Lessons Learned

There have been a few of those this week, mostly having to do with cooking day. Yesterday, I spent all day making 15 recipes of two meals each. This is the third big cooking day I’ve done. As always, it was very tiring, but much went better than before, mainly due to my having learned these lessons:

mattersmost_300x300-300x300Clean up as you go as much as possible. My first big cooking day ended with me exhausted… and my kitchen trashed. This time, the cleanup was much easier, and I realized it was because I put away everything after each recipe, including dishes I knew I wouldn’t need again going into the dishwasher.

Related to the above, reuse mixing bowls, pans, measuring cups/spoons, etc. as much as possible. In some cases I had no choice, as I only have one large skillet, but cleaning off the other things and reusing them helped tons.

Double check the grocery order. Meijer shorted us an item, though it was on my order. I didn’t notice until I needed it for a recipe, so DH had to run out and get it. Last time, I sent a printout of the order with DH when he went to pick it up, but didn’t this time. So I will definitely arm him with a printout next time, and also check the supplies before I begin to prep or cook.

Buy produce and cheeses already chopped/minced/etc. if possible. This was a major time-saver for Friday night prep, and for the amounts of cheeses, ginger, and garlic I needed, wasn’t significantly more expensive than buying whole and chopping on my own.

Slap-chop is better for chopping onions. That’s what I normally do. I tried using the food processor this time, but while it was faster, it didn’t do as well, leaving lots of big chunks.

Sometimes, you really do get what you pay for. This is especially true of freezer bags, and this was the main lesson learned yesterday. It was a good thing the kitchen cleanup was relatively easy, because I also had to clean out the refrigerator… for the third time this week (one time which DH did). I kept having mystery water leaking all down the bottom few shelves, and I finally figured out what it was: leaking freezer bags from meals I was making last week from last time’s cooking day. So this time, I used brand name bags for anything liquid.

What I’ve been reading: I read the short stories from Smith’s Monthly #17, by Dean Wesley Smith, and started the novel. As always, really enjoying it!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: Another lesson learned here: sometimes, something we think is going to be difficult really isn’t once we sit down and just do it. Yes, I finally got my book descriptions off and out to the publisher. Waiting to hear back from them on how they are, but I think they came out pretty good. Now it’s time to jump into the next project while Time’s Dilemma is with the editors, so I plan to go over what I have on the next Saturn Society novel (it’s about half written), and figure out how to finish it.

What about you–any lessons learned to share, whether about cooking, writing, or anything? Have you read any good books lately, or cooked anything interesting? How are you doing on whatever goals you may have, whether writing-related or not? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

6 Responses to \

  1. I give you so much credit for doing all of that cooking all at once! Those are good things to remember if I ever try that. 🙂

    Glad you got the book descriptions done and to the publisher!

  2. I’m envious. I wish I had a big cooking day and then meals ready when I need them. I keep saying I’m going to do this, but I’ve yet to get my butt in gear.

    I always clean up as I go, though. I’ve learned that at the inn the more counter space I see, the easier clean-up’s going to be. If there is not a single spot to put another spoon, clean-up will be a nightmare. Rinse and re-use whenever possible.

    Good stuff. Have a great week and enjoy those meals!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  3. I’ve had to do some cooking this week, only reminding me why I haven’t done it in so long. I hate the clean up. Ugh. So far I haven’t been able to make a meal Hubby wants again (he’s been very picky for good reasons), so maybe my cooking days are numbered. I can only hope. Haha!

  4. My mother drilled the “clean as you go” mantra into me from day one of cooking… My husband thinks I’m funny, but it works!

    I do wonder about your use of ‘name brand’ bags. I’ve had Ziploc brand tear as easily as others after freeing. It has less to do with manufacture than being rubbed in the freezer when moving bags around to pick an item. The seams get stressed and then they start to leak. I use a bowl in the fridge for thawing.

    And YAY for getting those book descriptions out. Sometimes you just have to buckle down and do it… and then it just doesn’t seem that bad.

  5. This is fantastic that your cooking days are working out so well. Definitely worth all the hard work, huh? Yes, cleaning up as we go does make a huge difference. Good to know about the cheap freezer bags! Sheesh!

  6. Thank you Lynn! So glad to see that I am not the only one a week late for this posting. Geez. Jennette life is a bit crazy these days. Especially when I’m under the weather. That’s when I wish I had prepared meals ready to go. But no, have I done this myself yet? And don’t get me started on the subject of freezer bags. They’re not cheap, so I guess we all try to tighten the budget and buy a less expensive brand. Uh, no can do with this little item. I’ve had the same problem girl. 🙂