COUSINS CAMP 2021 -- "How/what/where do you feed all those kids?"
When Steve and I tell folks that we are having 11 grandkids to spend the week with us, the most common question is generally, "What in the world do you feed that many kids?" The truthful answer is, "Carbs and protein." Seriously. Our crew is not big on vegetables and can't seem to agree on the fruits they prefer. One day I did have cold watermelon ready when they got out of the pool -- which disappeared quickly -- and another night I had cubes of ripe, sweet cantaloupe that were a hit. But, otherwise, we didn't focus much on healthy nutrition. We ended up thinking quantity rather than quality. I know, I know. But, trust me, I've thrown out perfectly good stuff in the past because it was offered repeatedly and refused, and I figure their mommas can get them back on track when they go home.
Steve is the breakfast chef, for the most part, although he doesn't refuse my help. :)
Breakfast casserole was a hit on Monday morning -- a layer of crescent rolls, cooked sausage crumbled on top, 6 eggs with about 1/4 c. of milk mixed together and poured over, about 2 c. of grated cheese, then baked at 375-degrees for 25 minutes. Voila! It took 2 9" x 13" casseroles for our crowd.
Two mornings we had pancakes (they LOVE Granddaddy's chocolate chip pancakes). Two mornings we had cereal and cinnamon rolls, and another morning we had scrambled eggs, bacon, and biscuits. I'm not really sure how many pancakes they could actually consume. I just know that as long as we sat platters full in front of them, they disappeared. :)
We went out for lunch Monday through Friday.
Monday we tried Downtown Dawgs in the Gateway Shopping Center in Decatur for the first time. They also have hamburgers, but the emphasis is on their impressively large number of hot dog toppings. Steve and I really appreciated the reasonable prices, and the 13 of us were served in a very efficient and timely manner.
Tuesday we went to Farm Burgers. I chose it for a couple of reasons: 1) It was straight down Bob Wallace Avenue from the Huntsville Botanical Garden where we had been, and 2) They were having a Kids-Eat-Free Tuesday event, so 5 of ours got free meals. Woop! Woop! As you can see, Birti was a fan of their pimento cheese fries with jalapenos. She loves spicy foods.
On Wednesday, we were driving between Montevallo and Jasper, so we stopped at Full Moon BBQ in Jasper. I'd say this was our splurge meal of the week, because we had some big boys wanting half racks of ribs and some girls who ordered BIG stuffed potatoes.
On Thursday, we headed to Supper Heroes on Winchester Drive in Huntsville. This was our second time to visit Supper Heroes during a Cousins Camp week, and I'm quite sure we'll go back again next year. The menu is actually in comic book form, and their kids' menu is easy on the budget and has plenty of options.
We hit Oliwia's Shave Ice and Ice Cream in Hartselle for a cool treat on Thursday afternoon. For a few of them, it was a first-time experience. They loved it!
For lunch on Friday, we went to Pizza Ed on Main Street in Hartselle. Our server was awesome (I'm SO sorry I didn't get her name), and the pizza and breadsticks were outstanding.
Sunday night, Monday night, Wednesday night, and Friday night, we had dinner at home.
Sunday was chicken bundles (a camp tradition), Monday I made a big pot of spaghetti with cheesy bread, Wednesday we had a sandwich extravaganza (which basically means you make your own and is another camp tradition), and Friday night we had chicken strips, mac and cheese, and baked beans. Again, the idea was to make a LOT of a FEW things to keep things as simple as possible.
On Tuesday night, we took advantage of Taco Tuesday at Las Vias in Hartselle -- hallelujah! On Thursday night, we had chicken at Zaxby's. So, there you have it. I keep Crystal Lite made up for drinks, but I don't offer a lot of snacks. That tends to make them better eaters at mealtimes.
Last year during the pandemic, meals were much more of a challenge because we couldn't eat inside in very many places, or else they were closed entirely. In comparison to that, this year was much easier. The oldest boys at camp gave the meals an A+, so I consider that high praise.