Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kitchen Clean Out

That's only a small portion of my canning jars
I was initially going to title this post Pantry Clean Out – but really, I’ve been attacking organizing the whole kitchen, not just the pantry area. Since the highchair is in the kitchen while the dining room is being remodeled, I’ve been spending a lot of time there recently, hanging out with Max while he eats his big-boy-finger-foods (a very time-intensive process). Needless to say, I’ve had a lot of time to kill in the kitchen. So, I’ve been organizing and cleaning out the cupboards.

Like I mentioned yesterday, the inspiration for my cooking recently has been to use what I already have in the cupboards and freezer (and fridge, of course) to clean them out. That inspired the Tex-Mex Sticky Rice, Chicken & Pineapple Pizza, and Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese. And when hubby’s not around for dinner, just eating a package of instant mashed potatoes. I love those things.

I’ve found some interesting things in my cupboards – like a jar of roasted red peppers, a couple of cans of bean sprouts, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots (I must have wanted to make some fried rice or lo mien at some point), 4 cans of clams, another jar of soy sauce (thank goodness that stuff lasts forever), rice noodles (yep, I definitely was going to do some at-home-takeout-Chinese food at some point), and a plethora of spices in the spice cupboard. A few spices I’ve never used that I recognized as having bought in San Diego – in 2005. Those got put in the compost bag.

I’ve been going cupboard by cupboard, doing inventory, organizing, getting ideas for meals, getting rid of gadgets, pans, containers, etc., that I don’t use or that I can live without, and overall making the kitchen more functional.

Some things I’ve done:
  • put the baby food jars and containers that I’ve collected into a box so they wouldn’t topple all over the shelf 
  • grouped spices by general type (baking = cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg; taco = cumin, red pepper, paprika, etc)
  • put like pantry foods next to each other
  • stacked Tupperware/plastic ware and lids, getting rid of any broken or mismatched pieces
  • gave the stick blender back to my mother
  • dedicated two cupboards to baby items, one near the sink for bathing (towels, washcloths, soap) and the other for food, bottles, and misc

It feels so nice to have some organization in the kitchen. When we moved in I didn’t have a feel for the kitchen yet so having a chance to rework what wasn’t working has been great.

Have you gone through your kitchen lately? What have you discovered? Have you changed anything? If not, it’s a great time for an early spring cleaning!

P.S. Yes, I know I don't really need that many pie plates and tart pans, but I just can't make myself get rid of any.

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