I’m just going to go ahead and be real. I absolutely hate being in the kitchen. (Don’t even get me started on how I feel about cleaning.)
In fact, my dream is to have enough money where we can afford to order out or have a personal chef prepare meals that I just have to heat up.
We’ve been married for almost ten years and my husband has literally cooked dinner less than ten times. And, some of those times were just ordering pizza.
Grocery shopping and being in the kitchen have always been my responsibility. Part of me is a little pissed off about that. But, part of me is unwilling to relinquish control of buying food for the family. Only I know everyone’s favorite foods … or, at least that’s what I tell myself.
It could be more about those two hours of peace and freakin’ quiet that I get wandering around the grocery store while the kids stay home with him.
It’s definitely not about cooking the food. I purposefully look up Instant Pot, Crockpot, and casserole recipes so that I can “set it and forget it”.
If a recipe requires that I stir, flip or check on anything … I’m out.
Eating Healthy … Most of the Time
Obviously, I don’t want to order fast food or junk all the time. But, being able to afford to eat dinner from our local co-op hot bar or some of the amazing farm-to-table restaurants in our area would be amazing!
Making sure that my family has healthy meals that are delicious and nutritious is a big goal of mine. I’m not a monster!
I want my kids to be well-nourished and have all of their little brain synapses firing 100%. Ya know, so they can eventually go to college and move out!
And, eating dinner together is very important to me. Partly because I’m a little neurotic and I would worry that they were choking if they were eating in their bedroom and partly because I do love them and I like hearing about their day.
Plus, my kids are three, five and 11 so, dinner time takes like eight minutes … I can manage that.
But, since I hate being in the kitchen, I do prefer to spend as little time as possible on meal prep.
Sometimes, I wish I was one of those women who felt happy when she was cooking or baking. I see things on Pinterest all the time that are inspiring and I think, “I could probably do that”.
But, then I try to do it and it ends up being a blue prize winner for the “Nailed It’ board.
Have you ever been browsing the aisles of the grocery store and, when you go to grab a box of Minion fruit snacks, you think “I could probably make these”. Or, as you are wandering the frozen food aisle looking at all of the boxed meals think, “I bet I could just look up the recipe for that”.
Yeah, me too.
But, nothing is more defeating than looking up the recipe for apple juice sweetened fruit snacks only to make them and watch your kids spit out the chewed up little bits onto the floor.
Are you kidding me!?
Do you have any idea how much organic gelatin costs!? Those are like $90 fruit snacks you just spit out.
Then, of course, I end up eating all of them so they don’t go to waste.
I would prefer to avoid the fighting … and the extra calories of disgusting homemade fruit snacks. Anyone who tells you those things taste delicious is a damn liar.
So, I feed my kids what they will eat (and give them JuicePlus) to keep the status quo.
And, when I am in the kitchen, I want things to be as easy and convenient as possible. Did I mention that I hate being in the kitchen?
These are a few of my favorite hacks:
Keep The Plastic Wrap In The Fridge
Have you ever wrestled with a roll of plastic wrap … and won? Nope. No one has. In fact, I switched to foil for years before I found this hack. I was like, “I deal with enough self-doubt without being defeated by a roll of plastic wrap on the daily”. But, deprive yourself no more woman! You can officially go back to the luxury of choice … plastic wrap or foil? You decide. Just put the plastic wrap in the door of the fridge and it will slip right off of that cardboard tube, deeming you the victor.
Use Dollar Store Shower Caps As Lids
I don’t know what your kitchen storage look like but, if it’s anything like mine, you’ve got a cupboard or drawer that is full of plastic bowls. And, another one that has four lids. It doesn’t matter if I buy the disposable plastic storage containers or those ones with the same pattern on the bottom that is on the top so you can easily match. After a while, I’m down to four lids and a whole crapton of bottoms. I used to just donate the bottoms and buy a whole new set. But, then I learned about this little gem of a hack and it’s freakin’ genius! Now, I always have a “lid” for my bottom.
Peel A Banana From The Wrong End
You know those moments when you’re trying to load the dishwasher before it’s time to leave the house (on time!)? You’ve just knocked over a cup full of water mixed with God knows what and dumped a coffee filter full of used coffee grounds onto the lid of the trashcan thinking it was open. Then, your child brings you a snack that he wants to eat right freakin’ now! It’s a banana. Those little buggers are your nemesis. Trying to peel them without mooshing the top, because that would deem the banana inedible by your 4-year old’s standards, is like trying to get into those jeans you keep on the top shelf of the closet for “when you lose weight”. I’ve got the solution. Flip that sucker over and peel it from the “wrong” end. Try it. Your life will never be the same.
Microwave An Orange Before Peeling it
Want your 11-year old to be the independent child you NEED her to be and peel her own damn orange? Teach her to roll it on the counter for a couple of turns and then heat it in the microwave for a minute before peeling. Boom. Instant ‘mommy’s helper’ right there in your very own home.
Boil Potatoes Before You Peel Them
My family LOVES mashed potatoes. But, I only make them for Thanksgiving because I hate the extra work of peeling them. It’s one of those *many* things I have a moral dilemma about. I refuse to buy the package mashed potatoes because “it’s so easy to make them fresh”. But, I only make them once a year because “it’s too much work to make them fresh”. That was until I found this little hack. Instead of peeling them, cutting them into chunks, and boiling them … Just wash a few whole potatoes, score them around the middle with a knife (don’t cut all the way through), throw them into a pot of boiling water (skin and all) and let them boil for about 15 minutes. Once the timer goes off (or it occurs to you that you’ve got something on the stove because you forgot to set the time *totally me*, use some tongs to remove the potatoes from the boiling water and put them in a bowl of ice and water (or, just cold water because no one refilled the ice trays). Once they are cool to the touch, just grab either side and pull. The peel will slip right off! You can also use rubber gloves if you’re like me and you don’t have time to wait until they cool because you need dinner on the table before your daughter’s acting class in 20-minutes.
Use A Rubber Kitchen Glove To Open Jars
We are all strong women. We’ve weathered heartache, managed sexual harassment, and birthed humans. But, that damn pickle jar gets us every time. The struggle is real y’all. The reddened lid imprint on the palm of your hand, a stark reminder of your defeat. But, like everything else in our lives, we must overcome. Next time you’re faced with this most menacing foe, slip that armor of rubber over your hand and enter the octagon ready for battle.
Cut Brownies With Precision
One thing that I actually enjoy making is boxed brownies. Yes, Susan, I am aware that they aren’t good for me and will probably make me feel like crap after I eat them. (Susan is my nutritionist, BTW. Okay, I don’t have a nutritionist. She’s actually the voice in my head that doesn’t want me to have any fun). But, they taste damn good and make me feel lovely WHILE I’m eating them. It’s all about instant gratification sometimes. And, don’t get me wrong, I will eat them no matter what shape they’re in. In fact, I’ve even been known to eat chunks of brownie off of the parchment paper that I forgot to grease or, just take a spoon to the whole damn pan. But, there is something so satisfying about seeing a stack of perfectly squared brownies on a plate in my fridge. If you can relate, here’s a tip: grease the pan, lay a sheet of parchment paper vertically and another one horizontally, grease the parchment paper, pour the mix in and bake. When your brownies are done, lift them out of the pan using the edges of the parchment paper … THEN, cut them with a bread knife. You’re welcome.
Make Coffee WIthout A Coffee Pot
Add this one to your “zombie apocalypse” files … you can never be too prepared. About three years ago, we moved into a new house, in a new state, where I knew no one or where anything was. It was also in a different timezone so, of course, my youngest (who was 6-months old at the time) woke up at 4 am and was ready to start the day. Fine kid, let’s do this. I had unpacked the coffee pot the night before and set it up with the brew timer. Since I was up before the timer was set for, I immediately went into the kitchen and clicked “brew”. Nothing happened. My coffee pot had taken a dump in transit. So, I went to work making cowboy coffee. I opened the kitchen box and pulled out a pot, poured the coffee grounds and water into it and set it to boil five minutes. Then, I just placed the coffee filter over the top of my coffee mug (or, as my daughter calls it, my coffee bucket) and poured. Of course, while I was doing all of this, the kid was in his swing and fell back to sleep. But, that just meant that I had a few hours of peace to drink my coffee and get caught up on Grey’s Anatomy.
Use A Damp Coffee Filter To Reheat Leftovers
If you haven’t caught on by now, I am all about quick and easy in the kitchen. Can’t get much easier than leftovers. But, not everything reheats well. And, if they won’t eat it, I have to make them something they will eat so, it’s important to get the reheat just right. For things that usually dry out in the microwave, I place them in a microwave-safe container and put a damp coffee filter over the top. Essentially, the food is “steamed” and doesn’t get dried out and nasty. It works great for things like leftover pizza, potatoes, rice, dinner rolls, veggies. Anything with a high carb content that will dry out in the microwave. It also works great for warming a muffin, cookie or brownie. Just sayin’.
Put Wax Paper Over Ice Cream To Prevent Freezer Burn
This one is for those tubs of rainbow sherbert that you buy for the kids and ration out over a few weeks … not for the pint of Ben & Jerry’s that you buy & throw the lid away. If my kids see one little speck of frostbite on their sherbert it’s suddenly “disgusting” and they refuse to eat it. So, before I put the lid on the container and put it back in the freezer, I lay a piece of wax paper over the ice cream and THEN put the lid on. Voila! Dessert for days.
Keep Avocado Fresh By Storing It With A Chunk Of Red Onion
I love avocado but, I don’t want to eat a whole one all at once. So, to keep the leftover fresh, I add a chunk of red onion to the dish. Cheap and easy!
Make A Million Dollars And Hire Out Everything To Do With The Kitchen
Okay, this one probably isn’t realistic for most of us. But, it’s important to have goals, am I right?