Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A different take on simplify

I'm making steady progress on my Christmas projects and still hope to have them done in time. One was particularly ambitious, more for its size than it's complexity, but I just always seem to get my best ideas at the 11th hour.

I actually wanted to write about a different subject entirely today. Recently, Trish at Notes of Sincerity started a series entitled Simple Life Saturday. If you remember my recent whine fest, you can appreciate that I was a little excited when she started this. And, honestly, was a tad disappointed to see that her intentions were for subjects like kindness and flexibility. Now, I'm not saying those subjects are not pertinent - they absolutely are - but it was just not the practical, how to juggle a million responsibilities at once type advice I was hoping for.

So, I decided to share my own tidbits in this area, and encourage you to join along. Aren't we all looking for ways to shave a couple minutes off each day's responsibilities? I'm not going to give this a name, or set up a certain day of the week for it, because then it might become a chore, but as I think of time-saving things I do, I'll write about them here and you can join in the comments, or e-mail me your tips & I'll write about them, giving you credit of course. Or you can write your own blog post & I'll just post a link. Whatever. No rules.

My first tip involves the crock pot.

Now, I've had many a person suggest the crock pot to me over the years as a time-saving device, but the problem with the crock pot is that it requires you to put stuff in it during the worst time of the day for me - the morning. Never once, in all my years of working in an office, did I remember or have the time to assemble a roast or beef stew or anything in my crock pot before going to work. Even the times I was determined to use it and did the assembling the night before - I'd forget to take it out of the fridge and plug it in. Just not a morning person.

Coincidentally, one thing I've always done in an effort to save time was make large batches of soups and stews, freezing the leftovers in family meal sized containers. While I loved having the leftovers, I still found the process of going from a giant brick of frozen soup to hot, edible soup a time consuming process. In my microwave, it usually amounted to 20-25 minutes of cooking, stopping to stir about every 5 minutes. Not my idea of a time saver.

When I mentioned this to a friend a couple of years ago, she said "oh, I never do that - I just pop it in the crockpot & re-heat it that way." Wow. A real "duh" moment if I've ever had one. Especially since, for the last 10 or so years, I've had these meal-sized freezer containers the exact size and shape as my crock pot.

So, that's my un-original tip for today. Have freezer containers that will fit in your crock pot so you can just pop the food out of the container like an ice cube & let your crock pot do the re-heating. This is particularly relevant to me now that I'm working from home, because I can even choose this option as late as 1pm and it still be ready for dinner. Nothing better than my own cooking, for free, that I don't even have to work for.

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