Tag Archives: cooking

Let’s Get Organized! | Spice Rack DIY

2 Mar

DIY spice rack

One result of small space living (or a small kitchen at least) is the true need for clever kitchen storage solutions. We’ve come up with a few that utilized stuff we already had, like an office document/mail organizer tucked in a lower cabinet to neatly store oversized Tupperware/lids & a larger, short, round Rubbermaid container to keep smaller lids tidy that we stuck to the inside of the door of the same lower cabinet with industrial Velcro.

We’ve never had a great solution for storing herbs & spices that we use frequently. We bought these containers that we love, but had them stacked in a two-tiered “system” on our kitchen shelves. It wasn’t the best use of their great see-through lids & it still left us shuffling through spices whenever we wanted to use them.

I’ve seen a lot of terrific spice storage solutions but wanted something that utilized our existing jars & a smallish wall space we have in our kitchen next to some cabinets. Note: the best placement for spice storage is somewhere darkish (or out of direct sunlight) and a coolish/room temp. While the magnetic tins we made would be fine stuck to the side of a refrigerator, the fridge in our kitchen can run a little warm & the side we’d have stuck them to is right next to the window, so we opted for a space on the other side of the kitchen, away from direct sunlight and appliances that emit heat.

I intentionally made the labels take up a large part of the see-through lid – to keep out even more light.

Supply list followed by quickie DIY instructions

Spice rack stainless steel magnetic base: We used this and were really pleased with the quality & speedy shipping. Screws are not included so be prepared to provide your own for attaching the base to the wall.

Tins: Source: Specialty Bottle — I’ve ordered lots of things from SB & they’re great! They’ll send you a couple of samples too (at no charge!). The possibilities are endless but as previously mentioned, we used these.

MagnetsI bought these but you can also search for them on Amazon & elsewhere on the web. I’ve seen other tutorials that use magnetic paper. That would be fine too – but in my experience, it’s not as strong as individual magnets & I didn’t want to go to the trouble to make this whole thing, only to have the heavier spices slide down the wall mounted base.

Glue: I used E6000 (that I bought at a local craft store). It worked well but it’s super toxic AND even with the windows open (hooray for a warm winter!) & a tabletop fan pointed towards the window….WOW — the smell was horrible & made me feel nauseous! I’d forgotten how toxic this stuff is…ick!

1) Measure the space you want to put your jars. Make sure if it’s near a cabinet, that the door when opened, will clear the jars on the wall.

2) Glue magnets to bottoms of jars.

3) Download my free printable spice jar labels & please ignore the little dashed line in the template — I can’t, for the life of me, get rid of it & it doesn’t appear in the original design file. It won’t appear on your finished labels because you’ll cut them out anyway! Print them on a big sheet of label paper (like this kind from Staples) & punch out. I used a 1.5 inch round craft punch.

4) Fill jars with spices/herbs & attach the tops.

5) Write on labels & stick to tops of jars. I love a handwritten label but if you don’t, you could use a label maker/vintage typewriter or add spice names to labels in a design program before printing.

6) ENJOY! If you have space at the bottom, use a magnetic clip to hold grocery lists and a tally of spices you’re running low on or out of.

Other notes
Use a cookie sheet (new or vintage) or have a home supply store cut you a sheet of stainless steel – just make sure it’s magnetic (not all stainless/metal is) and we didn’t go to a home supply store because I wanted rounded corners (pointy metal corners are SHARP!) – also I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with drilling the holes in the metal for hanging. We’re comfy with DIY (& power tools!) but I really didn’t want to overcomplicate things for this project. If you’re in the mood for a visit to Ikea, this would be an awesome option (it’s nice & tall & comes in white, too).

Spice storage ideas/tutorials/inspiration
I like the jars a lot & the finished product reminds me of honeycomb. 
Friends of ours painted a wall in their kitchen with magnetic chalkboard paint & attached magnetic spice jars to it. Love!
One of many sources online for a DIY vintage soda crate spice rack (swoon!).

Two For One | Shredded Chicken & Enchilada Sauce

28 Jan

Make it count Monday, two recipes in one blog post. My ever thrifty self has been trying to meal plan on my day off and make the majority of our meals at the beginning of the week in order to have stress free healthy meals during the week when work is in full gear.

I’ve been using these simple principles:
– Cook at least one protein in the crock pot. Why you ask? Here are my tips… I can stretch one protein such as pork tenderloin, boneless spare ribs, chicken breasts, steak tips, etc. into about 2 -3 meals for Kate and I. Of course I get creative mainly because I can’t stand having the same thing over and over. One week we had steak tips cooked in the crock pot that we had with mashed sweet potatoes and kale chips, which then turned into asian spiced steak tacos with corn soft tacos and fresh lime juice.
– Save your money! Using the crock pot to cook at least one meal a week will save you money on utilities. One of my favorite crock pot recipe blogs, A Year of Slow Cooking, listed that there is documentation that suggests that a slow cooker uses approximately $0.02 of power per hour and that the monthly cost of using a slow cooker is $1.17. The slow cooking method of crock pots lends itself perfectly to less expensive cuts of meat that can be tough if not cooked using the low and slow method.
– Save your time! I only make slow cooker meals that require little to no prep ahead of time. That means less prep time, less dishes, and more time to spend with Kate and the pups 🙂

This week I made the recipe below originally posted on The Honest Company Blog.

Easiest Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
serves 4

Ingredients
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (fresh or frozen)

1 16oz jar of your favorite salsa
1 onion finely chopped

Steps
1) Pour 1/3 of the jar of salsa covering the bottom of the crock pot

2) Layer the chopped onion over the salsa

3) Nestle the chicken breasts into the onion and salsa that is covering the bottom of the crock pot

4) Cover the chicken breasts with the remaining 2/3 jar of salsa

5) Cover and cook fresh chicken breasts on LOW for 7 hours. If you used frozen chicken breasts cook on HIGH for 6 hours.

Notes:
1) I used fresh chicken breasts and came out amazing, super moist and tender. Yum!
2) The salsa I used was Spike’s Salsa and it was the medium variety, but feel free to use whatever suits your heat level. I discovered Spike’s Salsa one week when it was on sale at the grocery store, it is really good and costs a fraction of the other bigger named salsa brands.
3) I removed the cooked chicken from the crock pot and shredded it using two forks, it basically falls apart on its own so you could use your hands if you want.
4) To store it, I placed the left over shredded chicken in a food safe storage container, we use these Anchor Hocking True Seal glass containers, then I added about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of the reserved cooking juices that were at the bottom of the slow cooker. Only use enough to mix into the shredded chicken to keep it moist.

sauce
Tonight I’m turning the left over shredded chicken into an Enchilada Casserole using a homemade enchilada sauce I made this afternoon.

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Tomato Enchilada Sauce
inspired by America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients
1 TBS canola oil

1 14.5oz can of Organic fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 onion diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 Fresno chile finely diced, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp sugar
2 TBS salsa
1/2 c water

Steps

1) Heat oil in a 1.5 – 2 QT sauce pan using med/low heat.

2) Start to cook onion, garlic, and chile in the heated oil to soften about 5 mins.

3) Add remaining ingredients and stir.

4) Bring sauce to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.

5) Simmer covered for 15 minutes.

6) Remove pan from heat, using an immersion blender submerge into sauce and blend until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender a food processor or blender would work just as well.

7) Enjoy!

Notes:
1) The enchilada sauce recipe is totally vegan and low-fat!
2) It will freeze well in a freezer safe storage container, try using a canning jar just remember to leave approximately 1 inch of room in the jar before screwing on the lid.

 

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