The Secret of a Clean Kitchen

5 hours of cooking, 5 min of eating and 5 days of cleaning the kitchen.  Yep, that explains why for so many cooking is just an unenjoyable chore. BUT…. cooking in the kitchen doesn’t need to involve complicated meals and a big kitchen mess. Staying out of the kitchen is not the secret to keeping it clean, but rather it’s learning how to make less mess when in the kitchen.  I’m here to say, kitchen living is worth the effort. Once you try some of these cleaning hacks, you will see why the kitchen is the heart of your home.

TIP #1 – Start with a Clean Kitchen. I can’t stress this enough. You don’t want to add a cooking mess on a kitchen that is already in disarray. Start off cooking with a clean kitchen. Two of my favorite clean supplies are Mrs. Meyer's Basil and Young Living Thieves’ smells like fresh lemon.

TIP #2 – Buy Yourself a LARGE Cutting Board. Last week I made a soup and was able to cut/prep carrots, onions, garlic, celery, and parsley all on one board. Sorted on board by produce, I then used the bench scraper to put each item into the pot – saving me from cleaning several prep bowls. I must confess, I do love the mise en place of prep bowls like that on TV cooking shows, but it comes with extra clean-up and I’m guessing you don’t have staff that will be cleaning all those bowls like they do on TV!

TIP #3 – Line Your Baking Sheets! Whenever possible use parchment paper, aluminum foil or a silicone mat. It makes for easy pan clean-ups. My brie rosemary potato pan would take so much longer to clean if not for the parchment paper and don’t even get me going on how long it takes to clean a non-lined bacon sheet. Parchment paper is also great to use for cake pans too. When you take the time to line your tray, you ‘ll see just how easy clean-up can be. 

TIP #4 – Scrap Bag/Bowl Whenever I am prepping, I remove scraps as I go. While a simple bowl does the trick, it becomes one more bowl to clean so I go with the plastic grocery bag. I will peel my produce into this plastic bag, (over a garbage can works too) which helps keep counter tops clean and it is super-fast and easy to toss in garbage.

TIP #5 – Immersion Blender I think every kitchen needs this tool. To say I am obsessed with mine is an understatement. I like this tool because it is easy to use, it eliminates having to pour hot liquid into a food processor and it saves me from having to clean up that contraption and all its many parts. An immersion blender is so much quicker to clean then then a food processor/blender.

TIP #6 – Think Twice Before pulling out all your measuring cups, bowls, spoons etc. look at your recipe and the serving size. I can tell you I’ve had to clean a number of extra dishes in the mistake of grabbing too big or too small a pan/bowl.

TIP #7 – Simple Meals I will go into more details including recipes and meal ideas in an upcoming blog post but for now, simple meals like a sheet pan dinner or a pressure cooker dinner will certainly make for less mess and easier clean-up.

TIP #8 – Clean as You Go. While I know this is basic common sense, it is easily forgotten as you get into your cooking game. At minimum, rinse dishes as you go so that you don’t come back to fiercely scrubbing a bowl. And while I speak of rinsing dishes – teach this to your family members. It is so much easier cleaning a rinsed bowl of oatmeal than one that was left to harden in the sink. (Am I right son??)

TIP #9 – Clutter Must Go!!! The less on the countertops the easier the clean-up. I eliminate the look of clutter from my countertops with some organization methods. Several of my appliances, I store on a designated metal shelf (container store) in my basement, bringing them up on an as needed basis. About that pretty baby blue Artisan Stand Mixer on my counter - yeah that is what I call décor 😉

My other kitchen clutter free tip is having a couple organized drawers in my kitchen for keys, mail etc. so that doesn’t end up on a counter. Lots of shelf organizers can be found at container store.  I also avoid a countertop of cookbooks by either using my iPad for recipes as well as designating a shelf in my glass cabinet for cookbook display.

TIP #10 – Basic Kitchen Rule I cook you clean! That sounds fair and if that is the case, you can make the kitchen a great BIG mess.

Less Mess Kitchen Supplies

Fasting from Snacking

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is OLK-graphic-quotes-12-1024x1024.jpg

This past week we entered into the season of Lent. For many Catholics and Christians alike, fasting is something associated with Lent. Many times you will hear the question what are giving up for Lent? And then comes the internal question of what can I really be successful at giving up for 40 days … cause trust me the catholic guilt is real when you mess up!! 

One of my favorite things I enjoy is food (no surprise there!) I often catch myself snacking on food throughout the day  So for me, food fasting is something I rather not take on.  But this persistent internal voice was trying really hard to convince me to give up snacking and eventually that voice won. 

So how do you just stop snacking?

Here are a few tips I put together for myself to make sure I get through the next 40 days snack-free!

While fasting is most often associated with food it can also be associated with giving up something that you enjoy, something that is perhaps not serving you well.

Regardless your religious stance I think fasting is a discipline that we should all practice from time to time. While no discipline is enjoyable at the moment, in the long term it really does nourish the body, mind and soul.