Monday, January 4, 2016

the first of my 2016 kitchen resolutions

The start of a new year can be many things... maybe exhilarating... maybe a bit daunting.  But I always, always think it's refreshing.  It's a chance to push "reset" and take on new challenges.

I have several intentions for 2016 rolling around in my head for different areas of my life, but, truth be told, that constant "rolling around" has been going on since my boys were, oh, about two and four.  I remember, about that time, I started to consider all of the things I'd like to do in the future from increasing the quality of my health to organizing my wardrobe to going to grad school.  I did go to grad school, by the way, but the other two???  Well... let's just say they're still on the list.

At any rate, I don't ever feel like my brain is "at rest," because I'm constantly thinking about what I could do next. That's why, for a couple of areas in my life, I am setting small, achievable goals, so that I can feel and see my accomplishments as I meet them, the most important being the one I shared with you yesterday.

You see the above picture?  That is pure joy, my friends.  Pure joy.  It is no secret that my favorite room to be in is the kitchen.  It's where I spend the most (awake) time, without a doubt.  But just because it's my favorite doesn't mean that I wouldn't mind reducing some of the wasted time I spend in it.  So, beginning today, I'm sharing the first of 2016's achievable goals that have to do with just that... getting back a little of my hard-to-come-by time, particularly, in the kitchen.


Gather all ingredients and utensils BEFORE cooking

Earth-shattering, I know.  But please keep reading.

For those of you who - like me - are less than organized in the kitchen, this simple move can give you back a little of your time and quite a bit of your sanity during meal-prep, or baking, or whatever it is you're taking on in the kitchen.  Trust me on this.  

One might think with the amount of time I do spend in the kitchen, I could sail through the cooking process fairly seamlessly.  But I am FAR from world's best at smoothly pulling recipes together.  Too many times, our evenings go something like this:

1. Fly in the door and unload everything at the first stop - our kitchen table or counter.  (Someone please tell me why we keep doing this!)

2. Feverishly try to overcome Major Mom Failure by getting some kind of semi-healthy meal on the table BEFORE the boys have to be in bed (because it would be terrible to send them there with no supper, right?).

3. Just a few minutes into the whole ordeal, walk around the kitchen in circles, attempting to open up a draw or cabinet, WITH MY ELBOWS, mind you, to get an ingredient or can opener, or some other item that's not where it should be, all while trying to keep the raw chicken juice from dripping down my forearms.

4. Yell at Make a request for anyone who will listen to do SOMETHING to help.

Need I go on?

I know it seems as though pulling together the recipe ingredients and necessary tools before you start takes too much time, but I have tested it over the last three days, and I am here to say - dear, dear readers - It's. Worth. Every. Second.  It has honestly brought back more joy as I cook.  With very little effort, I know where everything is, and the time I usually spend mindlessly looking around for necessary items (or spreading salmonella), is significantly reduced.  Seriously.  Give this a week.  I promise you'll be hooked!