Monday, 23 January 2012


i mentioned in my new years resolution post that i was hoping to utilize the downloadable book - one bite at a time. with lots and lots of great tips for simplifying life. i decided to start with something i falter at, but had been endeavouring to get the hang of: meal planning. this has become even more important as we adjust to both of working and being out of the house often for more than 12 hours a day. there's no time for detours to the store, and because we commute by public transport, it's actually not all that easy to pick something up on the way, particularly when the local shop has closed!

i've found a great resource - plan to eat. what a genius idea! it allows you to plan your meals using an online meal planner, you can type up meals that you have in recipe books, or import recipes from online sources. it's really incredibly simple, and once you've added a recipe, it's stored in your online file! this is a paid for service, but the first month is a free trial, so there's no risk. i am LOVING it. particularly because we've simplified grocery shopping. we're now doing grocery delivery. delivery in london is very common, and not terribly expensive. plus i'm already seeing a reduction in our grocery bill simply because there are very few impulse purchases. it fits around our schedule and means that i can shop on my lunch hour and have groceries delivered the next morning before i leave for work! so online meal planning, coupled with online grocery shopping is a huge simplification of my life.

the second 'bite' i took on, i did so accidentally. i had meant to try and start a morning routine - but it wasn't going very well, a series of late nights and variable mornings has lead me to putting the morning routine idea to the side for this month. instead, as i read through the book and this just kind of 'happened' i most noticed it over the weekend.

clean as you cook:  as my mother and sister will attest, and my husband, while i'm a pretty decent cook, i'm not so great about the mess that is created during the 'creative process.' yesterday was a big cooking day. i made this delicious casserole (chicken and butternut squash and pasta and parmesan cheese? yes please!) but that meant roasting a squash and a chicken, which i did early the morning. a practice run at le boy's birthday cake and then the actual creation of the casserole meant for a huge mess. but actually, i cleaned as i went, putting away items as i used them, gathering scraps in a bowl, wiping up spills as they happened, soaking dishes for easy clean up later, wearing an apron. really none of it was hard, but it made the cooking and the clean up a breeze!

some of the tips from one bite include:

• Place a “garbage bowl” or container for food scraps and peelings on your main work surface.
• If you have a double sink, run one side half full of hot soapy water for hand washing and dish rinsing, leaving the other free for washing vegetables or draining pastas.
• Keep a broom and dustpan handy for flour or sugar spills on the floor.
• Have a few clean dry towels on hand for countertop spills and drying dishes.

i've taken the last one a bit further and adopted a 'side' towel, as explained here. such a great thing to do and so easy. what i've realised is that this will mean i have slightly more kitchen laundry each week, but it also means that i'm not stressed about the state of my kitchen.


  1. I am so into cleaning as I go along! Whenever I cook with my mom, she accuses me of grabbing bowls and spoons from her while she's still using them to wash up and put away :) It's a great system to get in the habit of, though!

  2. I´ve taken the cleaning as I go thing out of the kitchen and into the rest of the house (I use Enjo cleaning "puppets", so it´s extra-fast). For me it saves time in the long run - no need for long cleaning sessions on a Saturday morning - everything is already clean!

    I like the idea of a side towel, and I´ve recently been introduced to "What´s in your fridge?", one of several websites that generate recipes to use up whatever leftover bits and pieces you have.

  3. Growing up, my dad was the cook in the house. And he was super particular about teaching me to "clean as I cook". I am so glad for that lesson. At the time it seemed ridiculous but it is so true! My kitchen is always clean as I cook and sometimes I am shocked at the state of my friends kitchens after they have made a meal! (not in a judging way, just in a chuckling kind of way ;)
    That casserole sounds super yummy, by the way.