I can't really say that I'm an avid watcher of the Oprah Winfrey show. However, I check out her site all the time because she's always got some great ideas and discounts for the super-cheap like myself. Every once in a while, Oprah does a show based on her favorite things. I've seen it go from something simple like 90 calorie frozen fudgepops to $200 pairs of shoes. I think her entire studio audience gets to take home everything featured on the show. Well, I'm not giving away my favorite things (remember, I just admitted to being super-cheap!). But I am going to make a post every once in a while of my favorite things that allow me to cheat a bit on dinner. You know, those nights where it would be soooo easy to order a pizza because we've been on the go non-stop all day? I try to keep a small arsenal of healthy-ish fast-ish food in my freezer for those days when I have exactly 4.2 minutes to put dinner on the table or someone is going to fall apart. My MIL turned me on to these sweet potato fries. While I have to admit, I like fresh sweet potatoes sliced and baked just a tad bit more than these, it's the time saving factor that makes me like these bagged sweet potatoes. While these are baking, I have time to warm up some Stakelets (vegetarian steaks - very yummy!), boil some corn on the cob and chop a salad. Sure, it takes a little more than that 4.2 minutes allotted by the irritable, hungry children, but it's worth it.
I'm sure there are those that would read this and comment that it really doesn't take that much longer to peel and chop fresh sweet potatoes. And I will take this time to remind you all that this blog is about my own personal growth. That just a month or two ago, I probably would not have given a second thought to finding something healthy for dinner. I probably would have had the phone propped to my ear (battling over insurance coverage for hospital bills, finishing up things from our move, searching for a job...you name it, we all have our things that start as a 5 minute task and then end up sucking up 30 or so minutes of precious dinner prep time), and tossed some hot dogs in the microwave, and tater tots in the oven, or worse, opened a bag of chips to go with them - just in case we hadn't gotten our weekly quota for sodium all in one day.
I'm all about being the best mom any of us can be, whatever that means to you. So for me, being the best mom I can be last week on Thanksgiving meant that I was able to forgive myself for using store bought cranberry sauce just as easily as I was able to have no regrets over the 40 minutes I spent that morning helping my 6 year old create an amazing rocket out of legos. My life is about creating balance. I wish I was that 100% from scratch mom, but for where I'm at today, that's not me. Maybe in a year or two, as I grow in this journey and learn to use my time wiser (than, say, wasting time blogging about my poor time management in the kitchen!). So here is the start of a new segment of things I will label as My Favorite Things. They are my time and sanity savers.