Kitchen Tips · organization

A Kitchen Pantry Check-In

My pantry is an essential part of my kitchen. Kind of like my own little “store,” it’s where all of the staples are safely tucked away. I’m in that closet space many times every single day!

We’ve lived in our current home for 7.5 years and this is my first time to have a decent size pantry. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to maintain it and keep it in order, so in an effort to organize it, I got baskets, bins and jars and got things in shape four years ago. I thought I’d do a little check-in today to give you a report on how it’s going.

First off, I still LOVE my chalkboard vinyl that I got at Hobby Lobby. It allows my kitchen reflect the season. I did the spring pick-up truck last week when I added the spring vignettes to my downstairs. If you have a white closet pantry door, you should try adding this vinyl chalkboard. You could use it for an ongoing menu board, shopping list or for drawing or writing things like Bible verses, sayings or quotes!

This side of my pantry gets used a lot! From the Olive oil, cooking spray, and canned goods, it holds the things I use the most. I love that my oils and vanilla are in baskets that slide out. It makes it super easy to pull it out and grab what I need. I have a couple of my favorite cookbooks behind the brown sugar cannister on the left side and my aprons are on hooks to the far left. That works great!

The lazy Susans are perfect for my canned goods. It’s easy to turn and see what’s available. On the top shelf are the pots and pans I don’t use that often, as well as some of my home canned fruits and vegetables. I have some of those things “hidden” by the framed recipe for bread, written in the handwriting of my dear friend, Hope, who is now in heaven. It’s a sweet reminder of her giving heart.

I don’t love the way these shelves look, but boxes of crackers, pastas and jars of condiments are all a little taller than my containers. These came from the Dollar Tree and have been okay, but I think I’ll be looking for deeper baskets in the near future.

Above that shelf are two baskets with “extras.” They contain tea for sweet tea, Chex mix, crackers, Syran wrap and the like. I think this is the kind of material I’ll get for to replace the white Dollar Tree containers.

I LOVE keeping my pantry stocked so it’s easy to pull a meal together. I try to use what I have on hand, then restock as I empty my shelves. Canned tomatoes, pasta sauce, pastas, dry beans, and baking ingredients like chocolate chips, sugars, coconut and nuts are all sitting and waiting to be stirred into my favorite recipes. My girls tease me and say if there’s ever a food shortage, they’re coming to my house! Live and learn, right?

After my little survey, I’m going to be looking for new baskets, but other than that, my system is working well. I say that because as Whitney, one of the most organized people I know, says that if your organization makes it difficult to use your things, then it’s not well organized!

How about you? Do you need to take inventory of your pantry space? Do you need bins, jars or baskets to keep like things together? Is your space working well and making it easy to work in the kitchen? Even if your pantry is a cupboard or one shelf in a closet, it’s important to keep it organized so you know what you have, you don’t over-purchase and you’re more effective because of your organization. Also, it will make you smile every time you open it up! Well, maybe you’ll be smiling at the chocolate chips you see, but you will be smiling!

Refresh your pantry!

home · Home decor · Home making · organization · refreshment at home

Kitchen Pantry Tour

pantry11a

My pantry is a corner closet in my kitchen.  It holds all my cooking items, so that would mean ~

wp-1496103227464

  • Canned Goods
  • Baking ingredients
  • Dry Goods
    • Pastas
    • Rice
    • Flours
    • Grits
    • Oatmeal
    • Sugars
    • Dried Fruits
    • Nuts
  • Teas
  • Pudding/Jell-O
  • Cereal
  • Jams, Jellies, Honey

It also holds some paper products

  • Paper plates
  • Plastic cups
  • Plastic silverware
  • Straws
  • Holiday napkins and plates
  • Holiday bags
  • Extra Ziploc Bags

Some seldom used items are stored there.

  • Pressure Cooker
  • Pasta Pot
  • Thermos
  • Small Insulated cooler

So, as you can see, that pantry has lots in it AND I go in and out of there all day long. I tell you all that so you’ll understand why this “Before” picture looks so messy!  It had just gotten out of hand, even though I had a “system” I thought was working.

Pantry

I took a day and half last week and got it under control!

Let me give you a tour of the “After.”  It still has LOTS in it, but it’s labeled better and spread out in a way that doesn’t overwhelm me when I walk inside.

pantr11

I’ll show you each shelf:

Up above ~

pantry 8

pantry 7

I added a little decor inside the pantry.  I hung my “Denise’s Kitchen” sign and my Rooster picture above the shelves.

pantry 6

 

pantry 4

pantry 2

I hung my two dust pans on a wall in here.  The small one is only for sweeping crumbs off the tablecloth.  The large one is for the floor.  I was constantly going to the coat closet down the hall to sweep around the trash can and counters.  This makes life easier!

pantry9

All the holiday paper napkins are in Ziploc bags and labeled.

pantry10

A little vignette on the floor!

pantry 1

 

0524171353a

While my pantry might not be the most beautiful with glass jars and empty shelves, it works for me and I enjoy stepping inside now.  My items are accessible and it makes me smile to open the door!  Mission accomplished!

If you didn’t see this post, you can see how I used vinyl chalkboard to cover the door of my pantry!

Do you have an area in your house that makes you grimace?  I hope this inspires you to do something to that space so you’ll smile instead!

Refresh those spaces!

Denise Signature 150 px

Crafting · Crafts · home · Home decor · refreshment at home

Chalkboard Pantry Door

Pantry Chalkboard.jpg

Maybe I love chalkboards so much because I taught school, I don’t know, but I do love them in every shape and fashion!  I have them in several places in my home, but I recently saw a place for a chalkboard that made my jaw drop…it was painted on the pantry door!  “How cute is that?” I thought. I decided then and there that I’d use my leftover chalkboard paint to create that in my kitchen.

But when I got to thinking about putting paint on that vinyl door, it made me wonder what I’d do when the chalkboard love had waned in my heart?  What would I do about that paint?  Another creative thought jumped in and I remembered seeing chalkboard vinyl that could easily be added or removed from a door!!!  This was my answer!

After much searching, I found just what I needed at Hobby Lobby (where else? I should have started there!).  So let me show you the simple process:

The before and after shots:

The vinyl has a grid on the back, making it super easy to cut a straight line, thank the Lord!  Try as I might, my lines wiggle all over the place without those patterns to guide me!  So I measured the width and the length and cut it accordingly.

pantry chalkboard vinyl

Then I took the vinyl with the backing still on it, and starting from the top, I placed the sticky part down,then slowly pulled the backing away, smoothing as I went.  This product went on super well.  It was easy to pull it off and straighten it, or push out any air bubbles,

pantry chalkboard process

Here’s the finished project without any writing on it – all ready for my chalk!!  Woohoo!  It took me 15 minutes to do this!  It doesn’t get any easier.   It’s sticking really well and hasn’t pulled away, but when I am tired of it, it pulls right off. I tested it to be sure!

pantry chalboard plain

I wrote our Easter Menu on the board for the weekend, but…

Pantry Chalkboard a

it already has a new look on it!  I anticipate changing it out weekly!  Why?  Because I love chalkboards!!

pantry chalboard drawing.jpg

But wait, here’s another fun use for the vinyl!  Have you ever used the last of your cinnamon and forgotten to add that to your grocery list? Then the next time you go to make cookies you remember you’re out of  it?  Me too!  So I also added a small piece of the vinyl inside my spice cupboard so I could remember the ones I needed to purchase and also which ones were stored away in the pantry.

wp-1492625104376

Not only was this project fast, it was also very inexpensive!  I used my 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby and purchased this for less than $5.  I didn’t even use the whole roll, which means two things:

  1. It cost me around $3 to do this fun project!
  2. I have more chalkboard vinyl to add to other places in my house!!!  Hurries off to find a place to use that leftover vinyl…

Do you have chalkboards in your house?  How do you use them?

Refresh your home with a cute chalkboard!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

baking · dessert · Dinner · dinner in 30 minutes · Fall · home · Home making · Uncategorized

Fall/Winter Pantry Essentials

pantry.jpg

Last week I shared three of my Go-To meals when I’m in a pinch for time (and money!).  I also shared the items I keep stocked so those meals can happen.  I hope you’ll check out that post if you missed it.  But when it turns cooler my menu changes, as I bet yours does too.  We think about soups, stew, cobblers, and comfort foods to fill us when fall and winter approach.  Since I know those are the kinds of foods we’re going to want for supper, there are certain items I know I need to keep on hand.

Let me share some of the essential items I like to keep in my pantry so I can cook and bake at a moment’s notice.

  • Chicken stock or broth – I love to make my own stock after I’ve roasted a chicken.  You can find my method here.  I’ve even updated my method by putting all the ingredients in the crock pot and letting it simmer all day.  It’s so much easier than doing it on the stove!  I freeze my broth in Ziplock bags (double-bagged for fear of leakage), lay them flat and stack them so they don’t take up much room.
    Chicken stock is necessary for soups, but also many other dishes – enchilada sauce, and roasted chicken, for example.  It’s great to have it on hand. This soup is a ten minute soup, and great for flu victims!
  • Minute Rice
  • Baking Mix (Like Bisquick).  This mix can quickly be turned into pancakes, waffles, biscuits, Cheddar Biscuits, muffins, dumplings and more!  Check out these recipes!
    Here’s a homemade version  you can make and keep on hand:
    Homemade Baking Mix

    6 cups All-purpose flour
    3 tbl baking powder
    1 tbl salt
    1 cup shortening
    Sift flour, baking powder and salt three times into a large bowl.  Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Store mixture in airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 months.
  • Canned Goods – Right now is a good time to stock up as many stores have sales events going on for the holidays.
    • Beans
    • Tomatoes
    • Corn
    • Green Beans
    • Pie fillings
    • Pumpkin
    • Cream Soups
    • Pasta sauce
  • Pasta
  • Taco SeasoningHere’s my homemade version
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar – Balsamic, White, Apple Cider – I love making my own salad dressings and if I have a good olive oil and choices of vinegar, I can mix one up in a minute!
  • Sugars – White, Brown and Powdered
  • All-purpose Flour
  • Shortening
  • Baking chocolate – Cocoa and chocolate chips
  • Oatmeal
  • Cake Mixes – Again, I stock up three or four when they’re on sale and keep for the Quick Cakes or desserts.

Of course I keep potatoes, onions. fruits, etc., but I’m only mentioning the dry goods here on this list.

There were lots of years that I couldn’t stock up my pantry, but had to purchase only what I needed that week.  If you can only add one or two extra items a week as you shop, keep an eye out for the sales and grab them when they’re marked down.  It will truly save you in the long-run!

Did I miss an item that you try to keep in your pantry?  What is it?

With love from my country kitchen,

img_8101