A friend of mine and I have been chatting about the food budget recently, hence the kitchen inspiration…

When Mark and I first got married, I continually asked his advice about whether water was boiling or not. I was okay in the kitchen but not great.  We’ve been married almost two years now, and I’ve learned a few things that have made my time in the kitchen a bit more enjoyable. And hopefully made dinner time a bit tastier.

10. A watched pot never boils. A forgotten pot boils over and makes a big mess.

9. Pay attention to the recipe you’re doing! You don’t have to follow it exactly, but (bless Mark’s heart) I’ve produced some funky cuisine simply because I got distracted and put the wrong things in at the wrong time.

8. Creativity counts for something. Leftovers can be amazing new creations with a little thought and a little love. There’s a lot to be said for old bread. I’ve made tasty appetizers and salad croutons with the end pieces of last week’s loaf.

7. Rosemary is my favourite … besides brown sugar, smiling and of course bacon. I’m buying it in bulk now. If it’s not supposed to be sweet, it might just taste better with a little rosemary.

6. Give your husband some credit. He does have ideas that can make kitchen life easier.

5. If you have a baby, pureeing and freezing large amounts of baby food in ice trays is the way forward. We’ve saved so much money and gotten Asher to eat the real thing that way!

4. Double up and do yourself a flavour. For a lot of meals I’ve been cooking twice the amount and freezing half of it for another night. This has saved so much money and been super handy. Instead of feeling like you should eat more so you won’t have so many leftovers, you save it for next week or the next emergency. Great for spaghetti sauce and chili.

3. You’re right, Mom — washing dishes as you go along does make cooking time better.

2. When in doubt, don’t throw it out. Alternative uses for old stuff always seem to pop up — baking banana bread with very ripe bananas, throwing old veggies into a pot with chicken stock — and I haven’t killed anybody yet!

1. Always set a timer. You might think you can remember you have something in the oven, but then your Mom calls and ten minutes later you’ve burnt your buns.