AnnMarie and I have shared some of the ways that we are alike, but after reading her post about her daily drinks, I was struck by some of the ways that we’re different! One of our BIG differences is that she loves to clean up her kitchen and do dishes. Meanwhile, I DESPISE washing dishes. It’s a cruel twist that I absolutely love cooking and coming up with new recipes! For now, I am grateful for my dishwasher and for kids who clean up the kitchen.
True confession time.
When Kevin and I first got married, we lived in an upstairs apartment of an OLD house. It didn’t have a dishwasher. We were young and carefree. Washing dishes was NOT at the top of our priorities list. Plus we had a lot of brand new dishes for just the two of us so we didn’t have to wash dishes after every meal. Usually the days’ dishes were washed every evening.
There was a time that we went several days without washing them. Days, y’all. I’m not sure why this happened. But we would just give stuff a rinse and stack it neatly to be washed later. Maybe as the pile got higher we each hoped the other would wash them?
Eventually we ran out of clean dishes and pots and pans. And our counters were covered with dirty dishes. We looked at each other and started cracking up! What kind of slobs were we to let the dirty dish situation get so bad? The logical solution would have been to start washing them right then and there, right?
We decided that it made much more sense to carry all those dirty dishes to the bathroom where we had a huge claw foot tub and wash them in there! Because there was a sprayer with the shower head. And we could let them all soak a bit at the same time. Part of me is so glad that this was during the days of film cameras because I didn’t take a picture of it. But the other part of me wishes I had some visual documentation!
It took us the better part of an evening to get everything washed, dried and put back away. And yes, we did learn our lesson and never let the dishes pile up again. But I still really dislike washing dishes.
Tips to Reduce Your Dirty Dishes
Even though I have a dishwasher, I use some creative tricks to reduce the amount of dishes that need to be washed. After all, with a family of 5 it is easy to dirty more dishes in a day than will fit in that dishwasher! And I have another quirk that I like to run the dishwasher only once a day. In the morning. After the breakfast dishes are loaded in. Then it runs, and I can leave the door open afterwards for it to dry so that it’s ready to empty when the kids get home from school. Because emptying it is their job. If you’re in my camp and don’t enjoy washing dishes, I hope these hacks will help you too!
Learn to eyeball what certain measurements look like. I don’t recommend doing this for baking which requires a bit more careful measurement. But, if you’re making a dish that calls for half a cup of yogurt, get a big spoon and figure out how many scoops with that spoon it takes to get to a half cup. Watch how full you get your spoon and observe what a half cup looks like in your bowl. In the future, you won’t need to pull out a measuring cup for things like yogurt, mayonnaise, peanut butter, etc. Just use that same spoon and scoop up approximately the same amount. I try to err on the side of using a little less than I think I may need. It’s easy to add a little more if something seems too dry.
If you prefer to use measuring cups or spoons, no worries! A little planning and some basic math will help your dishpan hands out. Let’s say you have a recipe that calls for:
- 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
- 3 Tablespoons of golden flax seed meal
- 1 Tablespoon of cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
- 2 teaspoons of erythritol
You can do this entire recipe with accurate measuring and just 2 measuring spoons. Start with a Tablespoon and measure the golden flax seed meal, then measure the cocoa powder. Why this order? Because golden flax seed meal brushes right off a spoon so it won’t get any residue into the cocoa powder. After you’ve measure out those dry ingredients, then use that same spoon to measure the coconut oil. Next, I would use a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon. Start with the erythritol and do 4 scoops (1/2 x 4 = 2). Brush any residue off with a tea towel and measure the baking powder. Brush any residue off again and then fill just one side of that spoon with cinnamon: it’s easy to eyeball a half-filled spoon. Then finish up with the vanilla.
This method takes a little bit of thinking ahead, but I’d much rather plan a little bit than wash extra dishes!
My favorite Method
Over time, I noticed that recipes often used the same quantities of certain ingredients. For instance, almost every recipe I make with cocoa powder uses 1-2 Tablespoons. My container of chia seeds came with a cute little scoop that was 1 Tablespoon. When I finished that container of chia seeds, I took the little scoop and PUT IT IN MY COCOA CANISTER! No more worrying about that sticky cocoa powder getting into another ingredient by accident if I used the method above. I still use that same scoop almost 3 years later. And I know that there are 4 Tablespoons in 1/4 cup so I rarely use anything other than that little scoop to measure cocoa powder.
That little scoop got me to thinking. What other ingredients often used the same quantity? A lot of them, actually. So I took a trip to the dollar store and bought a few sets of inexpensive measuring spoons TO LEAVE IN THEIR CONTAINERS! I felt like an absolute genius with this. A lazy genius, sure, but a genius nonetheless.
You get the idea. I’m not going to show you every single canister. 😉
Another item that I use a lot is flavored extracts. I add them to single serve muffin recipes, single serve desserts, coffee, tea, smoothies, good girl moonshine, etc. And often the recipe calls for just a few drops. So now, to easily add extracts, I puncture a small hole in the seal when I open a new bottle.
This lets me easily add just a few drops, but I also have figured out how to use this method for larger quantities. I got out a measuring spoon and experimented to see how much came out if I squeezed the bottle really gently. Turns out that for me, one small squirt of extract is almost exactly 1/4 teaspoon! I don’t measure extracts with a spoon EVER now. Except for vanilla. Because that stuff got super expensive recently.
These may seem like small steps, and it’s only saving me from washing some measuring spoons and cups. But when you cook something for nearly every meal, these little steps really do help. By using fewer measuring spoons I now always have enough room in the dishwasher for the utensils we eat from. And let’s face it: those are the ones that get germy and need to go through the sani-cycle!
I’d love to hear your tips or tricks for helping with kitchen clean up! Be sure to share them in the comments.