It’s October!

Now there’s a concept…

Time for beer and candy! Plus, my kids are freaking adorable in costumes. What a great month.

Well let me rain on your parade just a little bit. As my thoughts turn to the many, many occasions this month at which my children will be buzzed on sugar, I also think about the realities of the cheap and abundant candy that is thrown at them like so much manna raining from heaven. And those realities suck.

Because sad to say, the whole candy thing – in particular, the chocolate juggernaut – rides on the backs of, you guessed it, slaves. Or at best, sorely underpaid workers. At worst, forced child labor.

I am going to just let a couple of excellent posts from the very much more popular “Rage Against the Minivan” blog speak for me here, because why reinvent the argument?

This one features several clips from a devastating BBC documentary that will hopefully change your mind about those giant Costco bags of chockies.

This one is a helpful list of steps – starting from the most baby all the way up to the most committed & preachy – for making your Halloween more fair (also I am 90% sure that the organic lollipops I’m buying at Trader Joe’s are the very same as those listed in this post).

I hope you’ll read them, watch them, and implement their suggestions.

As for us, we’ll be doing those organic lollipops and regiving anything the kids receive. Which, if we go by last year’s haul, will be MORE than enough.

Oh and we buy our beer locally…I really hope I don’t learn there’s a whole hops slave trade going on or I just might lose it.

[another "fun" post by RATM is this satire about non-fairly traded coffee...]

Tortilla Stack Dinner Nom Nom

Since I seem to be on a bit of a recipe roll this week, I thought I’d throw this one out too. I’m a improviser in the kitchen, and this is very loosely based on this recipe from epicurious but, IMHO, far, far superior.

It should be noted: my children ate it.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “What?! Your CHILDREN ate it?? What strange witchcraft is this, O Wise One? And wilt thou sharest with me?”

(I don’t know why you’re in a Shakespeare play in my head. I suppose because I’m usually in a Shakespeare play in my head. Being a theater major does that to you.)

Where was I? Oh yeah, dinner…

Sautee half an onion (more if your kids will tolerate) and a garlic clove, in your cast iron skillet. You DO have a cast iron skillet, right?

Throw in some tomatoes (I used muir glen canned w/chipotles), like 1/3 cup. Makes some tasty liquid.

Add a small bunch spinach (very small). Wash ‘em good. Grit is nasty. Wilt those suckers.

Toss in some frozen corn and black beans, don’t ask me how much, just enough so it looks balanced. Very important: rinse your beans. I forgot and later, my nose paid for that mistake. (thank you, dear hubby)

Add some spices: cumin, chili powder (if you have good stuff made up), salt & pepper. LIME JUICE. This is essential. You taste. You say, what does this need? (actually you say, “what doeth this needeth?”) Acid, duh. So lime it up. But gently.

Taste some more. Imagine Gordon Ramsey breathing down your back. If you’re not half full by the time dinner starts, you’ve done it wrong.

(the other half of your tummy may be full of wine/beer/tequila…I won’t tell)

Now the fun: hit it with the stick blender. Grind up all that onion & spinach so your kids never know what him em. BAM. Leave some poor lil beans & corn so there’s texture and the corn pops into little sweet nuggets when you bite.

On a baking sheet, put down some tortillas. H-E-B in-store made is really the only way to go (see last post), but not everyone is so blessed, so do what you can. Spoon the bean stuff on each, then layer some cheese. Don’t put too much. Turns out this bean stuff goes everywhere. Cheese is excellent binder. And nommy.

Layer to your heart’s content. But four tortillas is a good stopping place. Let’s not be greedy.

Brush w/EVOO spiked with a little cayenne. Bake at 450 for 12 mins until the tops & bottoms are all toasty and the inside is ooey gooey yumminess.

Cut into wedges, drink beer, roll eyes as kids refuse to taste.

Eat theirs.

Suddenly, they’re very interested.

(don’t look for no damn photo – the best food is ugly but delicious – and anyway, it’s all gone)