Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Six tips for cooking with a baby

Katie asked,

I'd like to know when and how you make the time for cooking with a small baby.

I usually end up spending an hour or two each day in the kitchen. I enjoy cooking but I would much rather be cuddling with my baby, so I really try to minimize my time spent cooking. Here's how:

1. Prepare food before the birth. I didn't do this for my first baby, and really regretted it! I wanted and needed to rest, but dinner wasn't cooking itself. For the subsequent children, I did as much food prep as possible before they were born. It made an amazing difference!

Freezer meals -- what filled my freezer

Menu plans -- including a 2-week "easy meals" plan for when my freezer meals were gone

2. Enlist help if possible! With our last baby, when people asked if we needed anything I said "food"! We were blessed with a couple weeks' worth of dinners and/or ingredients for easy meals from friends and family. Joshua also started grilling regularly and hasn't stopped! (Yay!)

Sweet Moshe

3. Plan easy meals. Freezer meals, casseroles that can be assembled during nap time and baked later, crock pot meals, salads, or soups are all great options that either take less time or can be done on "the baby's schedule" rather than needing your attention at 5PM! :)

4. Use your time wisely. I have spent many afternoon naptimes cooking dinner while my baby slept. I often do some quick food prep after my kids are in bed for the night -- even if it's just making sure everything is planned/ready for the next day. Or -- go to bed early so you're ready to get moving the next morning! I know this is a hard one. Caring for little kids wears me OUT! But if you can, examine where you might carve out some extra time for cooking that doesn't cut into sleep.

5. "Splurge" on a few more convenient foods for this busy season. We buy bread, cold cereal, hot dogs, and other stuff I can't remember right now when I'm not able to spend as much time cooking. And that's okay! :)

6. Wear your baby while you work. I've had the most success with this using the Ergo carrier on my back (not front) while cleaning up the kitchen. Getting the dishes done before the baby goes to sleep means that I have a chance of getting some sleep myself when it's quiet!

Remember that this is a season, ever changing. In many ways, having my fourth baby has been easier than having my first! The older children help in the kitchen, or they play with the baby on the floor.

What are your best tricks for finding time to cook with a small baby in the home? :)

To Participate in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays:

Post a kitchen tip in your blog. Link to this post, and then leave your link here, so we know where to find YOU! :) No giveaways or non-tip posts, please!

In order to keep the kitchen tips more easily accessible, posts not adhering to these guidelines will be removed. We need to be able to easily find/see what your kitchen/cooking tip is. :) Thanks for your participation! :)

Leave your tip links in a comment. I'll manually add them to this post!

1. Remove smell from pickle jars (Aimee)
2. How to peel tomatoes
3. Grilled pizza tips (Katie)
4. 10 ways with bamboo skewers (Tara)
5. 10 cutting board tips (Christine)
6. Washing dishes (Annie)
7. Stir-fry kits (Kristin)
8. Watermelon cubes shortcut/method (Jessica Ann)

Comments

http://momzoo.blogspot.com/2010/08/smelly-pickle-jars.html

Here is my link on how to get the smell out of a pickle jar so it can be re-used.

Aimee

A super easy way of getting those skins off when you're prepping tomatoes for canning. I would have loved to have borrowed some kids to help skin tomatoes yesterday!

http://thelocalcook.com/2010/09/06/how-to-peel-tomatoes/

Thanks for hosting!

I do not have much freezer space, but I do want to make the most with what I have. I will check out your freezer cooking and easy meal plan.

I also want to have 5 days easy food on hand in the house for when I go into the hospital. My mom and husband will be home and the average stay in Germany is up to 5 days for a normal delivery, up to 12 for c section.

Rena @ Ich liess Mein herz in deutschland

I am not sure if you have done something like this before. If you have could you please direct me to the post.

But if you ever feel so inclined, I would love a post about preparing for a first baby, need vs. wants. What basic items did you find that you needed to have, as well as what additions where worth the extra investment (ie ergo carrier).

I find myself drowning in a world full of baby products all marketed to suggest that I must have these items. I am so overwhelmed I really do not even know where to start aside from a crib and changing pad. I want to prioritize what else I need so I am making wise purchases for needs over wants.

ahhhh. lol.

Thanks

Rena

Rena, yes! I have done a post along that vein. Prepare for Baby Frugally: Money-Saving and Space-Saving Tips outlines what we have or don't have. :) Let me know (maybe in a comment on that post) if you have any other questions on that topic! :)

A bunch of ways to avoid setting your pizza on fire on the grill...because it's easy to avoid what you've already done! ;)

http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/09/07/in-season-recipe-connection-grilled-pizza-sourdough-option/

I didn't do much cooking at all when my daughter was new. By the time she was one, though, I enlisted her help. We still love the time we spend together in the kitchen.

My tip this week is 10 foods to make with bamboo skewers.
http://www.feelslikehomeblog.com/2010/09/10-foods-to-make-with-bamboo-skewers/

Since I only have one little one I'm still learning! Loved your tips and can't wait to learn from everyone else as well!

My tip today is about cutting boards:
http://www.idreamofclean.net/2010/09/06/top-10-things-you-should-know-about-cutting-boards/

Thanks!
Christine (iDreamofClean)

I love this post - and vow to get my 2 1/2 year old in the kitchen with me more than I did the other two. If you can believe it - just in the last two years has my 14yo been doing kitchen duty! I kind of had the wrong idea that I should be doing everything, and that the kids would mess things up - not be quick enough...wow, hind sight IS 20-20. It is so wonderful to see you (much younger than me) - get this right, now...encourage others, and have such a supportive husband!!

I followed your link to see the 20 things littles can do in the kitchen, wonderful! -- and then proceeded to all THOSE links to other bloggers tips. I was so confused -- trying to find a particular posting in my feed (as I added one wonderful mama to mine) -- and it finally dawned on me all the posts were from April. I really wondered what side of the bed I got up on today! LOL!!!

Blessings
ek

Thanks for the comment, ek -- and sorry to be so confusing! :D Yes... there are kitchen tips upon kitchen tips... both mine and others, heehee! :)

I think with having several children, and all close in age, means I just *can't* do everything myself... plus, I really want to have time to play and enjoy my family too, and not just work all the time. Joshua is good at reminding me of this too... and I love it when everyone pitches in to help (like cleaning up after dinner) and the work is done so fast!! :)

love the enlisting help part it keeps little hands busy as well

here is my tip for this week http://shopannies.blogspot.com/2010/08/make-your-home-sing-with-few-kitchen.html

Hi Tammy,
I just posted about making frozen veggie kits to use this winter in stir fry, casseroles and hearty veggie soup.
Thought you would like it!
Kristin
http://thissweetcountrylife.blogspot.com/2010/09/stir-fry-kits.html

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Here is how to properly cut a melon the fastest and most efficient way. Are you ready for this?
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http://thisworldmyfaith.blogspot.com/2010/09/sunday-snapshot-i-didnt-realize-it-was.html
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From ~M

Thank you! :)

I've been basically MIA from my kitchen since we brought home our daughter almost 9 months ago. I feed her in there, but that's about it. I would really like to get back to doing a small amount of cooking and baking daily, but I can't figure out how to do that and keep her happy too. I'm consider myself "tomato staking", but I often wonder if I'm letting her tomato stake me. It seems I spend more time with her rather than her with me. How do I turn this around? Is it possible to start teaching her homemaker things at 9 mos.?

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