Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Winter Kitchen Reset Part 2: Kitchen Appliances

Disney's Frozen "Olaf" Waffle Maker, on Amazon

Today is our second day of kitchen organization. After this week, we'll be ready to throw holiday parties, bake yummy holiday treats, cook comfort foods, and entertain guests. From here on out, we just have to maintain our kitchens in good condition, consistently put items away where they go, keep ahead of messes and clutters, and keep our sinks and counters wiped down and dishwashers emptied.

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • Has it been cold enough at your house to use throw blankets at night, perhaps while you are cozying up on your couch? If so, do you need to launder any? I'm washing a fluffy red throw tonight, as it has an accumulation of dog hair and smells a bit doggy and dusty.
  • Do you have orange juice in the house? Milk? Bread? Eggs? Butter? I want to make sure I have all these things in case I throw a brunch this weekend.
  • Take 5 minutes to sweep or vacuum any floors that need it.
  • Need to use a mud mask or moisturizing treatment on your face tonight? I do!
  • Do any mid-week laundry so you're caught up by the weekend. I don't want to fall behind and then spend my weekend doing laundry!

TODAY'S PROJECT: Kitchen Appliances

Lenox's "Spicy Santa" Pepper Mill, on Amazon

Today let's thoroughly clean the appliances in our kitchens inside and out. We'll start with the big ones (oven, stove, dishwasher). Then we'll move onto smaller appliances (coffeemaker, espresso machine, deep fryer, panini grill, waffle maker, stand mixer, crockpot, rice cooker, Cuisinart, bread maker, juicer, ice cream maker, etc). Hopefully this won't take too very long - if we put our appliances away clean after using them each and every time.

Besides cleaning the appliances on our countertops, let's not forget to take appliances out of our cupboards, pantry and closets too. Don't assume something is clean just because it's been in a cupboard. It may have gotten dusty, or not been cleaned thoroughly before being put away.

SAFETY CHECK:

Before cleaning and disinfecting your appliances, check for wear and tear on electric cords.

CLEANING:

Ginger and Yuzu All Purpose Cleanser, from Method, via Amazon

Run the self-clean cycle on your oven. Run a load of white vinegar through your coffee maker and then another load of plain hot water through it to clean it out. Run a load of white vinegar through your dishwasher, too. Clean your dishwasher filter. Freshen your garbage disposal by grinding half a lemon through it. (Use the other cut half of the lemon to flavor your water or tea today). Clean the vents at the bottom of your refrigerator.

ALMOST DONE:

Winter Forest Cleaning Kit, from Williams-Sonoma

Let's wipe down our counters again and put the appliances back where they go. See if you can clear off your kitchen counters a bit more - can you find new homes for appliances that sit on the counter but don't get used every day? (Right now I have a rice cooker taking up room on my counter. I tend to think we use it every day, but it hasn't been used in about a week).

Put some thought into getting rid of appliances you honestly don't use. (Tortilla maker? Electric iced tea maker? Ice cream maker? An old Beaba Babycook you no longer use now that your toddler grew up?) You might have a friend or relative who would like to try out the bread machine you've only used twice, your ice cream maker that you don't seem to make time to use, or your espresso machine now that you quit drinking coffee.

SCENT YOUR HOME:

Winter Forest Candle, from Williams-Sonoma

Spritz your kitchen with your favorite home spray. Perhaps you left a fragrant candle burning this whole time while you were cleaning. Or you can boil a pot of cinnamon, water and citrus peels to make the kitchen smell nice. (I love buying inexpensive cinnamon at Trader Joe's. It makes filling your home with cinnamon scents very affordable!)

LOVELY BLOGS: Fiction Food Cafe

Here's a darling blog with a novel premise (heh, get it?) The recipes here are inspired by books, movies, video games and television shows. Some fun, inventive recent posts include a Caramel Apple Hocus Latte based on "Ever After High"; some Sour Cherry Scones based on a novel called "Carry On;" cabbage rolls based on a video game called "Fantasy Life;" and some Alice in Wonderland themed Mushroom Scones. How fun!

http://www.fiction-food.com/

LOVELY BOOKS: The Hands-On Home

I'm not personally a very DIY, crafty type person, but I do love books that encourage us to cook seasonally and live with the seasons. This book just came out this fall. I'm thinking it might be a really nice Christmas gift for a couple of friends who are more likely than me to be interested in natural homekeeping, preserving and canning, etc.

The chapter for each season includes recipes for cooking; recipes for natural bath and body and homekeeping supplies, and preserves.

The Hands-On Home, on Amazon

LOVELY PARTIES: The Bookish Banquet

I absolutely adore this idea! Chantal throws "Bookish Banquet" themed dinner parties, describing them as "literary pop-up dinners." I'm enjoying browsing her archive of past events and their menus, which included a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy dinner, a Sherlock Holmes dinner, and a Nights at the Circus dinner. I'm so inspired to start something like this in my city, but I realistically know I don't have the skillset it would take to pull this off.

Chantal is running a Kickstarter to fund her Bookish Banquets cookbook.

http://www.bookishbanquet.com/

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Banana Coconut Saffron Muffins (Just Homemade)

Brown Sugar Bourbon Loaf (Cookie Madness)

Christmas Morning Brioche and Tomato Bake (A Bountiful Kitchen)

Danish Salted Butter Cookies (Rise and Render)

Hotels That Go All Out for Christmas (Fox59)

How and Why to Throw a Gentleman's Dinner (The Art of Manliness)

Jolly Holly Cocktail (Grain Changer)

Packed Lunch: Avocado Rice Bowl (The Usual Saucepans)

Peppermint Texas Sheet Cake (Recipe Girl)

Swedish Saffron Braided Bread with Vanilla Cream (Del's Cooking Twist)


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