Tuesday, March 4, 2014

10 Things I do to make Life Easier in the Kitchen

1. I put tinfoil in a bowl before I drain the grease from bacon. I throw it out or freeze it if I'm going to use it to cook with at another time. I don't need to worry about a gross bowl.

2. I prepare food on Sundays: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. I'm cleaning up for an hour or two one day versus every morning and night. I leave the house by 7 and get home at 6. I do not feel like cooking every night. Being prepared gives me no excuse for eating shitty processed meals. That being said, some weekends we're away or I'm too busy to do that. So I always have some meals in the freezer ready to heat and eat: quiche (pieces frozen individually), breakfast burritos, baked ziti, enchiladas, mexican stuffed shells, soup.

3. If a recipe calls for half an onion, I chop the rest of it and freeze it. Likewise, if I only need a tablespoon or two of tomato paste, I freeze the rest of the can in ice cube trays and to use at my leisure. No haste, no waste, and since I usually add them to sauce or soup, no defrosting. I hate wasting food. There are too many people in this world who don't have that luxury.

4. As soon as I use the last of something, I grab my phone and write it down on a list under the Grocery Note I keep in the notes. I check that when I'm making my grocery or Target lists. I've been shopping more at Target using my red card for a 5% discount plus the Cartwheel app, Target mobile coupons, and real live coupons.

5. Wear gloves when doing dishes. Do you think these nails keep themselves? I buy fun gloves at Homegoods to put a shine on a shit chore.

6. I separate bananas when I bring them home - it keeps them good longer.

7. I never buy buttermilk because it would go bad before I'd use it all. If I need it, I add a tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of milk, stir, and let stand for 10 minutes. Viola - you made buttermilk, bitches.

8. I whisk eggs in a four cup measuring cup so they're easy to pour out.

9.  I don't peel carrots, cucumbers, or potatoes. Again, I hate wasting food and more importantly wasting nutrients. Most nutrients in carrots are in or just below the skin. Scrub those bitches and cut the ends off and boom, you're good to go. Cucumber peel is a good source of fiber. Potato skin has a ton of finber and vitamins - it's full of vitamin K, potassium, copper, and iron. So if you eat over and we're having potato salad or mashed potatoes, expect the skin.

10. I always have a box of brownie mix in the pantry and a few bags of frozen berries in the fridge. If I have to make a dessert on the fly to serve to impromptu dinner guests or bring to a spontaneous gathering, brownies and berry cobbler will do nicely.
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Haikuesday
Share your kitchen tips!
Ordering out tricks work too.
Please, no tips on beets. 
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Tomorrow: our weekend in Mexico. Hasta manana, amigos.
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40 comments:

  1. These are awesome tips. I use Wunderlist to keep my grocery list updated, because then my husband and I can both access it via our phones and if one person goes to the store for something, they can get whatever else is on the list. Cooking a big hunk of meat on Sunday that I can then repurpose into quick weeknight meals always makes me feel extra-smart, too.

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  2. omfg you're a fucking genius -- freezing tomato paste in ice cube trays?! i NEVER thought of that. i avoided tomato paste at all costs because i never use the whole thing, i can never bring myself to throw the rest out and i hate wasting food as well but after reading this, tomato paste on errting!!

    -kathy | Vodka and Soda

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  3. I got so tired of throwing out tomato sauce/paste that I bought this: http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/tomato-powder#content . It's really quite amazing-- just make the amount that you need! I also use the app HotPot for my shopping. It's like a recipe box, and you can plan your meals for the week and it will make your shopping list for you! C and I also have a whiteboard on the side of our fridge to write things down when we run out.

    P.S.- The foil thing is genius. Nice work.

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    Replies
    1. I'm weird about recipe box stuff, because I keep a well stocked pantry so I'm always screwing it up and buying things I already have.

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  4. These are all amazing! Pinned it to remember. Thanks!

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  5. These are all great tips, thanks!!! Your freezer is definitely your friend!

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  6. The tomato ice cube tray is genius. I never know what to do with that isn, and I always feel real bad throwing it out!

    Reynolds crock pot liners have changed my life. There's always a coupon, and worth every penny to not have to scrub out the bottom of my crock pot

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  7. Kitchen chores, no fun!
    I'd prefer someone else cook
    I'll gladly eat though.

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  8. Prep coffee maker/grinder the night before! Lucky I don't have to run out the door.
    Plenty of time now is mine.
    Everything homemade=divine
    Safe, happy, easy travels to you and Mike Doyle. Godspeed always.

    Love, your MOMMA

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  9. Love all these tips. The buttermilk trick I will be using. I keep an old pickle or sauce jar for bacon grease or cooking grease. When it's full its easy to toss.

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  10. Oh wow! I didn't know so many of these! From now on I'm definitely making my own buttermilk, freezing onions and tomato paste, and definitely separating bananas! I'm pinning this now so I remember all of it :) Thanks!

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  11. Love the tomato paste in an ice cube tray tip! Definitely going to have to employ that one.

    I do peel carrots and cucumbers (not potatoes) but we started composting for our garden so even though the peels aren't getting eaten, they're still being put to use. Like you, I cannot stand food waste and this is a good compromise for me. I just keep a big bowl on the counter and every couple of days, I send the husband out to the pile to get rid of it.

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  12. Love these tips! Whenever I read your blog, I'm always so impressed how easy you make the kitchen look with all your prep work. Some weekend I'd love to see a post that shows how you prepare a week's worth of meals in one weekend day! I am not worthy LOL.

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  13. I am saving this post for later- these are awesome tips!

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  14. Please come live at my house and cook for me, I live with a chef and I don't eat this good. I can't blame him, I wouldn't want to cook at work and then come home and cook too.

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  15. Homemade buttermilk = mind blown!

    I always have to buy a carton of it when I need it for baking, and feel awful that the majority of it is thrown away :(

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  16. You're such a genius. Buttermilk, who knew?! Also... I only own cheap things and I put them all in the dishwasher and therefore never hand wash anything. Eeek, I know.

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  17. Great tips!! Hope you are having a great time in Mexico!

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  18. Making your own buttermilk?!?!?! This is genius! I avoid recipes that call for it because I always end up throwing most of the container out!!! I always immediately write down an item on my list when I finish it too otherwise I will never remember then be pissed at myself when I need it again!

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  19. These are all genius!! Love the idea of freezing tomato paste in ice cube trays.

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  20. These are some great tips! I didn't realize you could freeze so many things!

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  21. I have one thing I do to make my life easier in the kitchen: I let Aaron do everything!

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  22. One of the best things I've found was tomato paste in a squeeze tube- it lasts forever, and you only have to use the tablespoon or two that you need and can just put the lid back on! The little cans drive me crazy!

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  23. Beets are my least favorite food ever. Perhaps the only thing that's ever made me throw up at the table.

    Everytime I use half a can of something (tomato paste, evaporated milk, pumpkin) I freeze the rest for later in tupperware or ziploc bags. I also keep a running list on my phone! I never go in the store without a list. I also automatically freeze half of every soup I make. It's a pre-made dinner for later, especially because there's only 2 of us.

    I love the tinfoil trick with bacon grease. I'm doing that one next time!

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  24. I definitely do #3....Mark thinks it's bizarre but we always have chopped shallots available don't we??
    #10...frozen break and bake cookies always available in the freezer....work function potluck......prepared!

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  25. I do the same things with buttermilk and not peeling vegetables. Personally, I prefer the skin on anyway, but like you said - that's where most of the nutrients are! And that buttermilk trick works with non-dairy milk, too - I always do the lemon juice + almond/coconut milk trick for cupcakes!

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  26. You would be SOOO proud of my meal planning this week. Even snacks are planned. No wasting ingredients. I thought of you as I wrote it all out :)

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  27. I should keep this in mind. I'll keep the buttermilk one in my head for sure. I use it when I make pancakes sometimes.

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  28. I really like the tinfoil for grease collecting idea. And the buttermilk!

    I am good at food storage, so I always have the basics at home in my food storage or pantry. It's super helpful and I only really shop for produce when I have to go out.

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  29. I'm gonna have to try that banana trick! Ours are always going bad and it's so frustrating! I mean, sure, you can freeze them once they start to go bad but it'd be nice if they stayed normal for longer in the first place!

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  30. I wish I could be as organized as you! Sundays are so busy already but I wish I could stay w/ doing food prep then!

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  31. Good idea for the buttermilk. I've seen it, but never tried it! Love me a baked potato with the skin. Never ate it that way growing up because of my mom and I wish I always had!

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  32. Yep, all of those! I'd also add:
    Making stock (with any and every bone you end up with....we do just bones with water, no veg, and it's a great resource for soup base, sauce base, casserole sauce, etc).
    Using coffee grounds in the bathroom (as a foot scrub, with a little oil) and garden (mixed into soil for tomatoes and cabbages, or as mulch over fruit trees, roses, and lining pathways). It's a nice re-use for something always in the kitchen, that doesn't mean trekking to the trash after coffee. ;)

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  33. I asked my husband why he doesn't mealprep and chop veggies ahead of time. He gave me a dumb reason and I gave him the side-eye. I have no grounds to complain but it still makes no sense to me.

    I hate potato skin. I just can't do it. I think it's mental more now than anything. I'm going to try the separating bananas thing. I prefer mine underripe anyway so that is a great tip!

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  34. I love kitchen tips!! I am going to adopt a bunch of these!!

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  35. I've never tried tinfoil for the grease - my mom always dumped it into a paper cup once it had cooled and then threw the cup away. So naturally that's what I do. I think I like your idea better - you avoid washing the messy bowl. And I've been making buttermilk that way for years - it's a great hack!

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