What’s 2015 look like for you in your kitchen? Here are 15 simple things I’m going to slowly try to (emphasize slowly and try) incorporate into the life of my kitchen.
1. Eat seafood two times per month and vegetarian meals two times per week (and no pre-processed meat substitutes allowed). I want to re-imagine my assumptions about all things food, and in this case that means dinners and my tastes (i.e., seafood is hard to cook and I don’t care for it, and a “real” dinner must have meat).
2. Use my kitchen scale more. With our wedding money, I received a wonderful kitchen scale but have been slow to incorporate it into my daily kitchen routines. Last week, I made a cookie recipe with the weights of the ingredients listed and it was so simple and easy.
3. Complete a $50 per week shopping challenge for one month. Maybe that budget figure sounds high to you, maybe it sounds low. For my husband and I, it’s a uncomfortably-stretching-but-still-feasible figure. Once again, this goes along with my desire to re-imagine my approach to food. This challenge will definitely surface here on my blog.
4. Take care of my kitchen tools. Yesterday, I read an article with the headline: “Doing This One Thing Will Save You Thousands in the Kitchen.” The one thing? Taking care of what you already have. Cutting boards, knives, the cast-iron skillet, pots and pans, wooden utensils. I could go on and on. By caring for these items, I’ll keep my kitchen running smoothly and steward what I have well.
5. Roast my own coffee. I have green beans in a basket and a popcorn popper. I just need to make it happen.
6. Tap into the flavors I loved from my high school travels. Growing up, I traveled to 16 countries throughout four continents. Few things have shaped my food culture as significantly as those travels. I want to explore the flavors of the places I came to love during those formative years and incorporate them into my regular cooking.
7. Redefine my practice of hospitality. Throughout college, I developed a specific style of hospitality. Now a young-married with an itsy-bitsy kitchen and a husband who works long hours, I’m realizing that 20-something-Abby hospitality doesn’t have to look like college-Abby hospitality. My hospitality roots haven’t changed, but how they look in real life are evolving. I want to explore that evolution and lean into it.
8. Establish two to three rituals. I want to establish simple habits that guide me through my day and keep me rooted in my vision for life. Yoga first thing and a Psalm with my coffee? Setting the table for dinner? Actually sitting at my kitchen table for lunch vs. munching at my desk? We’ll see what shakes out and sticks.
9. Meal plan weekly. I *think* I’ve found a system that works for me. Now, it’s just a matter of doing it consistently. Wish me luck!
10. Listen to music while I’m cooking. Every time I turn on music while I’m cooking, I as myself why I don’t do it all the time. Here’s to a new habit in 2015!
11. Make three to four new recipes per month from my Christmas cookbooks. I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity when it comes to cookbooks, and I received three beautiful cookbooks for Christmas this year. I’m looking forward to learning new recipes and expanding my repertoire.
12. Record and photograph the recipes I make without a recipe. Oftentimes, I cook based on the ingredients in my stockpile that sound good and my knowledge from others and my experience. The results are mixed, but I love the process and want to be more intentional about documenting that process.
13. Shop at the Farmers’ Market this summer. The neighborhood adjacent to ours has a beautiful farmers’ market that I didn’t have an opportunity to visit because of travel and commitments. I’m looking forward to exploring more this spring and summer.
14. Recycle. I grew up in an area without recycling, so I simply don’t remember to do it. Since it’s just as easy as collecting and taking out the trash, why not?
15. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. I don’t want my default to be one of consumption. If something breaks or I run out of an ingredient, I want to think before making the purchase, see if I already have something that would work instead, ensure I’m using what I already have, then purchase accordingly.
The kitchen is a beautiful, messy place that I think should be constantly growing and shifting. I’m looking forward to seeing what this new year brings.