Noel is no longer blogging at Noel’s Kitchen Tips. Her original interview below still has useful tips for busy working moms.
Noel from Noel’s Kitchen Tips shares her ideas and suggestions for getting through the holiday season with ease. She’s a working mom of 4 with a lot on her plate (no pun intended!). You’ll see some incredible ways to meal plan and relax during the business of the holiday season.
Tell us why you started blogging about kitchen tips.
I love to cook and bake; strange as it may seem to some, cooking is relaxing to me. I enjoy getting lost in the kitchen and fixing a home cooked meal for my family and friends. I love the smells, the taste, and the different textures of foods. I truly love using my imagination in finding new ways to cook. I wish I had all day to spend in the kitchen, but I am a busy mom.
With four kids and a husband, I live on 1 ½ acres of ranch property in the sierra foothills of California. Between a full-time job, taking care of the day to day needs of our children, helping my husband with his antique business, working on the ranch and taking care of our farm animals, I am constantly on the go like most of you. At the end of the day, it’s those family mealtimes that are the most important and memorable time in our household. Family mealtimes give us the chance to reconnect with each other.
What are some of your meal planning tips for busy working moms, especially during the holiday season?
If there’s any time of year that’s crazy, it’s this next one coming up. Interesting enough, I don’t feel stressed at all. I’m planning on doing as much as I can in advance so that I can spend more time socializing as a family.
Some things to keep in mind:
- When you go shopping, make it easy on yourself. If at all possible, go shopping during off hours, without children if you can and not hungry, remember everyone else wants their holiday dinner too.
- Shop at a store you’re familiar with, so you’re in and out as quickly as possible. And don’t forget the list! Go through it, double check what you may already have on hand in your pantry then head to the grocery store.
- Plan everything to the last detail ahead. Don’t wait for the last minute. Plan the table-are you using lines? Do they need pressing? Press them now and hang them or fold them for later. Nothing is worse than starching a tablecloth an hour before your guests are due to arrive. What about your centerpiece and other decor?
- Double check your serving pieces and serving utensils against your menu. Do you have all the serving pieces you need, etc? DON’T do it the day of! You have other important things to think about.
What are some of your favorite, easy to make, holiday dishes?
Everyone loves a holiday. Holidays are for celebrations, for worship, for friends and family, and for good times. And the centerpiece for many of these good times is food. Whether it’s a gracious dinner, a warm brunch, or a casual meal with friends, I always look forward to making those delicious foods.
There’s a special joy in making really great food and serving it to our family or friends. For these occasions, the time in the kitchen is not a chore and I want to serve the very best!
What are some ways you squeeze “me time” into the schedule?
If I don’t slow down and tend to my own needs once in a while, I’ll burn out. Fast. It’s important to reserve some mental health time to recuperate and just give my mind a break.
As I said before, cooking is relaxing for me and takes my mind off of anything I may be stressing about. I also know that at the end of the evening when the kids are tucked in bed, the house is peaceful and I can relax and read a book, watch a little TV or spend that quality time with my husband.
There’s also those times early in the morning when everyone’s still sleeping. I can enjoy my morning coffee and reflect on what inspires me. My family. It’s all about having a routine that works for me. Sometimes you have to play around with your routine to find what works for you.
She shares meal planning strategies and her weekly menus with busy families like you in hopes of helping you discover a new way to meal plan and bring those family meals back to the table.
Her kitchen is the heart of her home and she believes sharing a meal with family and friends is a time to treasure.