In today’s update in our Living Through a Kitchen Renovation series, we’re going to focus on eating. If you’re completely destroying your kitchen, you need to figure out what you’re going to do for food, right? Luckily for you, we made a TON of mistakes on this front, so we’ll reveal all of them, to help you. Because that’s how we roll.
You may remember from our last Living Through a Kitchen Renovation post that I linked to an old post where we had done this before, and were cooking food in our bathroom because that’s the only place we had a three prong outlet for the microwave. This time we were … not so smart … so let’s just jump in to my tips for eating while you have no kitchen.
This is an important step. You know your kitchen is going bye bye for, oh let’s say 5 weeks, so maybe you should come up with a plan. This is just an overarching rule that really applies to all my following tips, but it’s probably the most important thing. If you plan ahead, you probably will do the following things. We, you’ll see, did not plan ahead.
Keep the Appliances You’ll Use Handy
Sure, your stove will probably be inaccessible during this renovation. With a bit of luck (which we actually have this time), your fridge will still be plugged in somewhere. Move your fridge to another plug that you can use so your food stays cold and you don’t have to eat boxed meals all the time. But there are other appliances that maybe you don’t use too often that really come in handy here. Toaster oven? Oh yeah. Kerry’s friend made cakes in a toaster oven during a kitchen renovation. CAKES! Toaster? Who doesn’t love semi-burnt bread? Portable griddle with swappable waffle plates? Absolutely. I grew up on waffles for dinner. Microwave? Your best friend.
But I can’t stress this enough: make sure you can access these things. Here is the room where we stored everything from our living room and kitchen:
This is the room that we have our microwave in. Having trouble seeing it? Here, let me help:
Still can’t find it? Yeah, us either. I actually saw it yesterday, way back there, where there is absolutely no way I’ll be able to get to it. And this goes back to not planning ahead. For some reason, when I was cleaning out the kitchen, I didn’t think and just put the microwave in the back of the room.
Since the start of the reno we’ve purchased a new toaster (because we needed one), but there’s only so much toast you can handle; and a portable griddle with swappable waffle plates, but we kind of don’t know how to use it, so we’ve only made waffles and heated up pizza on it. That gets boring, fast.
Make Meals That Can Last a While
We have a go-to favorite meal that feeds us for a few days, and doesn’t require much at all: Kelsey Nixon’s pulled pork. Kerry doesn’t eat a ton of meat but if you put this pulled pork in front of her, her middle name might as well be Michael Symon. We love it! And it’s three pounds of pork, meaning that between the two of us, we can eat this for days. AND you only need a slow cooker! A meal like this — one stand-alone cooking vessel + tons of food that’s great as leftovers — is perfect for this situation. Just make sure you leave your slow cooker somewhere that is easy to get to.
Freeze Meals Before the Renovation Starts
Hopefully this renovation isn’t a surprise, so it would be a great idea to make some meals that are easily frozen while you do still have a kitchen. Right off the top of my head I’m thinking chili, meatballs, lasagna … I’m sure I could go on because there are probably literally HUNDREDS of options. But again, this only really is applicable if you a) plan ahead, and b) have access to your microwave. So I would recommend doing those things. Which we didn’t.
Got a Grill? Use It!
Okay this one we actually should be doing better because we do have a grill and I like using it. And we could cook things that are good for us, like salmon. Which leads me to my next point.
Try to Keep Eating Healthy
I can’t tell you how to do this because I don’t remember the last time one of my meals wasn’t a burrito, a cheeseburger, or a pizza. And that includes breakfast.
Treat Yo’ Self … to Dinner
Hey, your kitchen is nonexistant. There are only so many meals you can cook using an ironing board as your counter. Let yourself go out to eat every once in a while. More often than usually, probably. And take advantage of specials. We went to Winking Lizard one night for half priced pizza. Thrifty! However, what I would recommend is follow the steps above so you’re not doing this every night. Because no matter how much you love your favorite burrito place, you will get sick of them, and you will be embarrassed when you see the guy behind the counter more than you see your own family.
We didn’t do as well this renovation as we did in our last house. We have a few excuses (have we mentioned we have a baby and a dog?) but we really just didn’t plan ahead. As we were approaching the renovation’s start date, we were also getting ready for a trip to California, and moving in with my parents for a few days. So I cleared out our kitchen and living room in a rush, not thinking about appliances, and we didn’t cook any meals to freeze. We’re definitely feeling the effects of that now. We basically eat out every night, which is expensive, unhealthy, and time consuming. We’re getting sick of places we love, and we just want to cook so badly. Luckily the light is at the end of the tunnel. A big part of going through a renovation is remembering this important thing: it’ll be worth it.