Monday, June 18, 2012

Around Heather’s Kitchen

Our house is constantly evolving in one way or another. Especially the kitchen. The Kitchen is The Hub of our house. I’m constantly on the look out for ways to make it more user friendly, cleaner, more organized, … you get the idea.

For starters, here’s what you see when you first peek around the corner:
DSC09471I know. You’re totally enthralled. Yes, there are dirty dishes in my sink. I was working this morning! This is real life, yo.

See the lovely canisters on the left? Here’s a closer look:
DSC09475At first glance, you’re like “Wow. Big deal”. Let me explain…
First of all, I picked these lovely glass apothecary jars and canisters up at Goodwill a few months ago. I was at a loss as to what to do with them, but I knew I had to have them. I think the big ones were less than $5. The apothecaries were $4ish?
Our K-cups lived in the pantry, which is about 7’ from the coffee maker. Not a big deal, but annoying when the mugs & coffee maker are right there. All of the K-cup specific organizers/holders were either too big or too ugly to live on my counter. I would’ve gone with the drawer one that you put your coffee maker on top of, but we don’t have enough height between countertop to underneath the upper cabinets. I dumped the K-cups in this glass canister and I was in heaven. Add a little Martha Stewart chalkboard label and we’re in business!
DSC09478Then on one of my reorganizing sprees of the pantry, I found this barely touched bag of trail mix from Costco. We love this stuff, but when it gets shoved to the back of the pantry, we forget about it and don’t eat it. Boom. Front and center.
I picked up some dark chocolate and the new air bubble kisses, and then put yogurt raisins in the small jar.
This is quick snack central. While I’m making dinner and I’m getting hungry, but we’ve got another 45 minutes before it’s time to eat, I grab a handful of trail mix and I’m ok until dinner time. After lunch, I need a quick sweet tooth fix, I can grab a kiss or a small handful of raisins and I’m good. Easy peasy!

Another recent edition to the kitchen, that I’m going to try to keep up all summer is:
Around the Kitchen-003In the few minutes it takes for me to brew my morning up o’ joe, I’m making a pitcher of Citrus Water.
Ice + Water + a few slices of lemons and/or oranges (or whatever else you have on hand…cucumbers, grapefruit, strawberries, use your imagination!)
I know we don’t drink enough water in this house, so this is a constant reminder to do that because you will walk by it on your way into the kitchen, and can see it from the living room. You can even get really crazy and put empty glasses next to the pitcher on the kitchen table to make it lazy-proof! It’s easier/closer/faster to pour a glass of citrus water than it is to go get your own glass from the cabinet, open the fridge, and get a soda. And if you finish the water/ice, just add more! Cut a few new fruit slices for a fresh batch each day.
It’s as much for me as it is for my family. Staying hydrated and resisting the temptation of junky drinks will keep those extra lbs off! If you’re looking for an even more “skinny friendly” recipe, check out this Sassy Water recipe I posted a long time ago from the Flat Belly Diet Family Cookbook.

Here’s my last little nugget for you…
I’ve been trying to stretch out my grocery trips as much as possible to save me both time and money. Thanks to Lani, this has become my new motto, too:Lani's QuoteIn an effort to preserve my produce as much as possible, I’m buying a little extra of the great deals on each trip, but putting a little extra effort to make sure they stay nice and fresh. I love using fresh leafy herbs in my meals, but they were getting wilty & gross really fast. Because I’m a Food Network junkie, I thought I would be fancy and do it the Giada (& other chefs) way:

It’s just pretty & practical for TV! I thought I’d cut off a little bit of the stems on the bottom, stick them in a regular drinking glass with a little bit of water and they’d be good to go for at least a week, like pretty flowers. Um. No. They barely made it a couple days.

Here’s where I give *HUBBY FULL CREDIT* for this idea:Around the Kitchen-001

  • Take your leafy herb, exactly how you purchased it from the grocery store.
  • Grab a Ziploc bag and write the name of said leafy herb on it.
  • Wrap leafy herb in clean, dry paper towels.
  • Put in Ziploc bag. Seal. Store in fridge.

The cilantro in this picture is 2 weeks old. I had 5 bunches of cilantro when I brought it home. I’ve used it to make fresh pico de gallo, a little chopped into my salads, burritos, tacos that I’ve made the last couple weeks… etc. I’ve got 2 bunches left, and they’re still going strong thanks to this little gem. Thanks Hubby!

Do you have any new kitchen tricks? Something you’ve improved that literally took 2 seconds to do, but your life is not infinitely better?! Do tell!


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