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Get organized, get cooking

fter the excess of the holidays, it’s time to get your home back in order. And that includes what may be the most important room-the kitchen. Having an organized kitchen can save you time and money and may even allow your entire family to eat more nutritiously.

Create a little cook’s space

Registered dietitian Serena Ball, a mother of three
young children from the western suburbs who blogs at
TeaspoonOfSpice.com, suggests creating space for a kids’ cooking
cabinet, drawer or shelf.
“Look for a low shelf or drawer that’s easily
kid-accessible. With their own kitchen stuff, children are more
motivated to help chop vegetables-and then eat them when they
appear as dinner.”
In kitchens cramped for space, Ball suggests a
plastic bin that can be stored in a pantry at their level. “Kids
love to cook. And although there is usually always a little bigger
mess to clean, giving them a carrot to peel can keep them from
clamoring for a snack right before dinner.”
She recommends stocking the following in your
children’s cooking space:
Kids’ cookbooks with colorful food photos and
healthful recipes like smoothies and fruit kabobs
Cookie cutters to cut out fun-shaped cheese slices
or sandwiches
Kids’ knife and cutting board for slicing cucumbers
or bananas
Whisk to help whisk eggs or pancake batter
Egg slicer for hard-boiled eggs
Peeler
Set of measuring spoons and cups to learn number
and fraction identification
An apron or chef’s hat

Registered dietitian Serena Ball, a mother of three young
children from the western suburbs who blogs at TeaspoonOfSpice.com,
suggests creating space for a kids’ cooking cabinet, drawer or
shelf.

“Look for a low shelf or drawer that’s easily kid-accessible.
With their own kitchen stuff, children are more motivated to help
chop vegetables-and then eat them when they appear as dinner.”

In kitchens cramped for space, Ball suggests a plastic bin that
can be stored in a pantry at their level. “Kids love to cook. And
although there is usually always a little bigger mess to clean,
giving them a carrot to peel can keep them from clamoring for a
snack right before dinner.”

She recommends stocking the following in your children’s cooking
space:

  • Kids’ cookbooks with colorful food photos and healthful recipes
    like smoothies and fruit kabobs
  • Cookie cutters to cut out fun-shaped cheese slices or
    sandwiches
  • Kids’ knife and cutting board for slicing cucumbers or
    bananas
  • Whisk to help whisk eggs or pancake batter

Pantry

Reconsider stocking up just because you got a good deal. If you’re not careful, it can go to waste (waist), plus you have money tied up that might be used elsewhere. If you’re out of space for your “deals,” it’s time to quit shopping.

Store your whole grains-such as brown rice, wheat berries, quinoa and rolled oats-in plain sight in glass storage jars. Keep cooking instructions nearby.

Do you have spices and herbs older than your firstborn child? Toss out old bottles, as they lose their potency, and replace with fresh ones.

Drawers/cabinets

Get rid of any cracked bowls. Bacteria can lurk in those cracks.

Organize your tool drawer and toss out what you hardly ever use. Do you really need 10 wooden spoons and six rubber spatulas?

Buy and use a meat thermometer. Store it in a drawer right next to your stove and oven and use it every time you cook meat or poultry.

Toss all those margarine and yogurt containers, as well as any containers without lids. Invest in sturdy glass storage containers that can go from freezer to microwave to table.

Keep only those items you use regularly. For example, if you’ve moved beyond the baby stage, give away most of the bibs, bottles and sippy cups. Put Christmas cookie cutters away now.

Refrigerator/freezer

Can you barely see the exterior due to all the magnets holding up photos, clippings and coupons? Clean the area up. Make room for a running grocery list and perhaps a weekly meal plan.

Pull everything out one section at a time, wash down shelves and reorganize it so you can see what’s there. Toss out old gunky bottles and jars of dressings, sauces and condiments.

Kitchen counter

Pull out a beautiful bowl (perhaps one you received as a wedding gift) and place washed fruit in it. Keep it front and center.

Having a less cluttered kitchen puts your tools at your fingertips and makes the task of cooking a nutritious meal a little easier.

After the excess of the holidays, it’s time to get your home back in order. And that includes what may be the most important room-the kitchen. Having an organized kitchen can save you time and money and may even allow your entire family to eat more nutritiously.

Pantry

Reconsider stocking up just because you got a good deal. If you’re not careful, it can go to waste (waist), plus you have money tied up that might be used elsewhere. If you’re out of space for your “deals,” it’s time to quit shopping.

Store your whole grains-such as brown rice, wheat berries, quinoa and rolled oats-in plain sight in glass storage jars. Keep cooking instructions nearby.

Do you have spices and herbs older than your firstborn child? Toss out old bottles, as they lose their potency, and replace with fresh ones.

Drawers/cabinets

Get rid of any cracked bowls. Bacteria can lurk in those cracks.

Organize your tool drawer and toss out what you hardly ever use. Do you really need 10 wooden spoons and six rubber spatulas?

Buy and use a meat thermometer. Store it in a drawer right next to your stove and oven and use it every time you cook meat or poultry.

Toss all those margarine and yogurt containers, as well as any containers without lids. Invest in sturdy glass storage containers that can go from freezer to microwave to table.

Keep only those items you use regularly. For example, if you’ve moved beyond the baby stage, give away most of the bibs, bottles and sippy cups. Put Christmas cookie cutters away now.

Refrigerator/freezer

Can you barely see the exterior due to all the magnets holding up photos, clippings and coupons? Clean the area up. Make room for a running grocery list and perhaps a weekly meal plan.

Pull everything out one section at a time, wash down shelves and reorganize it so you can see what’s there. Toss out old gunky bottles and jars of dressings, sauces and condiments.

Kitchen counter

Pull out a beautiful bowl (perhaps one you received as a wedding gift) and place washed fruit in it. Keep it front and center.

Having a less cluttered kitchen puts your tools at your fingertips and makes the task of cooking a nutritious meal a little easier.

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