Prep Your Kitchen
It’s time to give the kitchen a little TLC and prep your kitchen for the holidays. Spend some time today clearing any clutter hanging around your countertops. Put away mail, Christmas cards, leftover Christmas decoration containers, etc. Also, here are some basic tips of things you can do to spruce up quickly.
- Clean your sink up so it is nice and shiny.
- Clean out any science experiments from the fridge.
- Wipe out your pantry, fridge or cupboards of tiny crumbs.
- Complete your meal plan for the month and finish the shopping list.
- Pull out any serving dishes, holiday dishes or platters you may need and wash off any dust.
- Restock your pantry with any essentials you will need for cooking or baking.
Share your thoughts:
Share with us all that you accomplished! For some this may have taken a while, for others, it may have been easier than you thought. Did it go by quickly or did you take the time to gut your kitchen? Do you have any tips to share with someone else? What did YOU do?
Does the kitchen clutter seem too overwhelming? If you’re waiting for the kitchen fairies to clean up, you could be waiting a while. Instead, break down your kitchen chores into micro-steps (the very smallest bits possible) and then take a moment to do the first micro-step.
And join us over on the Clutter Free Academy Facebook group where we encourage one another and stay accountable as we become Clutter Free!
I shoo the dog from the cramped kitchen, greet new arrivals, and point to the bottle opener’s location — “The next drawer over. No, other side. There, in the front” — sticky sauce splatters the stovetop. Breathe.
“What can I do to help?” she asks.
I feign casual confidence: “I’ve got it under control” — and change the subject to her family’s most recent adventure.
The truth is, I don’t know what needs to be done. Or how to articulate it. So I might as well do it myself.
Avoid the stress of hosting?
Does this happen to you? Last-minute details keep you from enjoying time with your guests. And when someone offers to help, you’re so busy doing that you can’t think if there’s anything someone else could do.
Summer’s around the corner and, with it, the opportunity to host year-end celebrations, picnics, and potlucks. But can you host a meal, and truly enjoy your friends, without all the stress?
Is There a Better Way?
It began unintentionally.
My head throbs. But I’m unwilling to cancel tonight’s social event.
I can always excuse myself early; there’s no reason others can’t have fun!
Knowing my middle-aged brain is more compromised than usual, I list all the menu items and tasks to perform on our kitchen whiteboard.
I work my way down the list, erasing items as I complete them. When guests arrive, I hear the familiar question: “What can I do to help?”
“I’ve got it under control …”
I stop, look at the whiteboard, and say, “Could you finish the deviled eggs?”
Ahhh … My headache begins to fade.
Other guests offer to help. I ask one to cut strawberries. Another wipes down the picnic table.
Peals of laughter and conversation fill the air as we prepare the meal together.
Reduce the Stress in Your Celebrations
We’ve since perfected this dinnertime ritual:
- Line the countertop with the necessary serving dishes
- On a sticky note in each dish, provide simple instructions (e.g., fruit salad — strawberries, blueberries, banana, grapes).
- Hang a list of non-food instructions on the fridge (e.g., bring chairs from the garage)
Now you can enjoy your guests from the moment they arrive rather than ushering them into the living room with drinks.
Or tripping over them as you attempt to balance food prep and conversation.
You’ll create a welcoming atmosphere and your guests will feel at home — nothing says “you’re family” like being asked to set the table!
You may even avoid scrubbing sticky sauce from your stovetop.
Need more ideas for focusing on fun and fellowship instead of stressing out about shindigs? Stop by my blog to grab your free copy of Helpful Hospitality Hints: How to Host a Meal Without Losing Your Mind.
Kendra Burrows delights in encouraging others to see God’s grace in the everyday — when she isn’t chasing the animals (and boys!) out of her kitchen. She’s still learning hospitality requires we share it all, not do it all. Connect with her at www.kendraburrows.com.
Kathi and co-host Erin MacPherson discuss Clutter Free Kitchens. When your kitchen is clutter free you can cook more and find everything. They also share the tools they use that they can’t live without. From the instant pot to the ninja coffee maker they each share their favorite kitchen tools.
This post isn’t about things you should run out and buy. You don’t need more stuff, but this about you having things that make you happy and your life more enjoyable. Kathi talks about purchasing tools, not trinkets to make your home a better place to be.
Share with us your kitchen tool that you can’t live without in the comments.
The List of Kitchen Tools:
Below is a list of the kitchen items Kathi and Erin can’t live without.
Victorinox Swiss Classic 3 1/4″ Paring Knife, Spear Tip, Serrated, Red
Instant Pot $99
Aerolatte Original Electric Hand Held Milk Frother, Satin 19.99
Ninja Coffee Maker $138
The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2017: Every Recipe from the Hit TV Show with Product Ratings and a Look Behind the Scenes Hardcover – October 4, 2016
Spicy shelf stack Organizer
It’s a Thursday night and you just invited a friend over for dinner later this weekend.
You’re excited to reconnect and share a meal — until you get a text from this friend: “Hey, just wanted to let you know that I am now a vegan. Hope this won’t be a problem!”
Your heart sinks and anxiety kicks in. What will I make? None of my dishes fit this diet.
Accommodating dietary needs
Does accommodating a dinner guest with dietary restrictions overwhelm you?
Is there a friend whom you’ve avoided inviting over for dinner out of fear that you won’t have a meal that will be both enjoyable and fit his or her diet?
As a gluten intolerant person, I get it. When I first cut gluten out of my diet it really frustrated my friends, family, and me.
(In case you haven’t heard … some gluten free items taste a little like chewing on cardboard. Here’s a list of my favorite go-to gluten free products that I always have in stock.)
At first I created a Pinterest board and started cooking new meals from scratch using special gluten recipes.
Over time however, after adding a few staples to my cooking supplies, I discovered a loophole that made cooking for my diet a breeze!
One Small Win: Rather than making an entirely new dish from scratch, create dishes you already love and modify only the ingredients that don’t fit the diet.
Let’s pretend your signature meal is some kind of pasta dish with meat sauce, but your guest is a vegetarian.
You can make the dish as usual, but leave the meat sauce on the side. You can also make an additional, meat-free sauce and have it on the side, giving your guest options.
Maybe your guest eats meat, but is gluten intolerant? Use certified gluten free pasta instead, and research your other ingredients to see if any of those need replacing.
Here is a worksheet to make this process easier if you are a visual planner like me!
Remember, if all else fails, ask your guest if he or she has any meal recommendations or if specific ingredients will be a problem.
Asking doesn’t make you look dumb; on the contrary, it shows that you care!
Your dinner guest will feel loved and cared for with your efforts and consideration.
Kelsee Keitel is a graduate student, writer and speaker, living in Indianapolis, IN, with her newlywed husband. She is passionate about cultivating sisterhood through vulnerability and introducing young women to the freedom and abundance of life in following Christ. When Kelsee is not snuggled up with a book and sipping tea, she can be found experimenting in the kitchen or chatting with her mom.
You can read more about Kelsee’s ministry, Detangled & Free, over at kelseekeitel.com or connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.