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5 Ways to Simplify the Kitchen (Preparing for Joy: Day 4)

Preparing your kitchen for the christmas season

The kitchen is the heart of most homes and it seems it gets to run a marathon these last few months of the year. I’m hard on my kitchen year round, but the holiday season is a whole other level. So to help jump start all the kitchen activity, here are 5 things you can do now to help later.

1. Clean + Inventory your fridge and pantry: The last thing you want to do is start your famous recipe for (fill in the blank) and find you’re all out of (necessary ingredient) at the last moment. Take an afternoon to give your panty and fridge a nice cleaning and while you’re at it inventory what you need for the next couple of months. You’re already stocking up on your staples (see day 1)  but this is your time to fill in any blanks and prepare now. Do you do grocery delivery of pick-up? Add those items to your next order!

2. Make a recipe list: I’ve said many times that the worst part of cooking is deciding what to cook. I’ve done this several times over the years but it’s a great practice to sit down and make a list of your go-to meals. This can be as simple as writing them out and taping them to a cabinet, a note on your phone or a categorized list (soups, crock pot, chicken, beef, etc). This way you’re already thinking ahead and an added bonus if you tell your family “we have chicken, go pick something from the list!” This is something that can help year round.

3. Stock up, part 2:  This time I’m thinking to go containers, foil, baggies… all those things you will reach for during the holiday season and it better be there. Do you make treats for to share? Go ahead and grab the containers. Are you hosting a big family meal where there are always leftovers? Get those containers for everyone to fill up. Get some extra paper plates (these are GREAT) to give yourself a break from dishes here and there, too.

Bonus Tip: when my mama had her knee replacement, I cooked a lot meals for them. These containers and these were a life saver. It made it easy to prep, store and transport. 

4. Look ahead and decide: You already have an idea of the important events and such for the season (see day 1) so think about what you might take. Have a side, appetizer, dessert, and main dish in mind (add it to your list in #2) for when someone asks you to bring something.

5. Anticipate Joy: It’s easy to look ahead at a list of a busy season and get overwhelmed. But the whole point of this week is to take some of the stress out of those busy weeks. So for a moment today, grab a nice cup of coffee and look around your kitchen. It really is the heart of most of our homes. Think about the people that will soon gather around our table, the flour that will cover the counter from a day of cookie baking, that cup of hot cocoa with the glow of the Christmas tree. The whole point of the Christmas season is to anticipate the Joy of our Savior who came as a precious baby. Why not mirror that sweet anticipation in all we do for the season. It’s all about Jesus. There is no joy in the family dinners or cookies without Him, so anticipate all the joy.

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