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Tips From the Kitchen

October 28, 2021

Dear Reader, 

This week, my husband asked me to share why I love spending time in my kitchen and how I manage it so that it is not an overwhelming or unenjoyable place to be. I enjoy cooking, but I don't want to spend all day there. If there is one room in the house I like to keep clean, it's the kitchen. My whole day is better when I'm greeted by clean counters and floors, not by heaping piles of unwashed dishes and clutter. 

 My first secret to a stress-free and operational kitchen is by having less to manage. Secondly, it is by how and what I cook. 

WHEN LESS BECOMES MORE

As a general rule, I like to keep my cooking appliances, utensils, pots, pans, and dishes to a minimum. The more functions an item serves, the better! I don't mind having to scrub the same pan or utensil several times a day. Instead of it piling up by the sink, I wash and reuse them all day long. I've found that this reduces the dread of doing after-meal dishes, especially in the evening when I don't have as much energy and want to relax. 

Everything in my kitchen has a home, and that home is not on the counter. Yes, that includes the teapot, toaster, and coffee pot. When opening my cabinets, I can easily see and retrieve anything in there. That is the beauty of having what is needed. Anyone can organize a lot of stuff, but keeping it organized is a different story. Owning and using less means less clutter and easy, long-lasting organization.

HOW AND WHAT I COOK

Coming from a family of 15, I never learned how to cook in small amounts. Now, I still cook in bulk and then save and freeze half of it. It's the same amount of work, for double the amount of food! One of the biggest obstacles to eating healthy is a lack of planning and time. Cooking like this makes it a breeze. It makes for a variety of healthy, quick meals on hand for whenever we need them.

 Another big tip is the sort of meals I cook. I love one-dish meals, such as skillets, casseroles, hot dishes, stir-frys, or crockpot meals. Not only is it less work and clean up, but I don't have to worry about providing many sides, as most of these meals include veggies already. 

The last little tip I have for you is to clean while you go. There's nothing like sitting down to dinner, knowing the only clean-up you'll have after are the dishes in front of you. 

My challenge to you is twofold:

1) prepare dinner tonight with as few dishes as possible and

2) clean up as you cook. See if you notice a difference! I'd love to hear if you find any of these tips helpful? 

From the kitchen, 

Julie Ruegemer

Gilbert Ruegemer

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