Kitchen Hacks: My Top Tips and Tricks!

 

Outfit Details: Anthropologie Necklace // James Perse Henley

It’s no secret healthy eating takes prep and planning, but as a busy wife and mom, sometimes I just don’t have the time…or the patience! Along the way, I’ve stumbled across a few helpful kitchen tricks that have lightened my load tremendously and have made cooking something I can actually make time for. And today, my friends, I pass along my Top Kitchen Hacks to you! You’re welcome. 😉

Hacks for Herbs:

  • Freeze your herbs in olive oil in an  ice cube tray to prevent them from browning and/or getting freezer burn. Bonus: They will always be handy, whether in season or not! Add a fun twist by freezing them in different shaped trays.
  • Cutting your herbs with kitchen scissors (or you can get fancy with herb scissors that have multiple blades) eliminates the sticking, flipping, and flying off the cutting board issues we’ve all experienced.

Hacks for Storage + Freshness:

 

  • Lay a clean paper towel over a bowl of chopped lettuce, then cover it in plastic wrap to make it last a whole week. A MUST for us!
  • Freeze slices of lemon in your ice cubes for easy grab-and-go lemon water. Try throwing in a few sliced strawberries…better yet, add some mint leaves for a nice summer cool down. Bonus tip: Using a  muffin pan yields larger ice cubes that you can add even more extras to! Quick and easy way to liven up your water.
  • Make bananas last longer by separating them from the bunch and wrapping the stems in saran wrap! Perfect for taking bananas on the go, and it’s such a lifesaver around here.

Hacks for Cooking Prep:

  • Place a  wooden kitchen spoon over your boiling water to keep it from boiling over. #Genius #WhoKnew
  • Who doesn’t love a great spaghetti squash? Use an ice cream scoop to remove seeds from melons and squash to make the cooking process shorter and the enjoying process longer.
  • It may look silly, but throwing on a pair of snowboard/ski goggles will stop you from tearing up when you’re cutting onions. Don’t ski/snowboard? You can pickup a pair for under $20.
  • DIY fruit and veggie wash! Washing your produce before consumption is extremely important, but the store bought washes can be expensive and difficult to find. Instead of searching high and low, then spending a fortune on produce wash, try this: Simply purchase a small spray bottle, then fill it with one cup of water, one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, and one tablespoon of baking soda. Shake to mix, and it’s ready to go! Wash away to your heart’s content.
  • Need a quick carb? Microwave “baked potatoes” to the rescue! Prick with a fork, place in a microwave safe bowl, cover with a moist paper towel, and cook for 8-10 mins. Easy peasy!
  • Roll your citrus! Applying pressure and rolling your lemons and oranges before cutting and juicing them yields much more juice. Awesome for adding to your ice water!

 

Those are my fave kitchen hacks…now I want to hear yours! Share below!!

Xoxo,

Heidi

Related reading:

4 Kitchen Must-Haves for Transformation Success
Grocery Shopping 101
#MomLife: 11 Life Hacks for Getting Fit


34 Comments

  1. Shirley Franklin - May 23, 2017

    Great tips! I have a couple more for you. I have been cooking brown rice in my slow cooker. 2c brown rice, 5c filtered water and a tsp of salt. Stir it all up in your 4-6qt slow cooker. Cover it and walk away for 2.5 hours. Perfect rice every time. I know it can be done with a rice cooker, but I have a tiny kitchen and I don’t have room for single use appliances. The other trick I have learned lately is how to make my own yogurt in the slow cooker. Its so danged easy and you know what’s in it that way. Just dump a gallon of milk in the cooker, crank it up to high and start checking the temp at 2 hours. Bring it up to 180F then turn it off. Let it cool to 110, then take out a cup of it and put it in a bowl with some plain yogurt from the store(next time you use a cup of your homemade yogurt)Stir it up til smooth, then stir it back into your cooker. Cover it and wrap it in a big bath towel. In the morning you have yogurt! Just strain it over a bowl in a strainer lined with a clean dish towel. Let it strain til its the thickness you want and done! I usually get about 1.5 quarts of yogurt and 2 quarts of whey. Don’t toss the whey! It’s great in smoothies.

  2. Yvonne - April 4, 2017

    with some water in your mouth you can cut onions without tears. try it, really it works.

  3. Cherish - February 16, 2017

    Hi:-)
    I’m having a difficult time deciding on a protien powder… I have tried several of them..I’m wondering what your favorite is or if there is one or a few you might recommend? I try not to add fruits or any extra sugars- my preference is mixed with water and ice in a shaker cup.
    Thank you😊

    • Team Powell - February 18, 2017

      Hi Cherish: Chris and Heidi recommend low-fat, low-carb powders with around 20 grams of protein per serving. 🙂

  4. Katheryn - February 11, 2017

    Hi Heidi,
    Would you recommend carb cycling for someone trying to help manage diabetes?

    • Team Powell - February 13, 2017

      Hi Kathryn: Yes, it is possible to carb cycle with diabetes, but we would highly recommend you discuss the plan with your healthcare team first and then follow any modifications they might recommend. Here’s a post that might help: http://heidipowell.net/5078. 🙂

  5. shahnaz anwar - January 2, 2017

    Very helpful tip! Is there a post on how to calculate macros in order to do carb cycling?

    • Team Powell - January 2, 2017

      For Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling plans, all the macros are figured out for you! You simply follow the plan. 🙂

  6. Christina - December 16, 2016

    A lot of great tips!! I love the onion hack, wearing ski goggles, I will definitely be trying this one as I usually get my husband to chop the onions as his eyes do not get teary eyed. We always used go through so much lettuce, until I found something to make my lettuce last a week. Take your lettuce and rinse it and then put in a salad spinner to get all the excess water out and then put it in mason jars. It will last a week in the frig.

  7. Lacy - June 23, 2015

    Peeling farm fresh boiled eggs is difficult so I’ve started steaming my whole eggs…makes peeling a breeze!

  8. Kristal Gerdes - June 11, 2015

    Another great fruit wash is water and vinegar. Fill the sink, or a bowl, with water and add some vinegar. Let the fruit soak for a couple of minutes. I’ve heard this helps preserve fruit longer and can help your berries keep from molding. I don’t know if that is true or not because fruit doesn’t last that long at our house :).

  9. Scottishdianne - April 19, 2015

    I’ve never pre-chopped veg or pre-cooked meat because I’ve always had it in my head that any prepped or cooked food can really only safely last 3 days. We mostly use onions, carrots, lettuce, red cabbage, peppers. How do you keep veggies fresh and how do you store cooked minced beef for example to last a full week? If I could pull it off, it’s potentially game changing!! Any advice/links appreciated. God bless. Dx

    • Shirley Franklin - May 23, 2017

      I put clean, dry paper towels in the container with the prepped veggies and you could freeze that beef if you mince it. I can’t imagine it would take that long to thaw.

  10. Michele S - April 18, 2015

    I live alone so a huge bunch of celery takes a long time for me to eat. If you wrap it with paper towel and then aluminum foil it lasts for a few weeks.

    I also mash up banana that is starting to turn and measure into 1 cup portions and freeze in separate ZipLock bags. That way you have the exact measurement to use in a recipe.

  11. Lola - April 18, 2015

    I like the banana idea with the plastic wrap! I have two to share:

    When bananas start to turn, you can put them in the fridge and they’ll stop ripening. The skin will turn darker, but the fruit will stay. And if I’m just not going to get to them (rare), I either freeze them for a smoothie or I make easy “cookies”:

    Mash 2 ripe bananas with fork
    Stir in 1 c quick oats
    Stir in 1/4 c mini choc chips
    Scoop by tablespoon onto parchment-lined pan
    Bake at 350 for 15 mins

    Other than bananas, for Meat prep, we buy bulk packages, separate them in plastic storage bags and sometimes even add the marinade right in (as long as not a citrus- or salt-based marinade that can start to “cook” your meat). In the morning, we can pull out of freezer, defrost in fridge while at work, and have marinade-ready meat to grill up quick!

  12. Tia - April 17, 2015

    Great tips, although I knew some others I will add to my repertoire. I peel bunch of bananas, cut in half, lay on a cookie sheet and freeze solid then store in Zip lock. When need sweet treat, put 1 to two whole bananas and about 1/4 Cup cashew/almond milk, or 1/4 cup of Suger Free fat free Caramel coffee mate in bullet and turn on with ice blade. In 30 seconds I have great ice cream and can still in, fresh berries, or nuts. Yum.

  13. Trish - April 16, 2015

    i buy a ton of bananas, peel them, and cut them into about 2 in slices and freeze them in a ziplock bag. Then, when I want a treat, I throw some in a blender with a spoon of cocoa powder, peanut butter (homemade) and almond milk to make a shake. Delicious!

  14. Hannah - April 16, 2015

    I freeze my meat in ziplocs as flat as possible so that it defrosts quickly while I cut up the veggies etc. I pound the chicken breasts flat once they’re in the bag.

  15. Kelly - April 16, 2015

    Every Sunday I prep all my lunches and dinners for the week to save time and help avoid temptation throughout the week (especially at dinner). I keep small bottles of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and red wine vinegar at work. On days I have salads for lunch, I combine the three (light on the olive oil) for a quick and healthy salad dressing. No refrigeration needed!!!

  16. Allyson - April 16, 2015

    Every Sunday, I spend a couple of hours and prep our lunches and dinners for the week. I choose things that have similar ingredients so that I have less prep and can get more meals out of what I buy at the store. For example, this week, I cooked a pound of ground turkey and used 1/3 for stuffed peppers and the remaining 2/3 will be for healthy tacos tonight. It does require some work but it is so worth it to be able to spend time with the family at night instead of cooking. Also, having dinners ready eliminates the temptation to stray from our diet.

  17. Anne - April 16, 2015

    Well my “planning ahead” advice is for those who spend a lot of time on the road and are missing the convenience of their home kitchen ! 🙂 My fiance and I travel a lot for work, but it’s mostly long road trips to small southern towns. In a lot of these locations, there are no healthy/allergy friendly options, just fried food. So we plan ahead!

    1. We always try to stay somewhere with a kitchen, or at the very least, a fridge and microwave. Residence Inn is a great option if you’re on a budget, because it comes with a full sized fridge, microwave, stovetop and dish washer.

    2. We pack a bag of dry goods: Protein powder, individual oatmeal packets, beef jerky, Quest Bars, Quest Chips, Kind Bars, etc. And of course, a few clean protein shakers. 🙂 We also bring a cooler of cool goods: Yogurt, frozen chicken breakfast sausage, frozen brown rice english muffins, wraps, fruit, coconut milk, pre-cooked sweet potatoes, lunch meat, and a few frozen healthy dinners as back up. A nice cooler (like Yeti) is a great investment because it will keep your items cold for days.

    3. The night before we have to leave for a trip, we always try to make a bigger batch of dinner. That way, we will have leftovers that we can pack and eat the next day/night on the road.

    4.Most small towns will have at least an Outback Steakhouse, Logans, Cracker Barrel or Chili’s. All of these places have ways to order healthy options. I always go for grilled meat with no oils added, steamed green veggies and a plain sweet potato.

    Loving all the advice!

  18. Amber - April 16, 2015

    I make a batch of egg “muffins” every week so we can speed up our mornings. I just mix our fav veggies with egg whites & just a bit of low sodium ham and cheese, pour into muffin tin and bake. Then we just microwave for 45 seconds on our busy mornings!

    • Marianne C. - April 18, 2015

      What kind of muffin “tin” do you put in the microwave? I love this idea and wondered if a silicone muffin baker would work?

    • Team Powell - April 18, 2015

      You’ll have to check and see if it’s microwave safe, as different ones can be/not be microwave safe. 🙂

    • Cheryl - September 10, 2015

      I think you bake them in the oven and then reheat in the microwave for breakfast.

  19. Bobbie D - April 16, 2015

    I never heard that about bananas before! I’m so going to have to try that =)

  20. Tiffany - April 16, 2015

    I make a weeks worth of individual salads on Sunday. You just need mason jars, and you put your dressing on the bottom, then layer in your veggies, cheese, and then lettuce and spinach on top so that the dressing and lettuce don’t touch. They stay fresh for the whole week and easy peasy for lunches!

  21. Kate P - April 16, 2015

    If I know I have a busy week coming up, I’ll spend a few hours the weekend before chopping all of the vegetables for separate meals and portioning them out into meal-prep grab bags. Sometimes I’ll also measure the spices into a little big and put that in as well. Then I store each meal’s worth of veggies/spices/carbs in a gallon-size zip lock in the fridge. it’s easy to grab and add whatever protein I’m using (I keep chicken breasts and fish fillets in the freezer).

  22. Lori - April 16, 2015

    I’m going to try this, and my family will live it. Thanks for the tip on the bananas!

  23. lschoessel - April 16, 2015

    I sautee veggies, spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, cover the bottom with the veggies and fill the rest with egg whites. Throw in the oven at 350 for 15- 18 minutes until egg white is cooked. Then my egg white omelets are ready to go for the whole week!

  24. Candis - April 16, 2015

    Love the banana hack. My kid gets turned away when brown spots appear on the them even though I tell her they are still good

  25. Kim - April 16, 2015

    Every Sunday & Wednesday I prepare 3 salads (green pepper,onion, broccoli slaw, kale & chicken) for my lunches. Easy to grab in the morning. I have a frig at work for my salad dressing, otherwise I would buy small containers to keep that in and pre-measure.

  26. Tracy - April 16, 2015

    Awesome tips! My mom always wrapped her lettuce in paper towel. I also put a paper towel into those bags or containers of precut lettuce. I also wrap fresh herbs and asparagus in paper towel.

  27. mary - April 16, 2015

    Great ideas. I knew a couple, but the lettuce is brilliant. Thank you.

Leave a reply

Open

Close