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I get a lot, A LOT of questions about an average day looks like for me food-wise since I work full-time from home and homeschool my kids. How much time do I spend in the kitchen? What do I do while I’m there?
One of the first things you’ll find out about me is that I refuse to spend more than 30-minutes of hands-on time for any meal. I don’t mind if it has to cook for hours, but I’m done in thirty minutes unless it’s a special occasion. Period. Birthdays and holidays are when I’ll spend tons of hands-on time for special meals, but I just don’t have the time on a day-to-day basis.
Second, I multi-task in the kitchen. I run multiple timers and have multiple things cooking. If I’m going to take the time to cook, I might as well make it worth my while. I don’t stand at the stove and watch food cook. I stand near-by and grind grain, strain kefir or work on a batter. If I’m going to bother to cook and I’m not trying a recipe for the first time, I’m going to at least double, if not triple, the meal and freeze the excess. Snacks especially.
My normal morning would involve popping breakfast in the oven then handling any needed tasks for my cultured foods while it bakes. Making sourdough starter or a batch of five-minute bread dough, grinding grain, sprouting beans, straining water kefir and handling kombucha. I keep a little calendar to remind me when to check things that take a long time to be ready, like fermented veggies and kombucha.
While I work, my daughter assembles what is needed for our morning smoothie and pulls out the supplements. I do any needed knife work, run the blender then dole out the supplements with the finished smoothie. The smoothies are normally gone by the end of breakfast, if not before.
If I’m starting a crock-pot for dinner, I prepare it while breakfast is cooking, then I set a timer to remind me when to turn it on if it’s not an 8-10 hour recipe. Then we sit down to breakfast.
I then make sure all of the kitchen tasks are done and everything is squared around for the day, like meat being thawed or grains soaking. If a snack needs to be cooked or baked, I do it after breakfast while the kids are doing their morning chores. I’m up, I’m visible and it’s counted as a morning chore for me. I’m physically working so they’re more prone to stay on task and be willing to get their chores done, too. If I’m working my job at the computer while they do chores, they get off task and need constant redirection.
Lunch is almost always heating something up from the leftovers available in the fridge. If I have to cook, it will be a meatless meal using something I already have on hand, like sprouted beans. Or something egg-based, since we always have eggs coming out of our ears thanks to our hens. I normally cook lunch while the kids are doing their computer-based schoolwork, so it isn’t an interruption to the flow of the day.
After lunch they wrap up their school work, clean their bedrooms and have a little quiet time reading books followed by open play time while I work.
Dinnertime prep begins based on the night’s recipe. I set a timer after lunch to remind me what time to get started if I’m eye-ball deep in a project or otherwise prone to loose track of time. If I’m making something that requires a long baking time, I pick side dishes that don’t have to be served hot, like rice or cornbread. That way I don’t have to go back to the kitchen until it’s time to serve up the plates, thus interrupting work time again. If I’m testing any recipes for a cookbook or Menu Mailer, I do that during dinner time. And again, I don’t stand and watch things cook, I work on other kitchen projects while things bubble away on the stove.
At night, I take about 5-10 minutes to handle any needed projects like a crock-pot breakfast for the next morning, soaking grains or sprouting beans. I do that right before I go to bed. Then I double-check to make sure the dishwasher got turned on and nothing was accidentally left sitting out that should be in the fridge.
All-told, I spend about 1.5-2 hours a day in the kitchen, plus a little extra time for hand-washing dishes. My kids unload and reload the dishwasher, sweep the kitchen, wipe counters and clear the table after a meal.
How much time do you spend in the kitchen?
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