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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The House That Jack Built

I am trying to clean and re-organize my kitchen. I can do the surface stuff pretty well, wash dishes, wipe down counters, pick up the floor, but it gets beyond me any time I have to do serious cooking, any big dinners or parties it seems to take me weeks to recover. The reason is simply I have too much stuff in too small of a kitchen. But here's the thing, I have moved 3 times in the last 3 years and I have pared my kitchen gadgets and pots and pans down to the bare minimum. I know that most people could do without 4 individual tart pans, but I can't. Heaven help me, baking is the only hobby I have left. I went from 3 spring form pans down to one, I have 3 nesting cake pans for layer cakes. I have 2 loaf pans and a pizza stone and a rolling pin. I use my blender like most people would use a food processor. No food processor for me, no stand mixer, no garlic press, no bread machine. I have it down to the essentials, but still, I moved into a house with 2 drawers in the kitchen. I have maybe 2 1/2 feet across at the widest piece of counter space, my side by side refrigerator was designed by someone who eats out a lot, I think. Of course it was a foolish idea for someone who enjoys cooking the way I do to move into a kitchen so tiny and ill-equipped, but once you start looking at homes where I live you realize there isn't anything better out there, I live in a place people go to vacation. Houses are built to be vacation homes, the bare minimum to get you by for a month or two. There are no usable attics, no garages, no extra cupboards, no pantries, and very little storage. I mean, I'm complaining about a lack of closet space in paradise, I get that, but I keep thinking I am spending the kids' college money on rent and it makes my dinky kitchen an even more bitter pill.

Last weekend I saw a free-standing corner hutch at the church garage sale. I didn't have a tape measure handy nor even an idea of the dimensions of the corner of my dining room, but I had a feeling it would fit. I just knew! At the end of the sale it was still available so I went and picked it up for a song and placed it in the corner. It is perfect. I have gained 3 shelves, 1 drawer and 1 cabinet by using this piece. All of my serving plates went into it, all of my decorative knick-knacks, I am slowly but surely making space in and on the cupboards. So I decide to change the hallway linen closet into a pantry and appliance storage. This means taking all of the towels and storing them in the bathroom, and storing the sheets in the bedroom and the blankets in a blanket chest, and the sleeping bags... well, where am I going to put the sleeping bags? So, as you can see I have spent the day furiously moving things from place to place and nothing is done and I am at that place where it feels like this little project will never be done and I am worn out and tired, but I still have to make dinner.

Tomato soup and chopped salad sandwiches.


To make chopped salad sandwiches simply chop up romaine lettuce with your choice of lunch meat and cheeses, dress with your favorite dressing and place filling in a pita pocket. Fin. Tomato soup is simply canned soup, with 1 bag of french onion soup mix, and one can of chopped tomatoes with the juice, heat up and add one can of milk, serve. A perfect "pantry meal" because you will more than likely always have the ingredients on hand. Tomato soup and sandwiches, a frazzled Mommy meal, you can take my word for it.


  1. Sleeping bags can go under the beds. That's where we keep Sally's since a) she never uses it and b) it keeps her from putting everything under the bed when "cleaning"her room.

  2. Oh yes! That is a great idea actually!

  3. What a difference a sense of gratitude makes! I'm a bit ashamed now for complaining too much about my kitchen and the kitchens I see we 'might' move into (once we do make the move). Oh and btw, that soup and sandwich dinner sounds so yummy and comforting. I should do that sometimes instead of torturing myself over complex Filipino dishes, lol!

  4. I would LOVE to learn some Filipino cookery if you ever have a minute to leave a recipe here! And I know what you mean, I feel guilty sometimes that I am not making fancier things, but then I remember, life is all about balance. Sometimes I make a 3 course meal with a lovely dessert and sometimes we literally will just make a huge bowl of popcorn and be done.