Unfortunately in this day and age, cooking at home is not the norm, mostly as a result of the busy lives we all lead. In addition to the time crunch, many of my clients reveal to me that they dislike cooking, dread spending time in the kitchen alone, and feel uninspired. Sometimes cooking can be a chore, but it can also be lots of fun and a great opportunity to customize your favorite foods.
Preparing meals yourself is the only way to ensure you are not taking in unwanted salt, fat and calories that inevitably come with restaurant and pre-prepared meals. Even if it’s a few times a week, home cooked meals can make such a difference for the health and wellbeing of you and your family.
Here are some fun ideas that will help you want to get back into your kitchen:
1. Set up your space with elements that motivate you to be in the kitchen. Hang posters, photos or art from places you have traveled to or from where you have enjoyed the cuisine. I love vintage posters that you can find for all of your favorite destinations! Placing any favorite items around the kitchen can also change the way you feel about the space for the better. Sometimes a fun kitchen appliance or tool in a bright color will encourage your inner chef. Perhaps keeping items on hand that were passed down by loved ones will inspire you. I have my grandmother's bright blue retro mixing bowls that I use all the time.
2. Have some exciting food items on hand to make your creations feel gourmet, even if they are simple. Herbs growing in a pot on the windowsill give you the opportunity to add fresh flavor even in the winter! Load up on seasonal fruit and veggies to create a simple meal. Slicing fresh peaches over your favorite greens and topping with a few grates of parmesan cheese is simple yet impressive!
3. Music in the kitchen is essential! Depending on your mood and the type of cuisine, change it up. One of my favorite choices is a French music Pandora station I created that makes me feel like I'm cooking with Julia Child! Whatever the cuisine or complexity of the meal, just have fun with it!
4. If you dislike cooking because it makes you feel lonely then cook with company. Even if your companion doesn’t like cooking, you can still ask him or her to join you in the kitchen. I am usually the cook, but I still appreciate my husband’s company while I'm prepping dinner so I recently placed a high counter and stools in the kitchen for him to hang out at while we chat about the day. If you have trouble luring company into your kitchen, TV is always an alternative. I love cooking shows and find they often inspire me. Nothing like cooking with a celebrity chef!
5. Relax! Treat yourself to a refreshment while you’re working. It’s also a great way to get friends and family to join you. A small glass of wine is the traditional choice to unwind without impairing your cooking ability, but if you are conserving calories, chilled sparkling water with fresh mint and lemon might be the perfect choice!
6. Have a few go-to recipes so you don't have to think too much about planning, especially for weekday meals. This way you can relax to your music and enjoy a refreshment without stressing too much about the cooking process. The trick is finding elements that make you smile in your space and relish the chance to prepare something that will nourish you and those who are sharing the meal! Bon appetite!