Monday, September 29, 2014

Spice Cabinet Organization {Kitchen Organization}

I have been on a huge organizing spree this past month or so.  My last project, creating a baking station/zone, gave me inspiration to figure out how to organize my spice cabinet.

This was the before picture of my cabinet area:
I know it may not seem to much of a mess, however, if you look closely, I had bottles and containers full of spices hidden in the back of the ones you see up front.  There were also spices hidden in the middle of the lovely spice rack that you see.

I was tired of going through a zillion bottles just to find the spice or herb that I needed.  Something…anything…had to be done to help me spend less time on finding things and more time on cooking the actual meal.

The first thing I did was empty out the cabinet, one bottle at a time.  I checked their expiration dates and tossed any that were expired.  The ones that were still good were placed to the side.

Next, I grouped the bottles and containers by the following categories: 

~Everyday cooking (i.e. oregano, basil, paprika, etc..)
~Spices/herbs that I use on occasion (whole cloves, cardamon, etc..)
~'Specialty' spices (i.e. Emeril's Seasoning, Season All, Cavender's, etc…)
~Every day table spices (i.e. salt and pepper grinders, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, etc..)
~Packets of seasonings (i.e. taco seasoning, beef/chicken bouillon, etc..)
Once I placed everything in categories, it was time to assign them specific zones.

My everyday cooking spices all stayed in this handy dandy spice rack below.  I placed our everyday table spices off to the side on the right.  Since I use these spices daily in cooking and when we eat, placing them in an easy-to-reach shelf made sense.

The challenge was trying to figure out where to place my occasional spices.  I remembered seeing ideas on Pinterest about converting cabinet drawers into spice holders.  

We had a drawer underneath our spice cabinet, but it held our dish towels and oven mitts.  I removed those and placed my occasional spices (including my big containers of salt and pepper) inside:

Doing this allowed me to free up more room in the cabinet, thus given it that non-cluttered feel.

I placed my specialty spices and packaged seasonings inside the second shelf of the cabinet.  The top shelf is saved for duplicate spices:

And there you have it my friends….our organized and improved spice cabinet!!

Believe it or not, it has stayed like this since the revamp.  
I hope it continues!

How do you organize your spices & herbs?

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Orange & Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots {Slow Cooker}

I think it's about time that I start posting some side dishes on the blog.  Side dishes that can be made in the slow cooker, none the less.  

Ever since I started culinary school, most of our meals literally have been made in the slow cooker.  It's getting to the point now to where I shudder to think what life was like before this nifty contraption was even invented.  I love that appliance!
These carrots are a super easy fix if you are looking for a quick side dish for your next dinner.  At first glance, you would probably think they look a little on the mushy side.  This is because I took these pictures the day after I made them, so they were chilled in the fridge overnight.  

Despite their appearance in the pictures, I assure you that they are very appetizing.  The glaze is a combination of orange, brown sugar, and cinnamon that will tantalize your taste buds.  The aroma if the carrots simmering will be a reminder that fall is definitely here.  My kids aren't carrot fans so they didn't want to try them, however, Husband Man and I both LOVED them.  

We hope they will be added to your favorites file soon!

Orange & Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
(serves 6)

32 oz. package of baby carrots
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup of orange juice
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water
Dried parsley for garnish (optional)

1.  Except for the cornstarch and water, combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker.
2.  Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.  
3.  Drain carrots (save the liquid in the slow cooker) and place in a serving dish.
4.  Take the reserved liquid and place in a small saucepan.  Add the cornstarch and water.
5.  Whisk over medium heat until it starts to boil.  Keep whisking until it starts to thicken.
6.  Pour over carrots.  Garnish with dried parsley.  Serve.

Recipe Source:  From the magazine, Fix-It and Forget-It: Best Loved Fall Recipes, 2012

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