina snuffled on her belly in her crib under a quilt, and Violet in her bottom bunk buried under books, blankets and stuffed animals. Malcolm and I sat on the porch in our Adirondak chairs and discussed the impending summer. It was chilly, but we didn’t mind. There were peepers peeping in the pond across the road and stars streaked across the inky sky above our farmhouse near the ocean. We wrapped ourselves up in sweaters and made plans, anticipating the warm seasons.
We have big plans for this great summer. Plans to take the girls camping, first in the backyard and then, if we survive the night, maybe up to Baxter State Park to sleep under the lofty watch of Mount Katahdin and toast marshmallows. We have plans to screen a movie on the side of the barn, and invite the whole town and pop buckets and buckets of popcorn. Also plans to erect an excessive waterslide play structure for Mina’s second birthday and make our own Mexican-inspired paletas (popsicles). Oh, and plans to have a little garden with peppers, tomatoes, and green beans…plans to ride bikes all day and sit beside the fire pit until midnight sipping gin.
We hope to host another Labor Day Lobster Feed and lots of other gatherings for friends and family. I want the yard littered with little kids making mud pies and splashing in the galvanized tub I meant to use for washing or planting herbs. I want to have a clothesline to dry our clean sheets in the salty breeze and cook veggies on the grill every night and eat under the apple trees. There’s always food in our plans. It’s a matter of vital importance, especially when you have children who are always hungry for snacks. Let’s face it, I am also always hungry for snacks. Snacks are one of my essential food groups. I have been a big fan of the appetizer or a snacky kind of dinner for as long as I can remember. Especially in summertime.
It’s all about guacamole, chips, grilled salads, fresh bread, sweet corn, spreadable cheese, sparkling wine, hummus, fish, and berries. I have loved hummus since the day I discovered it in the late 1990’s. We’ve both come a long way since then. I tried getting into making my own, which seems more economical and better for you because you can control the ingredients. But the fact is I buy a big jar of tahini that ends up languishing in the back of the fridge with the other lonely, miscellaneous condiments, and I so I always end up taking the easy route and buying a tub from the market. But we all love it as a dip or spread. I once saw Violet swipe hulled strawberries through a mountain of hummus, which I felt was a bridge too far, but more power to her, right?
I’m kind of on a hummus craze right now. If I fall through the kitchen doorway starving after a day of work, I love knowing there’s fresh, no artificial preservatives snacks I can reach for in my fridge. This is real food. Which I am trying to eat more frequently as a matter of lifestyle. But it has to be good, like, really good, or I am going to grab something else instead. I have already had great success serving hummus at parties. It’s a hit with the toddler and mom playgroup — according to science is the population most prone to hangry outbursts.
Mom life has its small victories. I take them where I can get them. I am finally getting pretty good at this mom gig, you guys. This is OUR time. In conclusion, here’s a simple summer recipe with loads of flavor that is easy to prepare in advance. You can chop and mix everything, store all the components in mason jars in the fridge and put it together at dinner time when everyone is starving/melting down/dusting the dining room with silver glitter (It’s FAIRY DUST, MOM!) and painting the potted palm with toothpaste. We have to get these girls outside. We’re going to stay out there all summer. We’re going to play, read, explore, and live out in nature. And frankly, we’re also going to eat a lot of hummus. It’s a super nutritious, protein-packed vegetarian option. It appeals to pretty much all children (even Mina who mostly just mouths and spits out her food), and it makes grown-ups happy too.
Grilled Chicken Pita Wraps
1 pouch BUSH’S® Classic Hummus Made Easy
1 16 ounce can garbanzo beans
2 chicken breasts
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons harissa powder
Juice from one lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 pieces of pita bread, warmed in the oven
1 cup diced tomato
2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
Dash of hot sauce
Prepare hummus using BUSH’S Classic Hummus Made Easy and Garbanzo Beans, and set aside. Cut chicken breasts into strips, add in Greek yogurt, harissa, and lemon juice and marinade for at least an hour. Season with salt, and pepper prior to grilling or broiling. Cook chicken through completely and let rest. Slice, dice, or shred chicken. Spread hummus on warmed pita bread, layer with chicken, sprinkle with tomatoes and lettuce, and finish with a dash of hot sauce, if desired. Serve in the sunshine, on a picnic blanket, surrounded by family and friends.