I grew up watching my mom and both of my grandmas cook constantly. They always seemed to enjoy being in the kitchen while they whipped up delicious, comforting meals. They were always so happy to have me join them, and I started cooking at a young age. And at that young age, I fell in love with chopping, baking, frying…. well, with everything cooking. I still love cooking, but sometimes in the rush of life and with the responsibilities of motherhood, cooking can sometimes become a chore rather than a joy. Sometimes kitchen work can feel rushed, pressured, and just no fun as I try to efficiently get something healthy and delicious on the table.
Recently, I’ve tried to intentionally make my time in the kitchen really enjoyable again. I’ve given it some thought, and these are some things that make cooking more enjoyable for me. What I love about this list is that these are things that you can implement today- no shopping or major life changes required.
- Light a Candle. I love to light a seasonal candle. Right now in my kitchen I have a strawberry scented candle, which sets the mood for spring and summer dishes. I got this idea from Ann Voskamp, one of my favorite authors, who said that she started lighting a candle in her kitchen because it reminded her of this verse: John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” This is exactly the kind of reminder that I need at the dinner-prepping hour. And she was right; lighting a candle is a great reminder of the peace of Christ. Try it!
- Listen to Music or a Podcast. Listening to some inspiring/calming/energizing music can be so life-giving while working in the kitchen. Our current favorites are Rend Collective, For King and Country, and Holynn. I also especially love podcasts. Do you? What are some of your favorites? So much wisdom and insight and FUN can be had while listening to a podcast. Current favorites are: The Busy Mom (when I feel like being inspired in my faith and motherhood), Poddy Break with Tim Hawkins (when I feel like laughing hard), The Chris Loves Julia Podcast (when I feel like getting creative ideas for my home), and The Food Blogger Pro Podcast (when I want to learn something new about blogging).
- Wear an Apron. (shocker)I don’t know why, but wearing an apron really relaxes me. It makes me feel like I’m going to get something accomplished without getting too messy. And I feel homey and feminine wearing one, too.
- Make a Cold Drink. Almost every late afternoon, I enjoy and iced-coffee. I know there are lots of recipes floating around Pinterest-land about how to prepare the best iced coffee, but for me it’s really simple. I pour about 1 cup of leftover coffee from our morning pot, stir in about 3 Tablespoons of whipping cream, and adds lots of ice cubes. It’s simply divine. Of course a big glass of ice-water is so refreshing, too.
- Get My Ingredients Out First. Do you ever do this? Get everything out and measure and chop all of the ingredients before beginning to mix or saute? This practice makes me feel like I’m on the Food Network, and it’s just a simple pleasure to complete the meal.
- Meal Plan! I try to plan out my meals each Monday morning. It is amazing that the amount of mental energy this saves! I love my handy menu planner that it included in my calendar, but if you don’t have that you could print off something cute like this one.
- Unload the Dishwasher Before Beginning. Ok, I’m really blessed because my daughters unload the dishwasher every afternoon (one does the top rack and one does the bottom). And an empty dishwasher is worth it’s weight in gold. There is so much peace of mind involved in cooking when you know those dishes can just be popped right into an empty dishwasher.
- Invite a Little Person to join me. I absolutely love having my kids in the kitchen with me while I cook. They love to wash fruits and veggies, crack eggs, stir things on the stove, and visit with me about life. As I mentioned before, this is exactly the environment that I was welcomed into as a child. I was always warmly included in anything that was going on in the kitchen with my mom and grandmas, and therefore grew to feel comfortable cooking. I now love having my kids working alongside me. Some of our best conversations happen here in this happy place.What things do you do to make kitchen work more fun for you? I always love new ideas!