Get some crystallized lemon. At least on Amazon it’s over-priced, but I bought mine about two years ago and use it constantly — it’s only about half gone. (Solidifies, but that’s because we live in the Soggy Blob of Seattle. Crush the bottle once or twice and you get a few drops– and that’s all you usually need.) Used for everything from flavoring drinks to tenderizing meat to keeping apples and bananas from turning yucky brown. I took the banana that Princess didn’t want to finish, put in in a bowl with a shake of lemon, a little water, the rice cereal and mashed the heck out of it. Duchess enjoyed it, and it hasn’t turned brown and slimy. Yet.
Lemon Thyme- yes, I have a theme showing up, unintentionally. That said, this is a pretty dang good house plant; it smells nice, the cats haven’t eaten it in the last year or two, and Princess pulling off leaves doesn’t hurt the plant. My next project: a mint planter. I’ve got chocolate mint (which smells exactly like you’d expect) and I hope to find a breed of peppermint that smells right, then I’ll get some catnip so the cats gnaw on that instead of the mint, pansies and such.
Ground flax. DarwinCatholic mentioned it in their pizza post I-don’t-know-when– along with semolina, that grainy stuff on the bottom of pizzas that greatly helps in stability– and it really does make my “dough to go on the outside of food” work better. It wasn’t bad before, other than the pizza being soggy in the middle, but it was… really obviously home-made. I use Bob’s Red Mill because my dad liked their oatmeal at one point.
Budgeting: I’ve never had much of a problem with this, because I’m cheap as can be, but I’ve found that it’s best to grit my teeth and invest for quality in things that are used very sparingly. They’re powerful enough to screw things up, but the cost-per-use is tiny enough to not really matter.
Quick toddler food: keep a bulk bag of pre-cooked chicken nuggets (freezer section) around, as well as pizza sauce. (I use Alfredo by preference.) Microwave the chicken enough to chop it– took about 30 seconds for me– take it out and microwave a serving of broccoli while you’re chopping the nuggets. Pull out the broccoli, drain, add the chicken, microwave another 30 seconds. Pull out again, add enough sauce to coat, add peas if you like. Make sure the cold sauce and the peas cooled it enough for Little Miss Can Do. Say grace, hand over the spoon, and go looking for her cup…. (I suppose you could
cook heat the chicken per directions, chop, add to a cold slaw mix and add enough ranch to make it stick on a fork; add some shredded cheese, too.)
I think I mentioned a few months back that those horrible, yuppy aimed reusable chilled drink cups are great for kids?
They still are. I advise choosing those with good straws, since that’s how my two year old keeps grabbing hers, but they work nicely. She can even put it in the cup holder on her kid’s seat, and pull it back out– which is more than I can say for any kid’s cup.