Friday, December 9, 2011

Things You Should Always Have on Your Kitchen Counter... And Things You Shouldn't!

Welcome back to enrichin' your kitchen!  Every month from here on out, you'll be getting a Kitchen Tip of the Month, a Product of the Month, a Recipe of the Month, and an Article/Anecdote of the Month. Every Friday, there will be something new and exciting to add to your kitchen!

Today we have the first tip for your kitchen, and it involves things you should always have on your kitchen counter... and things you shouldn't!  Kitchen counters come in all shapes and sizes.  I've seen kitchens with barely enough counter space to chop an onion, and others with enough counter space to hold everything on my bedroom floor!  (Okay that might be an exaggeration, but you get the point.)  No matter what kind of kitchen counters you have, here are some tips to enrich them!


1. A Bowl of Fruit.

Why?  A couple reasons.  First, most fruit doesn't really need to be refrigerated, especially if it will be eaten in just a few days.  Some fruit SHOULDN'T be refrigerated before it's ripe (because it won't ripen in the fridge) and once it's ripe, you should just eat it!  In addition, many people prefer eating fruit at room temperature.  It enhances the taste.  (In Italy, we do this with tomatoes, too!)

Secondly, a bowl of fruit looks nice on a countertop.  It makes the kitchen a little more homey.

Thirdly, (and most importantly!), people are lazy.  Kids are the laziest of all.  When kids come home from school, or come inside from playing, they probably want a snack.  They want something easy.  Keeping a bowl of fruit on the counter will keep them (and you!) snacking on more fruit and staying healthier.

2. A Grocery List.

This you don't need to keep ON your counter, but it should be in your kitchen, in plain sight (on the fridge, for example).  This way, when you (or someone in your family) runs out of something, they can quickly write it on the list so it won't be forgotten on the next shopping trip.  This makes your grocery planning easier as well.

Moreover, lots of parents complain that they don't know what to cook that the kids will actually eat, and some just run out of ideas for dinner.  Having a grocery list out and ready means that whenever that brilliant idea of fresh guacamole and chicken fajitas or pumpkin lasagna comes to mind, you can jot it down as soon as you think of it.  Otherwise, you might be tempted to resort to calling for takeout at a place that's likely to be more expensive and less healthy, just because you couldn't think of anything to cook.

3. A Basket.

Small, miscellaneous items tend to accumulate on kitchen countertops and bedroom floors.  I haven't solved the bedroom problem yet ;), but all it takes in the kitchen is a small basket!  Baskets are great because they usually have a neutral color (so they match most anything) and they look like a decoration instead of a clutter.  This is a great place for keys, a wallet, sunglasses, a watch, and almost anything small that doesn't have a home.


1. Clutter!

This includes new mail, old mail, newspapers, magazines, receipts etc.  If you find that you have a problem with this kind of stuff cluttering your countertops, here are a couple quick solutions.  Start slow.  If you think about cleaning everything at once, it will deter you from actually starting in the first place.  Find a place that you can train yourself to put these things.  Recycling bin, a file for receipts, a stand for incoming mail and/or newspapers...  This will help you clear off your counters, and may even help make sure you pay bills on time!

2. A Bowl of Candy.

Don't do it!  This bowl of candy is just going to beg to be eaten... by you, by your kids, by anyone that comes in the house.  Sometimes candy and candy wrappers may look nice and colorful, but there is ALWAYS a better alternative.

3. Half-Empty Drinks.

Unless you're in the act of drinking them, don't leave glasses on your countertops.  Depending on the type of counter you have, it may stain or burn it.  If it's a cold drink, it will probably leave some condensation that will be overlooked when you decide to put down a piece of paper or a loaf of bread.  Plus, glasses on the counter are just begging to be knocked over.  And lastly, most people won't finish a half-finished drink that is no longer hot or no longer cold - if you won't finish it now, put it in the fridge or toss it.  If you MUST, at least use a coaster.

Hope you enjoyed this month's rendition of tips for your kitchen.  As the months go on, we'll get sneakier and sneakier, so come on back next time!

If YOU have things you think should always or never be on the kitchen counter, let us know in the comments below!  If you liked this post, "like" it and share it!

Until next time!  Live Enriched!

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