Tag Archives: kitchen

Kitchen organization

As I’ve mentioned before, my kitchen is not ideal for someone that likes to cook. It’s tiny, with pathetic excuses for storage and counter space. But we’ve actually made some improvements recently! After a successful trip to Ikea, we now have an island which extends our counter space and provides some extra storage.

After about an hour of assembly…




…the island was complete! (This is the exact island we got.)

Before                                                                     After
      
We are LOVING the extra counter space! And the shelves below are now home to the microwave, toaster oven, cookbooks, mixing bowls, and some other small things that used to be on this eyesore:

I took some time to reorganize a few of our cabinets, so now the shelving unit looks like this:
 

OK, so it’s still an eyesore. But to someone that has to look at it every day it is such an improvement. The cleaning products are finally under the sink where they belong (the pots and pans used to be under there), and all my spices and non-perishables are organized and easy to see. It’s just less cluttered, and safer, overall (things used to fall off the shelves and hit me in the face).

Anyway, we’re working with what we’ve got in this tiny apartment! But I do dream of the days when I’ll have a big island and tons of counter space. Someday!

What are your kitchen organization tips? What does your dream kitchen look like? 

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The 2 most important rooms in any house

In my opinion, the kitchen and the bedroom closet are the most important rooms in a house – yes, best case scenario, the closet is a room. I love browsing interior design sites for inspiring rooms, and fantasizing that my hypothetical future home will look even a little bit as cool. I fell in love with both the kitchen and closet below.

From Atlanta Homes Mag

From Roomzaar – love the w/d in the closet! Genius!

I found these images on Pinterest – are you guys using Pinterest? It’s basically a virtual bulletin board. It’s fun and kind of addicting, but it’s a great place to get inspiration.

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Happy National Cupcake Day!

So I had something else planned to bake today, but when I woke up and learned that it was National Cupcake Day I just had to change my plans! Cupcakes aren’t too tricky to make, and I’m trying to make things that are new to me, so I promptly Googled “best cupcake recipes”. And when I saw that the top result was Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes, accompanied by this picture…

…I knew what I was making!

As I’ve previously mentioned, my kitchen isn’t exactly outfitted with every essential kitchen tool. So I finally picked up an electric mixer at good old Tar-jay this morning. It was only $6.50!..(which may be the reason I’m debating returning it…more on that later.)

Anyway, this recipe is pretty easy. There is just an extra step. You have to make the cookie dough, freeze it for 2 hours so it doesn’t bake along with the cupcake, and then make the actual cupcakes. The recipe says you can also use pre-made dough for this, but I just made some from scratch.

When I initially showed the boyfriend the above picture of the final product, he commented that the ratio of cookie dough to cupcake looked a little too big – as in, he wanted less cookie dough than the picture portrayed. So instead of making dough balls from 1 Tbs of dough like the recipe called for, I made them a little smaller. I did it by hand but you could probably use a melon baller if you don’t like getting doughy hands. So into the freezer these went for a few hours (the recipe says at least 2).

I had plenty of leftover dough, so I bagged it up, flattened it out, and put it in the freezer for future use!

After the dough balls were sufficiently frozen, I made the cupcake batter. I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic Yellow cake mix. Here’s the new mixer in action! (Side note – I used it on the slowest speed, and it was much faster than I thought it would be. I had to be careful not to splatter the batter! I’m wondering if this is because I got a cheapy? I’m still debating returning this one and spending the $20 on a name brand one. It just seems to me like there should be a slower speed.)

Then all you do is plop the frozen dough ball into the middle of the cupcake. The biggest thing is not to overbake them, or the cookie dough will just cook and it won’t be doughy. I took these out after 15 minutes (the recipe calls for 18-20, but again, my oven is on crack).

After letting the cupcakes cool, it was time to frost. Now I’m usually a stick-a-knife-in-the-frosting-jar-and-spread kinda girl, but I thought I’d turn it up a notch and actually try piping. So I picked up these icing tips, also from Tar-jay.

I set up my sweet little icing station for easy clean-up and got down to business.

I employed a trick I’ve seen before and used a Ziploc bag instead of a real piping bag. You just snip the end off of one of the corners and insert the icing tip inside the bag and through the hole. Then just spoon the frosting in, squeeze it all down to the corner, and pipe away! (In this picture I used a gallon sized bag, but for the second batch I switched to a quart sized bag. The smaller bag made it a little easier to squeeze the frosting down to the corner.)

And here’s my first attempt! I know, not the prettiest thing – I didn’t start far enough down on the side and the top is a little droopy.

They got a little better as I went along! (And yes, despite my attempts to keep my frosting area clean, the kitchen counter was still covered in frosting by the end of this project. Typical.)
 

After making some pretty ones, I got a little silly with my new tool.


In the end, these were pretty delicious. To be honest, I only wish I had made the dough balls the size they were supposed to be! They needed more cookie dough goodness! I do recommend this recipe though. It’s really easy, and is a fun twist on two classic dessert recipes. From the outside it’s just a regular cupcake – but there’s a nice doughy surprise when you bite into it!

Now that dessert is already made, time to get dinner going. Steak with roasted baby potatoes and asparagus for us tonight!

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First blog kitchen trial – Bob’s Red Mill Golden Cornbread

Ok. So to recap what I explained in my Kitchen Resolutions post, I have a tiny kitchen, I lack several basic kitchen tools, and I’m a messy cook. Here’s the proof of what I’m workin’ with.


(Please excuse the dirty dishes in the sink.)


Yes, that is all the counter space I have.

And due to the lack of cabinet space…

…we have this super attractive storage rack for non-perishables, appliances, and other stuff. I’m actually sightly embarrassed posting this because it’s such an eyesore! But, you’ve gotta be resourceful when living in tiny urban spaces.

So that’s my kitchen, now on to the recipe! Even though it’s in the high 80s in LA still, I was craving a warm, autumn-y baked bread. So I tried out Bob’s Red Mill’s Golden Cornbread recipe. I love any recipe where it doesn’t require me to make an extra trip to the store – I already had these few, simple ingredients on hand.



To further illustrate my messy cook tendencies, I promptly spilled cornmeal all over the counter and floor. Typical. Anyway, the recipe is super simple. Of course, because of my lack of a sifter and an electric beater, I “sifted” the dry ingredients by mixing them with a fork…

…and nuked the butter in the microwave so I could easily incorporate it by hand into the batter.

I just crossed my fingers that my modifications didn’t affect the texture! (Notice the little dribble of batter that didn’t make it into the pan – another example of my messy tendencies!)

It looked pretty good coming out of the oven…

…and then it crumbled into pieces as soon as I cut into it. This was my second attempt at cutting a piece. (Sorry again for the blurry pics – I get next to no natural light in my kitchen and I’m still struggling with flash settings!)

To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with this recipe. I think I just like my cornbread more on the sweeter side. I added some butter and a drizzle of honey to finish off my piece, and it was pretty good! I’m wondering if the recipe just yielded a crumblier bread, or if it had to do with my lack of sifting and electric beating??

So kitchen trial #1 for this blog was a semi-success – it’s definitely an edible bread, and between the boyfriend and myself, I’m sure we’ll finish it off. Hopefully this weekend’s recipe will be more of a winner!

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Kitchen resolutions

I know it’s not the New Year yet, but starting this blog is definitely a new beginning. So, I’ve decided to make some kitchen resolutions.

I resolve to try making at least 2 dishes a week that I’ve never made before, and I’ll share the process, pictures, and outcomes on the blog.

There are some points I should clarify before starting down this road. I, by no means, consider myself to be a “good cook” – yet. I make a few dishes really well (chicken parm, spinach artichoke dip, baked mac & cheese to name a few), but for everything else, I just look up recipes and follow them. Sometimes I experiment – and those results are successful probably 60-70 percent of the time.

A few other facts about me and my kitchen:
– I’m a messy cook. Every time anything involves cornstarch or flower, it ends up all over me and the counter. Good thing I have cute aprons 🙂
– My kitchen is miniscule. I’ve lived in small places before, but this apartment’s kitchen takes the cake. It has pathetic excuses for counter space, next to no storage, and no dishwasher. So be prepared that it will always appear cluttered in pictures.
– Because of the lack of storage space, I haven’t acquired nearly all the kitchen tools one should really have when they like to cook. I don’t have any cookie sheets so I use baking pans. Sometimes my cookies’ consistency is off because I don’t have an electric mixer. I mince garlic because I don’t have a garlic press. I know some of these things are relatively inexpensive, but there is literally that little storage space in this place. I just figure, I’ve lived without them for this long – when I finally get a bigger kitchen, I’ll round it out with all the necessities. 🙂

That being said, here are just a few of the recipes I look forward to trying out!

Tempeh Tamale Pie

Cinnamon Toast Rolls

Coconut Curried Potatoes

Chewy Chocalate Chip Snickers Cookies

Thai Fried Quinoa

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