Saturday, March 31, 2012

8 Ways I've Simplified My Kitchen

When you do your wedding registry, you put all sorts of things that you really don't need. That laser gun is just so fun! But now, a few years later, I have realized a few things about how I manage my kitchen that have made my life easier and more simple. Check 'em out:

1. I have realized that I hate metal pans. I should have just registered for glass bakeware, because all of my metal ones have gunked up from non-stick spray baking on them. I've heard good things about the silicone bakeware, but for some reason I'm still skeptical. I feel like "they" will come out in a few years saying that silicone is unsafe or something. So far, glass has worked out the best!

2. Along the same lines as #1, buying expensive cookie pans is a waste, but also are really cheap ones. I've accepted the fact that cookie pans won't last very long. Between cutting up homemade pizza, non-stick spray, and other fun adventures, I don't expect them to last very long.

3. I have realized that the crock pot we bought was way too big for just two of us. Someday when there's more in our family, it may work, but almost any recipe I've tried is just too dry. My hypothesis so far is that a smaller crockpot may help keep more moisture in the actual food. We'll see....haven't given up yet!

4. For a non coffee drinker, the cheap-o $10 coffee pot I bought from the grocery store works great. It's big enough to make a couple cups of coffee for when I have guests staying over, and it's small enough to not impose on the day to day.

5. I realized I never needed to register for china. First of all, the everyday china we registered for to try to consolidate our dinnerware, chipped almost right away. We returned it and got all white dishes. We love our white set! Second of all, I inherited my grandmother's gorgeous china, which means so much more than a set I would have registered for.
6. Cloth napkins work great! We haven't bought a single paper napkin in our house! This is partly for environmental reasons, party for fiscal reasons, and partly because it's just easier. We have enough fabric napkins to last us through while dirty ones are being washed.

7. I have realized that kitchen utensils (tons, wooden spoons, spatulas, etc) are not very expensive and can easily go in the dishwasher. I used to hand wash everything outside of dishes, glasses, and silverware. Now, I've started putting more of my utensils in the top rack of our dishwasher, and even some of our older pans.

8. I have learned to save glass jars from pasta sauce, jam, and more to pour in bacon grease. Oh! and splatter screens are a must for making bacon!

Monday, March 26, 2012

enjoying the little things in life

the little thing of today: smell of freshly cut grass

Sustainable Cycle of Life

It's that time of year to start thinking about sustainable living again...

It seems that I go in cycles of focusing on living responsibly. Unfortunately, Tennessee has been a harder place to live green. The town we live in doesn't even have curbside recycling as an option! Which means more work for us! Heaven forbid!

But seriously. In our busy lives, between jobs and family and meals and errands, finding the time to go drive over to the recycling center isn't always the most important priority. However, with the start of spring and all of the rebirth of plants and now a more settled pace of life personally, I feel like I can once again focus on living sustainably. I found myself thinking about how I could reuse some food containers as "tupperware" for lunches. I found myself thinking that I should use my "shreddings" as gift stuffing. I found myself using the back sides of paper at work for my scratch paper. I found myself really excited about the steal-of-a-deal jeans that I found at Goodwill.

What else can I be doing? What do I have that I don't need? How can I be living more simply. I amd finding myself beginning to get back in that mode. Especially with Earth Day coming up in a few weeks, I want to start thinking about what I want to do. I've never done anything specifically for this day, but have always wanted to. So, I figure, if I start to think about it now, maybe I'll physically do something this year!

Bucket List Take 2: Skydiving!

Check! and Check! Yup, that's right folks, we went skydiving! This was something new for both me and the hubbs, but was such a fun adventure to do together. It was great to face a fear and to do something out of our comfort zones. I wonder what we'll do next....oh wait, that's right: Alaska! Yup! All fifty states are going to have seen me by the time I die and Alaska is the next stop! But, that's another adventure to be told...