Tag Archives: spices

Love Your Kitchen – You Spend a Lot of Time There! (Mar. 9, 2010)

How much time do you spend in your kitchen each day? A recent poll revealed that time in the kitchen over the last 40 years has decreased significantly, mostly due to the creation of efficient food prep items (like the microwave: an appliance we don’t own and don’t care to). Most families don’t even create 4 homemade meals per week nowadays! This was a really interesting article, but it was kind of sad to me. To see the full article, click here.

I was trying to calculate how much time I spend in the kitchen. Let’s take Sunday, for example. I always spend more time in my kitchen over the weekends than during the week, as I work an 8-5 job on Mondays through Fridays. Sunday, I got up and prepped the London broil for lunch (took about 10 minutes to find the recipe, mix the marinade and stick the meat back in the refrigerator). Then I had to prep the dough for our week’s bread (I have this great sourdough starter that I just keep feeding and bake about once a week). That took about 15 minutes. Then I poured myself a pre-made smoothie, wiped down the counters and went upstairs to get ready for church. So, we’re at about 30 minutes so far.

We got home from church about 12:45 and I started fixing lunch. I had my cousin chop the asparagus and onions, while I chopped potatoes, got them boiling, put the green beans on the stove and preheated the oven to broil. While everything was doing its thing on the stove and in the oven, I made some black bean hummus to serve with my All Natural The Works chips. Rinsed dishes and put them in the dishwasher, and cleaned up the countertops. We ate around 1:30, so lunch took 45 minutes, and we’re up to 1 hr. 15 minutes.

After lunch was clean up. I took my time and it was another 25 minutes – I know I’m weird, but washing dishes is therapeutic to me. Then I made a French press of coffee (about 5 minutes). So we’re up to 1 hr. 45 minutes.

Prep for dinner was fairly simple. We had Italian sausage and sauerkraut with apples (see recipe in previous post). It took about 30 minutes, then 10 minutes to clean up afterwards. So, since yesterday was a fairly typical Sunday, I’m going to say I spend about 2 ½ hrs. in the kitchen on Sundays. That’s a good chunk of my day. If our table was in the kitchen, you could add another hour and 15 minutes to that, which makes almost 4 hours in one day!

During the week, my time in the kitchen looks like this: 15 minutes in the a.m. to pack breakfast and lunch and 1 hr. in the evening to prep food and clean up afterwards. Inevitably, when we have company, we end up talking in the kitchen, either while we cook together, or just fixing tea and chatting. Our kitchen is too small to have a table in it, so we eat in the dining room for most meals. If you have a table in your kitchen, your time spent in the kitchen obviously increases. Growing up, the kitchen table was the place we gathered for our after school snacks, homework time, craft time, or just family discussion time, and we always shared dinner as a family (a tradition that many Americans are sadly missing out on today).

My point is this: we spend a lot of time in our kitchens, so make it a place of retreat and enjoyment, and make it work for you.
Pick cheerful colors for the walls, and if you have windows, make it so the sun can shine in! We just redid our kitchen. When we bought the house, it had a country style wallpaper print of vines and blue and pink flowers with thick lace curtains. When we finally got around to removing the wallpaper this winter, I literally felt like I could breathe better (I think those vines were strangling me)! We chose a Lyndhurst Duchess Blue for the top, a Lyndhurst Estate Cream for the trim, and Granola Crunch for below the chair rail. My mom helped me pick out these adorable bright curtains with the same blue and brown and a green that matches our dining room. They’re fresh and fun and energizing. I love them!
Make it efficient for how you work! I built a custom spice rack out of excess crown molding and dowel rods because I was tired of digging through the cupboard for the right herbs and spices every time I was in the kitchen. This way, I can have them alphabetized! The geek in me loves that! (Warning: I also sort my cans by meal type.)

Here’s a little sneak peek into my kitchen (before with wallpaper):

And after (sans wallpaper). It’s a place I love to be now:

And finally, a picture of the dining room, so you can see the fresh color that matches my kitchen curtains (Organic Vegetable Garden: yep, that’s really what it’s called)!
Organic Vegetable Garden

What’s on My Spice Rack, You Ask?

That’s a very good question. Here is my list:

Adobo All-Purpose Seasoning (especially good on chicken)
Basil Leaves
Bay Leaves
Beef Bouillon
Cajun Seasoning
Canadian Steak Seasoning
Caraway Seed
Cardamom, Ground
Celery Seed
Chicken Bouillon
Chili Powder
Chipotle Chili Powder
Chipotle Rub
Chinese Five Spice
Chives
Cilantro
Cinnamon, Ground and Sticks
Coffee, Instant
Cloves, Ground and Whole
Coriander
Cream of Tartar
Cumin
Curry Powder
Dill
Emeril’s Chicken Rub
Emeril’s Original Essence
Emeril’s Southwest Essence
Flax Seed
Garlic Cloves
Garlic Powder
Garlic Salt
Ginger, Ground
Greek Rub
Marjoram Leaves
Mustard, Dried
Nutmeg, Ground and Whole
Onion Flakes
Orange Peel
Oregano
Paprika
Parsley
Poppy Seeds
Peppercorn, Whole
Pumpkin Pie Seasoning
Red Crushed Pepper
Rosemary
Sage, Rubbed
Sesame Seeds
Star Anise
Taco Seasoning
Tarragon
Thyme
Turmeric
Wasabi
Vanilla Beans

And here’s a picture of my spice rack. It’s leftover pieces of crown molding and dowel rods, spray painted to match the trim in my kitchen. My father in law and I built it one Saturday afternoon.