Jim has been away a lot for work lately, and of course we miss him.
Because I'm not cooking as much with him gone, and he's not commuting to work, there's some budget money left behind. Last week I splurged on a couple of new cookbooks and a new mandoline, which I've had in my Amazon wishlist for months. (As I type I see Jim reading this somewhere, shaking his head.)
I have a food processor that can do just about anything, but it's really inconvenient to set it all up then clean it up after small tasks.
I also have an apple peeler/corer/slicer that we use a couple of times a day. It makes quick work when I'm making something like this, and no kid can deny an apple completely cored and sliced in one long spiral cut. That's how I eat my apples whole, too.
But this mandoline is fast and easy to clean up when it comes to other fruits and vegetables; and because I can make paper thin slices, the kids think it's fun to eat an entire apple, core and all, in a hundred little slivers. They also love eating carrots in julienned strips, etc.
The rituals of how we eat our foods mean so much and really make an impression on our memory. I love making simple foods more special for my kids (and for me.)