My friend Kelly is quite the go-to girl for practicality and creativity. Some people are just like that. Makes me sick. (Love ya, Kel.) She recently posted In the Kitchen. I started to make a long comment on her blog, and then realized it'd be easier to just post my own thing here.
Off the top of my head, on the topic of "in the kitchen," here goes:
-My favorite and cheapest kitchen gadget is my $3 egg whisk from Pampered Chef. (No, I'm not a consultant; relax.) It whips up the lightest, fluffiest scrambled eggs--a breakfast I make probably 4 days a week, at least.
- Something I should use, but don't? My big electric skillet. I know, I know, with six people in the house most nights! The problem is, I have almost no base cabinet storage, so I have to store the skillet in the garage, just off my kitchen, but that means dragging it in, cleaning it, hooking it up, cleaning it again, putting it away. It's just easier to cook smaller pancakes in one large round skillet, and eggs in another round, small pan.
- Love my crock pot, too. Favorite all-time meal is beef burgundy . Comfort food that serves a lot of people and isn't pasta, chicken, or chili!
- What gets disorganized the most? My Rubbermaid-type storage containers. I long ago stopped saving margarine tubs, sour cream containers, and all that. I invested in same-shape, different-sized,good quality, red-lidded containers that hold everything from leftover gravy to a big fruit salad.
- Meal planning. I'm not consistent with this at all. But I can say that the easiest month-long planner is the type I found at Home Sanctuary. I hesitated, thinking, "A month of meals? Are you serious? That's too much work to think about at one sitting!" But really, when you've been married 24 years, or even 1/3 as many, you'd be surprised how many meals are in your repertoire. I like that we can have, say, Mexican food, 4x/month but it won't be every Saturday. Soup will be for busy nights (every other Wednesday) I can throw a grilled cheese sandwich with it. (We buy cheese on the cheap and freeze it.) I also know that "hodgepodge" sounds better to me than "leftovers". I just love the word "hodgepodge" and about once a week we live at Hodgepodge Lodge. I also don't have the personality type that "has" to have every blank filled in with a specific meal, so I put "New Recipe Night" when I can't think--because it forces me to try new stuff as well! Just writing this is tempting me to make a new one and photocopy it for all the months that have 30 days. Those with 31? We either starve or go out on the town. (I choose option 2.)
- I want a new kitchen. Simple as that. But I'm grateful for Old Faithful (which "explodes" from Too Much Crap Syndrome from time to time. Or is that the cook?) . When I get to that "boiling point" I realize, in the whole big picture, I would rather stay debt-free and aesthetically wanting, than in debt with a pretty workspace. I've known both, and I prefer "ugly but outta prison."
-My best tip is for mothers. Teach your children to cook. Girls, boys, or whatever you have. (Not that there's a third gender option... but that no matter what gender or combo of genders are represented by your brood, teach them to cook.) Start with breakfast. Then lunch. Then dinner. By the time they graduate from high school, I believe the boys should know at least 4 meals they can cook with ease. The girls should be able to take your place in the kitchen. That's my little plug for homeschooling, even if you don't homeschool. Eating for the rest of their lives is not an option. Eating well and not depending on others, is.
- I want to know this: Where do you put your stinky dish rags before you have a load to throw them into? This is my nemesis. I hate the way they smell anywhere in the house, so I put them out on a pile of rocks on the deck. (True confession.)
-Another tip: the flatter the onion, the sweeter it is.
-I love to drink out of only glassware. I hate drinking anything out of a plastic cup, or worse yet, styrofoam. That's one of my little "thangs." So I've been throwing out plasticware with glee. Who needs a 32 oz Orioles 1997 calendar on their lemonade cup, anyway?
Okay, that's it for now "in the kitchen." Feel free to tag your own kitchen thoughts and leave a comment so we can find 'em.