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Happy Thursday, lovelies!
I had a conversation with a friend yesterday that left me pondering the state of our lives as moms in our society of GO, GO, GO and more is better. In full disclosure, it started because she clearly had not actually read the words that I write in each post. Because she assumed, based on the fact that this is a FOOD BLOG, that I have my act together in my kitchen. Maybe it’s my fault and not hers. Maybe I have inadvertently mislead y’all. But, I am here to admit and settle the debate once and for all that I definitely do not have my act together in the kitchen. Sure, sometimes I knock it out of the park and make something that my kids (minus one) will actually eat. But for the most part, dinner is a sad state of affairs in my household. I have one child who only eats microwave pizzas from Costco. Go ahead and judge. I do not care. In my defense, he makes it himself each night because, after all, this isn’t a diner. But it’s still gross and unhealthy and I wonder how he even stays alive on his diet sometimes. But I try. The other two are pretty good and will eat roughly 60% of the meals I cook. But lets face it….we’re busy. Sometimes I cannot get a good dinner on the table to save my soul. Just earlier this week I was so tired from running non-stop until 7:30pm that our dinner consisted of Racetrack hot dogs and chips.
See, even food bloggers feed their kids from convenience stores.
Or maybe that’s just me.
All of this aside, I do try to make good meals. I love to cook. I haven’t read the 5 Love Languages (it’s on my list, people) but I’m pretty sure that we need to add a 6th just for me, COOKING. But I get it moms, it’s hard. Some nights we’re exhausted and not getting in the door from activities until 7:00. If I’m not prepped and ready for dinner then, well there’s no hope and off to Racetrack we go. (those hot dogs, though. Yum) So I thought I would share some of my favorite kitchen cheats with you.
We are a rice family. I always have a container of rice stored in my fridge for lunches, stir-fries and quick dinners. One of my favorite quick meals when we’re eating on the fly is Aidells pre-made chicken meatballs with Korean BBQ sauce served over steamed rice. But rice takes time, and you also have to wait on a boiling pot and stay home so you don’t set your house on fire while it cooks. Consider, then, this little beauty of an appliance. Rice cookers are life savers. In just about 20 minutes (if you’re an unhealthy white rice family like we are) you have perfectly cooked rice every single time. It’s a miracle. No more crusted burnt rice on the bottom of the pan. No more boil overs onto your just cleaned (or not) stove top. Just perfectly cooked rice, EVERYTIME. You’re welcome.
Eggs are a protein standard in our house. It’s the only protein we can all agree on, and even my microwave pizza child will eat a good egg once in a while. We like all kinds, but hard boiled is our golden ticket. Called ‘circle eggs’ in our house, we eat them for breakfast, lunch (perfect to pack for my non-sandwich eating Connor) and even dinner. I always have a stash on hand and find that my usual breakfast is a green smoothie and two hard boiled eggs. But I HATE making them. Maybe it’s my technique, but when left to my own devices mine resemble the pitted surface of the moon after peeling. Enter in my second life saver kitchen gadget, the egg cooker. Not limited to the hard boil it will also soft boil or poach. But regardless of style, it is always perfect. Every single time. They are relatively cheap, don’t take up much storage and are the perfect little handy helper for everyday.
So listen, I know there’s much debate in the world about Ninja versus Vitamix. Here’s my take on it. They’re both amazing. The Vitamix is arguably a little more powerful and it does have more versatility in what it can do. However, in my mind the benefits don’t outweigh the hefty price difference. For the average person who uses a blender for smoothies, mixed drinks and the occasional fancy sauce, the Ninja is a perfect option at a perfect price. I use mine daily. We are a big smoothie family and our Ninja has been through the ringer–sometimes making 5 smoothies a day. And it’s still running. If you want to go with the Vitamix because it’s a bit cooler, hey, more power to you. They’re both awesome. It’s my opinion though, that whichever one you choose can be a lifesaver. Especially on those busy mornings when you can’t get it all done. At least you can liquify your breakfast and feel better about your day.
Your Local Grocery Store Convenience Aisle:
No fancy pictures for this one but if you aren’t using the convenience aisle in your grocery store by now then shame on you! God love whoever invented the rotisserie chicken. I’m pretty sure it saves sanity, one dinner at a time, across the country. It’s versatile, yummy, and always available. Sometimes I even out lazy myself and buy the pre-shredded rotisserie chicken and throw in in some broth with noodles and veggies for a quick chicken soup. Or we’ll eat it straight with sweet potatoes and a salad. And lets not argue with the wonderful people there who pre-chop veggies and sell them, for our convenience. Nothing says relief like a carton of pre-chopped onion on a busy night. People, there are no rewards in heaven for doing everything yourself. Use this aisle. That’s what it’s there for.
My favorite Kitchen Cheat of all:
I have been a Blue Apron customer for about a year now. I cannot say enough about this service and what it has done for our weeknight dinners. Each week, a beautiful and marvelous box of goodness appears at our doorstep. Each week, we have 3 meals that are pre-determined, gorgeous and delicious. I don’t have to think about them. I don’t have to meal plan and grocery shop. The ingredients come to me, pre-measured and oftentimes pre-chopped (thank the dear Lord that they even pre-chop chicken, which is the #1 most disgusting kitchen job ever. Ask anyone). They’re adventurous at times and have forced us to try things we wouldn’t normally eat and the kids even like them. Step by Step instructions with pictures make them easy peasy to follow and even Jeff will get in on the action and cook dinner from time to time with these. The main reason it took me so long to bite the bullet and sign up for these was for fear of the cost. But after doing it for a year, our grocery budget is a smidge less than it was without it. Largely because waste is cut down (no more buying an entire bunch of cilantro just to use 2 chopped teaspoons in a recipe) and the meals are roughly per person what we would spend anyway. I promise, this is one service that busy moms who care about the food that their families eat should explore.
(Blue Apron Crispy Chicken Tenders & Hot Honey with Potato Salad and Marinated Cucumber)
And good news, because you’re my friend and I’m sending you, you can get $30 off your first order. After that, you can cancel anytime. I promise you won’t want to though. Click here to sign up!
So, lovely readers, I’m sure there are many more cheats and hacks yall use to get you through your busy weeks. I want to hear them. We’re nothing if we don’t share our mom superpowers. So drop me a line, comment, send a courier pigeon. Just tell me your cheats! I’d love to learn from you!