Pssst!! Hey, you busy?
Of course you are. That's life at the most "normal" of times - and this is not the most normal of times. Because today is...
TWO WEEKS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!!!
Eek!! Where'd THAT go?
Countdown's definitely well and truly on now. Gotta check those lists... finish the Christmas shopping... wrap everything... write cards.. eek.. buy cards.. write cards. decorate stuff. prep for post-Christmas camps. remember to keep up with normal grocery shopping and cleaning and cooking and laundry and child-wrangling...
Phew. So here's my tiny offering: in the midst of this Christmas season madness...
Twelve days of
Cut Yourself A Break, Mama.
It'll look a little something like this:
... and involve a simple tip / thought / perspective shifter each day, to (hopefully) help you through the hectic day-to-day.
And it'll only go for twelve days, even though there are fourteen days in two weeks - and hence fourteen days until Christmas - because, let's face it, who's going to have time to read this, or write this, or indeed to cut oneself any kind of a break, after that pre-Christmas weekend hits?
So, here's day one:
Your New Secret Dinnertime Weapon
Liam's working away. I have two small children here who will play contentedly by themselves for large portions of the afternoon, and then - as soon as it's time for me to prepare dinner - are suddenly incapable of being away from me. Or start having toilet emergencies. Or shut themselves in the dining/packing room. Or fall and hurt themselves every three minutes.
Also, pre-Christmas isn't exactly a heaps wealthy time of year for a one-income-four-people family, right?
So for dinner tonight, I threw together my Secret Weapon. The kids loved it - my slightly fussy girl and my lightly-graze-all-day boy both emptied their bowls. And speaking from a grownup's perspective, it actually was pretty tasty. Took me under ten minutes. Filled us up. Made my kids happy.
Here's what you do:
1. Cook something in your slowcooker. Cook double - there's an extra (quick and easy) meal already. Now, you know all that juicey wet stuff you've got left over? Keep it. Label a freezer bag, pour that liquid in, and freeze it flat so it can stack away neatly in the back of your freezer.
2. Buy a bag of gnocchi. Sealed pack, sits in the cupboard, just waiting for the day you need a magical quick-fix dinner.
3. When it's One Of Those Days, you simply defrost that sauce and throw it in a pan, bring it to the boil, then simmer it for a bit (especially if it needs thickening up a bit). Meanwhile, throw your gnocchi into salted boiling water, and skim them off into your bowls as they start to float. Pour on the sauce. Done.
Maybe my children are weirdos, but they will eat gnocchi till the cows come home. With anything, apparently. Tonight's sauce was left over from making a mustard chicken recipe I found on Pinterest. I stirred a tiny sprinkle of shredded cheese into the kids'. I wasn't sure how it'd be, but figured at least if it was too weird Liam wouldn't have to suffer through it this time.
It. Was. Awesome.
This kid thoroughly approved.
Now, sure, there's not a lot of nutritional value in a meal like this. But hey,
(a) compare it to the Maccas-run alternative, and
(b) if it really troubles you, maybe wilt some spinach or whatever in that boiling gnocchi-water to throw into the mix.
Disclaimer: This is not a recipe; this is a tip. This may not work for every sauce ever produced in a slowcooker. Or it may. You be the judge. Just, please, heat that sauce through well - make sure it comes to the boil. Save your stomach lining for Christmas lunch.
*rolls eyes at self while smiling encouragingly*