Finding our stride in the kitchen means we’re more likely to cook healthy meals at homes than order Postmates for the millionth time this month. While practice makes perfect, comfort is key — but you’re never gonna get it with a tiny cutting board. Busy mama and healthy food blogger, Jenny Giles of Real Food Scout, is sharing the kitchen mistakes that most newbies make and how to fix them…
My kitchen equals my happy place. A serene space, with minimal clutter and peaceful music where I can create five-star dinners for my family. (Record scratch.) Okay, no. That’s not remotely true. I love my kitchen, but it is a real-life playground, where I cook while dodging Lego pieces, and where I entertain friends in mismatched socks and wine glasses. Even though it’s filled with typical, real life chaos, I love it. But for some, cooking is an arduous task, and through my coaching, I’ve watched many people make that task even more challenging with these deal breakers below. No wonder no one is cooking at home these days.
I’m completely confused by these pet peeves. More confused than when I see a freshly cooked chicken go back on the board you had it on BEFORE you cooked it. I thought this was an obvious piece of information, but I’ve seen otherwise. And, you know what will really ruin your day? Salmonella. Your week actually. Below are my top kitchen pet peeves. Now, this is coming from a person who continues to wear white T-shirts while cooking anything with tomato sauce. I know. Anybody got a discount on white T-shirts in bulk?
Super Small Cutting Board
This. This is the weirdest and most pathetic thing I’ve seen in so many kitchens all over. Size. Does. Matter. FYI. Why don’t you deserve a big board? It’s not ’cause your apartment is small. It’s not. You have counter space for a regular cutting board and I don’t know why you insist on the small cutting board. I think our minds play tricks on us because we’re going to cut “just a few little things.” And we think, so why do we need to get out this gargantuan board? I’ll tell you why. You’re making your life harder. Are you cooking in a dollhouse kitchen? Those carrots are flying off that small board, and onto the floor because there’s no room on it. Why get the tiny cutting board out to cut “just a few little things”. That’s just a waste of everyone’s time. If you’ve going to get the cutting board out and you’re going to cut something, and then you’re going to wash, the said board, you might as well cut a lot of things. Then you’ll be prepped and ready to go for later in the week. Time saver for sure. Don’t just cut the onion for dinner, cut all the veggies, store them in mason jars in the fridge, so they’re ready for you to grab for snacks or for tomorrow’s dinner. One big board. One big chop. One little wash. And your week just got easier.
A Dull Knife
It’s a slippery slope of sadness with a bad, dull knife. That knife you’ve had from Bed, Bath & Beyond since college needs to go. Just let it go. If you’re not aware if your knife is dull, here are some key telltale signs.
You break a sweat trying to cut through a red pepper. You press the knife down on the tomato and it just smooshes onto your board. You knife gets stuck halfway through the potato. The most obvious, it just doesn’t cut anything. You’re literally wiggling and pressing as hard are your hands can, and you barely made a small tear in the kale. A sharp knife will glide through fruits and veggies with minimal pressure and effort. A sharp knife will give you better skills and therefore make kitchen life better in general — this one is great. Even if you feel like you have zero cooking skills, like your audition tape has been sent in for The Worst Cooks in America, I bet it’s partially because of your lame knife. With a bad knife, all bets are off, and it could jump off the pepper and slide right down on your middle finger. Faaaahhhhhk! Get a new knife. Let it glide effortlessly through the fruits and veggies so you can feel like a boss in your kitchen. That knife will give you confidence and you’ll cook better. And then, you’ll eat better.
Randomly Buying Stuff at the Store
I’m so guilty of this, but most of the time I try to meal plan not just because it helps me save time (not wandering aimlessly around the store) and money (not impulse buying or wasting food), and energy (stressing all day about what’s for dinner). Unless you’re a Chopped Chef Champion, I’m not sure any of us can just “open your basket” (aka fridge) and throw together a good dinner in less than 30 minutes. I mean, I’ve done it, more times that I’d like to admit, and I do love a good challenge, but not every night of the week. Knowing what’s for dinner and what to shop for is a life-changing strategy and gives you so much relief. It may seem hard to meal plan, but I tell people just to write down four dinners. Just four. You can save the other nights for takeout, dinner out and leftovers. You can do it right now I bet. In less than five minutes. Write down four dinners you can make next week.
Well, thank you for listening. I feel better now after getting that off my chest. Don’t you? If you’re guilty of any of these, please go get help. Today. Coupons are available online all the time for new knives, cutting boards and a free printable shopping list is available on my website. Now get out there. Seek better in your life.
Get inspired to cook at home by our fave chefs and wellness pros in our ‘In My Fridge’ series here.
The small cutting board is used mostly for slicing bread. For vegetables I love a flexible cutting board.
On the dull knife, mine are fairly sharp. When they get a little dull, I just hand them to hubby when he asks for a knife. His comment is always (while grabbing a sharpening stone), “why do you insist on handing me the dullest knife in the kitchen?”
On the randomly buying stuff, not so much but pretty sure I could make a meal in under an hour by raiding the fridge and freezer.