DIY: Spice Containers

Without a doubt, spices are kitchen items that can be easily overlooked. You stock up on them as a given recipe calls and then you stow them away. But the problem with this is that you wind up with tons and tons of bottles–some that look too much alike and others that are a completely different shape and size. In other words, you wind up with a mess.

Sound familiar? Read on to find out how to do this super simple DIY that will make a big impact on your overall kitchen organization.

To kick off this DIY, I first took inventory of my spice cabinet. I pulled out all of my spices, threw away the ones I knew I’d never use again, and counted the remaining number. That way, I knew exactly how many bottles I needed to buy. I ended up purchasing these glass spice jars from the Container Store, along with transparent labels.

From there, it was just a matter of transferring from one (not so pretty) bottle to the next.

The final step is to add the label. The pack I linked to above also comes with blank labels so you can add custom labels, should you need to.

Let me know what you think of this simple DIY in the comments below!

Tricks of the Trade: Refrigerator Organization

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Let’s be real, the fridge can get pretty unruly really quickly if you’re not careful about it. Covered tupperware can go unnoticed, jars of tomato sauce can go bad, etc, etc. So how do you keep it clean and orderly? You’ve come to the right place!

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I like to have a system when it comes to my fridge, not only for where each food group belongs, but also for when I go through its contents with a fine-tooth comb. I typically do all of my grocery shopping for the week on Sundays, and when I get home I like to take a moment to go through the fridge. I’ll quickly check expiration dates, throw out anything that looks browned, and wipe down the bottoms. That way, I’m putting all of my fresh food away into a clean space.

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Much like how I organize my pantry, I use each shelf in my fridge for a different food group. It looks a little something like this:

  • Top shelf: All of my breakfast foods, such as fresh berries, bread, eggs, and yogurt.
  • Middle shelf: Dinner foods and beverages. This week, I made a big batch of soup so that’s taking up the bulk of this shelf currently. On other days, you might find roasted chicken or even some lasagna.
  • Bottom shelf: Since the bottom shelf is hung so low, I usually put all of my smaller lunch items here. I like to meal prep my lunches, so once I do, I divvy them into tupperware and slide them on this shelf.
  • Bottom drawers: We have two drawers in our fridge, so I use one of them for fresh produce and the other one for cheeses and deli meats.
  • Side shelves: You can see a glimpse into my shelves in the first picture. My strategy here is pretty simple: I sort from largest to smallest to create an aesthetically-pleasing array of sauces and jars.

Entertaining Tips: How to Build a Cheeseboard

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I don’t know about you, but every time I find myself in the cheese isle of my grocery store, I pretty much freeze up. There are so many options–and so many delicious options at that–that it can be hard to choose. Tell me I’m not alone in this!

Up until recently, I used to just grab whatever caught my eye or fit within my budget. And while there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that, I wanted to figure out what my “go-to cheeses” were–the ones that I would serve time and time again at my house. The ones that would make entertaining a breeze and sort of become “my thing.” Hopefully you’re still with me!

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So, I did just that. I did some research, some taste testing (how terrible, right?) and finally figured out my cheese thing–is that cheesy or what? To make your life easier–especially when entertaining–I’m going to share exactly what I buy to make an epic cheese platter.

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As you can see above, I like to serve a mix of snacks to tie people over before the main course. My rule of thumb is to always have at least three different kinds of cheese, and my personal favorites are brie, asiago, and truffled Italian. Along these same lines, I also like to serve a variety of crackers, some healthier and some more indulgent. To top off the cheese, it’s always a good idea to add some charcuterie to the plate. In my case, I usually opt for prosciutto but you could do salami too.

Finally, I add a few snacks in little bowls off to the side. I’ve found that dried apricots, candied pecans, and olives are great options if you’re trying to achieve that salty and sweet balance.

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Oh, and how could I forget? Make sure to add cheese knives to your plate so people can dig in easily. It’s always a good idea to dig in before your guests arrive so the platter doesn’t look too perfect to eat. Plus, you’ll be happier that way, too!

Collection of Cookbooks

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For someone who doesn’t cook that often, I sure have a lot of cookbooks. I just love the way they look on my kitchen countertop, and the possibility of scanning through them for inspiration at my leisure isn’t bad either.

In fact, I actually would go as far as to say that a kitchen just isn’t complete without a few cookbooks. Stack them up against a wall, add a succulent and some empty wine bottles, and you’ve got yourself a little vignette.

Here are the cookbooks that I (actually!) have been reading–and loving– recently.

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Tartine Book Number 3 // Flour + Water // Jerusalem // Plenty // Plenty More

 

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What are your favorite cookbooks? Share in the comments below!

Wish List: Butcher Block Countertops

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I’m having a major moment with butcher block countertops right now. There’s something about the casual vibe it creates, especially when paired with subway tile, that is super attractive to me. To top it all off (no pun intended, I love that you don’t have to be too precious with it since it actually looks pretty good with a bit of wear & tear.

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P.S. Check out more of what’s on my wish list here.

Keeping Your Pantry Fresh

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I’ve shared some tips and tricks about the kitchen pantry in the past, and now I’m back to provide even more. In many of our homes, the kitchen pantry can be a bit overwhelming due to its size and all that it stores. Additionally, because you open and close the kitchen pantry many times per day, it can be hard to see it with clear eyes. So a mess builds up, food grows stale, and you just keep on opening and closing that door. Sound familiar? Let’s fix that!

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To keep your pantry feeling fresh, it’s important to have a strategy for organization. My personal strategy is to use each shelf to house different types of foods. How you differentiate and divide your shelves will totally depend on your preferences and habits, but what I do is: breakfast items, snacks, grains and pastas, crackers and cereals, coffees and teas, and then baking essentials.

By separating your shelves in such a manner, you’ll be able to see all that you have much more clearly. This will avoid stale foods slipping between the cracks.

Finally, it’s always a best practice to set aside some time every few months to check out your pantry in full detail. Whether it’s foods you know you’ll never touch again, or maybe items you forgot you had and want to eat immediately, it’s important to review and remember what you have. Of course, if you find anything past its expiration date, be sure to toss it right then and there!

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Practical Yet Pretty

First ImageThe key to a nicely organized home is pretty simple: keep it functional without sacrificing design. By this, I mean that you don’t want things to look cluttered but you also don’t want to have to travel to your basement every time you want to vacuum the rug.

Take my kitchen as an example – it is fairly small, but it’s also a space in which I need several things to be easily accessible. My solution? Keep the pretty, functional things in plain sight and hide the less attractive items. Items like my sponge are hidden in a bowl at the top of my sink, while my drying rack are placed in a cabinet below the sink. When I am doing dishes, I whip out both of these items and when the dishes are done drying, they both go away.

This strategy can be applied to absolutely every room in the house so go ahead and give it a try!