I'm a very traditional person, if you don't know me personally. I have to continually ask myself to think outside of the traditional realm of things, not just food, and see if things could work better put together differently. Continually. And I also have to try to divorce myself from the thoughts that if something's not a certain specific way, it's not good. I'm sure no one else out there thinks this way. Ahem. I try to rationalize it by saying that I'm a perfectionist and nothing's wrong with that, but really, I'm often narrow-minded. Luckily, I have to cook dinner every day, so I get plenty of practice in flexible thinking. For example, when spaghetti is on the menu, the water's boiling, and you could have sworn you had plenty of hamburger in the deep freezer but none of it is in there and you have to eat dinner and be out the door by 6:30 for a PTA fundraiser. What do you do? Put on your creative thinking cap, chaps. Never mind the fact that I can't move around the traditional idea that there must be protein present in all dinners for small children because if not you're a bad mother. Never mind the fact that I didn't just eat the noodles with plain marinara and call it good. Noooo. I had to chug through the fridge looking for a substitute. I had some polish kielbasa, I chopped it into medallions and browned it in my beautiful Calphalon frying pan, and added the Prego right to it. Never mind also that the whole time I had to keep telling myself, "It's okay, no one will know you mixed Polish and Italian cuisine...no one will even know...deep breaths." Seriously. Who is this person? My kids and my husband loved it. They thought it was so awesome that they got to eat "smokies" with their noodles. I loved it, too. You may recall my love of sausage here. So the lesson is: don't be afraid to substitute and definitely think outside of the box when making a meal, because your family might think you are a genius. The other lesson is maybe I need some relaxation therapy when I break the rules.