Feng shui is the Chinese philosophical art of balancing energies in the surrounding environment for good health. The kitchen is often the busiest room in the house, where good flow and energy is essential to produce healthy meals, keep food safe, and circulate the kids, adults and pets that walk through it each day. While these certainly aren't true feng shui techniques, they are helpful hints to keeping your kitchen the heart of the home.
Most kitchens have good flow using the classic kitchen triangle: the sink, refrigerator and stove are placed in a triangular design with a small amount of steps between the three for the cook to easily work. Each area should be occupied with care.
- The kitchen sink, including sponges and dishcloths, are generally the dirtiest area in the whole house, including the bathroom! Before washing dishes in the sink, disinfect with a kitchen cleaner and don't apply the five second rule when food accidentally gets dropped in the basin. Only use clean, washed dishcloths when washing dishes and clean rags or disposable wipes to clean up spills.
- The refrigerator is the most used appliance in the kitchen. Keep it stocked full of easy-to-grab snacks and sides, such as apples, string cheese, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, hummus and baby carrots. Thaw meat in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf so raw juices don't drip onto ready-to-eat foods. Clean your refrigerator shelves and drawers monthly using hot water and detergent and rinsing with a sanitizing solution of 1 teaspoon bleach per 1 quart water.
- The stove and oven are a cook's ticket to a homemade meal. Fresh vegetables can be roasted in the oven or sautéed with oil over the stovetop. If small children are in the house, use the back burners as much as possible and turn all pot and pan handles inward so that they can't be pulled and knocked over. Keep oven mitts and recipe papers far away from the stove. Avoid storing pans or containers in your oven, to reduce the risk of a fire, and always clean up grease and other spills as soon as it is safe to do so.
The kitchen is the new living room. It's where meals are eaten, homework is done, and conversation is had. Being organized, keeping areas clean and stocking the fridge, freezer and cabinets with healthy foods will keep your kitchen a happy one.
Magically Nutritious Meatloaf
⅓ cup green onions
¼ cup red or green bell pepper, finely chopped
¼ cup carrot, finely chopped
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
½ cup oats
2 Tablespoons fat-free milk
⅓ cup ketchup
½ teaspoon dried basil or 1 Tablespoon fresh
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vinegar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a small skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Cook green onions, bell pepper, and carrot over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together egg whites, oats, milk, 2 tablespoons of ketchup, basil and pepper. Add the cooked vegetables and the ground beef; mix well. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and form meat mixture into a loaf. Bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine remaining ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar. Spread over meatloaf. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until internal temperature taken with a thermometer reads 160°F.
Yield: 6 servings
Nutritional analysis per 1 slice serving: 189 calories, 8 grams fat, 48 milligrams cholesterol, 319 milligrams sodium, 12 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram dietary fiber, 16 grams protein