Sunday, 23 September 2012

Quit bitchin’ in the kitchen

I admit it. I have kitchen envy. Whenever I go to someone’s house the first thing I do is check out their kitchen and sigh. Our kitchen is small and narrow--so small that most of the stuff is stored on shelves in the hallway. There never seems to be enough counter space when you want to serve the food.  I am foodie who loves to cook and I lust after a bigger kitchen. Spiderman made some sarky remark  about it being all about size with women and I fully admit, when it comes to counter space, that’s true.

However, I have to live with what I have and so this summer I tried to pinpoint things that annoyed me and try to fix them. I store all my food in jars in the pantry so when I was reorganising the pantry I decided to put labels on every jar to make it to make it easier to find stuff. I heard Spiderman mutter something about in case I suddenly got amnesia and forgot what rice looks like, but I just ignored him remembering the time he couldn’t tell millet from quinoa. I could have brought it up and shamed him, but I chose not to.   I also  bought a few things--mostly second hand--to make organising easier.

Check out  this little ceramic container with a ventilated lid to store garlic bulbs I found at a charity shop. This replaces my stick- it- in- a- brown- paper- bag- and- then- forget- where- you- put- it previous technique.

This little window box was meant for plants but I have put all my baking things in it to make them easier to get to. Also second hand. It means no more knocking over (and spilling) the baking powder when I am reaching for something in the back.

I found some basic coat racks at Poundland for £1 each and Spiderman painted them with leftover green paint from the Key Box and hung them in the kitchen. I sewed some hanging storage bags to store (from left to right) plastic carrier bags, yellow duster cloths that you use like a washable paper towel, small micro fibre cloths for more heavy duty scrubbing. Since we went paper free in the kitchen all those cleaning cloths were just jammed in a drawer making me cross as a bear every time I went to find one. Now they can just be easily pulled out the bottom, used and tossed into the dirty clothes hamper. Genius. There is also a coat rack for hanging  tea towels that looks so much nicer than the mismatched plastic stick on hooks we had been using.  Lovely-jubley. Thank you Spiderman for painting and hanging them up.


You can also see my black and white apron cleverly made out of tea towels. I got the idea from this blog. It was easy-peasy to sew and keeps all manner of food and flour off my clothes. Here is me grinning inanely whilst wearing my pajamas about to cook us a lovely meal.
you can see my Oz tattoo if you look at my arm

I also bought these adorable bags for storing onions and potatoes from Poundland for £1 each. They have a draw string top but also a zippered side to make getting things out easier. They are lined with blackout cloth so they really keep things so much fresher and they have a designated place to go, not just forever rolling out of the cabinet onto the floor. I ended up with four bags--red onions, white onions, white potato, sweet potato. But how can you tell which is which? Easy. I tied a scrap of red ribbon on the red onion and sweet potato bag to differentiate. Who’s a clever girl?


I also rehoused all my loose recipes that I print off of the internet into a big D ring binder and made a decorative cover because a pretty cover makes it more fun to use. FACT. You can see I used my favourite “ransom note” technique for the letters. It is a great way to use old magazines and junk mail. You’ll see more of this tomorrow when I show off the kitchen notice board.

 I also laboriously made a recipe index by main ingredients by collating all my loose recipes and cookbooks. It took about a bajillion hours, but it was worth it because it now makes meal planning a snap. Sweet potatoes on sale this week? Check the index for 2 pages of  meals that use sweet potatoes so you can use the 4-6 that come in the bag. Want to cook enough chickpeas for 3 meals to save time? Look under chickpeas in the index and choose 3 meals. If the meal also contains sweet potatoes (such as roasted chickpeas and sweet potatoes, red onions and peppers in a teriyaki sauce)  it will be cross referenced. There is even a section for meals that look good but are untried from new cookbooks. As we try them I can either add them to the index or cross them out as not to be repeated. 

I also rehoused my cookbooks into this red box I bought at Wilkinsons for about £8. Now they are all easy to get to. I also like being able to utter the phrase “Over by the hedgehog of course” when people ask me where I keep them. Isn’t that where everyone keeps their cookbooks?
the hedgehog doorstop is on the left

 Lastly, I did a bit of arts and crafts (or farts and craps as Spiderman used to call it when he was a camp councillor) and  embroidered this lovely picture of the vegan society logo to remind me what it’s all about--being kind to yourself, the animals and the planet.


Stay tuned for the amazing notice board.


    I need you to lend me some of your energy, I think. And also, I presume that Poundland is the Brit equivalent of Dollar Store???

  2. She's Crafty!!! (Beastie Boys!)