LilSis’ Baking Pantry

April 2, 2009

I’m probably going to totally embarrass myself by showing you a photo of my cabinet that contains my baking supplies.  But, that’s okay. I’m not too proud. Go ahead and laugh, those of you with perfectly stocked pantries! That includes you, BigSis!

My teeny tiny supply of baking ingredients

My teeny tiny supply of baking ingredients

What led me to show this photo is the previous post by BigSis about the OXO Containers. I was thinking that if I bought a couple of those, I’d have to put expiration dates on the bottom of the containers. I, seriously, do not use my flour enough to not look at the expiration date.  And yes, I have also had baking powder expire. I think I might have even used it once after it was expired. You can guess how that turned out.

This cabinet is actually not too messy because no one gets in it very much! Ha! I don’t even drink tea, but that whole top shelf is full of tea. I think I bought it for guests and there it sits taking up an entire shelf! I may have to work on that.

If I had time, I would put the spices on the bottom shelf on a lazy susan, like I have my other spices, but it’s not a top priority. I do love my spices in alphabetical order but every time BigT cooks, he never puts them back in their place!

I love the theory, “Everything has a place, and everything in it’s place.” BUT, I don’t live in a fantasy world. I live in a house with three males. So, I can’t let my OCD tendencies take over or I’d drive myself up a ding dang wall! If I’m going to have HayHay help unload the dishwasher and allow BigT to cook in the kitchen, nothing is ever going to be exactly as I would like it.  I’m okay with that. I’ve learned how to deal with it.

So, BigSis, ya think I need one of those containers for my flour? Hee Hee! Every time I use it, flour goes everywhere because there’s  hole in the side of the bag! And, just for you, I didn’t change anything. This should at least have a clip on it to stay closed, right?

Believe it or not, I really am a neat freak! My flour is just neglected!

Believe it or not, I really am a neat freak! My flour is just neglected!

One more question, that King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour on the third shelf has never been opened but I cannot find an expiration date on it anywhere. I don’t even know what I bought it for. Should I just toss it?

~LilSis

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Food Network Loves My Pantry Containers

April 1, 2009

Remember when I went on and on about the cool OXO Good Grips Pop Containers that I used to organize my baking ingredients?  Well, guess who else is using them?  Food Network!  I’ve noticed the containers on episodes of Iron Chef America and on Chopped.  Pretty cool, huh?  I figure Food Network could choose any food storage system they wanted to, so if they opted for the Pop Containers, then it’s a pretty credible confirmation of my choice, me thinks.

I worked in advertising for a long time, so the concept of product placement is not lost on me.  For example, could Glad possibly feature their products any more than they do on Top Chef?  It seems like every other shot focuses on a box of Glad bags.  Perhaps OXO has a sponsorship deal with Food Network (aren’t we suspicious!), but I haven’t noticed any mention of it, and the Pop Containers’ appearances have been pretty subtle.  I just happened to notice them because I’m crazy mad for these things!

OXO Good Grips Pop Container

OXO Good Grips Pop Container

Keep your eyes peeled for these little beauties the next time you’re on the Food Network.  And watch for the Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupons so you can get your own!

~BigSis

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Furious at myself…

March 30, 2009

I’m so mad at myself.  Livid and disgusted and sick, in fact.  Is there anything worse than being mad at yourself, for something you did or didn’t do?  It’s so much more satisfying to be mad at someone ELSE.  You can punish them and demand that they make things right.  Whatever those “things” are.

I can’t be mad at anyone else this time.  I’m responsible.  I killed my plants.  All of them.  All.  Of.  Them.  Every last one.  The curly hoya and the regular hoya I’ve had for close to 25 years.  The ficus that LilSis gave me when she moved to California, along with the other plant she gave me that I never knew the name of.  The gorgeous new hoya hanging basket I found last year.  And the dracaena  from our dad’s funeral.  They’re all dead.  I put them in trash bags and hauled them to the dumpster.

How did this happen?  How did I keep these living things alive…some from my very first apartment, to the condo, and then to the dark apartment building, only to kill them all here?  Last December 15, on the day of the SPCA Bake Sale, we had the mother of all sleet storms here in Dallas.  I had been baking non-stop for 3 weeks, and was punchy from a 14-hour day of raising money for one of my favorite charities.  By the time I got home and unpacked things and cleaned up my kitchen and fed my furkids and myself, I must have fallen into a coma because I didn’t give one thought to all of the literally freezing plants on my north-facing patio.

If I had even one working brain cell at that point, I would have just put a couple of sheets over the poor things to protect them from the sleet and temperatures in the teens.  But did I do that?  Nope.  And so they all died.  I’ve been watering and watering the little stumps, hoping to see one little green sprig, but none appeared.

I’m a little surprised at how upset I am that all of these living things are dead.  I’ve taken care of them, watered them, fertilized them, trimmed them, nursed them, moved them, enjoyed them and loved them for so many years.  And now I’m responsible for their deaths.  I know I can get new plants.  But they won’t be MY plants.  They’ll just be plants.

~BigSis

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Pantry Organization Project…Check!

March 2, 2009

Remember the other day when I talked about my undying love for the OXO Good Grips Pop Containers?  I’ve been skipping up to Bed Bath & Beyond every weekend to buy a few more containers.  If I only buy 2 or 3 each trip, it seems to my little brain that I’m not spending as much money on this project as it would if I got them all in one fell swoop.  Just a little psychological game I play on myself.

So today, I made another trip to BB&B and picked up the last two containers I need for Phase 1 of my pantry organization project.  All of my flours, sugars and cocoa are contained and labeled!

OXO Good Grips Pop Containers at work

OXO Good Grips Pop Containers at work

They fit nicely on one shelf, and make me a verry happy girl!  I could go crazy and start Phase 2, which will be containing the lentils, popcorn, beans, and rices… all of those little bags of stuff, you know.  But I’m pretty content for now and the bags aren’t bugging me at this minute.  Next week may be a different story, but everything’s good in BigSis’ pantry today!

~BigSis

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I’m in Love!

February 19, 2009

Yep, you read that right.  I’m in love.  Head over heels, in fact.  But don’t start planning the wedding yet, SisMama.  The object of my affection is not tall, dark and handsome but instead is short, clear and square!  I’m in love with these OXO Good Grips POP Storage Containers that I found!

Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I know that I live in Picky Town, and that I have a bad case of Martha Stewart Flu, but these things are seriously off the chart.  I’ve been looking for a new pantry organization system for a while.  I know, it’s borderline pathetic that I just uttered that phrase, but bear with me.  I’ve been using this “system” for my baking ingredients.

Before...

Before...

It seemed messy and unorganized to me, and it certainly wouldn’t withstand a swarm of locusts or any other kind of varmint infestation that might befall my kitchen.  You never know, it could happen!  At the very least, a family of weevils could move into my pantry, so I ended up keeping the open bags of flours in the freezer, and my little freezer doesn’t have space for that.  It barely has room for all the bags of nuts and baking chocolates I keep in there, not to mention food for BigSis and the furkids.  So, I determined that I needed canisters that were 1) clear, 2) square or rectangular to be more space efficient and easy to scoop out of, and 3) airtight for freshness and bug-free-ness (if that’s a word).

Enter the OXO Pop Containers.  I bought 4 as a test to see how they worked out, and here’s the result:

...After!

...After!

Ahhhh.  Do you hear angels singing?  I do. These make me so happy!  The good news: I love these!  I almost had to smoke a cigarette after I got them filled and labeled, and I don’t even smoke!  The bad news: these are pricey little buggers!  I rewarded myself with these because I had a yukky doctor’s appointment the other day, and I always get myself a treat if I’ve been a big girl and not whined or cried about doing something I REALLY REALLY didn’t want to do.  I’d love a pizza reward, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of working my fanny off at the gym 5 days a week and trying to eat well, right?  So, my treat was the little pantry project.  The big 4 quart ones ($16.95)  hold a 5 pound bag of flour or sugar, and the smaller 1.5 quart ones ($9.99) hold just almost 2 pounds of flour.

Now.  I have many more items in my pantry that need to be tucked away inside these lovely little containers…cocoa, brown sugar, demerara sugar, pastry flour, bread flour, and so on.  Just imagine how beautiful my pantry would be!  I just need about $500 to finish the project! It gives me something to look forward to, right?

~BigSis

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My Pink KitchenAid Kitchen is Complete!

January 10, 2009

My Pink Power KitchenAid Kitchen is now complete, thanks to SisMama!  I posted some photos of my pink kitchen last fall, but one thing was missing.

The Pink Kitchenaid Blender!

The Pink KitchenAid Blender!

I had been using a white Oster blender that I bought when I got out of college (we KNOW how long ago that was!).  I was determined to hold off on the pink KitchenAid blender until the Oster passed away, but even with everyday smoothie duty, the darn thing would just not quit!  This Christmas though, SisMama blessed my little kitchen with the pink blender, and I donated the Oster to the women’s shelter store here in Dallas that’s my favorite charity.

Thanks, SisMama!  My happy little pink kitchen is so much fun to be in!

My pink triplets!

My pink KitchenAid triplets!

Now, if that old Black and Decker white hand mixer would just poop out…

~BigSis

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Friday Favorites: Household Items

November 7, 2008

Call me a dork if you want to, or Susie Homemaker, or a Martha Stewart wanna-be, but I LOVE finding a new household product that works wonders!  It makes me happy happy happy.  So in this edition of Friday Favorites, I unabashedly present my favorite household items!  But be careful, if you try them, you just might find yourself in my dorky shoes!

Clorox GreenWorks All Purpose Cleaner

Clorox GreenWorks All Purpose Cleaner

  • Clorox GreenWorks All Purpose Cleaner.  It has a fabulous fresh scent thanks to the lemon essential oil, and on top of that, it works!  Before I thought of trying it, I read about the bathroom cleaner in the GreenWorks product line in the August/September issue of ShopSmart Magazine (you already knew I had a bad case of magazine mania, and I love this one!).  ShopSmart said that Clorox GreenWorks Bathroom Cleaner worked as well as others, but didn’t cost more.  I figured the All Purpose Cleaner was a safe bet, and I wasn’t disappointed.  It even does a great job of cleaning my granite countertops, and leaves a nice shine on them.
Caldrea Citrus Mint Ylang Ylang Dish Soap

Caldrea Citrus Mint Ylang Ylang Dish Soap Liquid

  • Caldrea Citrus Mint Ylang Ylang Dish Soap Liquid.  The scent of this is heavenly, and makes doing dishes MUCH more pleasant!  I also love the countertop cleaner (great on the granite), the window spray, the home fragrance spray, and the powdered scrub in this scent.  Imagine essential oils of orange, lemon, bergamot, mint and ylang ylang, all blended together!
Simple Human Stainless Stell Trash Can

Simple Human Stainless Steel Trash Can

  • Simple Human Stainless Steel Trash Can.  I don’t like for my trash can to be in the pantry with food in case it gets stinky; just one of my many little quirks.  So that means my trash can has to be out in the open, and that means it has to be pretty!  I think this can is very beautiful, plus it doesn’t absorb any odors, and it holds a good amount of stuff.  It’s spendy, but you’re not going to need to replace it for a long, long time!  Maybe never!
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  Several years ago, I had some nasty tile grout at my old condo, and was racking my brain to try to figure out how to clean it.  I knew that LilSis had someone clean the grout at her house in Texas, and it cost a fortune (pre-Magic Erasers), plus they had to use some kind of caustic product.  I was hoping to avoid that kind of expense and chemical experience.  The Mr. Clean Magic Erasers had just come out, and for some reason, I tried them on a bit of grout, and viola!  It worked like a dream!  Better than a dream!  I emailed everyone I knew to tell them of this miraculous discovery.  Now, in this condo years later, I’m still using this product to clean tile grout, and it’s still the best product on the market for the job, and lots of others.
~BigSis

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Pink Power

October 1, 2008

You’re so right, LilSis.  October is a very important month for women.  Breast cancer touches just about everyone in one way or another, and this month it’s getting some attention.  If we all did just one thing – participate in a race, organize an event, or just buy a product that benefits breast cancer research – then it would be a beautiful thing.

You’re also right that I LOVE me some pink!  I don’t think I know of anyone who likes the color as much as I do, except for the lady on Dog Whisperer whose whole apartment was pink, all her clothes were pink, even her dog was dyed pink.  I have to admit she had me beat.  BTW, do you love Cesar Milan?  He SO makes me think that I could adopt a German Shepherd and not have it boss me around.  Anyway, I digress.  Back to the pink and the cause.

I adore the “Cook for the Cure” series of pink KichenAid appliances!  Did I say I adore it?  I meant I ADORE it!!!!  I have the stand mixer and the food processor, all of the gadgets, mixing bowls, measuring spoons and cups.

The coffee pot and toaster aren’t KitchenAid but I lurve them anyway.  The Cook’s brand comes from JC Penney, but I don’t think they offer the pink color any more.  I’m just hoping my old white Oster blender will go to appliance heaven soon so I can get the pink blender!  Is that wrong?  To wish demise on a loyal appliance who has stuck with me through smoothie after smoothie for more than 25 years?  I think not; not if it means a donation to an incredible cause.

So get out there people, and buy something pink!  Do it for the women who aren’t with us any longer, the women who have survived this disease, and the women who will face it in the future.  We can make a difference!

~BigSis