Last week, I gave tips for "defeating" rising prices and one of those tips of making things from scratch really sparked comments(and emails) about how I do that along with homeschooling without seemingly being in the kitchen foreeeeeevvvverrrrrr. How can one provide nourishment for their family and not spend tons of time in the kitchen? Here are some of my tips that seem to work for me(in no particular order)...
- Involve my kids! I have found that having my kids help me wash and cut up veggies or fruit to have in the fridge for meals or snacks helps those meal prep times go faster. My kids love to help mix up the cookie dough or bread batter too. My kids also like to do the cleanup--loading the dishwasher or washing dishes. They love to be helpers. Even with young children, I can give them a task to do in the kitchen while I work on something else in the kitchen. I actually count their help in the kitchen as part of their homeschooling credit for "home econonics". I want my kids(esp. my boys) to be efficient in the kitchen so involving them in the work is the best way.
- Plan ahead times to work in the kitchen. When I do my menu planning, I make notes as to what needs to be done before the given day. This way, I make time/plan time to work in the kitchen sometime the day before I want something for meals. For instance, last week I wanted to have homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast BEFORE we were to walk in an 11am July 4th Parade. So I planned ahead to make the dough up during quiet time the day before. It took me along with my 7yo son less than 20 minutes to get the dough made and into rolls ready to bake the next morning.
- Keep it simple! If one were to take a look at my menu plans you would find that I don't do gourmet or 3 course meals every day! I can feed my family a well-balanced nutritional meal without having to have 3 courses. I usually keep my meals simple---meat, a couple of starches(potato, or rice, or noodles, and bread), and veggies and/or fruit. It is on rare occasion that I will make a dessert to go with the a dinner meal. I save the desserts for dinner meals when we are entertaining guests. Other than that desserts or treats as my kids calls them are served after lunch. This way the extra sugar/sweetness has been burned off before bedtime.
- Develop a routine! I found that having a "baking day" was just too much work! No matter how well I planned, life would happen and baking just would not happen! So I aim to make something each day. Yes there are days that baking still doesn't happen...those are the days that I am glad for my freezer full of goodies!
- Use "modern day servants"! I love using my crockpot...fix it and forget it til dinner time! I love my bread machine to mix up my bread dough because it saves me time...put the ingredients in and let the machine do the work. I love my stand alone freezer..it is full of goodies for that quick pull to finish off a meal.
- Plan ahead with purpose! From grocery shopping to meal planning to prepping food to preparing the food...planning ahead is important! I can not just aimlessly walk into the kitchen and expect to accomplish anything without having a plan and purpose. I have tried the aimless walk too many times to count and nothing gets done completely just alot of loose ends which means more time in the kitchen. I make sure that I do my grocery shopping on days where I have time to take care of the 20 lbs plus of meat that I am going to need to put it into meal size servings and into the freezer or it will go bad.
I would love to hear how you keep that "all day in the kitchen feeling" at bay! What things do you do to accomplish nourishment for your family?
For other's kitchen tips and recipes, head over to Tammy's Recipes!