Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Kitchen Elves Have Insomnia

The kitchen elves are hard at work
If necessity is the mother of invention, then is laziness is the father of efficiency? Can slow ever be fast?  And when does "from scratch" ever equal "E-Z"?

I spend an inordinate amount of my time in the kitchen. What with all the DIY, MIY, MYO, and MIM-ing going on (even my computer is in the kitchen). Making all our meals from scratch may be healthier, more economical, and less wasteful, but it doesn't mean I want to start from square-one every single day. Oh, heck no. That's why I tend to gravitate toward "big batch" recipes, freezer meals, and other sensible shortcuts and time-savers.

I'm just glad they don't whistle while they work
So how do I manage to combine homemade with convenience (two words that don't usually show up in the same sentence)? Easy... I employ kitchen elves. Yep, elves. Or as they like to be called: Kitchen Convenience Facilitators. They work at night while we're asleep, and in the morning coffee is made, breakfast is ready, and the dishes are clean. Now if only I could get them to vacuum and mop the floors, I'd really be a happy girl.

Will Work 4... Cheap
The obvious appeal for employing overnight methods (er, elves) is that all this stuff gets done without me. Sure, they take a lot of time, but it's unattended time. There are other benefits too. Most of these tasks use little to no extra energy. They do their work on the counter, in the fridge, or in the oven with just the low-watt bulb on. I call that a bonus. And in the heat of summer, the last place I wanna be is in a hot kitchen.

While I lay me down to sleep...
  • Porridge... a double recipe yields 8 servings of perfectly "cooked" steel cut oats ready to portion out, heat & eat, and/or freeze for later. 
  • Coffee... "Brews" all night and is ready to filter in the morning. 64-perky-ounces of cold-brew coffee concentrate (enough for 2 weeks).
  • Sourdough Bread: real or fake... with the Almost No-Knead method, I start it before going to bed and in the morning it's ready to shape, have a short rise, and bake.
  • Sourdough Flapjacks and Waffles... again, start before bed, and in the a.m. fry them up in a pan. Usually on weekends.
  • Chicken or Vegetable Stock... 10 hours in the slow-cooker. Sometimes it's disconcerting to wake up smelling soup in the morning, but it's only once every month or two. And it has plenty of time to cool down before I put it into the freezer.
  • Yogurt... lots of beneficial bacteria, doing their thang, and partying until dawn. And then we can have this for breakfast!
  • Marinade... because I usually forget to do this in the morning, and I'd prefer to over-marinate rather than under-marinate.
  • Defrosting*... I, uh, often forget to take dinner out of the freezer in the morning too. Sticking it in the fridge before bedtime means we don't have toast (again) for dinner the next day.
  • Dishes... the last thing I do before lights-out and hitting the hay is to start the dishwasher (if it's full). In the morning, they're all clean and ready to be put away.
  • Pots, Pans, Tea Pots, and Casseroles... for stuck-ons or stains, there's nothing like an overnight soak. Plain water for stuck-ons, water and baking soda for stubborn stains. Saves on elbow-grease.
Do you have any overnight elves or other time-saving methods that you rely on? 

    DIY (do it yourself), MIY (make it yourself), MYO (make your own), and MIM (make it myself).
    *Doesn't "defrosting" sound like it should mean "eating all the icing off a cake"?
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    1. yeah...dream about doing it, making it, cleaning it. unfortunately, you wake up to the same nightmare as before LOL

    2. @SharkBait: Yeah, I've tried the "think system" before... doesn't work! Try the elf-system! :)


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