I have a confession to make. When it comes to family dinnertime I’m not exactly “queen of the kitchen” at this point in life. To be perfectly frank, what I usually am at dinnertime is: exhausted. Round-the-clock job, 3 year old, 1 year old, basic life upkeep, etc… I’m pretty sure the culprits are in that list somewhere, and they’re doing a fabulous job at handcuffing my inner Top Chef.
That’s not to say I don’t plan on changing this reality one day (because I do!) …but the thing that’s most helpful for me at dinnertime these days is: shortcuts. And I should probably throw in that Sonny – who’s represented here behind the camera – is actually a really great cook, but his list looks a lot like mine lately, so we often rely on family meals that are quick or ready-made.
And speaking of ready-made, a brand name that I’m personally very familiar with – Annie’s – came through my inbox recently with a request to try out their new line of Rising Crust Pizzas. Did you know they made pizzas?
I say “familiar” because we already consume Annie’s Bunny Grahams and Snack Mix galore over here, the majority of which is consumed by yours truly… even though whenever I buy them I’m thinking, “snacks for the kids!“. I feel like I might use that justification semi-often for things I really want to eat myself. Another confession. ;) Do you ever do that?
Anyways, I was very interested in trying out the pizzas, especially since their descriptions boasted good stuff like: certified organic, no artificial flavors or colors, meats with no nitrates, good source of calcium & protein, etc. We picked up some of the organic pizzas in Spinach & Mushroom, Pepperoni, and Cheese. (They were $9.99 each at our local Whole Foods)
DINNERTIME = QUALITY TIME
The other appealing thing about the email from Annie’s was their challenge to “Put Good Into Your Family Dinner“. No matter what you’re eating for dinner, I’m a firm believer that sitting down to the table for a while with no tv screens, no phones, etc is really important. So my personal viewpoint of “putting good into dinner” is making dinnertime = quality time.
We ended up turning this pizza tasting project into a fun evening for the whole family by getting Macy involved with the dinner prep and capturing candid shots of the girls eating and just being silly on camera… another “little thing” that we don’t make the time to do often enough! The pictures were so fun to look at afterwards – I highly encourage doing this yourself – whether your “family” is your own kids, your significant other, your roommates, etc. I mean, doesn’t everyone deserve a good “tomato eyes” picture now and then? ;)
We even came up with a new (and super simple) dinnertime tradition where we make a point to discuss good things that happened to us during the day – no matter how big or small they might be – then write them down in a journal after dinner so that we can have a record of good moments to look back on. The moment doesn’t have to be lengthy – something as simple as “ate an amazing caramel cupcake“, “got a really sweet email from __________” or “a ladybug landed on me at school” will suffice. Obviously the types of favorite moments will vary from person to person. ;)
I designed a “good stuff” printable sign for our journal, and you can download it free right here in case you want to start a journal of your own! I also created a couple matching printable 5×7 signs (download here) that feature inspirational quotes on being thankful and enjoying the little things.
For our “official” pizza tasting night, we had the Organic Spinach & Mushroom pizza, along with a salad that Macy helped prep, which was dressed with Annie’s Naturals Tuscany Italian Dressing. The Pepperoni and Cheese pizzas made for an easy dinner the next day (+ lunch the day after). Everything tasted great, but I’m still a sucker for pepperoni pizza – so that one was my personal favorite!
Thanks again to Annie’s for inspiring this post & fun memory – and for providing a great new quick meal option of our busy days!
This post is brought to you in collaboration with Annie’s. As always, all opinions and content are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that help to keep HWTM running!