Monday, January 16, 2012

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I am by no means an 'expert' or a 'chef', I am not schooled in cooking or baking.  Rather, I am self taught, still make mistakes and have fun, but that is how I discover new things to make and share with you.

I am excited to share recipes that are yummy, mostly found and altered, some made up, and ranging from very simple to a bit of a challenge, super affordable to little splurges, very health minded to indulgences, and more!

     I have been posting photos of things that I cook and create in the kitchen ever since I left the nest.  This was about a year and a half ago.  My mother, upon noticing the amounting posts of dinner creations, said "I should have named you Betty!".  Hilarious, as I am sure that Ms. Crocker would make me eat her crumbs in the way of everything recipe.  I did not take much interest in cooking while living with my parents.  Apart from the occasional baking and very rare "cooking" (macaroni and cheese from a box, sandwiches etc.), there were no inclinations that I might not live off of pre-boxed and fast food.  But I was engaged to be married in three months and moving out for the first time and I thought "Hey! I can be a house wife! Right?".

     This leads me to tell you a little about my kitchen!  Little indeed.  It is a small, apartment kitchen.  With a small fridge, shallow sink and mismatched lower quality stove/oven and dishwasher.  I brought with me a hand-me-down microwave and less than $30 toaster.  Plus all of the glory that is kitchen decor.
     Kitchen Decor: Not of tangible function or purpose, but for emotional and spiritual lightening.  Color and some whimsy are good things.  Necessities.

For today, how about a little tour?
 Wooden salad bowls - I have never used these to serve food for two reasons: 
I think they make lovely decor and I am nervous that using them would make them less lovely.

 Just a couple of love chickens on a cake stand - Putting simple things on a 'pedestal'

 Open air storage - for my nicest bake ware and jewel of a dutch oven :)

 Floral contact paper on shelves and an owl trivet = Cheerful and useful!

 In an apartment or home with less built in storage, storing things out in plain sight is acceptable!
 Yes, my fridge. Showing the world that the As Seen On Tv perfectly organized ice box is not a reality!
(Not for longer than a day after the occasional clean outs anyway)

 Magazines and cookbooks galore! I stack them 'neatly' on my shelf all together like a little library of goodies.

Gerald the giraffe, as my husband named him, keeping up the optimism by 'hanging in there' with engagement, baby, and marriage announcements on the coveted Front-Of-Fridge display.

Well friends (Yes, we are friends now.), I will show you a few of the staples in my kitchen that a cook of my aptitude is requiring and/or loving... (Yes, I cleaned just before I did a photo sesh!

 This is IT. The stove top and the oven that has the easy job. All it has to do it get as hot as I tell it to.  It is adorned with one of the roosters gifted to me, kissing chicken shakers, happily tacky timers, whistling tea pot (if it didn't whistle, I'd forget it), owl trivet, S&P, and an always available dish towel.

 Perched nearby are a knife block with a good variety of things to run with, a lazy-susan style spice rack with most basics, a holder of cooking utensils, and my trusty cutting board made of teak from a sustainably farmed crop.

 Flavor go-to's : Black pepper, chili powder (not hot), Mrs. Dash (no salt seasoning), Italian blend of seasonings, and a giant jar of minced garlic (judged often by only-fresh-garlic users everywhere, but it has great value in my kitchen)

 My BELOVED. Stand mixer in cherry red with attachments including: whisk, dough hook, paddle and grater/slicer. Literally makes my life so much easier (and fancy!).

 A few things I love - rounded measuring cups and spoons, bamboo utensils (for any cookware), small-ish grippy handle tongs, a mini collapsible strainer (called a berry strainer sometimes), scrapers covered completely in silicone (non-slip, do not get hot and wont melt in any pot or pan!)

 As much FRESH fruit and veggies as I can for any recipe.  Much healthier and flavorful than frozen or canned, but can be the extra dollars on your grocery receipt. 
(Although I do use some frozen and canned ingredients in many recipes)

 Wonderful discovery, I received as a gift.  Garlic flavored olive oil! Adds SO much flavor to recipes!

Plain extra virgin olive oil, because it is healthier for you than vegetable oil and because not every recipe wants garlic flavor.  (Not for baking confections! I'll just say 'Ew".)

There you have it folks!  My kitchen in all of its glory... ?  It is nothing extravagant, un-affordable or reachable goals.  My haven/lab for cooking, creating and experimenting with food to feed my husband, family, friends, neighbors and myself.

Look forward to my first recipe very soon!  I know I am!  You can expect that I will be posting recipes with commentary as well as tidbits of my preferences, discoveries and tips.

I am anxious to see your comments below telling me of your journeys with my recipes and tips as well as recipe requests and questions!

Thank you for stopping by! I am looking forward to this adventure!


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