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How to Fall in Love with Your Kitchen, All Over Again


How to Fall in Love with Your Kitchen, All Over Again
Image by *Susie* (license).

Note: This is a guest post by Alice of Martha’s Evil Twin: Alice Stewart’s Living.

There are several reasons to be nervous about the kitchen. Here are a few I hear a lot:

  • I don’t have the time.
  • I buy groceries and can’t think of anything to cook.
  • I like to look at recipes but they all look complicated or have expensive ingredients.
  • I don’t know how to do a lot of things I read about in recipes.
  • I refuse to cook anything with more than 4 ingredients.
  • I refuse to cook anything that takes longer than 15 minutes.

But here is a list of six great reasons to cook at home:

  1. It’s SO much cheaper.
  2. You know what’s in the food.
  3. It’s a lot healthier (restaurants put loads of salt and fat in their food).
  4. You get to see, and eat, the results of your labours.
  5. You can pack up leftovers and bring them to work with you for lunch.
  6. It can be a quiet, “you,” time to be creative and think your own thoughts.

Cooking can be a lot of fun. The first step is to make the space an enjoyable one. Put on some tunes.  Pop open a beverage. Start tapping your toes. Invite someone to hang out with you and catch up with them (they don’t have to help if you don’t want).

Find a recipe you think is doable.  If you and your kitchen are not even on speaking terms, start with a casserole.  They’re perfect recession-proof dishes and are easy to make.  If your parents are still alive, ask them for a recipe. They’ll be tickled you called.

If you don’t have some of the ingredients (or equipment), make a list and buy only those items on your list.  Bring them home and set all your ingredients out on the counter.

Sit down and relax with your recipe.  Make sure you’re comfortable: no high heels, in other words.  Once you’re familiar with the recipe, start to it.  Do not fret about exact measurements or an ideal ingredient.  Most of the time food is very forgiving.  And if you really like an ingredient or spice, add it!

While your dish is cooking, make a stab at washing the dishes. 

Remember, this is just a stab.  It doesn’t have to be done perfectly if you don’t feel like it.  Do your nails or read a magazine while you wait.  This is your time.  Chat with someone nice on the telephone or send an email.

When your dish is done admire your handiwork.  Smell the amazing food you just made.  Be proud of yourself: the time you took for yourself, the money you saved, the money you will continue to save by bringing food to work with you, the dishes you won’t have to cook for the next few days, the healthy food that will go into your belly.

Here are some other helpful tips to get creative with what you may already have in the kitchen:

  • You can make a sauce with meat and/or vegetables and put it over rice or next to mashed potatoes. How to make a sauce: 2 tbsp or more butter melted, mix in a small handful of flour, pour in water or milk (about a cup) and add a bouillon cube. Stir until thick.
  • Leftover mashed potatoes can line a pie pan like a pie shell.  Fill with sauce, meat and/or vegetables and bake at 350 degrees for about a half an hour.
  • Make an omelette: mix 2-3 eggs with a little bit of water and pour into a pan on low heat. Toss in everything you can think of.  Season and try to flip the omelet once it looks almost done.  If it falls apart, don’t worry.  You can call it a scramble.

Finally, here is my very own quiche recipe for you.

1 store bought pie shell
4 eggs
1 cup heavy cream (or milk)
1 large handful of shredded cheese
1 large handful of diced meat (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place (meat and) cheese in bottom of pie shell.  In a bowl mix eggs and cream well.  Pour this into pie.  Place pie shell on foil covered cookie sheet, or just on foil in the oven (it can get a little messy).  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Let cool for a few minutes before cutting.

Alice is the owner of Martha’s Evil Twin: Alice Stewart’s Living. When she’s not finding a practical bargain, she’s an accountant and dog owner. She can also be found on Twitter: alicejean23.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Nicolai - Happiness Cafe January 12, 2009, 6:19 pm

    Okay, I field-test the recipe one of the coming days and give feedback, stay tuned :-D

  • Chris - Zen to Fitness January 12, 2009, 7:33 pm

    Amazing post. I love cooking it is such a simple thing that is fun, easy and keeps you busy. It will make you healthier and save you money, what’s not to love!

  • Very Evolved January 12, 2009, 10:27 pm

    I really like cooking – it’s a lot like doing science in the lab: Here are the ingredients, follow the instructions, examine the results. Just like science experiments though, they don’t always work, but I do always learn something form it.

    I would suggest another way for the non-cookers out there to get started:

    Invite around a friend/s for dinner, but with the twist that you will all cook it together.

    I’m a neuroscientist and I can tell you the human brain is really brilliant at learning new things and solving problems, BUT it’s even better at learning from others.

    We’re really quite social herd animals, so come on over to my place and graze sometime.

    Patrick
    veryevolved.com

  • LifeMadeGreat - Juliet January 13, 2009, 1:05 pm

    Hi

    I advocate cooking at home – for the reasons you mention, but also for family time. It is a great time to connect, unwind and have fun with your partner and even kids. Even the pets too!

    I wrote a post all about this not so long ago. Glad you reflect my thoughts.

    Juliet

  • Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome January 13, 2009, 6:23 pm

    I love kitchens but unfortunately I hate my own. We’re in a 250sq ft apartment without any counter space, so I almost never cook anymore…

    When I can’t sleep I redesign the kitchen in my head and it’s lovely.

  • Alice Stewart January 13, 2009, 7:50 pm

    VeryEvolved – it’s a date! I always wanted a chemistry set when I was a kid, and I think of the kitchen like a lab too. Oh, but the bad experiments can be hideous. Great site, by the way!
    Juliet – great minds think alike! :)
    Alex – I had an apartment kitchen when I was a student in Honolulu. There was a wall, a sink, a stove, and a fridge. That was IT. I found a cutting board that fit over the sink, and sometimes chopped at the table. I would place items on un-used stove burners. Unfortunately, there weren’t any helpful little diagrams telling me which burner went with which knob, so I managed to melt my bag of rice and still have a cold pan of water one day. Grrr. Good luck with your kitchen and keep dreaming!

  • kathy January 14, 2009, 3:56 am

    Cooking is fun! It can also be an art project. Most days I get home from work and want something easy, though. I usually make meals where I can use half of it for breakfast or lunch the next day. Besides being cheaper, I don’t get added stuff I don’t want like MSG and sugar, so it’s much healthier.

    During the week I stay with very simple menus: broiled fish or chicken and a vegetable or salad. These do not take a lot of time or counter space, but I can be very creative with flavors and colors. I find that simple dishes let the natural flavor of foods shine. On the weekends, I experiment a bit more with recipes that take a little more time and cook ahead so that I have breakfast ready to just reheat each morning.

    I also find that if I take a few minutes and plan meals for the week, I can shop and know that I have everything I need. My husband and I have worked out a system so he knows what is fair game and what is needed for meals :)

    I recently started Simple Supper Saturday on my blog. Every Saturday I post recipes I use that are easy, quick, and delicious because I believe that everyone should fall in love with their kitchen and that the best food is simple food.

  • DonnaLynn January 14, 2009, 6:52 am

    I LOVE cooking at home. Unfortunately, my reign as Queen of the kitchen has come to an end, due to the emergence of my teenager’s love for cooking.

    She leaves in a year. Then the kitchen will be all mine again!

  • Arswino January 14, 2009, 10:34 am

    I don’t coke at home, but they are great tips for my wife.
    Thanks for sharing this, Alice.

  • An January 19, 2009, 6:18 pm

    Have you heard of the 4 ingredients cookbook? All the cookbook has heaps of recipes with no more than 4 ingredients (excludes salt, water and ____ [which I forgot] ).

    My home has a kitchen that’s about 5m sq ish. Oh, and we make do without an oven (toaster oven is sometimes used), but we have a rice cooker, microwave, gas stove, fridge.

    I think learning from others is a great idea. It’s a fun alternative to going out, and plus you often learn from each other. Good stuff.