Thursday, December 03, 2015

Winter Kitchen Reset Part 3: Refrigerator, Drawers and Cupboards

Cute Christmas Kitchen Towel, from Incredibly Charmed on Etsy

I'm doing another kitchen organization project today. It's something I can fit in after I get back from going out to dinner. I'll have time to work on the kitchen, and a bit of time to read a book in bed before my 9:30 bedtime.

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • Need to process some mail today? Declutter your mail table or inbox where you keep incoming paperwork? Scoop papers off a desk in your kitchen and actually get them sorted? Let's recycle our junk mail and finish paying any first-of-the-month bills that are due.
  • How is your doormat looking? Time to shake it out, vacuum or sweep it? While you're examining it, need to sweep your front porch, patio or steps?
  • Take inventory of pet food - do you need to make a trip to the pet store? I am almost running out of dog food - that's not good!
  • Check up on any houseplants - I neglected some herbs in a windowsill and I feel terrible. I'm being extra careful to check on my indoor dwarf citrus trees and any houseplants I keep in bathrooms or on other windowsills.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Winter Kitchen Organization Part 2 - Refrigerator and Cupboards

Snowman Refrigerator Magnet Set, on Amazon

Tonight, I plan to tackle my two refrigerators (I keep one in the garage for drinks, in addition to the kitchen fridge) and my cupboards. Because I keep up with my weekly fridge and freezer maintenance, this part won't take me much time tonight. I haven't restocked very many foods in my fridges and freezers after a recent power outage made me have to throw nearly everything away.

I'll take just a few minutes to sterilize, sanitize and dry my fridges and freezers. Then after I get back from dinner, I can tackle my cupboards.

Let's make this fun! Put on music in your kitchen - do you have a portable boom box, MP3 player dock, or radio you can drag in? A speaker you can set your iPhone on? Or do you prefer a television? I don't personally keep a television in my kitchen anymore but it would be nice to watch a holiday themed cooking show while I clean. Put on Food Network, The Cooking Channel, a favorite DVD movie, or TV Land for fun (you might catch some I Love Lucy, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie reruns).

Spiced Currant Candle, from Sur la Table

Light a fragrant candle, make coffee or tea, or pour yourself a glass of wine. Try to make it fun and the time might just zoom by.

FRIDGE AND FREEZER:

I plan to clean out both of my refrigerators and freezers. If you have been keeping up with doing it one shelf at a time on weekends, this should go quickly. Toss old food, wipe and scrub shelves, dry them off, etc. Quickly take inventory of what's left on a notepad you'll carry in your purse, so you can plan what to replace. If you think of something you need, immediately add it to your grocery list.

Thoroughly clean the outside of your refrigerator too. Now is a good time to have someone in your household come help you move it to clean and vacuum under it and behind it. Wash the wall behind it and on the sides of it too, if you can get to it. There's bound to be a lot of accumulated dust and grime there.

Make some time to think about must-have items for your freezer. For me, I don't let myself run out of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, frozen edamame and frozen corn, hash browns, and frozen stir fry veggies. I also stock puff pastry and some sort of frozen berry in case I need to whip up a quick puff pastry dessert. Also, I'm never, ever without one or two frozen appetizers like Nancy's frozen quiches and Trader Joe's mushroom turnovers or spanakopeta for impromptu cocktail parties.

Cupboards

Festive Red and White Shelf Paper, on Amazon

Remove all your dishes (yes, every one of them!) and wipe down your shelves, especially if they have contact paper. If your contact paper needs to be replaced, add it to your shopping list and make this a priority for next weekend. Examine your dishes for dust. If you're like me you have some goblets around for entertaining that don't get used very often. Those can get quite dusty at the back of the shelf in between being used. Clean any dishes that need it, then replace in cupboards. Reorganize if necessary, or find new homes for things like paper plates, plastic cups, and paper napkins. I store mine out in the garage in a Sterilite box specially marked for that purpose, so I have more room in my cupboards for my glass and china. I haven't bought paper napkins in a few years, and we're steadily working our way through using them up.

If applicable, examine baby utensils, Sippy cups and baby dishes for wear and tear. Discard and replace if necessary. Or get rid of them entirely if your kids are grown and you don't often have little kids visiting at mealtimes.

Examine your pans, utensils and cooking gadgets. Toss anything that looks broken, and clean anything dirty. If you can possibly admit to yourself you have a kitchen gadget you will NEVER use, now is a really good time to own up to that and come up with a plan for disposal of that gadget. (Sell on Ebay, put in your Yard Sale box you save in the garage for the spring, give to a friend, donate to charity, or simply throw it out).

Wilton Reindeer Cookie Cutter Set, on Amazon

COOKIE CUTTERS:

Do you have an overwhelming amount of cookie cutters that you rarely use? I sure as heck do - I definitely have a shopaholic problem at cooking and baking stores. Sort and take inventory of your cutters. Consider storing them in some sort of Ziplock bag or plastic box or container to make them easier to find. It might be helpful to store them along with your cake and cookie decorating sugars and related items. Perhaps that will help us actually use them more often. As always, see if you can get rid of unneeded or duplicate cookie cutters. It's not a sin to throw a $1.75 cheapo, old, rarely used cookie cutter in the trash.

OVERALL KITCHEN:

Add to your shopping list if you notice anything you are majorly missing that you absolutely need and definitely will use. You probably have all the pans and dishes you need, but how are you doing on plastic storage containers, kitchen sponges, cleaning supplies, dishwashing detergent, kitchen hand soap, kitchen towels, etc?

GADGETS:

Over this next week I'd like to challenge you to get out one kitchen gadget you haven't used in over three months and actually use it. Try a different one every day. Get that breadmaker out, clean it off and actually use it to bake bread. Find your tortilla or quesadilla maker and enjoy piping hot, cheesy quesadillas for a snack (or get rid of it and make quesadillas in the microwave or on the stovetop). Use your totally unnecessary heart-shaped muffin pans to make muffins today, instead of the normal round-shaped muffin tin you normally use. Use your Cuisinart to actually make fresh salsa, or see if you can get your hand mixer to mix up a nice batch of mousse. Get out your creme brulee ramekins and your blowtorch and actually make Creme brulee and caramelize the top. Why do we have all these gadgets if we aren't going to use them to make our lives even more lovely?

Tonight, after we are finished, let's reward ourselves for our efforts with some sort of favorite activity that won't bring us near a kitchen. Take a long bath, watch a movie, read a book, flip through magazines, or goof off on the Web. After you've spent time fixing up your kitchen, make someone else cook for you tonight!

Tomorrow will bring another kitchen project. It'll be the perfect mini project for a weeknight - just enough time you get things done, but not so much you're exhausted or struggling to finish before bedtime.

LOVELY BLOGS: The 1940s Experiment

I'm fairly certain you're already familiar with this blog. Just in case, I wanted to point it out here. I've long been fascinated with wartime rationing history, recipes and techniques. The thought of someone attempting to lose weight by restricting their diet World War 2 rationing style is really intriguing to me! Carolyn has become quite a World War II history expert in the meantime.

I'm enjoying her recent posts on a Sheffield tea room review; her visit to St. Nicholas Church to see giant floating poppies; and her post about completing a marathon.

https://1940sexperiment.wordpress.com/

LOVELY BOOKS: A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband

To our modern ears, this title sounds rather nauseating. But this is a vintage book published in 1917, when few women at all worked outside the home. We can still enjoy "Bettina's best recipes." This enchanting book is actually written in the form of fiction, with recipes sprinkled throughout. The illustrations are darling. It's free to read online, and I thought you might enjoy paging through it. My favorite chapter is "A Christmas Breakfast," which starts on page 325.

A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband, at The Internet Archive

LOVELY FASHION: Mrs. Pomeranz

This delightful Moscow and UK-based clothing line was created by two sisters. Their charming vintage style dresses have been worn by The Puppini Sisters. I love browsing the clothing here. It looks well made, not stuffy, and suitable for both work and dinner out.

My favorite dress here is the "Ella."

http://www.mrs-pomeranz.com/

Mrs. Pomeranz on Facebook

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Boozy Caramel Gingerbread Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies (Sticky Spatula)

Caramel Apple Smoked Gouda Galette (Joanne Eats Well With Others)

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites (The House of Smiths)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Mousse Pie (Handle the Heat)

Crispy Bacon and Tomato Scrolls (The Pink Whisk)

Crispy Burnt Garlic Veggie Noodles (Savory Bites Recipes)

Crispy Potatoes with Garlic Lemon Avocado Aioli (I Love Vegan)

Layered Potato Cake (The Kitchen Prep Blog)

Gingerbread Caramel Popcorn (The Girl Who Ate Everything)

Mushroom Fontina Flatbread with Crispy Sage (Two Peas and Their Pod)

Peanut Butter and Caramel Bark Recipe (Ella Claire Inspired)

Sea Salt Caramel Hot Cocoa (Thrifty and Thriving)

White Chocolate Cheesecake Naan (Eazy Peazy Meals)


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