Birthday Success!

And so we had a party.

A great time was had by all. There was food. There were games. Presents were opened. Cookie cake was eaten. Passive voice was used.

But before the party came the prep, and we had much help and assistance from our dear families with the hosting, decorating, gaming and organizing. The left us with the food, a role that we’re rather comfortable with. We decided on finger foods (for the most part) and let Avi pick the details. The one exception – again, prompted by Avi’s choice – was a casserole dubbed by someone (not me) as broccoroni and cheese. Or if you prefer, macarolli and cheese. Who cares? It’s cheesey and delicious, and that’s all that matters.

We started with medium shells, boiled with some kosher salt, drained and poured into a disposable aluminum baking pan. The original plan was to wipe down the sides with unsalted butter, but since we were not cooking in our kitchen and managed to leave multiple items at home including the butter, we used a quick spritz of cooking spray.

I chopped some broccoli and tomatoes, about two cups of each.

For the cheese/sauce/liquid/I-don’t-know-because-we-made-this-up, we started with low sodium cream of mushroom soup. The low sodium part is extremely important, and not just because I watch my sodium intake. Since there is a lot of cheese in this dish, the last thing you need is more salty flavor. We used two cans of soup but only about one cup of skim milk, maybe a little more. I really wanted to make sure the casserole set nicely in the oven. We mixed the broccoli and tomatoes into the soup/milk (it was about that time when I suggested we also use the second can) and then added about two cups of shredded cheddar cheese.

Sprinkled another cup or so of mozzarella cheese on top and into the oven for twenty minutes at 350 degrees. Then the rest of the cheese (total was four cups – so I saved a bit of the cheddar and a bit more of the mozzarella to add to the top at this point) on top and switched the oven to broil for another five minutes.

Seriously, there are few things I love seeing more than those awesome brown spots on cheese that indicate maximum deliciousness. And coupled with hamburger sliders and mini corns on the cob, the casserole was a solid hit with everyone.

Except the birthday boy, who was too busy playing. (He loved it later, though, but at the time he was having too much fun playing the piano and then figuring out the clues from his treasure hunt.)

After most of us ate, we played some hilarious old school games outside. Like sack races.

And egg spoon races.

Some of which were more successful than others.

So we switched to a water balloon toss.

Avi had decided on a cookie cake with ice cream sundaes for his birthday cake, which was super fine by me since I don’t love regular cake. We forgot the fancy whipped cream at our house, but no one seemed to mind.

(PS, is that not the most remarkable picture?!)

Avi got some amazing presents: a dollhouse, gymnastics classes, a fancy wheely suitcase with his name on it, a baseball set, a golf set, an awesome purple soccer ball, a million Silly Bandz and a big boy bike.

We let him ride it (how could we not?!) even though we left his new helmet at home. And though you can’t see it in the picture, it has a nice solid set of training wheels for the time being.

Great food, great party, great boy. He did so well today, and I just want to thank everyone again for helping ensure we all started off 5 the right way. It’s going to be an awesome year.

Oh, and in case you were wondering:

Nutritional information for one serving of broccoroni and cheese, 1/20th of recipe, approximate: 189 calories, 7.4 grams fat, 4.2 grams saturated fat, 19mg cholesterol, 148.7mg sodium, 20.9 grams carbohydrates, 1.4 grams fiber, 2.7 grams sugar, 9.9 grams protein.

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