Friday 29th January 2016
Month 1 of our Kitchen Challenge is complete! It was great to chat with all of you over the last month on social media and in person about streamlining the cooking process and finding ways to make your individual kitchens more efficient. I've compiled a list below of ideas that came out of conversations with friends, emails sent to me, and comments on our page. It's been great - we've gotten responses ranging from planning, all sorts of prep, organization, and appliances.
- Counter space: Always have one section of counter totally clear and clean at any one time. It shouldn't have any dishes, spices or other knick knacks. Even if I have dirty dishes in the sink and bowls all over, that little piece of counter is like an island in an ocean of chaos. Coincidentally, my counter is a kitchen island! Lol.
- Use the weekend to prepare things that will help me throughout the week: roast a whole chicken, make homemade stock, make barley / rice / quinoa / grain of choice, double a soup recipe and freeze for later in the week, make almond butter, or roast vegetables.
- Label my Freezer bags: When I put stuff in the freezer, I don't usually write the dates on the bag or the container. After a week or two, I have no idea when it was actually cooked or put in there. So apart from freezer burn, not knowing when I cooked something usually means that I'll throw it away.
- Keep my ongoing grocery list: I make mental notes until I'm ready to sit and make one list. Which inevitably means I'll forget something. So I plan to designate one notepad and force myself to write the item down as soon I realize I need it.
- Revitalize fridge: Clean out, check expiry dates on bottles, replace my filter, fix the ice maker & water dispenser.
- I've started to prep and freeze like crazy and it's made life so easy. Beans are the best - I feel good that I'm making a healthy choice there. Just cook, freeze and defrost when ready to use. It also tastes so much better than canned beans!
- On the subject of prepping beforehand, this has also worked so well with fruits. I've done pineapple, bananas, watermelon and mangoes. Plus I ate a lot of fruit while actually cutting them up. I definitely ate more fruit in this month than the whole of last years
- Because I've been eating way more veggies, one thing I do now is take veggies out of the plastic and wrap it in paper towels to wick the moisture. This keeps it fresher for a longer time.
- Rearrange my spice cupboard & drawer and put my more common herbs and spices like red pepper, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, etc. together. I also grouped the other herbs by general cuisine. For example, Italian seasonings are on one shelf (basil, parsley, etc) and Indian spices are on another (cumin, turmeric, etc).
- The kitchen is my favourite room in my "current" home. I can literally do almost everything I love there...read, cook, chat, surf the internet. It's also my Lab of sorts and any scientist must be able to grab hold of important equipment easily and quickly. For me my "current" kitchen needs a little makeover for better organization. However, since its solely not mine I can be vetoed on that. So I decided that my "soon to be" kitchen MUST have two things - A dishwasher and a Lazy Susan.
- Dishwashers not only save us from standing over the sink for endless minutes scrubbing away grease and food residue but its like the best storeroom ever...just dump everything that you use daily in there. Your kitchen can always look squeaky clean and your countertops are clutter free and shiny. At any given time Martha Stewart Living can stop by and snap a few pics for their next issue.
- Lazy Susans are so cool. Everyone detests repacking spices and condiments after use. Or while in the midst of cooking you have to clear away about 8 bottles/jars just to reach the smoked paprika because someone put it at the back of the cupboard. Yes your food is about to burn while it waits on that paprika. Solution...install Suzy and no order needs to be set up because Lazy Susans rotate so quickly and without effort that you are able to place your hands on items in just a breeze. They are designed to accommodate alot and makes life so much easier. No unsightly spices can be found lying around on countertops or tucked away in a dark cupboard corner.
- I've started a weekly menu & a grocery list, and I plan to organize my teas into a daily schedule. Not only do I utilize my teas, I increase my intake!
- I also plan to double my recipes for an easy repeat during the week.
There you have it. Thanks to all for participating in this month's challenge, but remember: efficiency doesn't end at January. Let us know if you've tried any of these tips, or if you have any that you'd like to share. We definitely want to hear what you have to say! Send us an email of use #hotspotgyfood when you post to social media.
February's Challenge: Make your Table Beautiful! We'll do a refresher course on how to properly lay your table, the types of cutlery and what they're used for, and tips on how to beautify your table. Look out for our post next week!