This week's project for the Home Management: Simplified & Streamlined series was to declutter and organize the kitchen.
I intended to accomplish this project throughout the week, but procrastinator that I tend to be, I saved it all for one day. Thankfully it hadn't been too long since I had gone through everything in the kitchen, so it proved to be a little faster than I anticipated.
I thought organizing the pantry was going to be a side project, but it actually ended up being the main thing I worked on--and something I think will save me loads of time in the kitchen.
I buy a lot of our food in bulk. This is great because it saves us money, but it also means that things don't come in handy containers. As I've experimented more with gluten-free baking, I've ended up with quite an odd assortment of things just thrown in the pantry without their own place.
I attempted to solve that problem yesterday. I grouped all of my gluten-free baking supplies into one bin, all of my grains/nuts/seeds/dry beans/etc. into the larger yellow basket, and I put all my spices into the two bins at the top. I have a spice rack on my kitchen counter with the spices I use most often. The ones in the pantry are refills, or spices I don't use that often.
I'm so excited that I won't have to dig through the entire pantry looking for something lost at the back anymore. It will save so much time, I'm sure! And--as a plus, Ben can get to his cereal at night without a bunch of stuff falling on his head. :)
I think decluttering was a great place to start in our attempts to simplify and streamline our work in the kitchen. It is so much more efficient to have a place for everything and not have a bunch of excess stuff in the way of the tools we use most often!
Next week, we'll be experimenting some with freezer cooking. I've not done a whole lot of it in the past, but as our family grows (and as I anticipate the newborn daze in just 10 and a half weeks or so!), I think doing more cooking ahead might be a useful tool--especially since Ben is still off of corn, soy, gluten, and nuts and takeout is just not an option ever. Plus, I'd rather my people eat healthier and more frugal fare than takeout most days.
Week 7 Project:
Next week, Rachel and I will be planning to put something in the freezer each weekday. This does have to be an entire meal, but would also include meal components (pre-cooked ground beef, pre-cooked beans, fruit frozen for smoothies, etc.).
If freezer cooking is a new concept for you (or even if it's not!), here are some great resources to take a look at:
::Jessica at Good Cheap Eats is a freezer-cooking extraordinaire. Here is her collection of freezer-friendly recipes.
::Crystal at Money Saving Mom recently did a series called 4 Weeks to Fill Your Freezer. She shares lots of great freezer-friendly recipes. Unfortunately, there isn't an easy way to find all the posts in the series, but if you search for the series name on her site, the posts will come up.
::Tammy at Tammy's Recipes talks here about several meals she made ahead in preparation for the arrival of one of her babies, including how they tasted from the freezer.What about y'all? Have you done much freezer cooking? What other things have you done to streamline kitchen work?
Be sure to visit Rachel's post at Intentionally Simple this week!