Saturday, January 15, 2011


WOW, a lot has been going on in my life. Sorry if anyone has been checking back hopefully only to be disappointed for MONTHS (sorry, Ginny). So here's a new post, about an exciting new addition to my kitchen!
Handcrafted Spice Rack, Made In USA
 For Christmas, my now-Certified-Contractor brother-in-law and my dad whipped up a spice rack to fit the specs for my little kitchen! It's great! And parts of it are cedar, so it's got a nice rosy hue. Best of all, it didn't even need Ikea-style directions. I just figured it out! I mean, one back, 3 shelf bases, and 2 sides, but still! So here's the "Before" situation:
My Creative interim solution
 And here's the area with a whole lot more counter space available for prep work!
With new spice rack
So there you have it, folks. My special new addition. When it takes so little to make me happy, why doesn't it happen more often, eh? Good question.
Next on the Agenda of Interesting Things today is a peek at my leftovers-filing/recipe-remembering system. As someone who does not want to waste food, I got into the habit of saving the half-cans of canned tomatoes or pureed pumpkin or sweetened condensed milk that I couldn't use all at once. Importantly, I labeled them so I would know what it was when I came upon it again (you'd be surprised how easy it is to lose something in a refrigerator and find it again-- hey! don't I know you?), and when it was made- my sniffer-test is not very well-developed.
For those of you who know of my similar limerence with paper products, you will not be surprised to learn that this is a great way for me to use scratch paper! I cut up a half-page of used copy paper into little slips, stick them on my fridge behind fun magnets, and when I need to label something, I've already got the cup of pens and the slip of paper in the kitchen, so I just need to get my Scotch tape from the bedroom and presto! Even little things like having 2 out of 3 materials on hand can make a difference in whether a habit takes hold or not, let me tell you.

These are some samples of my 'work.' :-)
The tags above were the ones saved as I peeled them off dishes to be washed because I thought them worth mentioning (but hadn't gotten around to it). Here they are, with brief commentary:
  • Celeriac-Parsnip-Garlic-Shallot Stoup (11-28-10)
    • I remember it wasn't quite there in the taste or texture departments, but it made good use of some clamoring-for-use vegetables in the fridge, and it was great for getting those servings of vegetables in! Don't remember where I found the inspiration...
  • Indian-Spiced Cauliflower (12-6-10) from A Single Gal's Guide
    • Yum. I didn't use potatoes because I don't eat them much anymore, but wow, yum!
  • Chunky Borscht (12-7-10) from
    • I didn't blend part of it, so it was a little too chunky, but was nice and warming and hearty for the cold.
  • Black Beans (1-2-11) from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
    • This was yet another attempt to get beans right. I so want to like beans! Cheap! Plan-ahead! Healthy! An empty canvas! For this round, I threw in a cinnamon stick for the last stage of cooking low, and boy did it flavor the pot! I was also out for longer than expected, so it cooked for longer than expected. Texture: win. (Not crispy like they were for Samit!)
  • Boiled & fried potato with 21-Seasoning Salute (from Trader Joe's) (1-6-11)
    • Yes, I did just say I don't eat potatoes much anymore, but I'd gotten this one potato and it was languishing without a purpose, so it got prepared in advance (boiled) then pan-sauteed in spices. It was scrumptious AND delicious at work, when popped into a quesadilla platform to make a version of the Spanish Omelette (below). 
  • Brussels sprouts, bacon, date, balsamic, and macaroni from Mark Bittman, aka The Minimalist (1-8-11)
    • OMG- yum! I don't like figs, but found out that I loved dates done right (pun: haha!) at my favorite eatery in DC, so I switched them out- both Mediterranean, right? This was delicious!
I'll try to get back to regularly scheduled programming and catch up on the highlight recipes and gatherings from the holidays. So do come back soon! :-)

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