3 ways to make cooking at home easier - and a Sun Basket meal giveaway!

I love cooking my own food. Something about the combination of control over the quality and type of ingredients, huge savings from ordering takeout, and inevitable health benefit has totally won me over and I cook almost every dinner we eat (usually leftovers for lunch!). I love it!

But, it is time-consuming. Sometimes when I get home from work the last thing I want to do is put mental energy into coming up with our meal for the evening. Or, if I have it planned ahead of time, sometimes I really don't feel like chopping the vegetables. And, what if I forgot to get out the meat to thaw?? (We order half and whole hog and cow shares from local farms which is great for pricing and health, but it means you have to plan ahead or defrost in the microwave... ugh.)

This time of year, a lot of us may be resolving to make better food choices and take time for things that are important--giving yourself some ways to make cooking at home easier can really help!! Here are three tips I have for taking the pressure off cooking at home and making it fun and easier to do.

3 ways to  make cooking at home easier!



1. Podcasts.


I have personal faves, of course, but pick any podcast you like and have it keep you company in the kitchen. You could even choose a podcast that you only listen to while cooking! (I do this, the habit formation strategy of "Pairing" (from Gretchen Rubin's Better Than Before) and only listen to her podcast Happier while I work out! It makes that time special and I always look forward to it.)

Some current (a couple longtime) faves of mine:

Of course, podcasts about food would also be great for the kitchen! NPR has some great ones like America's Test Kitchen Radio and The Splendid Table. (Also check out The Kitchn's list of 10 great food podcasts!)

2. Great kitchen tools.


Another Gretchin Rubin reference (this one from The Happiness Project)... I'm an Underbuyer, and I really have a hard time purchasing things for myself until the last minute when I really desperately need them. But I've gotten better recently and know that having good cutting boards, knives, and one or two really great pans makes cooking a lot more pleasant (and easier and more effective). (By the way, The Happiness Project was such a hit that you can buy a copy for $0.01 on Amazon so really, what are you waiting for?? It literally changed my life! I love it!)

One trick I do and LOVE is I keep one small cutting board that's for garlic/onion only. Nothing worse than cutting cantaloupe and getting a lingering garlicky taste. I love bamboo since it's durable and easy to rinse and naturally antimicrobial, and sets like these are perfect!

Also, we have this cast iron skillet and use it all. the. time. It's so great.

As for knives... Global knives are really nice solid handle Japanese knives at a reasonable price point.

One more thing that may add to your ease and happiness cooking... if you don't have a salad spinner, why are you torturing yourself every time you buy lettuce?? They are so brilliant! (Maybe this sounds like a given but we never had one when I was a kid!) You want the kind with the push-down button, not the crank handle.




3. A meal/ingredient delivery service.


I had never tried a mail order meal ingredient delivery before Sun Basket reached out to me. I thought it sounded a little too convenient... maybe not great quality or local food, maybe too expensive, maybe wasteful packaging, maybe not enough choice in the meal options... but when Sun Basket solves all these problems! They offer easy, healthy recipes delivered weekly with organic ingredients from the best West Coast farms. They offer lots of options and you can pick and choose which meals you want! They're different every week.

Sun Basket is a new healthy meal kit service that delivers organic ingredients and delicious, easy-to-make recipes for cooking at home. Sun Basket makes it easy to cook healthy, with Paleo, Gluten-free and Vegetarian options, plus healthy breakfasts. Get 3 recipes per week for 2, 4 or 6 people, delivered to your door in recyclable packaging that can be shipped back - free- for reuse.

Sun Basket was founded in San Francisco in 2014. Recipes are created by Executive Chef Justine Kelly, formerly head chef at James Beard award-winning restaurant The Slanted Door in San Francisco. Chef Justine has a talent for combining the best seasonal produce with globally inspired flavors to create nourishing meals that are balanced, healthy and delicious.

We tried a week of Sun Basket and it was great! I really enjoyed having three meals for husband and me, with all the ingredients in one place! Everything was super delicious, and definitely fancier and more interesting than I sometimes come up with. I loved the spice blends and dressings, all pre-mixed, so much more flavorful and complex than I come up with on my own most nights.

The instructions were really easy to follow, too, with separate instructions for each element of the dish.

Of course I also love the options for our dietary restrictions, too, and that the food comes from organic farms in and around California.

Good news for you is, Sun Basket is offering my readers a chance to win 3 free Sun Basket meals for two people!

Only readers (or their recipients) in Western states are eligible: California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. If you don't live in one of those states, you can still enter, and gift to someone who lives in one of those states if you win!

Earn additional entries by checking out Sun Basket on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. a Rafflecopter giveaway
And you don't have to wait to see if you won to try out Sun Basket for a week! You can get $30 off your Sun Basket order by clicking this link! The promo code will be entered automatically when you process your order. A little more about the company...

Sun Basket food:
  • Organic non-GMO produce from the best West Coast farms
  • Sustainably sourced, hormone-free meats and seafood
  • Easy, healthy 30-minute recipes designed for minimal cleanup
  • Recipes developed by an award-winning San Francisco chef
  • All recipes are approved by in-house nutritionist

Sun Basket meal plans:
  • Healthy meal plans including Paleo-friendly, Gluten-free and Vegetarian options, plus breakfast
  • 3 recipes per week, with meal plans for 2, 4, or 6 people
  • Choose any meals you like each week. You can even double or triple up on a recipe
  • Currently shipping to CA, OR, WA, CO, UT, AZ, NV, and ID

Sun Basket packaging:
  • Carefully packaged to stay fresh in the box for 8 hours after delivery
  • 100% recyclable packaging
  • Free delivery and free return shipping so they can recycle and reuse the materials

Good luck and enjoy the $30 off your Sun Basket order!

Thanks to Sun Basket for the trial basket with three delicious Paleo meals! I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are my own.

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