This week, I've been spending a little one on one time with friends, clients and loved ones. It got me thinking about how much we all are like the artist spinning plates, we are juggling so much in our lives that we find ourselves just spinning plates and the time in between is spent walking/driving/running to the next plate. It got me revisiting my e-book, A Healthier Happier You, and how important this book is to me, and how important it should be for you. Do you find yourself metaphorically spinning plates? I've included an excerpt that will help you. Read on below:
#1: Use the Best Tool for the Job
Biting into an onion like it was an apple would probably mean that you would never touch one again. Biting into a mouthful of salad however, with some delicately thin, tiny slices of onion would probably make you want another bite. How a vegetable (or any food) is cut, prepared, or presented will affect how the eater enjoys it. If you want thinly julienned carrots for the perfect mouth feel and look in the salad you are crafting, then you better get a julienne-tool, because thinking you can achieve the same effect in a similar amount of time is like a carpenter trying to build a quality house with a hacksaw! Julienne-tools look like a vegetable peeler but with teeth. They are cheap and easy to clean.
The same tip applies for making very creamy smoothies - use a high-power blender! If you want to bust out homemade pizzas in a flash, get a high-quality mandolin for super fast, paper-thin slices of onions, mushrooms, capsicum, zucchini, pumpkin, etc. You don’t have to spend a fortune either but adding a new (good quality) tool to your toolbox every couple of months or so will make healthy food prep much more enjoyable AND delicious.
#2: Sharpen your Knives
You’ve probably heard this before. Why are you still using dull knives then? Have you ever experienced the pure joy of using a knife that cuts without any forcing? There are even people you can ring to come to your house and sharpen all your knives from their ‘workshop’ in their van. If it is a question of cost, put aside a $2 coin into a jar each day and build a knife collection that will last you a lifetime in only a year or two, at one per 2-3 months. Dull knives are far more dangerous than sharp ones and cause many more injuries due to forcing and slipping. It is a personal promise from me to you that you will enjoy preparing food more with sharp knives.
#3: Use Dish Gloves
Sound crazy? Don’t want to look like a quintessential ‘50’s housewife? Don’t worry, you would need a frilly apron and heels for that. Dish gloves; the thick ones - not the disposable food-prep gloves, latex, rubber, cotton-lined, long-cuff, orange, green, pink - take your pick, but use them.
Two reasons: 1.) You can have the water hotter which means the dishes will clean more easily and dry faster; and 2.) You will enjoy the process much more if your hands are not being affected by the greasy water, the heat, the dish soap, the wet/dry cycle etc.
Whether you notice it consciously or not as a reason for why you dislike washing up, this will improve your experience. Always have a back-up pair on hand too in case you get a hole, then just replace the one glove with the hole. Hopefully the next hole you get will be in the opposite glove and you can replace that one then. Oh, and ladies, I’m not just talking to you. There are quite a few ‘quietly converted’ husbands out there now making it cool to be kitchen savvy, sporting their “rubber gloves” as proud, helpful hubbies! Which brings us to the next point...
#4: The Cook Doesn’t Clean!
Before you tell me that this rule would certainly not stand in your house, please hear me out. While it is not possible in every circumstance, applying it as a family-accepted principle when possible will be better than not at all. This one little rule could be the single biggest way to maintain a healthy level of appreciation and respect in a relationship or family. All too often, the loving, serving, self-sacrificing mother (or father) will toil away for years doing the grand majority of the cooking AND the washing up without the other family members ever truly realising or having a full understanding of how much love, effort and time went in. This simple little rule will bring a mountain of respect and appreciation into a family - which will not only reduce the stress level of the primary cook but also increase the chances that the meals will be better, more inspired, or even healthier because the enormity of the task is no longer looming over them.
If the people washing up get tired of doing that then what a perfect encouragement to trade and have a go at doing the cooking instead! Get the kids involved here as much as possible and treat the entire meal preparation-eating-AND-clean-up time as a time to learn, bond, and discuss the day. In times where one person must do everything then establish a family-reward system to say a specific thank you to this person for having done all the jobs on their behalf, but don’t let it go unacknowledged.