Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

But Wait…there’s more – Day Two

Tuesday’s task – clean out the fridge (NOT clean it) – just get rid of expired items, things past their prime, science projects, etc.

Le Before:

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Where avalanches are born

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OK, so not winning any prizes for organization

Le After (better – not great, but better)

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Not too bad – but more importantly, will be much easier to actually do the cleaning part

It was more untidy than anything – there were a few items which looked a bit iffy, but really, once I pulled out tonight’s dinner items and then organized a bit more, it’s just not as bad as I thought it was. Thank goodness.

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Day One – and I made the list

So, the Day One assignment for The Kitchn Cure was – make a list of the things you like and don’t like about your kitchen.  I took a few minutes last night to think about it and here’s my list.  I’m treating it as a preliminary exercise because it may very well be that by the end of this exercise some of the “don’t likes” just go away.

Things I like about my kitchen:

  • My refrigerator – or rather I like that it’s not a side-by-side fridge
  • The floors – they’re pretty and easy to keep clean
  • My new faucet – looooove the high arch and also love the dishwashing liquid dispenser
  • My tall cabinets – lots of storage space
  • The Pantry – there’s a lot of space

 

Things I don’t like about my kitchen:

  • The lighting – it’s awful and it’s also surprisingly dark
  • The sink – I despise these porcelain/cast iron sinks – they’re extremely brittle; you so much as TAP a plate or glass on it and the item shatters; plus it’s a PITA to keep clean.  Desperately want stainless steel (much more forgiving in every way).
  • There’s no place for a trashcan
  • The color – everything is white (and now it’s looking pretty dingy)
  • The cabinets – because the laminate is peeling off them and they just look nasty
  • The pantry – it’s kind of awkward – very deep (things get lost in the back) and there’s a ton of wasted space at the top
  • The clutter

I’ve been thinking a lot about stripping off the laminate on the cabinets and painting them.  Maybe I’ll take the doors off some of the upper cabinets.  I’m hoping, mostly, that in addition to using this exercise to organize my kitchen, it will help me realize a vision for it.  I’m going to make the effort to objectively look at how I utilize my space, the things I’m keeping, and what I can realistically do to increase my enjoyment of the kitchen.  It’s going to be a lot of fun.

 

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Yes, I know there are dirty dishes. People live here.

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Notice how I manage to use up every square inch of counter space so that I can’t actually do anything!

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Don’t freak out – we did do the dishes (eventually)

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It’s out of focus, I know, but helps me to look at the layout

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I Give Up

It’s one thing to lose a sock in the laundry; actually, that’s more a rule than an exception.

But a pillowcase?

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I Finally Decide to Tackle Something I Really Don’t Want to Deal With

After much (and I do mean MUCH) thought, I’ve decided to cull the herd.

No, I’m not doing away with one of my children (although if you’d asked me about it last night, I might not have been so definitive in the denial).

I’m reducing the number of cookbooks and cooking magazines which are currently overrunning my house (when they’re not causing shelves to cave in).  This is NOT an exaggeration – I only wish!

Thing is, I’m not exactly sure what to do with them; I’ve thought about making (another) donation to the library, but now, I’m considering just giving them away to new homes.  Soooo, if there’s any interest, I’ll be happy to list the publications here (when I get through them all) and if you see one (or many) you want, you can shoot me an e-mail and I’ll ship it/them to you.

Thoughts?

(Because if there’s no real interest, I’ll just ship the whole lot to the library)

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Dinnertime Sanity Makes a Comeback

This weekend I vowed to get a grip on one huge source of frustration and stress in my life – WHAT TO COOK FOR DINNER.   The usual routine goes like this:  early Saturday morning I haul out a couple dozen cookbooks and start pouring through them, (or clicking through my favorite cooking blogs) trying to find dishes for our weeknight meals.  They have to be relatively simple to prepare (aggressive work schedule); not require exotic items (budgetary considerations), and appeal to the taste buds of the people who live in my house (one of whom (guess which one), at present is going through a “phase”).  Many hours later, I’m annoyed and frustrated.  I have a stack of cookbooks teetering on my dining room table and my shopping list is out of control.  At least one item will defy the basic rules – easy to prepare; don’t require hours of prep; don’t use every pot and pan I own.  Enough already!

Everyday Food Light

Photo Credit – Amazon.com

Courtesy of “Everyday Food Light” I present this week’s menu:

  • Monday – Barley Salad with Chicken, Corn & Scallions (pg. 202)
  • Tuesday – Flat Iron Steak with Cauliflower and Arugula (pg. 326)
  • Wednesday – Spicy Chicken Stir-fry with Peanuts (pg. 313)
  • Thursday – Leek, Bacon, & Pea Risotto (pg. 337)
  • Friday – Shrimp & Cabbage Lo Mein (pg. 425)

All the shopping is done; every meal can be on the table in under an hour; and best of all, Angharad can prep a lot of this for me, because she won’t need to be a mind-reader.

I love this cookbook and use it often.  I love that it’s organized by seasons.  There are no highfalutin ingredients that cannot be purchased at your local supermarket.  Bonus:  all the recipes are under 500 calories per serving and nobody would every guess (they really are that good).

Some other favorites from this book are:

  • Tandoori Chicken Kebobs with Peach Chutney
  • Broccoli Corn Chowder with Bacon
  • Sausages with Kale and White Beans (also yum with spinach and garbanzos if that’s all you have)
  • Seared Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Glaze
  • Lemony Pasta with Wilted Arugula

I’m going to try this for the next couple weeks – pick a cookbook (Lord knows I have enough of them) and cook from that one source.  Maybe I can be the boss of dinner instead of it being the boss of me for a change.

(I’ll take some photos throughout the week and post, along with any tweaks to the recipes (which is kind of a given ya know)

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Mystery Solved!

Well, this explains why the towels and sheets are folded, and yet are not resting comfortably in the linen closet!

 

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Can one suffer from cooking blog burnout?

I subscribe a vast number of cooking blogs.  That little “ding” my phone makes every five minutes – yeah – it’s another “come read all about this awesome thing I just cooked or baked or served or whatever!”

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by it all, possibly even resentful in an envious sort of way.  Well Maveypants, why don’t you just unsubscribe to the blogs and set about using your FIVE BILLION cookbooks?  You know, the ones that cause avalanches?  Those ones?  And maybe stay off P**terest?  And how about moving all the culinary FB pages you “LIKE” that keep showing up in your  news feed?  Hmmmmm?

Thing is, even with all the blog feeds, and the ladies posting their weekly menus and all the cookbooks and P**terest and FB, blah, blah, blah…I’ve been feeling a little uninspired with respect to dinners for the last couple weeks.  Might be the brutal work schedule I’ve been pulling.  Might be that I just get a little blue this time of year.  Might also just be excuses.  (Personally I’m kind of going with the last one, but let’s just keep in here between our selves, ‘K?)

Take last week, for example.  I actually only cooked twice – I know – TWICE.  Both times were crockpot food and then we ate various forms of leftovers.  In my own defense, I pulled some really long days last week (and I worked over the weekend); big girl had exams; little (ha) girl studying for her midterms.  The food was tasty and designed to be used in leftovers, but it’s just that I couldn’t bring myself to even think creatively about my menus – utilitarian, that’s the word I’m looking for – my menu was utilitarian.  How Bah Humbug!

This week needs to be better.

Monday – Butter Chicken with veggie sauté

Tuesday – Orecchiette with spicy chicken sausage and leeks

Wednesday – “left over chicken” & lemon soup & salad

Thursday – Jerk fish tacos

Friday – Dinner out

I was going to make the ubiquitous Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic this week (and bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day), but then decided that the likelihood of my peeling 40 cloves of garlic was pretty nil at the moment.  Maybe the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  If I get some time off.  Even better – I’ll have the girls cook it.

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Little Odds and Ends

Last night, because things were not busy enough, one of my shelves crashed under the weight of too many cookbooks.  It smashed down on the shelf below (which was also loaded with cookbooks) and then they both crashed on to the stuff piled up on the bottom shelf.  We’re talking about a storage cabinet here, not a bookcase.  It’s true that I HAD been cautioned that the weight limit for the shelves was 80lbs, but how do you really know when you’ve hit 80 lbs of cookbook?

Mack says I should think about culling the herd, so to speak.   Mack is delusional.  That’s akin to suggesting I get rid of shoes or handbags.

Anyway, I have the shelves sort of repaired and I’ve limited the number of books on each one (still haven’t found a final resting place for the others so they are piled up in the FROG).

Thankfully, I don’t have to think anymore about this problem until next week, because this weekend is the Battle of Secessionville at Boone Hall Plantation and I get to play antebellum chick for a couple days and wander around in a hoopskirt.  Besides, like all messes, it will still be here when I get back.

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Not what I want to hear at 0600…

“Mama – did you wash any socks?”

See, I only do laundry EVERY SINGLE DAY.  The reason for this?  Daughters.  Once a girl touches an article of clothing it becomes contaminated or something.  It can’t go back into the dresser or closet.  It ends up in the hamper.  Or on the floor, where the dog sleeps on it, so it ends up in the hamper.

Deep dark secret here:  I actually like doing laundry.  (I like ironing too and the smell of spray starch – but that’s a whole other kettle of fish).  I’m happy to wash and dry the clothes (OK, I’m happy to load the washing machine and dryer); I’m happy to fold them too.  The only thing I require is that the people bring their laundry to the laundry room.  Because I DO NOT fetch.

So in answer to Iseult’s question – “I don’t know honey.  I washed whatever was in the laundry basket.”

There is a pause and then:  “Never mind.  I found some.”

Ten bucks says she’s wearing yesterday’s socks.

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My Closet Needs an Intervention

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There is no excuse.  None.  The stuff is piled up so high it reaches the ceiling.  And that’s not all of it. It’s not even mostly clothes.  Shoes.  Handbags.  And there’s more.  The thought of cleaning it out makes me want to collapse in a fit of vapors.

I’ve consulted my new housekeeping book (see post regarding my inability to clean my house).  There is advice.  Good advice.  It involves organization (I like this), taking inventory (I’m less comfortable), and purging (again, vapors).  I fundamentally don’t want to get rid of the shoes.  Or the handbags.  And I really don’t have room for them all.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that this is one of those tasks that is best done with someone else.  I think a different set of eyes would help me gain a more positive perspective.  This is, after all, a process for me.  I’ve just been doing things on my own for so long now, that I forget that I don’t necessarily have to.

With luck, I will declare victory over the closet clutter by the end of the month.  It’s good to have goals.

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