Welcome to the first Friday Five, a way to share with you some of the most asked about topics I get as a health coach or those I feel can help you all bring a little extra wellness to your everyday. Each Friday I will be sharing tips, thoughts and overall information on a specific topic related to wellness, cooking and well, life! Have a topic you would like to see covered? Head on over here and shoot me a message!
Today, we're talking about cooking at home. Specifically, how can you actually get to enjoy it more.
I get it. After a long day, the last place you'd like to be is in the kitchen. Even for me, someone who loves to cook, there are days I just can't even deal with turning on the oven.
So, how can you approach cooking with a better attitude and maybe even like it? Read below for some simple tips and let me know what you think in the comments!
Always Start with a Clean Kitchen
Trust me when I say this, nothing good ever comes from cooking in an already messy kitchen. Sure, you may have made a pretty good meal but you've now doubled the amount of cleaning which will only make you feel less inclined to cook in the future.
While you don't need to scrub the floors or clean out the fridge before every meal you make, make sure the sink area is clear (including any dishes drying in the dish rack!), countertops are wiped down and any other major spills are cleaned up.
I'm a big believer that the energy we have when we cook our food is directly transferred into that food. So guess what? If you're starting with a messy kitchen you likely will have a messy mind so always be sure to clean up both your space and your mindset before you start.
Mise en Place
Translated literally, mise en place means to "put in place" and is a French term for how chefs organize their kitchen. If you are like most people, you probably give little thought to the recipe or ingredients before you dive right into cooking.
Not so fast! Before you start, read through the recipe, make sure you have every ingredient and understand the techniques. If you don't know something - Google it!
Then, prep all of your ingredients as required by the recipe. Need chopped onions or julienned carrots? Do all that work BEFORE you start cooking and set them out in small bowls or containers by your work space. You can also measure out all of the necessary spices and herbs you'll need so that you're not fumbling about the spice rack while your sauce bubbles over on the stove.
De-Clutter and Organize
Yes, I already mentioned starting in a clean kitchen and organizing your ingredients but this one goes a little deeper. When was the last time you purged some items from your pantry or reorganized your utensil drawer? Are you always reaching for a spatula that never seems to be where you need it to be?
To start, make sure your kitchen only contains made for cooking (duh). Banish all mail, pocketbooks and any other miscellaneous items to another room and make sure you're not holding onto any unnecessary or broken kitchen tools either.
Then, think about your common steps in the kitchen. Does anything need to be moved around to make it easier for you and eliminate an extra step? For me, I like to organize by the amount I use products so those that I use almost everyday get prime real estate while some products that are only used occasionally are a little more tucked away. I also tend to use a lot of flours and baking products so in order to make this easier, I added all of my containers of these products to drawers. That way, I just need to pull out the door, pop open the lid and grab a scoop - no more lugging heavy containers off the shelves!
Don't Double Your Work
If cooking already isn't totally your thing, why do it more than you need to! I always recommend cooking once to eat twice, especially if you are cooking for 1 or 2 people. If you're making dinner for you and your spouse and it makes enough just for 2 people - double it! Then you will have lunch or dinner for the next day and hardly need to step foot in the kitchen. Doesn't that sound better!
Cook Foods You Enjoy (But Be Open)
Now this isn't carte blanche to give up on trying new foods, but start with foods you do enjoy and try cooking them different ways. Then apply that same to foods you may think you don't like. Never been a fan of steamed broccoli? Guess what - me neither! Instead try roasting it or using it in a stir-fry. Start with what you know and expand from there.
Still feel like you can't figure out your way in the kitchen? If you live in the NYC or surrounding area, check out my Private Cooking Classes. We'll focus on the things you struggle with in the kitchen so you're a master chef in no time.