living our best life – in the kitchen

yellow kitchenaid stand mixer

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As we are spending a little more time in the kitchen or thinking of holiday foods that we enjoy, I decided to write about the object in my kitchen that make my life easier.

I have to admit that I do not find much enjoyment from cooking.  I am thankful that on my good days I am able to feed my family healthy, mostly well balanced meals, but the smells and bending over and reaching makes me feel worse.  Even though I keep all of my frequently used items on the counters, I still feel poorly after preparing food.

To help me get through the whole, preparing a meal ordeal, I daily use my favorite kitchen appliance, putting it to good use.  It is my combination DVD/CD/radio that hangs under a kitchen cabinet next to the sink.  I received this from my parents who were getting rid of it and it has been one of my favorite gifts ever!

I turn it on every single time I am in the kitchen for more than a couple minutes.  I usually have a DVD playing as it does a wonderful job distracting me from pain and discomfort allowing me to stay in the kitchen longer.  Today there is a stack of my favorite Christmas DVDs waiting to be watched over the next month.

So, what about you?  What is your favorite kitchen appliance and how does it make your life easier?  

Thank you for taking the time to share!

 

A sink full of dishes

shallow focus photography of gray bowl

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Dishes………..another area of housekeeping that is an absolute necessity.  Unless you can afford to continually purchase paper plates and bowls, plastic utensils and new pots and pans every week, you have to wash your dishes.

The fact that I am even typing out a post on this subject is rather ridiculous.  If  you were to walk into my kitchen at this very moment, you would find a sink full of them.  Yes, I am blessed to have a dishwasher and it is used on a more-than-daily basis.  But, dishes have always been a difficult chore for me to keep on top of.  On my bad days, this task is so far down my list, they will usually sit and wait until another day.

Within my household there is a lot of cooking going on……and it is usually not me.  I have a vegan and vegetarian and they do most of their own cooking, thank goodness!  I also have those who will eat anything as long as it is not vegan or vegetarian.  And because of chronic illnesses, we try to cook a lot of our food from scratch and cooking from scratch results in A LOT of dishes.

I remember being in Lowe’s and the gentleman who was helping us choose a new dishwasher asked, “How many times a day do you run the dishwasher?”  I remember the look on his face when I answered “Most days, about four.”

Yep, that is a lot dishes and it is one of my least favorite chores.   Unloading the dishwasher is one of the most difficult tasks for me to physically do.  I do get help from others here at home, but as any mother knows, you are the one who needs to manage the process.

So, my rules for dishes are:  bring all dirty dishes into the kitchen, rinse all the dishes before placing them into the sink, if there is room place the dirty dishes in the plastic wash tub in the sink.  Several months ago, I purchased a plastic tub from Dollar Tree and put it in our sink so dirty dishes could soak before going into the dishwasher.  Now, this tub quickly fills up but at least some of the dishes will have been soaking and ready to go when the next load is done.

I realize this is not much of a system and I have tried to improve upon it.  I have read several books on how to clean your home systematically, but most of them were unrealistic to my situation.  I have yet to find a book on house cleaning authored by someone who suffers from a chronic illness and has children at home.   If there is one out there, I would be thrilled to know about it!

When it comes to dishes in my home, I just have to do the best I can and be thrilled that a lot. OK, mostly healthy cooking is going on.  When there is enough money in the budget, I do try to purchase paper products for times neither I nor the dishwasher can keep up.  I have to admit, paper plates, cups and bowls are one of my favorite luxuries.

So, how do you keep up with the dishes in your home?

 

kitchen distraction

bazaar bottles business ceramic

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……..and it is not something I use to make cooking quicker; it does not spiral, chop or mix, nor is it something that actually sits on the counter. Instead, it is securely fastened to the underside of one of my kitchen cabinets, the one closest to my sink.

So what is it you wonder and how could it help make my life in the kitchen easier?  My favorite kitchen appliance is actually a combination radio/DVD/CD player.  It was something my parents had in their basement and when it was offered to me, I jumped at the opportunity to own such an amazing invention.

Since it was gifted to me, it has been my constant companion.  Whether I am cooking or cleaning it allows my mind it focus on something other than the tiredness and aching I feel in my body.  This allows me to work longer in the kitchen accomplishing more every time I am in there. So, not only am I able to physically stay in the kitchen longer, I am also enjoying an audio-book or a movie that makes me happy, or music that lifts me up.  I am so thankful I have something that is such a blessed distraction.

Here’s to things that make our lives just a little bit easier!

one in the freezer

supermarket refrigerators

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I usually don’t post two days in a row but I wanted to add on to what I posted yesterday regarding putting meals in the freezer for later use.

This afternoon I taught my youngest daughter how to make meatloaf.  I already had ground beef thawing in the fridge and knew I had to do something with it soon.  So, I used this meat as a wonderful opportunity to teach my daughter and to put an extra “meal” in our freezer.  I had my daughter prepare all the meat which fit into two loaf pans, with some left over.  One loaf was for tonight’s dinner and the other went into the freezer for a later date!

Since there was still meat left over from the meatloaf, we made meatballs and those also went into the freezer.  Although it took a little more time to prepare the extra meat for the second meatloaf and to make and bake the meatballs, it was much faster then if I had to start the process from scratch.

I have to admit, I am super tired tonight after spending 3 hours in the kitchen teaching my daughter to cook an entire meal which consisted of baked potatoes and green beans and she just had to make cupcakes…..but…..we were able to get goodies in the freezer (including cupcakes) and enjoy a healthy dinner.

So, I am encouraging you, if/when you are able, to plan ahead while grocery shopping and purchase extra ingredients so you too can put some food away in the freezer for your less than decent days!