Sunday, March 21, 2010

Organize Your Kitchen in Work Zones for Efficient Cooking

Yesterday, I baked some blueberry muffins and NOT from a box mix! The reason I picked the recipe was because it was easy. I had a short window of time between feeding the baby while she was sleeping. Because of my kitchen organization strategies, I was able to prepare the mix in just 15 minutes and then put them in the oven.

When we first moved into our house at the end of December, I thought of the best way to organize the kitchen into work zones.

Baking Zone Decoded: This corner of the kitchen in the picture is my cooking and baking zone.
  • Cabinet for Ingredients: I organized the cabinet so that I have the basics at arm's reach like flours, brown sugar, baking powder, sugar, oats, nuts, and dried fruit for quick preparation. I use containers for ingredients and then keep the full package on the top shelf so I can refill when needed. This helps me be more efficient and fit what I need closeby.
  • Drawers for Tools: The long drawer under the cabinet is where I keep my cooking utensils and measuring spoons/cups.
  • Strategic Counter Space: Aaron and I like to keep the counter tops clutter free and since we have a lot of storage cabinets we keep extras like the toaster, blender, tea kettle and more in the cabinets, but accessible for easy use. And you can see the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer on the counter. I keep that out full-time and plugged in on the counter so it's really easy to use for baking. As soon as I finish prepping the batter and putting it into the oven, I start cleaning the equipment so I can put it all away easily.
  • Shelves for Mixing Bowls: The corner cabinet underneath the counter has a lazy susan (rotating shelf) that I use to store my mixing bowls which make it easy for baking.
Everyone has a different kitchen workspace configuration, but the idea is to develop a working zone that works for you. If the flow doesn't work, then change things up! If your kitchen is easy to work in, then you'll be more encouraged to make nutritious food for yourself and your family and friends if you have a only a few minutes to spare! Send me your tips for kitchen work zones that work for you and I'll post them on the blog!

As a first-time mom of a 10-day old baby I'm really thankful that I developed these efficient strategies prior to having kids so that I can stay on track with our healthy lifestyle.

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