Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Tiny Pantry Project for a Worknight

I couldn't resist getting another hanging plant of colorful flowers for fall. I need to put up a nail to hang it from!

Last night I had my first fire of the season, even though it wasn't quite chilly enough to justify it. I sat in front of it with a mug of tea and some magazines, and of course was soon joined by all the pets in the house!


  • Need to do any mid-week laundry?
  • How about mid-week vacuuming?
  • I'm trying to use up some leftovers so I can go into the weekend fresh and make new tasty things for my meals! How is your fridge looking for leftovers?
  • Do you have your social plans set for this weekend? Or if you have too many things going on this weekend, have you carved out some mandatory downtime for yourself?
  • Are you on track with your book club reading (if any), homework from any online classes you are taking? Still doing your journaling?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Sorting Half My Baking Pantry

I decided to get a little jump on my big autumn kitchen renewal ritual by doing little projects here and there ahead of time when I have the chance. I'm going out to dinner tonight, so I'm taking half an hour during my lunch break here at home to do a small tidying project. This is the top half of my "baking supplies pantry" where I keep my box mixes. (I'm not much of a 'from scratch' baker, sorry to say). I'll do the bottom half tomorrow afternoon when I have some more time. (I like to do my homemaking projects in manageable chunks).

I'm taking everything out, checking the expiration dates and becoming shocked at how many expired items there are. This means I'm buying too many items, not baking as many as I had anticipated, and wasting food and money!

This sorting project has taken up half my kitchen counters! I'm clipping any Box Tops 4 Education off my Betty Crocker items before tossing the mix and recycling the box. I'll sanitize the pantry cupboard, dry it, then put everything that I'm keeping back in a more organized fashion.

The top half of my Baker's Pantry is done. I'll do the bottom half tomorrow night!

Tomorrow I have some baking to do. I've learned a lot about my spending and baking (or lack thereof) habits. I plan to bake a batch of cornbread tomorrow morning while I'm home waiting for the pest control company to arrive (don't ask! sigh). While I have an idea to bake a second batch for my cousin's house, I shouldn't do this unsolicited - I can't make my overshopping problem be someone else's food-temptation problem! I'll ask her first if she wants a pan of Trader Joe's cornbread. I suspect she'll say yes if she has chili or baked beans on her menu plan for the week!

How is your pantry looking? Do you have a bit of time to sort it now before we fall into our big autumn cleaning projects schedule in a couple weeks?


I'm planning to gift this stackable set of three autumn-themed teas a few times this season. I'll tuck a tin in each autumn care package or gift basket I'm making up for friends and family. You get a few teabags (12) in each little tin. The flavors include Cranberry Spice Hibiscus, Hot Apple Cider, and Pumpkin Spice.

Harvest Stackable Tea Tin, on Amazon

Harvest Stackable Tea Tin, at Republic of Tea

LOVELY BLOGS: Amuse Your Bouche

Becca blogs about simple vegetarian recipes. (I thought this might come in handy not only to Lovely Living's vegetarian readers such as myself, but to people wanting to do more veggie sides or Meatless Mondays, etc). Becca blogs from Hertfordshire in the UK. Her blog includes recipes for main meals, light lunches, appetizers, side dishes, soups, snacks and desserts. Recent posts include 10 Delicious Vegetarian Sandwiches, Toasted Gnocchi Salad, Full English Breakfast Baked Eggs, and a Healthy Apple Crumble Smoothie.


Golden Delicious Cookie Apples (Bake at 350)

Apple Pie Cheesecake Bars (Love From the Oven)

Basil Gnocchi with Roasted Garlic and Tomato Sauce (A Beautiful Mess)

A Blueberry Pie to Write Home About (The English Kitchen)

Bruleed Buttermilk Tart with Roasted Plums (Annie's Eats)

Cheesy Baked Ziti with Pasta (Brown Eyed Baker)

Crispy Zucchini Tacos with Cherry Pepper Crema (How Sweet it Is)

Dragonfruit Vodka Tonic (101 Cookbooks)

The Easiest Way to Can Fresh Tomatoes for Sauce (Lille Punkin')

Framed Pumpkin Halloween Decor Tutorial (Craftaholics Anonymous)

Gentle Reminders: Clean Kitchens (Martha Stewart)

Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream (Behind the Camera and Dreaming)

Pickled Vegetables Rice Noodle Salad (Honest Cooking)

Tart Cherry Pie (Bake at 350)

--Copyright 2015 Lovely Living

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Slowly Putting Away Summery Things

I've enjoyed using this Southern Peach hand wash this last month of summer

Today I'm slowly beginning to put away my summer things - patio umbrellas, the fans I've been running in our bedrooms, my snow cone maker, etc. There's still time to enjoy summer though, and I intend to make the most of it.


A fall color flower pot I've purchased recently to brighten up autumn on my patio deck

  • Look over the week ahead - any appointments you must keep? Birthdays you should call or quickly send a card or gift in honor of?
  • Do you do a regular Family Night? If not, why not try one out this week or next. It's also nice to invite one person from outside your household - a favorite aunt, a neighbor, or someone your children are close to.
  • Time to squeeze in a pedicure, brow wax, hair cut or color touchup just for yourself?
  • Enjoy the last of summer's bounty whenever possible - fresh berries, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and watermelon. I'm also sneaking some potato salad in every chance I get.
  • If you still have nice weather, why not plan a picnic this weekend? You'll miss picnicing when it's cold and rainy or snowy.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Packing Away Summer

A messy stack of my outdoor cushions, currently residing in my breakfast nook

Yesterday a friend alerted me to the fact it was raining in our part of the city. On a lazy Sunday, I was too busy drinking my breakfast tea and snooping around on the Internet to look outside the window. I dashed outside to gather in all my outdoor cushions and pillows. Luckily they'd only got a light misting. They seem to have dried off just fine in my kitchen overnight.

I'm looking over the weather forecast for the next ten days in my city. Light rain and cloudy, but a day or two of 69 and 70 degree partly sunny weather. It's hard to decide if I should give up and store all my cushions away properly for next summer, or if it would be premature to do it this week. It's not THAT much work to take them in and out again, but I'd rather not do it twice. I have been looking over my diaries and blog posts from the last couple Septembers and Octobers - it seems we've had warm sunny Octobers right up until the third week of the month. I'd love to keep eating my meals outside, lounging comfortably outdoors when I read, and working in my back yard office.

It makes me sad to look at my cushionless, unusable outdoor furniture. My dog is very confused, as well!

However, I can't stand this messy pile of pillows in my breakfast nook much longer. Perhaps I will relent and put everything away, wipe the outdoor living room furniture and bring it back inside. I keep an indoor/outdoor couch, armchair and footstool in my breakfast nook instead of a table. (The table always seemed to get cluttered up and never actually used for eating!) Perhaps I can bribe myself with thoughts of eating breakfast and blogging in this sunny window, surrounded by my cookbooks and keeping an eye on something tasty baking in the oven or bubbling merrily away on the stove?

What things might you have to bring indoors from your own deck, patio or back yard this week?

LOVELY BLOGS: Modern Mrs. Darcy

Anne strives to "explore what it looks like to be an accomplished woman in our modern world." She writes about beauty and style, relationships and family, and looks at the modern woman's role in the changing workplace. She also reviews books.

I especially enjoyed her recent post titled "When You're Good at Overcomplicating Things."

LOVELY BOOKS: Festive Feasts

"Festive Feasts: Meals and Memories from Halloween to Christmas" just came out last week. I seem unable to resist any holiday themed cookbook, so I'm sure this will be on my bookshelf soon. However, I'm disappointed there isn't an easy way to get a peek at the Table of Contents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. So I was glad to find this helpful review over at A Well-Seasoned Life.

LOVELY SHOPS: A Pocket Full of Sweets

It was these burgundy edible gems that first caught my eye at this shop. Their barley sugar lollipops come in so many intriguing shapes. I'm definitely getting some of the fall leaves for an upcoming Woodland party I'm hosting. Their Holidays section has some interesting things for Halloween, autumn, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine's Day. So many cute and yummy treats!


Balsamic Tarragon Chicken Skillet (Sweet Peas and Saffron)

Cheesy Potato and Bacon Scotch Eggs (The Flavor Bender)

Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese (Jam and Clotted Cream)

Chicken Pot Pie Crescent Ring (Tiffany Harvey)

Chicken Pot Pie Pasta (Food Fanatic)

Chicken and Pumpkin Soup (Taste the Islands)

Chickpea Pot Pie (Princess Pinky Girl)

Confetti Cauliflower (The Body Book)

Eggplant Stacks with Buffalo Mozzarella (East of Eden Cooking)

Grilled Garlic Herb Potato Wedges with Corn Pesto Burrata (Yes to Yolks)

Lemon Roasted Cauliflower (Eat, Spin, Run, Repeat)

Menu Plan Monday (Life in the Lofthouse)

Mini Pot Pies for a Lazy Sunday Afternoon (The Frugal Blogger)

Pumpkin Biscuits (A Pretty Life in the Suburbs)

Simple Chicken Pot Pie Recipe (Cloudy With a Chance of Wine)

So Long Summer Salad (Love & Olive Oil)

--Copyright 2015 Lovely Living