Summer months are made for relaxing in the garden, or on a beach. Yet, many of us end up spending most of our days indoors, in a hot kitchen, making meals and snacks for our families. Luckily, there are some tricks and little things you can do to organize your kitchen, cut down your time there and be able to spend more of it outdoors with your children.
Cool down your hot beverages
Although coffee and tea are generally drunk hot, when you get enough heat from the summer sun, you don’t need any more of it from your drink. So, instead of having a hot cup of coffee, make some as soon as you get up, have it cool down to room temperature and add some cold milk and some ice cubes to it. If you want to play with it further, adding some cinnamon or vanilla to your coffee can turn it into a real dessert. Also, boil a pot of tea and once it cools down, throw in some honey and lemon into it, add some ice and enjoy your homemade iced tea all day long. There are even iced tea makers that can do all this with a simple touch of a button, so consider getting one of those.
Make your fruit pretty
One good thing about summer is that there’s a wide variety of seasonal fruit to choose from. This is a great option for those who want to skip the cookie-baking and maintain a healthy diet. Not to mention, fruit is one of the healthiest snacks you can offer your children, especially on a hot summer day. So, get your watermelons, peaches, strawberries and kiwis, cool them down a bit and serve them sliced, using a knife with a crinkled blade. You can also cut the fruit in different shapes and even create plate art with it. It will make your fruit look more appealing and fun for both your little ones and yourself.
Keep your meals simple
In order to spend less time in the kitchen this summer, choose simple one-pot meals rather than the usual complicated ones. Invest in quality Anolon French skillet or an endurance saucepan with a lid and throw in the meat or vegetables of your choice. Add some pasta or rice to it and you’ll have a wonderful home-cooked meal. You can even make bigger batches of these meals, freeze them and serve them in a week or two. Furthermore, if it’s too hot for you to get near the stove, consider serving a big bowl of seasonal vegetable salad for lunch or dinner, to provide your family with all the nutrients they need.
Get help in the kitchen
Your children or your spouse can help you prepare your meals, so that you can all get out of the kitchen and the house faster. Of course, you won’t have your seven-year-old child cutting carrots, but if your child is a teenager, you might allow them to chop some vegetables for you. Younger children can help set or clean the table, as well as hand you things from the fridge or the pantry. Plus, if you make a schedule, maybe you can only cook on some days, while your spouse can cook on others.
Take it outside
Another perk of the summer weather is that you don’t really have to stay in the kitchen to cook. If you have a nice garden, or even a fair-sized balcony, you can get an electric grill or a barbecue and prepare your meal outside. You can include your whole family in the meal preparation, and even take out your cutting board and knife outside, so you don’t even have to stay inside to make the salad. Other than allowing you to save some kitchen time, grilled meat and vegetables are much healthier than fried or roasted ones.
Use your appliances
If you own an appliance, whatever it is, now it’s time to use it. A slow cooker will allow you to leave the kitchen while the meal is being cooked, while the pressure cooker will have your meal done in no time. A food processor or a blender can save you a lot of time as well, since they can relieve you of chopping, slicing or grinding your meal ingredients. Plus, a simple thing such as a kettle can be a real time and life saver when you need to boil water quickly. So, get those appliances out and have them work their magic as soon as possible.
Don’t let the kitchen enslave you for another summer. Be resourceful and creative and you’ll have more time to relax and outdoor fun than ever, along with your family and friends.