Thursday, October 23, 2014

Organization | Pantry | Spices

Today I want to share a little about pantry organization. this may end up being a multiple part post, so today I am just going to talk about spices.

I love having things organized! I love how everything looks when it all has a home. What I don;t like is when I can't find a way that is functional to organize something that I use regularly.  Spices are a great example. I have seen and tried so many different ways to keep these little containers in order. It wasn't until my mom gave me this old plastic Coca-Cola crate thing that I had no idea what I would use it for that I found the perfect solution!When we lived in Rhode Island, one of the cabinets had the perfect shelf for it. It fit the height and width of the crate perfectly! I was able to pull it out and easily find whatever herb/spice I needed at the time. then, I took it to the next level. Instead of pulling out each container to see what it was, I wanted a way to easily identify them. For the last few years, I would write on the cap and find them that way. This was really hard with the black lids!
One day, while I was in the office, I found this pack of Avery labels. Do you see where I am going with this??



I got to work labeling each and every jar. I used a fine point sharpie so it wouldn't bleed and smear everywhere. I am in love with how easy it is to find everything now!


This month, I am also participating in A Bowl Full of Lemons' 31 Day Purge. Day 20 was spices. We recently moved, so most of the challenges I did before we packed. Or so I thought. I didn't do the spices until a few days later when I was looking for something else and realized one of the spices has passed its 'best by' date. That got me curious, and so I went through them all. I had a few that were past their prime! (luckily they all expired this year within the last few months, so it wasn't THAT bad!)

Just a few!

When putting everything back and organizing it all, I realized I have a lot of cinnamon. Like A LOT! I remember buying it frequently over the summer thinking I was out all the time. Must have been the new mommy brain! I have two containers of regular cinnamon, a Roasted Saigon Cinnamon, Roasted Cinnamon, and two containers of cinnamon sticks! (One of them is almost empty, thankfully!) I think I should start using some of it up!

Here is my container in all its glory! What do you think? How do you keep your spices organized??



Follow along the challenge on Instagram

Monday, October 20, 2014

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup, Rustic No-Knead Bread, & Herbed Butter | Delicious | Baltimore Foodie

Hello foodie friends!

            If you've been following this blog for a while, you have probably seen all the 21 Day Fix friendly recipes I have posted. This one is not that! I firmly believe you need to indulge every once in a while and enjoy a nice hearty bowl of soup, some fresh baked bread, and delicious butter! Especially on cold and windy fall days!

           I think Fall is my favorite time to cook and bake. I love how it can be so cold, windy, rainy, etc. outside, but inside it is warm and welcoming. Last week, we had one of those days...Fall weather is setting in for good. The days are more windy and chilly than warm and breezy. This soup is
perfect for those days! I found a few different recipes on Pinterest for Vegetable Beef Soup. When it came time to actually make it, I just decided to wing it! A few friends on Facebook and Instagram were asking for the recipe, so I thought the best way to share would be here on the blog! :)



You can find the recipe for the no-knead bread HERE
For the soup, I used:

1 bottle (1 quart) V8  (I used the original. You can get low sodium, etc.)
8oz. Tomato Sauce
6 russet potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
5 medium carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 large white onion
1/2 head cabbage, roughly chopped
1 package stew meat (I think it was about 1.5 lbs)
About 1 Tablespoon dried Parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

* Heat olive oil in medium saucepan. Add meat and brown
* Pour tomato sauce into slow-cooker. Add vegetables, salt & pepper, & V8 juice.

I started a little later in the day than I planned, so I cooked mine on high for about 6 hours. I added the parsley about an hour before we ate. I also planned on adding some frozen corn and green beans at the same time, but I totally forgot! (Next time!)

For the butter:
I started with THIS recipe for Savory Herb Butter, but I only had dried herbs, so I adjusted! :)

1/2 stick butter, softened (The 'half sticks' work GREAT for this!!)
1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used kosher)
dash of garlic powder
dash of cayenne pepper (I may have added a little more than a dash!)

I let the butter soften while the soup was cooking. It was perfect by the time it was ready to eat. Just put the butter in a bowl, add the herbs, and mix well. You can add more/less to your taste. I thought it was perfect. The bread was hot and fresh out of the oven, so it melted almost immediately. Delicious!!

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as my family and I did!! Leave a comment and let me know if you changed anything! :)


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