Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pantry Organization~

Well, if you follow me on IG...you will know I spent part of yesterday touching up paint around the house.  So that hubby would know where I had painted, I put up hot pink heart shaped sticky notes.  Sorry honey, not love notes, but wet paint warnings instead! LOL

I also decided to clean out our fridge/freezer (I usually do this once a week prior to grocery shopping, but since we have been busy with VBS and house stuff it has been a couple weeks).

At that point, I was on a roll so why stop there.  I decided to declutter our pantries (yes, I have 3) and throw away any expired goods.

So, I thought I would share those with you.

Picture overload...you have been forewarned!!!

Our staples pantry...this is where we keep extra spices (yes, don't judge...we have enough to open a store), stock/broth, oils, vinegars, extra condiments, pasta, rice, canned goods, and our baby girl's food and necessities (yes, I am talking about our spoiled rotten Cairn terrier).

Extra spices (well, some of them...others are stored on a shelf).  The ones we use daily are stored in a drawer near our prep area.

I use Mason jars to store our extra mixed peppercorns, fine/coarse sea salt, and kosher salt.  Regular salt, yeast flakes, mulling spices and assorted syrups/honey round out these bins.

Next up...oils...truffle, canola, grapeseed, unfiltered olive oil, EVOO, and an extra EVOO.  We really need stock in EVOO...we use it daily!!!

Vinegars are stored under the oils...rice wine, apple cider, red wine, white wine, champagne, balsamic, tarragon infused.  And lastly, extra condiments.  Mayo, pepper sauce, ketchup, wing sauce, salad dressings, etc.

A look at the door storage and the inside.

Very top shelf hosts my red Vietri pitcher I use for special occasions and Christmas, and extra water pitchers.  Next up is our stash of stock and broth, extra syrup (maple/blueberry) and distilled vinegar.  Shelf below...canned goods-beans, olives, soup.

Next...pastas (GF), rice (varying).  Underneath-GF mixes (pancake, baking, biscuit, pizza), GF breadcrumbs/panko and MORE spices...yes, there should be a group for Spices Anonymous!!!  Hi, my name is Lauren and I am addicted to spices! LOL

Lastly, a few baking mixes (GF brownie/GF bisquick), onions, the princess's food and STUFF!

Our snack/breakfast/supplement pantry...

Top shelf...protein bars, crackers, cookies (my hubby has his special stash of non-GF favs on the right...Carr's table water crackers, triscuits and easy cheese).  He has been so supportive of #2 and I's crazy dietary issues...we had to give him something people!!

Chip clips, popcorn, corn chips, pretzels, pirates booty (this you need to hide from the princess...who knew Cairn terriers love popped cheezy corn), and chips (currently sweet potato).

These bins vary...extras...rice cakes, GF ice cream cones and sprinkles, kale chips and my fav...jalapeno cheese straws!  

Breakfast shelf...hubby's instant hot cereal, my GF oatmeal mix (GF thick rolled oats, raisins, chopped walnuts and cinnamon), GF granola for topping yogurt with, and GF cereals.

And lastly, our baking pantry.  This is usually more impressive when #2 is home.  She loves to bake.
Flours, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, corn/rice starch, yeast packets, cinnamon sugar mix, stevia drops, vanilla/almond extract, egg replacer, holiday sprinkles, food coloring, cupcake liners, pastry tips, cookie press and cutters to name a few!

Whew...did you make it through?  As you can see...I am a bit OCD when it comes to our pantries.  We cook most of our meals at home these days due to dietary restrictions, and having everything in order and easily accessible makes for a more pleasant mealtime. 

Tomorrow I will be back to painting. More touch-ups and then on to #2s room redo-Lilly inspired!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mexican Chopped Salad~What's for Dinner Wednesday

Yesterday, my sweet blog friend and fellow empty nester Vicki, Life In My Empty Nest posted this wonderful Mexican Chopped Salad she had pinned the recipe for.

Fast forward, honey and I were at the grocery store (TJ's to be exact) and were trying to decide what to make for dinner.  Neither of us were super hungry and we did NOT want to heat up the kitchen using the oven (it is hot enough here already).  So, I suggested the salad Vicki had posted. Game on...

Mexican Chopped Salad


1/4 C fresh lime juice
2 TBS honey
1/2 tsp cumin
1 clove garlic (we used minced)
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS canola oil
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Tortilla Strips:
6 6-inch corn tortillas
1 1/2 TBS canola oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

1 medium head romaine lettuce, chopped approximately 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium bell pepper, diced in 1/4 inch pieces, you can use whatever color pepper you prefer.
1/2 medium red onion, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 medium jicama, peeled and diced in 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, diced in 1/4 inch dice
4 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced into 1/4 inch dice
4 ears corn
1 1/2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 C finely chopped cilantro, plus whole cilantro leaves for garnish, if desired


1.  For the dressing, combine lime juice, honey, cumin, garlic and salt.  Stir to combine. In a slow, steady stream, add the oils, stirring continuously with a fork or small whisk. Taste and add more salt or pepper, if needed.  Set aside.
2. For the corn tortilla strips, preheat oven to 400* F. Stack corn tortillas on a cutting board. Cut in half. Cut each stack of halves into thin strips, about 1/4 inch thick.
3. Transfer tortilla strips to a sheet pan.  Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, or until light golden brown and crisp.  Set aside to cool.
5. Place corn, two ears at a time, in the microwave and cook 3 1/2 minutes. Remove from microwave with a hot pad and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  After cooling, cut bottom end of corn off, about 1 1/2 inches from end.  Pull back husk and silks (almost all of the silk should easily pull away).  Cut kernels from husks and set aside.
6. Combine corn and other salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir to combine.  Add dressing and stir to coat all ingredients.  Garnish with cilantro leaves, if desired.
7. Serve with tortilla strips on top or place a bowl on the side and let guests help themselves.

Original recipe found here.

Couple of notes:

1.  We omitted the jicama-TJ's did not have any.  Will add next time for that extra crispness and touch of sweetness.  Whole Foods carries it already diced.
2. We omitted the tomatoes.  I have a slight allergy to them and hubby does not like them uncooked.
3. We used a small (very small) green bell pepper from our garden.  I would use an orange one next time for more color, especially if serving for guests.
4.  We also omitted the tortilla strips.  While I can have corn tortillas and they do make GF as well, like I mentioned we did not want to heat up the kitchen.  We didn't miss them.  However, you can always purchase the strips premade in the salad section of the grocery store if you want them and like us don't want to heat up the kitchen.
5.  Our ears of corn were already husked (so much easier), and I have a handy dandy corn husker I purchased at WS that made it super easy.  Just watch your fingers!!!

This salad is delicious.  Perfect for a light summer meal, or as a side dish.  We are eating the leftovers tonight along with Tequila Lime Chicken.  Would be wonderful with shrimp as well.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Simply LKJ: Blog Tag!

I know some do not like being "tagged"...but personally I love it, and love reading/learning more about my fellow blog friends.  I was recently tagged by Erin of Live Pretty on a Penny.  Erin is just the sweetest, mom of the most precious 4.5 month old, and fellow southern, Atlanta gal.  I was introduced to her by Brandi, Don't Disturb This Groove.  Brandi took the most amazing family photos for Erin recently.  Hoping to meet up with them in person this summer!!

Okay, here goes nothing...

1.  Are you named after someone?  No.  Most thought yes, Lauren Bacall.  My mother originally wanted to name me Kimberly, but after realizing most would shorten it to Kim, she chose Kim for my middle name.  (on a side note, my brothers thought it would be funny to name our German shepherd puppy Kim later on, NOT!!!!)

2. When was the last time you cried?  Hmmm, full on Oprah "ugly cry" or a few tears?   Tears, last week when I remembered it was a year ago that we lost our sweet Tyler, our beloved Golden Retriever of 13 years.    Our girls first "real" pet.

3.  Do you have kiddos?  Yes, two beautiful girls, 24 and 20 (that just hurts typing those numbers!)

4.  If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?  I think so. I am hardest on myself, but have been told I am an encourager and good listener (when my mouth isn't going a mile a minute, LOL).

5. Do you have a guilty pleasure?  Gluten free Cheese Straws (with jalapenos)...someone please take the bag away!!!!!

6.  Do you like handwriting?  Assuming mine???  Actually yes.  I get asked all the time if I am an architect...neat, perfect, simple.  And, I am a lefty...go figure!

7.  What's your favorite cereal?  Not really a fan since going gluten free!  But, GF granola is fine.

8.  What's the first thing you notice about people?  Their eyes.  Do they make contact or not.  Are they sure of themselves (confidant) or not? Teeth/Smile is a close second.

9.  What's the color of your eyes?  BLUE! So much so I get asked if I am wearing tinted contacts.

10. Scary movie or happy endings?  Sucker for a happy ending, especially with all the depressing news these days.

11. Favorite TV shows?  Hell's Kitchen, Master Chef, Master Chef Jr. (whip it like a man!), Jeopardy (like competing with hubby), HGTV Fixer Upper (Sic 'Em Bears-Joanna and Chip are Baylor grads, my #2 is attending there).

12. Summer or Winter?  Oh geez...that is a tough call here in the ATL.  Summer is so darn hot and humid, and not to mention RAINY these past few years.  And, last winter was AWFUL.  So, I am going out on a limb and saying FALL?????!!!!

13.  Hugs or kisses?  HUGS all the way around!!!

14.  Do you have any special talent?  Hmmm...I am VERY good at remembering colors and matching them.

15.  Where were you born?  Jamaica Queens, NY! (lost the accent a LONG time ago)

16.  What are your hobbies?  Blogging, decorating, DIY, gardening, reading, cooking, teaching Bible class to the littles.

17.  Do you have any pets?  Yes, 2 dogs.  A mix/rescue named Toby-his fur on his feet look like the Grinch's dog when it grows out, and he will only walk around you counter-clockwise (herding), and Kylee-the princess, a Cairn who looks like Toto, full of energy and spoiled beyond rotten!

18.  Favorite movie?  Not a big movie person (gasp).  My hubby laughs, one of the last movies I drug him to was Alvin and the Chipmunks, LOL.

19.  What color is your car?  Navy blue!

20.  What do you want to be when you grow up? I have to grow up?  Secure in my faith, happy, settled, loved! (and a GiGi...but that can wait for a VERY long time...#1 and #2).

Okay...now the fun part...tag, you're it!

Vicki, Life In My Empty Nest
Katie, Preppy Empty Nester
Christine, Suburban Charm
Shenita, Embellishments by SLR
Ron, The Uptown Acorn
Diana, Nana Diana

Can't wait for their answers!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day and Life Lately~

Well, we received quite a treat yesterday.  #1 cooked dinner for her dad and I, along with the "keeper".
Funny story how it all went down...

#1 texts me to ask what our plans were for tmrw (meaning Sunday, Father's Day)...

None really...

Her father knows the girls well...plans=where are we going to dinner? (usually)...

So, her dad told me to text her back that he expected her to cook dinner for him...



But, I don't know how to cook gluten free (#1 tries to pawn it off on dear old mom's food issues).

So, with that I told her dad would provide her with the "Master Chef" secret basket of approved ingredients and then she would have to figure it out.

Let's just say we promptly received two menu choices in return.

Dad chose lemon pepper chicken, seasoned new potatoes and garlic green beans!

Sunday...#1 arrives, ingredients, pans and all, prepared to do battle.  And, she did an amazing job!!

So yummy.

Little did she know (I told her later) that her sister and I were using this for a warm-up for Thanksgiving! LOL

It really was a nice treat for both her dad and I.

Other life happenings...I survived a week of teaching 3-4s vacation Bible school.  We really had a fun time, but boy do they wear you out.  Non-stop...go, go, go!!!  I now have a couple months of relief before being assigned a new group to teach come fall.

Our window installation went well, no rain that day!!  We have finally made a decision regarding the paint colors for the exterior, and need to get on our painters schedule.  I will be thrilled when it is all over!!!  I don't care to talk windows nor paint (exterior that is) for quite some time!!!

We continue to work a bit on the yard, although it is mostly done.  Need to make a few changes in the grassy areas, but that will come in due time.

Other than that, I am taking a deep breath this week and enjoying what sunshine I can get.  Seems to rain EVERY afternoon!!!!!  Would not mind if it would cool things off, but it just makes them all the more hot and sticky.

Hope your summers are off to a good start.