The Kitchen, the Heart of My Home
By Crystal Miller
I think of the kitchen as being the heart of my home. This is
because I know that food has an important role to play in the lives of our
families. They can be blessed by the many ways food and eating is a part of
their daily life. Nothing warms the heart of a husband like the smell of dinner
cooking as he walks in from a hard day's work. I love how a meal can call the
family together for a time of sharing and discussing life. There is something so
wonderful about the smell of bread, muffins or a cake baking in the oven. And
who can deny the satisfaction of sitting down with the family all present and
enjoying a pan of homemade lasagna, salad and fresh bread!
Food can build traditions and memories. It has its' own seasons
and familiarities such as barbecues, pot lucks and picnics in the summer, or
slices of cold watermelon on those hot summer days. Or hot bowls of soup and
fresh bread or a warming stew in the crock pot for the fall and winter months.
How about the memories of cold winter evenings spent with cups of hot cocoa?
Food is a wonderful way to help and reach out to others and
bless them in a meaningful way. It may be a meal given to a new mommy or a sick
friend. Or maybe your neighbor who has had a rough day and you would like to
help them in a meaningful way.
I have a large family and can spend a lot of time in my kitchen
cooking and baking for them. I could be discouraged by the amount of time but
rather I look at time spent in my kitchen as a challenge to be embraced and as a
way to tremendously bless them. It is a challenge to prepare 3 meals a day to a
hungry family and to do it in the most nutritious and frugal way possible.
Over the years I have found a few tools that allow me to better
accomplish this wonderful goal for my family. I do know that it takes good
planning and thought to be able to do all that I desire. If you would like a
little assistance in making your kitchen the heart of your home perhaps some of
my tips may help you.
*Plan Meals - it is very important to plan out menus in advance.
It may be just a few days or it can be a couple of weeks in advance. But, try to
always know exactly what you are making for the next day. Keep your meals simple
and use common ingredients.
*Make A Master Pantry List - once you develop simple meals with
common ingredients you can stock up your pantry with these items. Keep a running
list of these items and how much you have on hand. Try to buy these items when
they go on sale.
*Make a Master Grocery List - this takes time in the beginning
but saves you tons of time later on. Make a list of the common weekly and
monthly items you buy. Keep it on your computer. When it is time to grocery shop
simply print the list and circle needed items.
*Keep a price sheet - know what you are spending on food items.
Using a small notebook jot down prices as you shop and then keeping a master
list on the computer. This is a must for the budget!
*Use The Freezer - I can't say this enough. Even if all you have
is the one above your fridge. When you cook a meal try making a double batch and
freeze one for the next week or for that new mommy or neighbor or for you on a
stressful day when nothing went as you had planned. This will prevent you from
running out to fast food and deli foods.
*Keep The Kitchen Clean - It is so much more motivating to work
in a clean kitchen rather than a cluttered one. Clean up as you work.
Crystal Miller (
mailto:email@example.com ) is a mother of 8 children and enjoys
her God given role as wife, homemaker and mother! She has a homemaking and
country living web site called The Family Homestead
http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com and has a free monthly newsletter called
Homestead Happenings. You will find sign up information on her website.