Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Julie's Kitchen

One of the perks of my trip to Portland was swapping food and cooking tips with Julie.

Julie's kitchen is professionally equipped as you might expect with appliances, utensils and dishes, but what most impressed me is how organized Julie's kitchen was. Cabinets and drawers are functionally arranged, and her pantry, fridge, and freezer all well stocked.

This dazzled me because my kitchen organization is - well - fairly non-existent. I love my kitchen, it has beautiful cabinetry, ample counter space... and I adore my appliances. (my kitchen is actually in the front and back covers of Vive).

My pantry/fridge/freezer are always well stocked. Stocked, but not well organized! Most of my shelves and drawers are a mish-mash of elements. My biggest struggle is organizing my cupboards of dry goods and neatly storing such things as flours, grains, beans, sugars, and spices.

So, I bring you some tips from Julie's kitchen, because she is a wizard! First, in the picture above is flour. Embedded in the flour are a couple of dried bay leaves. Julie says the bay leaves keep bugs out of the flour in the warmer months... without imparting any flavor in your flours! Coincidentally, I have and use these exact same large glass jars for my flours - kind of neat - we picked them up at IKEA... not too expensive and definitely ideal for storage of large amounts of dry goods like flours.

Then, I noticed on Julie's jars some interesting labels. I have regular printer labels on my jars, but they are wearing and don't stand up to washing. Julie uses these labels pictured right. You can write on them but erase later if needed - AND they can be washed! Pick them up at your local office supplies store... I will be!

Here you see Julie has her quinoa clearly identified with these labels, and also her spices. She uses Mason jars for many of her larger quantities of spices.

Clever girl, this one! Hopefully we'll have more opportunities to hang out and learn from each other, though she certainly won't pick up any storage or organizing tips from me! :)


Sweet Pea said...

Dreena, you just burst my bubble. I often think of you when I look at my old, small and not functional kitchen and I think of you even more when I open my small cupboards stuffed with a mishmash of items. I think that Dreena must be so put together and have an amazing kitchen if she can have 2 kids and 2 cookbooks (with another on the way). Funny that you admire someone else's kitchen.
Sweet Pea
P.S. We're getting a new stove. Yay!!!

bazu said...

Coooool. I am an organizational junkie, and I love the idea of those containers and special labels! And of course, I love getting a peek into other peoples' kitchens! I have an entire cupboard devoted to teas. I have got to find those labels!

b36Kitchen said...

I am the queen of an un-organized kitchen. I am actually amazed I get anything accomplised in there. I love those labels..I need to get those for my IKEA jars also! Before I do all my christmas cookie baking I promised myself I would organize my cabinets and food closet first. It should be interesting.

Glad to have you back posting! I can't wait for the DVD!


Alexis said...

I use the little versions of those IKEA jars for spices, but sounds like I should make a trip there to get the bigger ones - I could really use some for my lentils, flour, etc.

Dreena said...

Oh dear, sweet pea... sorry to disappoint - I am NOT a domestic goddess! :) Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my kitchen - I have lots of counter space for prep, gorgeous cabinets, gas stove and oven, and a large freezer-bottom fridge (which was one of our best purchases - along with the gas stove)... it's the function and organization that I lack - big time! I'm not even certain how to get started most of the time, and so my cupboards (at least several of them) continue to be in a state of disarray!! Martha I am not! (oh, and congrats on the new stove - WOOT!)

Bazu, come to my kitchen - please! I need that organization junkie type of help... oh, and I have a whole cupboard of teas too... what do you do with them all? Are the all loose, or some bagged? I have a bit of both, and not sure what to do to keep it in order! (you should post some pics for us of your cupboards, btw)

Thanks Jenna, that's sweet. :) Like you, I'm amazed I get through recipes as fast as I can and with the ingredients I need, because I am sometimes rummaging through my cupboards looking for the flours, extracts, grains, etc. Crazy!

Hi Alexis... yeah, these large glass containers are very useful. One of the few things I have that makes sense to keep things organized. You can put a large amount of flours/grains, etc in these jars. Have fun shopping... :)

Carrie™ said...

Some people will tell you I'm a control freak. Perhaps I am. I have the best of intentions in organizing my cupboards and when I do, they stay that way for a while. Then, it's rushing to make dinner, clean up, etc. and things just get thrown in where ever there is space. Do that a few times, and my organized cupboard is a disaster. I know where everything is, so isn't that really all that matters?
The bay leaves in the flour is one I've heard before. I've never had bugs in my flour, so it must work.

Melissa said...

I dream of the day I have a real kitchen. Right now, everything goes into large freezer bags to keep the bugs away (:S), so when I need something, I have to go through them all, and my spice shelf is overflowing...I only have a kitchenette. I am starting to use containers and jars for lots of things though, and I love the idea of those erasable labels, I'll keep an eye out for them.

laura jesser said...

Thanks for passing along those tips. My kitchen could use an organization make-over, but only after I move to Atlanta and get a kitchen I can actually turn around in!

Dreena said...

Carrie, that often happens with me too - get everything well organized, and then have a few episodes of rushing through cooking, baking, putting away groceries, and then whammo, it's all a mess again!! But, yes, all that matters is that YOU know where to find things. Poor hubby when I was in Portland made pancakes for the girls one morning - he said it took him about an hour to just get the batter made, between trying to take care of the 'dad demands' and then desperately looking for the ingredients in my cupboards - ooooops!

Melissa, I have had small kitchens in the past too, and I give you MUCH credit for all the elaborate cooking you do, because it is far easier to do so with more counter space and storage to keep a well-stocked pantry, etc. Give yourself a big ol' pat on the back, girl!! (and one day you'll have your dream kitchen) :)

Hey Laura, you're welcome... I'll pass along the thanks to Julie!! :) hee - Are you moving soon? I wish you a very big, very fabulous kitchen in your next place!

hyphen_helena said...

Dreena! I meant to post this Wednesday:

Happy One Year of Blogging!!!

Kris said...

Wow, I really need some more organization, too. That looks so spiffy.

I freeze my flour overnight before using it. Most of the bugs that get in your flour are already in there, they just haven't hatched: a gross reality of stuff that is milled in factories. I have some very large bags of flour right now, though, that are too big to fit in the freezer, so I'll have to try that bay leaf trick.

Dreena said...

hyphen_helena, thank you... I didn't really make much note of it myself, but now that I think of it, wow, I've done A LOT of blogging! So, yes, happy blog bday to me!! hmmm, I think I need cake... :)

Hey Kris! That's really gross, huh? I stopped buying flour in bulk - there was a time that I could only buy spelt flour in bulk in one of our grocery stores (before our newer whole foods store opened). A couple of times I bought it and then opened the bag to find little critters in there - eewwwww! So that makes sense what you are saying, because they weren't there when I was scooping it out. Freezing is an excellent tip - I may note that in a post later and of course give you credit for it. Thanks!!

raising_kahne said...

That's so neat about the bay leaf keeping the bugs out! I need to get some containers like those for flour/herbs. Are you supposed to freeze flour though??

Dreena said...

Savanna, that's the first I've heard of it from Kris. I think it's an excellent idea - if you can be that organized. The freezing will kill the eggs that are supposedly sitting in the flour. This is such a yucky discussion, isn't it?? I don't know if I will ever get so in order as to freeze my flours overnight, but I really should try to do so now that I've learned that tip from Kris! :)

raising_kahne said...

That's pretty disturbing knowing there are 'eggs' in the flour. And strange. Hmm..maybe it's not such a bad idea to freeze it afterall. : )

Julie said...

WOW! Wonderful organization. I must take a day during Winter Break to label and organize.

The bay leaf/freezing idea is great--thanks for the tip--Dreena & Kris!