Waste Not, Want Not: Tips to Reduce Waste in the Kitchen

I am here to help you reduce waste in the kitchen. Did you catch the show War on Waste on the ABC last week? If you didn’t – go watch it on iView. Seriously. It will change the way you think about food and the wastage that we all perpetuate.

Unless you grow your vegies and compost everything, you are probably part of the problem and therefore part of the solution.

We are wasting tonnes of food each year. The average family wastes multiple tonnes a year. This was mind-blowing to me. I’d like to think that I am at the lower end – but if that is the case, that means that there are families that waste more than us.

So – how do we change? How do we reduce waste in the kitchen?

The Empowered Cooks shares tips on how to reduce waste in the kitchen. Meal Planning, Pantry Organisation, Shopping at the butcher - and more!

Here’s some useful tips to employ in your life, in your kitchen and with your family.

#1 – Get Organised

This sounds scary and big – but really it’s not. Simply having an organised fridge, freezer and pantry will mean that you can see what you have available – and that means that you are even more likely to use it.

My guide to Setting up a Pantry walks you through this process, step by step. It even talks about basic stock control processes like keeping the older items at the front of the shelf, and stocking newer items at the back. Simple processes like these will mean that your kitchen runs more efficiently – and you will reduce waste in the kitchen. No more tossing that expired packet of pasta. You’ll have seen it and noticed it – so you’ll likely have used it before it expires.

Plus – keeping your fridge and freezer running in the same fashion will mean less wastage too. Having room to store leftovers, to cook in bulk and to freeze those items before they hit expiry – is a big ticket to reduced waste.

#2 – Meal Plan

Groan. Fairly obvious right? Yes. But you need to do more than just simply plan what you are going to eat during the week.

You need to make sure that before you meal plan, you do a full assessment of what is in your fridge and freezer and pantry. Don’t go writing some fancy meal on your meal plan if you have a pack of chicken in the fridge that needs to be eaten. Meat wastage is possibly the worse of the lot – an animal lost its life to feed you, and if you waste that – then that is terribly sad for that animal. Not to mention disrespectful.

So – use what you have. Start from there, and create meal plans around what you have on hand. I do this every week – and it means we still eat a variety, but it also means that we have good turnover in our stockpile.

If you are after more tips on meal planning, then come read my post on the best way to start meal planning.

#3 – Use (and eat!) those leftovers

Leftovers can be super boring, I know. But not if you USE them – rather than just serve them up again the next night – or worse, leave them in the fridge untouched.

I like to do two things with my leftovers:

Lunch the next day

This is our first option. We will take the food for our lunches the next day where we can. It will also form part of my little one’s lunchbox where possible too. He loves a little bit of mashed potato in his lunchbox 🙂

We’ll freeze for another time

Sometimes you just don’t feel like eating the same thing again – or you’ve made a double batch of something. So – freeze what is left.

We will also freeze these in appropriately sized containers. I have some small rectangular PYREX 3 cup dishes that we use for single serve dishes – so we’ll package up the leftovers just like we would pack a lunch – just enough for one person. And then we’ll label and freeze it. This makes a great lunch for work. Or a combination dinner one night when we feel like eating different meals.

If there is more than just a single serve left, we will simply pop this in a larger container, and freeze a family size portion. The key to this is to only store in a single size for your family – and to label it. That way, you know what size the portion is without having to guess.

By doing these things, we rarely have leftovers that go to waste. And generally it will only be because we’ve been slack and haven’t packaged it up – or we’ve changed our minds about lunch. Poor excuses, but they do happen.

#4 – Keep a Scrap Bag for Stock

Do you make your own stock? I hope so! Such a money saver! And so good for you.

But do you do this?

I keep a large snap lock bag in my freezer – and I simply fill this with veggie scraps. Think carrot peel, onion ends, celery tops, broccoli ends. When the bag is full, I add the contents to a big pot and fill it with water. Simmer this for a while and you will have a delicious vegetable stock. Add chicken bones and you’ll have chicken stock. Super delicious – and you’ve not wasted anything.

#5 – Shop Outside the Mainstream

Go back to your roots. Go back to the weekly grocery shop at the butcher, and the green grocer, and maybe even the fishmonger. Seek out a quality butcher that you trust. My Mum always said you could tell a good butcher by his sausages – so maybe start there (it’s only now, as I write that, that I wonder if that was an euphemism and I have maybe taken it literally! lol).

How often as a kid did you go to a single big supermarket? I rarely did. We always went to the butcher and the bakery. And then to the fruit and veggie shop. And last, we went to the local grocery store.

It’s time to go back to basics. Shopping at the butcher will mean that you have less packaging – they’ll simply wrap your food in paper – or at most, with a single plastic bag. You’ll likely find that they’ll give you a single chop if you need it – so need to buy 4 if you’re only cooking for one. They’ll also give you access to all the cuts of meat too – not just the pretty popular ones that the supermarket stocks.

The same goes for your fruit and veggie shop – you can buy as little or as much as you want. And you’ll find the variety is larger and more suited to your local area. There isn’t a franchise watching over your shoulder on what you’re selling.

So next time – skip the mainstream. Head to your local butcher, and try their sausages.

Got more tips to reduce waste in the kitchen? Tell me in the comments below.

How to Eat Real Food While Travelling

We are big travelers – both my partner and I get restless if we don’t travel often. We will travel for short weekend trips fairly regularly – but will always choose to travel overseas as often as we can. How to eat real food while travelling is also very important to us. Yes – we’ll eat some treats, but ultimately, we need our diet to stay pretty much the same. That is: whole foods, fruit and vegetables – minimal processing.

That being said – room service is very, very tempting. Especially with a toddler.

The real goal for us is to be consistent with what we usually eat – but to allow ourselves a couple of special treats. Convenience is important – but a picnic on the floor of the hotel can be just as convenient as buying some fast food, and is certainly far healthier!

Today I’ll share our top tips for eating real food while travelling – including how we do it with a toddler!

The Empowered Cook shares her family's tips on how to eat real food while travelling: packing snacks and enjoying the hotel buffet.

#1 – Live the 80/20 rule

Eat real food 80% of time, and for the other 20% of the time – eat what you feel like. For us, this will mean that breakfasts will be whole foods – the hotel buffet is always a good choice. There will be fresh fruit, toast, eggs, etc – and we can choose what we would like to eat.

Lunches while travelling can be just as easy – we will sometimes buy things like crackers and cheese, fruit, cut vegies, dried fruit. It can just be like a picnic – lots of little snack items.

Dinners are usually where we do our 20%. We’ll eat out at a restaurant – or we’ll order room service. I will often take the opportunity to order a good steak or something else I don’t cook very often at home. We will make sure that our little one still has something vegetable heavy too. But we won’t be too strict on this. Usually we will have had a big day – so he’ll be tired. It’s better to focus on him getting lots of vegies at breakfast and dinner – rather than trying to tackle dinner with a cranky toddler.

#2 – Pack your own transport snacks

Avoid the airline food. Avoid being hungry while on transport. You won’t be so easily enticed to buy junk if you’re not hungry.

Pack your own snack items. Try a variety of different items. Have something crunchy, something sweet, something filling. That way – you can make sure that you have a good variety to choose from.

We will pack: sultanas, carrots, fruit, crackers, dark chocolate, trail mix. We’ll also include some minimally processed items like wholefood muesli bars or maybe some homemade bliss balls.

None of these items are too messy to eat and they don’t require cutlery. I’ll pack these into snap lock bags (which I will reuse for the trip home). I will also pack a few napkins, just in case.

#3 – Drink water (sparkling for a treat)

Sparkling water is what I choose when I have a treat. It has been a long time since I’ve had any form of soft drink – and it has made such a difference to my health. It also makes such a difference when I am on holiday. If you are anything like me – the lead up to a holiday can be really exhausting. I used to get quite run down just before my holiday – and then wham! As soon as we arrived at our destination, I would get sick.

I’ve found now though that if I keep myself really hydrated – and don’t overload on sugar – I do much better.

Keeping hydrated is much easier if you carry a water bottle. I have one like this. Drinking from a glass bottle is so much nicer than plastic. And it is better for you – and the environment.

#4 – Enjoy the Buffet – but don’t go crazy

As I mentioned above, the buffet breakfast at a hotel can be really delicious. But before you go devouring a huge hot breakfast of bacon, eggs and sausages – or worse, eating muffins and croissants – try and have something healthier first.

I like to start with some fruit, yoghurt and muesli. Just a small portion. I will also have a small juice and a big glass of water.

From there  – I then have another small portion of a hot breakfast – sticking to bacon and eggs, with the occasional sausage. Skip the highly processed hash browns, and choose whole foods as your sides: mushrooms, spinach, for example.

Coffee or tea is also nice to include – but always have another big glass of water at the end of the buffet. This gives you such a good head start on your sight-seeing day.

For my little one, he enjoys the buffet too. He gets to have a taste of many different foods – and we’ll share everything we eat. Fruit, toast, bacon, sausage, juice. But he’ll also have water, just like us.

#5 – Eat in

Eating out at restaurants each night you are on holidays can be expensive – but it can also be a very easy way to over indulge on not-so-good food choices.

How about eating-in? It is possible – even in a small hotel room.

There are loads of crazy Pinterest ideas to cook in your hotel room using your kettle – but I would skip those.

We just have a little picnic on the floor. Some things we include are:

  • a baguette
  • cheese (try something a little fancy, like brie or Camembert)
  • fruit (something with little preparation – like grapes or apples)
  • sliced meat (avoid the nitrate and chemical heavy options, but a few slices of ham off the bone, or fresh chicken, is lovely)
  • nuts (raw or roasted, without salt)

All of these can be easily bought at a local supermarket. They don’t require much preparation or cutlery to eat. It is finger food, easily eaten – and easily cleaned up. And – mostly, very healthy.

It is completely possible to eat real food while travelling. Will you try these tips for your next getaway? What else do you do for your family while travelling?

 

 

5 Ways to Use Your Slow Cooker to Change Your Life (and they don’t include making a meal!)

I should start this post by saying that I think a slow cooker is a necessary part of The Empowered Cook’s kitchen.

A slow cooker is an amazing appliance. You will use it. It is worth the investment.

In winter, a slow cooker helps you make delicious curries and casseroles. In summer, it can help you make rissotto and other dishes without heating up the kitchen by using the oven.

It is also a life-saver when you are short on time. Pop all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning, and then dinner cooks while you get on with your day. It really is that easy.

If you want some amazing slow cooker recipes or need some inspiration – check out my Pinterest board here.

This post is all about how to use your slow cooker for things other than main meals. It is a shame to think we only use this appliance for cooking casseroles, stews and curries. It is far more versatile than we think.

I have started using my slow cooker several times a week. We use it for weeknight meals and also food prep over the weekend. And it is a fundamental part of any bulk cooking session that I do. I can then cook three things at once: a dish in the oven, a dish on the stove and a dish in my slow cooker.

The Empowered Cook shares 5 ways to use a slow cooker, that don't involve making a main meal. Your slow cooker is so much more than a pot to make dinner!

But – let’s start with me showing you 5 ways you can use your slow cooker that will change your life. Think of the time you will save. Less effort. Less clean-up.

So get that slow cooker out of the cupboard today.

And if you don’t own one – here are 5 more reasons to buy one – apart from all the awesomeness that already is a slow cooker.

#1 – Make Chicken Stock

Technically you can make any stock in the slow cooker – but chicken stock is my favourite, and the easiest (besides vegetable stock).

To make chicken stock in your slow cooker, you’ll need either a whole raw chicken or a cooked chicken carcass. This recipe will work with either. I love doing it with a chicken carcass – mainly because we love a good roast chook. So next time you have a roast, keep the carcass to make stock overnight. Don’t have time after cooking a roast? Well, you can also save the carcass. Wrap it in foil, and then into a plastic container and pop it in the freezer. Then make stock when you have the time. 

So – back to making stock.

Into your slow cooker place the chicken carcass (or the whole chicken), a stick of celery, a carrot (snapped into two, unpeeled), an onion (cut in half), a few pepper corns and the stalks of your celery bunch.

You can also add a garlic bulb cut across the middle to expose the cloves. And some parsley stalks are also a yummy addition. But these are optional. The carrot, celery and onion are the bare minimum required. 

Top up as high as you can with water. If you have it, you can also add a swig of Apple Cider Vinegar (helps to break down the bones and give you all their goodness).  

Cook on low for about 12 hours. I usually do this overnight.

In the morning, strain your stock. You can discard the bones and vegetables now – they’ve done their job.

If you’ve used a whole chicken, you’ll need to pick all the meat from the bones. This is juicy, succulent chicken that you can use for soup, sandwiches or any other recipe that calls for cooked chicken. It also freezes well. 

Once strained, you’ll be left with a couple of litres of good, old fashioned chicken stock. Store in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for 3 months. 

#2 – Roast Sweet Potatoes

This is the EASIEST way to roast sweet potatoes. No oil, minimal clean-up, and no hot oven running (good in summer!).

I use these in salads, for lunches and just as sides for an evening meal.

Plus, sweet potato is one of Ollie’s favourite foods – so we always have some of these in the fridge.

To make these in the slow cooker – take a couple of sweet potatoes (as many as will fit in a single layer on the bottom of your slow cooker). Give these a good scrub under some running water.

Pop them straight into the slow cooker – there’s no need to dry them. This is all the liquid you’ll need.

Set your slow cooker to low and cook for 6-7 hours. Check them after about 6 hours – as the time will depend on how large your sweet potatoes are. They are done when you can stick a fork through them.

Store these in the fridge for up to a week. I also freeze mine (wrapped individually) – for up to 3 months.

#3 – Make Brownies

I know. I was skeptical about this one too. But trust me. Desserts in the slow cooker can be super delicious.

The key to making desserts in a slow cooker is to use baking paper in the base – and have it long enough so that you can easily lift it out.

I have tried a few recipes – but this is the best recipe by far: Crockpot Gluten Free Brownies. The bonus is that it is grain free, egg free and vegan. But even better – it makes delicious brownies!

Give it a go and let me know what you think.

#4 – Cook Beans

We eat a lot of legumes in our house. They are cheap, delicious and versatile. Canned beans will always be in my pantry. And cooked beans will always be in my freezer.

Canned beans are cheap. But buying dried beans is so much cheaper again.

I cook beans in bulk, and then store them in the freezer in snap lock bags. I portion these into 2-cup size portions too – so that I know how much I am adding to the recipe. I will also keep a few 1 cup portions for lunches.

The trick with cooking beans is really organisation. You need to soak the beans the night before you want to cook them. This can be challenging – purely because we forget to plan ahead.

To soak your beans is simple. Pick through the dried beans, and check for any gravel or small rocks (trust me – I have found these!). Also discard any odd looking beans.

Place the beans into a large bowl and cover with water. Leave overnight.

The next morning, drain and rinse the beans. Place these into your slow cooker. Cover with water. I fill mine until the top of the slow cooker – about 2 inches above the layer of beans.

At this point, you can add some flavourings: an onion, carrot, celery, peppercorns and bay leaf. Or leave them as is. Just beans and water work fine.

I don’t add salt at this point – I find it toughens the beans.

Cook on low for approx 8 hours. I start testing around 6-7 hours. And depending on the age of your dried bean, you may need to go for up to 12 hours.

Remember to test more than one bean. Test 3 or 4. That way you can be sure that they are all soft.

Once cooked, drain them and split into portions.

Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

#5 – Caramelise Onions

Who doesn’t love caramelised onions? They are super versatile – you can use them like you would pickles or chutney. They are also delicious served as an accompaniment to salads, with sausages or as part of a soup base.

But they are time consuming to make. Standing there, stirring over the hot stove.

Not any more.

Make a bulk batch in your slow cooker.

Thinly slice your onions (I do about 4 large onions at a time) and pop these into your slow cooker. Drizzle with a good slug of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Toss them to coat.

Cook on low for 10 hours.

You can stir these every now and then – but this isn’t necessary.

To reduce the liquid after 10 hours, cook for a bit longer with the lid ajar or completely off. This will give you a ‘jammier’ consistency. It can take another 3 to 5 hours. Just check every hour or so, and stop once they look and taste good to you.

Once done, you can store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. I usually keep a jar in the fridge and then pack up the rest into 1 cup portions and freeze.

 

So – life changing? Did you know your slow cooker could be so versatile? What are you going to try first? Let me know in the comments below.

Get out that slow cooker today!

Got 15 minutes? Here’s 20 Things To Do and Help Get Dinner on the Table This Week

Waiting for water to boil?

Are The Wiggles on TV and you have some spare quiet time?

Got 15 minutes?

Let’s use that time to help you get dinner on the table this week.

You can get a lot done in 15 minutes. You just need to have an idea what to do – so you don’t spend 10 of the 15 minutes trying to decide what to do.

If you use the time when you have it available – you will make good use of it. Sometimes, a 15 minute block is all us Mamas get. So use that time wisely!

Here’s a list of 20 things that you can do, next time you have 15 minutes.

All of these will help you get dinner on the table.

And at the bottom of this post, you can download a free printable postcard that you can stick on your fridge so that you always have this list handy!

So – here we go. 15 minute tasks that you can do The Empowered Cook way.

The Empowered Cook shares 20 things to do in 15 minutes that will help you get dinner on the table. Click through to The Empowered Cook's website to read more!

#20 – Check Your Fruit Bowl

Do you have lemons that are nearly past their prime? Limes? If so – remove the rind, and freeze it in a snaplock bag.

Juice them and then freeze the juice in an ice cube tray.

And then you can add this to your meals when you need a little something extra (I really love steamed vegies with butter and garlic and squirt of lemon – delicious!)

Do you have too many apples? Peel, chop and steam them – and then pop them in the freezer. You can use these for making apple crumble or baking apple cakes.

Let me guess – you also have a number of black bananas that everyone is avoiding eating.

If so – peel these, pop them into a snaplock bag and again, freeze them! These are awesome for smoothies.

All of these tasks take you 15 minutes or less – and will mean you aren’t wasting any fruit.

#19 – Chop Vegetables

I try to do this one every weekend.

But I often just don’t have the time (or non-distracted time away from a toddler) to do this in one hit.

So I instead will do this whenever I have a few minutes in the kitchen – waiting for water to boil for example.

I grab broccoli, or capsicum or celery or carrot or whatever – and just chop it up. I then store these raw in the fridge in containers.

That way – I can just grab a handful of pre-cut vegies for dinner throughout the week. Saves me a load of time and makes it really easy to eat vegetables with all of our meals.

#18 – Make Dip or a Spread

I learnt this one when I was first feeding Ollie solid foods. He loved hummus, and bean dip and any other tip of ‘dippy’.

And now I often eat a few spoons of hummus as a snack through the week, with some vegetable sticks (remember those pre-cut vegies?!).

And making hummus is so easy – just whiz up some chickpeas, a spoon of tahini, a squeeze of lemon, some garlic and a pinch of salt – and its done.

Bean dip is similar and very flexible. I often just whiz up some white beans, some garlic and lemon and add some parsley or mint. And there you go – you have a dip or a spread for your sandwiches.

#17 – Make salad dressing in a jar

In summer this is pretty much a staple in my fridge.

Making dressing in a jar is fast and easy – you simply shake the jar to mix all the ingredients together.

My favourite is to mix equal parts olive oil and apple cider vinegar, with a small dollop of Dijon mustard and some salt and pepper. Shake this up briskly. Taste – you can adjust from here.

But you could try any combination: balsamic vinegar and olive oil, red wine vinegar and olive oil, lemon juice and mustard – whatever you like.

Store this in the fridge for about a week or so. You can simply drizzle this over some really simple lettuce leaves or other greens as a side salad, or go all out and build a delicious salad to go with it.

#16 – Re-organise your tea-towels

Unless you are already super organised when you put your clean tea-towels away – you’ll likely be just re-using the same half a dozen from the top of the pile.

So take 15 minutes to fold these neatly, and to put the older ones on the bottom of the pile, so that you cycle through them.

They will last longer, and there is a lovely feeling pulling out a nicely folded tea-towel to help you with dinner (popping this over your shoulder is optional, but highly recommended).

#15 – Declutter your Utensil Bin

Do you keep your utensils in a bin on your bench? You should!

This saves rummaging through a drawer to find what you need, and they are super handy when in the middle of cooking.

But how often do you clean this out?

Me: rarely.

So take 15 minutes and declutter this bin. Do you really need 3 egg flips? Is there a spatula hidden in the bottom that you never actually use? Get rid of them.

Give the outside a quick wipe down and you’re done.

#14 – Refill your Salt and Pepper

Do a quick check – are they nearly empty? Fill them up.

If they aren’t, check that you have supplies to refill them. If not – add these to your shopping list and pick some up for your pantry.

#13 – Clean Your Sink

I have mentioned this a few times already – but I am a huge fan of having a clean sink. It just makes starting dinner easier and the kitchen just seems cleaner as soon as I clean my sink.

I think this is definitely a lesson from my Mum – who was a fastidious sink cleaner – but it is one that I readily adhere to.

To clean your sink – it can be as simple as just giving it a scrub with your scourer and dish washing liquid. Rinse it really well. And then – and do not forget this crucial step – dry the sink. This is important, as you don’t want those water spots to appear all over the nice clean surface.

And once you’re done – pop out some new linens: tea towels, hand towels, dish cloths.

So welcoming!

#12 – Wash, Prep and Store Greens

I have tried a few ways to do this – and I think it completely relies on what sort of fridge you have.

The method that works best for me is to wash and dry my greens, and then pop a damp tea towel and the greens into a snaplock bag. I then store this in the crisper section of the fridge.

Some people store them in a container with damp paper towel. Or they stand them upright in a glass of water in the fridge.

Give it all a go – and see what works for you.

#11 – Stocktake your wraps

We all have one of these drawers – or you may have a cupboard. I’m talking about the location that holds all the cling wrap, foil, snaplock bags.

Take a few minutes to just check your supply. Are you out of anything? Is anything about to end?

If so – add it to your shopping list.

Tidy the drawer (or cupboard) and you’re done.

#10 – Stocktake your spices

Spices do have an expiry date. And if you don’t use them enough – you’ll likely find quite a few out of day spices lurking in your cupboards.

Take 15 minutes to take them all out of the cupboard. Check the use by date.

Only add back into the cupboard the items that are not yet expired, but that are also items that you will use.

#9 – Refill your baking goods

Check your baking supplies – are you nearly out of flour?

Top the containers up.

If you’re short on any ingredients – add to your shopping list.

Give the shelf a good wipe out and reorder your goods so that like items are together: i.e. all the flour is together, the sugars are together, etc.

This will save you time when looking for something in the cupboard.

#8 – Wipe down the fridge

Sticky fingers, grot and grime will be on your fridge. Even if those sticky fingers are adult size.

Take a wet, soapy dishcloth and just spend 15 minutes wiping down the outside and the door seals.

You’ll find that this is a quick and easy task – but it does make a difference to how you feel in your kitchen.

#7 – Pop Dishwasher on Clean Cycle

Cleaning a dishwasher should really happen about every fortnight or so.

There’s no need to buy those expensive dishwasher cleaners though.

With an empty dishwasher, you can easily clean it with vinegar. I simply fill a small bowl filled with vinegar and then pop this on the top rack of the dishwasher. The dishwasher then goes on to the “Pots” setting (or the highest setting) – and it comes out very clean.

#6 – Prep Grains

I will always have some sort of cooked grain in the fridge or freezer. Through the week, it is generally quinoa or pasta (for easy tossing into a salad) – but I also keep brown rice in small single sized portions in my freezer.

The brown rice is great for making fried rice.

At the end of the week, I sometimes have a bunch of odd vegies left in my crisper. I chop these into small pieces and stir fry them. Add the brown rice with a good lug of tamari or soy sauce. This is a yummy and quick family meal. And again – no waste!

#5 – Make Croutons / Breadcrumbs

Stale bread?

Slice it up, drizzle a little olive oil over it – add a few dried herbs like oregano – and then pop into a moderate oven for 10 minutes or so.

This will make yummy little croutons for you to use with soups or salads.

Or – blitz it up in the food processor, and you have breadcrumbs.

#4 – Make Ice

This is something I am dreadful at doing. I even have a little ice tray built into my freezer – but I just never remember to empty and fill it.

But – if I followed my own advice, I’d take 15 minutes and fill my tray (and first empty it). In summer especially, it’s nice to have a little backlog of ice to pop in your drinks.

#3 – Make Olive Oil Herb Cubes

This is such a good tip. How often do you buy lovely fresh herbs, only to find them a brown sludgy mess in the bottom of your fridge a week later?

Instead – try this: chop the herbs, and pop into ice cube trays. Then top each one up with olive oil. Freeze.

Then next time you need some herbs in your meal – just pop one or two of these little beauties into your dish. The oil will melt, and you’ll be left with delicious herbs to flavour your meal.

#2 – Browse a Cookbook – choosing 1 meal to add to your dinner plan next week

Now this could be a time-sucker, so be conscious of your 15 minutes.

Grab a cookbook and have a browse. But do it intentionally. That is with purpose: browse the cookbook with the intention of choosing one family meal that you can add to your meal plan next week. Don’t try anything super fancy – but do try something different. And if it fails and no one eats it – there’s always baked beans on toast (been there, done that).

#1 – Start Dinner

And it is that simple. Just start dinner.

Even if it is ten o’clock in the morning – you can always chop some vegies, get some pots out of the cupboard, set the table, slice some bread.

Whatever you can do now in order to make that dinner hour easier – do it. While you have those 15 minutes.

Were these ideas helpful?

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