Fresh Time-Savers to Help You Meet Hectic Holiday Demands

Although cooking and baking “from scratch” can save a boatload of money, I do admit up front that it does take more time, which can be a little discouraging, considering most of us today have even less time than we have money. With this thought in mind, I want to do what I can to help you save some time as you pursue your “from scratch” lifestyle. Here are a few tips that will make kitchen life easier as you persist in meeting hectic holiday demands.

PAPER BAG MIXING: Get in the habit of mixing things that splash (whipping cream, cake batters, etc.) inside a large paper grocery bag. Just set the bag in the sink, place the mixing bowl in the bag, and mix away—go ahead, do it on high! The splashes and splatters end up on the inside of the bag instead of on your backsplash, appliances, and the underside of your upper cupboards. You save time in not having to wipe it all down! (Save the bag for future mixing.)

PAPER BAG FUNNEL: Use this to pour foodstuffs from huge bags or containers into smaller containers to be put in your cupboards or pantry. Cut the bottom off a paper grocery bag and smoosh one end into the opening of your smaller container. You may need help with the pouring, since huge bags or containers of anything can be unwieldy. If you don’t have help for pouring, just use a small-sized pan as a ladle to scoop the goods into your small containers.

SCOUR POTS SMART: When scouring metal (pots, pans, etc.) set them on a dish cloth/rag in the sink first; this eliminates the metal marks left on porcelain that require scouring later.

More SCOURING POTS SMART: Use dishwasher cleaner to easily remove baked-on food from pots and pans. (Wish I’d known this last month for Thanksgiving dinner.) Anyway, after all of the cooking and eating, you’re left with a mess. And let’s be real, those Dawn commercials where they put a drop of this alleged miracle liquid in the pan and the baked on food layer separates like the Red Sea? LIES, all lies!

The powdered dishwasher cleaner has to be the best answer yet. Sprinkle it onto the bottom of the pot, run some hot water in it (a couple inches will suffice unless the entire pot is crusty), and let it soak for a half hour or so. No elbow grease required.

PEEL FAST! Did you know it was even possible to peel your kiwi in less than thirty seconds.? Neither did I. But since every second counts sometimes, here’s how: First, slice off the endpieces and discard.

Next, take a small spoon and separate the peel from the fruit. Go all the way around the kiwi. It’s really, really easy. A newborn muskrat could do it.

CATEGORIZE RECIPES BY COOKING TIME: Instead of organizing your recipe cards alphabetically, organize them by total cooking time. Then if you need a 30 minute meal or a 15 minute meal, you have a group to pick from and you can do so quickly! It might be a good idea to copy your cards for this because it might be helpful to have an alphabetical list as well. Our Cook’n software would be perfect for organizing these time frames into their own chapters!


    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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