Sunday, September 19, 2010

Baking Day and Kitchen Organization

My current countertop spray: Williams-Sonoma's Basil


  • Fridge/freezer maintenance cleaning: Thoroughly clean one shelf, one drawer, or two door shelves. Doing this every week means your whole fridge gets cleaned every month, rather than twice yearly like most people's.

  • Make menu plans for the week ahead; create grocery list and shop as needed.

  • Need to pick up or drop off any dry cleaning? Return library books, mail out Netflix mailers, or drop off rented DVDs?

  • Any elderly relatives who might like a phone call from you today? I find Sunday afternoons and early evenings a great time to catch people at home.

  • Wednesday is the Chinese Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn festival.

  • Thursday is the first day of autumn, the Autumn Equinox - are you doing anything to celebrate?

  • Thursday is also the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Baking Experimentation and Kitchen Organization

Today I'm going to mess around in the kitchen. I tidied the kitchen yesterday to get ready. Before I started cooking, I organized my tea cupboard and the shelves where I keep my appetizer and dinner party dishes and serving pieces.

This cupboard has frustrated me because I can't find things when I am looking for them. Here's where I keep spices, egg cups, appetizer plates, sushi molds, chocolate molds, ice cube molds, my two mandolines, serving dishes, and cookie cutters. I've put a clean throw rug down on the granite counter in case I drop anything out of the cupboard. I've broken two or three of my little white dishes that way this year - this reminds me I still need a butter dish!

While I had this shelf emptied of items, I repapered it with fresh blue-flower-sprigged shelf paper.

I decided to relocate my cookie cutters and ice cube molds to the garage shelf where I store kitchen items. I have to admit I don't use my cookie cutters even once a week, and ice cube molds only get used right before major parties that I throw. So why was I letting them clutter up a cupboard that also holds dishes I use every 2 or 3 days? I'm glad I forced myself to change the way I was using this storage space.

Shown above is the finished product. It still looks horrible and cluttery, but I can easily find what I need. My measuring cups are right in front where I can get at them easily, as is the cute kitty kitchen timer I'd forgotten I owned.

I gave my tea cupboard a quick sorting and reorganizing too. This is definitely a cupboard that gets a lot of daily use in my house - especially during the fall and winter months.

I've already baked up a batch of sugar cookies that I tried to decorate in a certain way - I failed, but they still taste delicious. Next I'm going to try making mini key lime tarts, and I'll bake up a batch of almond poppyseed muffins to enjoy at breakfast in the upcoming week. I'm also planning to make a homemade wild mushroom soup to eat for my lunches the next couple of days.

After I'm done baking and cooking, I'll need to do dishes, scrub the sink, wipe the counters and mop the floury floor. All in all, I bet I will have enjoyed a wonderful, happy time puttering around in my kitchen on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

When's the last time you organized a kitchen cupboard or two?

LOVELY BLOGS: Tarragon & Thyme

A nice blog by a woman interested in cooking, crafting, and music. I enjoyed reading over her Christmas provisioning post and her elderberry and apple wine post. I wish there were more pictures here, but the writing is interesting and you'll learn a lot from her.

LOVELY BOOKS: The Betty Crocker Party Book

I've so enjoyed browsing through this facsimile edition of the 1960 original book. The vintage illustrations are so charming. It's given me several ideas for holiday parties I want to throw, or nice things I want to serve at my next dinner. Much of the back of the book is focused around weddings. I don't know anyone getting married any time soon, so I might skip that part and concentrate on the Christmas chapter!

The Betty Crocker Party Book, at Amazon

LOVELY DRINKS: Twinings' New Organic Teas

I haven't made it a priority to go out of my way to find organic tea to drink. But I'm a daily Twinings drinker, so I might have to investigate their new organic teas. It's also nice that they are Fair Trade certified. Earl Grey is my favorite, so I'll probably start there.

Twinings USA

LOVELY FOOD: Vosges Baking Mixes

I love Vosges chocolate, so I'm intrigued to see they're now making baking mixes. I'm not good at making cakes from scratch (maybe I'm just too lazy to measure!) so I do enjoy baking nice things that come in bags and boxes. Their mixes include Caramel Toffee Chunk chocolate brownie mix, a Love Goddess cake, and a chocolate chip cookie mix. I'm going to skip, however, the Bacon Chocolate Chip pancake mix!

Vosges Baking Mixes


Disney's new fairy tale movie is scheduled for a near-Thanksgiving release. It's a big departure from the traditional Rapunzel story. And it's of course in 3D. I do think it will be a fun diversion to enjoy with some young nieces and nephews over the holidays.

Tangled Trailer, at Apple

Tangled Trailer, at Disney

Tangled, at IMDB

LOVELY TV: Downton Abbey

This Edwardian period drama is airing on the British public service network, ITV. Which means myself and my US readers won't be able to check it out for months or a year or so! I am really eager to see this show. It portrays the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who work for them. I adore Maggie Smith, who stars.

Downton Abbey Pics from Enchanted Serenity Period Films


Autumn Colors of Lapland (SpittoonExtra)

Choosing Wines at the Touch of a Screen (NY Times)

15 No-Fail Seafood Wine Pairings (Coastal Living)

Furniture Takes a Manly Turn (NY Times)

Glorious Gourds in Your Fall Decor (Seattle Times)

Granola Bars, Unwrapped (NY Times)

How to Step Apples (Helium)

Old Istanbul Hotels Reveal New Style (Newsweek)

Six Tips for Falling Into Fall Decor (Daily Herald)

"Survival Gardens" Help Save Cash (Seattle Times)

Three Perfect Days: Paris (Hemispheres Magazine)


Donnie said...

Your after pictures really look good. I use wire mesh baskets to hold some like items in my cabinets. I have one for baking things like, vanilla, baking soda etc and another for regular spices. Those things get lost so easily in the back. You sure put in a full day but your baking and soup sound really good.

Carrie said...

Donnie, I may have to try your suggestion and get some wire baskets. Sounds like it might work well. My pantry is really deep and swallows up everything that goes in the back.

Grisaille said...

Oh man I was supposed to organize my kitchen yesterday... but was feeling under the weather (used it as an excuse hehe)! You definitely provided an extra kick in the butt! Your cabinets look great & ty for the nice links... I love fall!