Saturday, January 16, 2016

Organizing the YUM!

I know I said last time I wasn't going to talk about food for a while, but the first stop on the Bowl Full of Lemons organization challenge is the kitchen, so it's a little tough to not talk about food. Actually, week one is the kitchen, week two is the pantry, but I don't really have a dedicated pantry. So I'm combining weeks one and two.

This week I organized my food. See?
Laundry room/pantry/mudroom combo

You can see the paleo thing didn't take--a whole shelf of grains and beans!
Baking items grouped together

This wasn't too difficult for me because I always clean out my fridge. I believe in regular management of the refrigerator because I *hate* to waste food. Every few days I'll poke around and look for things that need to be used up. I very rarely have to throw anything out. Any amount of leftovers that can't be used in school lunches is re-purposed into quesadilla or frittata fillings. Last night we had sausage, peppers, onions, greens and broccoli for dinner. Usually we polish off the whole pan, but on this occasion there was about a half-cup left, so this morning I put it in a frittata. Yum, easy, no waste.

However, one item did get the old heave-ho. Over the years I have acquired some odd ingredients that were called for in recipes. Some have become staples, some have been tolerated until they were used up, but every once in a while I purchase a read dud, and one of these was....

Cocoa Nibs

According to the box, which claims 'yummy super food' status, cocoa nibs are, "cocoa beans that have been separated from their shell and roasted to perfection." Apparently they are "naturally rich in vitamins and minerals, and a great source of antioxidants."

They're also utterly revolting. And I'm saying this as a chocolate lover. Not yummy in the least and very hard -- as in, break-your-teeth kind of hard. They were also insanely expensive, so I kept trying to use them, but they ruined everything I put them in. I kept holding on to them, mostly because they were expensive. I'd offer them up for any local who wants them (a long list, I'm sure, after my glowing recommendation,) but they're 'best by' date was January 2015. They were looking past their prime, so today I decided to let them go.

And I'm publicly vowing not the buy anything crazy for another recipe ever again. Amen.

Speaking of buying, I know I said I was going to try not to buy anything, but I realized I needed a better means of can storage in my two pantry-like shelves in the basement. Stacking the cans was not working, so I went to The Container Store and bought this very nice little wire rack.
$15 at The Container Store

A couple of years ago, we bought these pull-out elfa drawers for the very deep lower shelf. Although you lose some real estate this way, things kept getting lost in the back, so these were definitely a worthwhile purchase.

The real sticky wicket in my food storage world are spices. That's a whole saga that probably needs it's own post, so I'll leave you on what I'm sure are pins and needles waiting for that one.


  1. Ah, now, a whole week on the kitchen? I can totally do that!
    I'm liking the idea, and I'm going to join you! I'll start my kitchen on Monday.

    Did you try grinding the cacao nibs in a coffee grinder? I would think it should handle them and you could use the powder in place of some of the cocoa in some recipes.

    1. Oh wow, I really should have checked with you before I let the nibs go bad/threw them out!