Jelly Beans and Mac and Cheese: Updates and Recipes From A Treeplanting Kitchen In The Woods

It’s been almost a month now, and I’m really getting settled into my alternate reality of industrial (treeplanting) cooking. At this stage, whenever I hear the word “shopping” I think of wholesale groceries instead of vintage boutiques. We moved camps, (which entails every single structure being taken down, transported a few hours and then set up again, including our kitchen) and had our oven fixed, so things feel a little more permanent now. 

Things That Are Not Going Well:

• We’re being audited next week. Which is fine, but it takes a lot of time out of our day that we could really use for, you know, cooking. 

• Because of shift scheduling, we ended up having to do groceries on Victoria Day, which happen to be a day many stores were closed, including Costco. Fml. 

• I haven’t been spending as much time writing as I would like. The novel is more like a pamphlet at this point. 

Things That Are Going Well:

• Working Ovens. I’m crazy about working ovens. 

• My friend Hannah came to visit, and spent almost a week with Chris & I in the kitchen! Good times with old friends (She also gets the credit for the fantastic pictures this week)!

• Kids Night!

The rookie treeplanters are starting to get a hang of what they’re doing, and with that, a lot of the joy fades from their eyes. So to liven up spirits, we try to do a few different theme nights throughout the season. This week marked our first of the year, Kid’s Night. Mostly an excuse to eat like children and win candy prizes, this was my third time throwing a Kid’s Night for the planters. The evening included a Jelly Bean Guessing Contest, Coloring Contest, Balloons and Decorations, and a menu fit for a five year old’s birthday party. We served Nuggets, Mac & Cheese, Broccoli, Alphaghetti, Caesar Salad, and a “Dirt Pudding” complete with gummy “worms” and Oreo “dirt”. 

The night went over pretty well, with the exception of a few planters turning off the cartoons we had playing in the eating tent and replacing them with a random episode of Entourage. On KIDS Night. I mean, we all love Vinnie Chase, but come on, are you dead inside? 

It’s hard to go wrong with kid-friendly comfort food, and inexplicably alphaghetti is a huge favourite of the 16-18 year old bracket. But the hit of the evening, as usual, was the “Dirt Pudding” dessert- something my mom was making adorable for our birthdays in the 90s long before there was a place like Pinterest to share such things. The recipe is simple and flexible- make it work for you.

Kristy’s Dirt Pudding

2 Parts Chocolate Pudding 
2 Parts Whipped Cream 
Gummy Worms, to taste
Oreo crumbs and pieces, to taste
Chocolate Syrup
Deep Dish Pan or Clean, New Flower Pot

1.In your pan or Flower Pot, spread a base layer of chocolate pudding & chunky Oreo pieces.

2. Do a second layer of a 1/2 pudding, 1/2 cream mixture, which should be lighter in colour and consistency than the pudding. Sprinkle with a few gummy worms.

3. For the top layer, mix whipped cream and chocolate syrup until you get a light brown color you are happy with. Then top with generous portions of gummy worms and more finely crushed Oreo crumbs. Throw in a couple spoons and Bon Appetite!

This recipe can very easily be made vegan, just make sure you’re using non-dairy puddings and whipped toppings, and gummy worms that do not contain gelatine. Ok, back to the grind, my Tomato Bread should be rising by now. Oh, and there were 536 Jelly Beans in the jar, the closet guess was 533. Until next time, it’s Kristy in the Kitchen (In The Forest), signing off.

Kristy Lapointe is enamoured with a young Robert Redford, vegan goodies and the original revival cast of Zoom. She also acts, writes, sings, and has various other special skills according to her resume. You can follow her on twitter @kristylapointe, and enjoy the blog she co-writes at

~ Kristy Lapointe | photos by Hannah Metcalfe

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