Time Savers

It's been a year since my kitchen accident, where I mangled my right thumb and index finger. I had 27 stitches because I forgot to unplug my stick blender before touching it and, well, the rest is gruesome history. I still don't have all the feeling back in my fingers but frankly, I'm just grateful that I still have ten of them. I spent weeks avoiding all sharp objects, including scissors, appliances and big knives. I followed doctor's orders and avoided preparing anything in my kitchen with raw meat. I don't think of my family as particularly carnivorous but as I thought about dinners that could be assembled without having to cut much and without meat (or fish – I'm allergic), it was embarrassingly challenging. We had rice and beans. Eggs. Frittata. DIY pizza. Pasta. Lots of frozen peas, pre-cut veggies and fruit and grapes. 

As I look back on that accident a year later, here's a shout out to a few things that made my life easier then, as well as those that I've discovered along the way to make life easier now: 

  • Hummus. I threw away my stick blender after the accident, so I stopped making my own hummus. It's a shame because we eat a lot of hummus around here. But I've since discovered several store bought varieties that I like, especially on a sandwich with lettuce and some scooped avocado. 
  • Peeled and cut butternut squash. No knife? No problem. This made my life so much simpler. 
  • Canned black beans. I don't always have the time to soak dried beans and have always been a fan of canned beans. We eat a lot of beans and my preference for canned beans is for those without salt and made with BPA-free lined cans. 
  • Yogurt drinks. My son could basically live on yogurt. My preference is to give him plain yogurt and to sweeten it myself with maple syrup or honey but that doesn't always happen. Last week, these strawberry banana smoothies were a big hit as an after school snack. 
  • Pancakes. I'll be honest: right after the accident, I intended to buy a pancake mix but I bought this gluten free one by Bob's Red Mill by accident. I had never bought a pancake mix before so I'll chalk it up to a lucky accident because my kids absolutely devoured it. I'm trying not to take it personally, since homemade pancakes are a point of pride, chez moi. 
  • Applegate's HALFTIME. HALFTIME is a new product from Applegate, our partner whose products we are proud to feature on both LaLa Lunchbox and LaLa Breakfast. HALFTIME wasn't available when I had this kitchen accident but I pack it for my kids' lunch now sometimes and they're delighted. We supplement the HALFTIME (which comes with Applegate's meat and cheese, plus a Stonyfield yogurt tube plus Annie's bunnies) with fresh fruit and veggies and it's an amazing lunch shortcut when things get hectic. 
HalfTime on LaLa Lunchbox

Are there products that make your life easier? Are there kitchen appliances or utensils that you avoid? We'd love to hear about all of it.