"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Home's Engine

 January was such a busy month that by the end of it my house was a filthy, disorganized mess.  I went back to basics this week with a whole-house scrub followed by a detailed kitchen cleaning.

The kitchen is the engine of the home and family, there's no doubt about that, and the center of the kitchen is surely the refrigerator (as evidenced by the typical magnet-like qualities of the fridge: walk into kitchen, open fridge and stare inside).

A good refrigerator cleaning begins with removing most of the food and scrubbing away at all surfaces.  I usually just use a mild dish soap with warm water.  If things have become really out of hand I might throw a couple of cups of vinegar into the dish water to add some natural disinfecting power.

 As you can see I avoid plastic containers whenever possible.  We are fortunate to have our milk cheerfully delivered in recyclable glass bottles (by Wolfgang of Pfennings Organics) and whenever possible I store food in re-purposed glass jars.  I'm also a fan of wax paper to wrap up cheese.
 With the price of nuts and seeds gone through the roof it's an excellent idea to store them in the fridge- which gives them a better chance of staying fresh. 

As you can see my family are fans of cheese, we always end up with odds and sods which need corralling into some sort of container: I use this wire basket I bought in Provence many years ago:
 There's a whole debate about storing eggs on the fridge door (is it cold enough there etc) but I think it's fine.  I also like to see them lined up like little soldiers:
 When I do a big fridge clean-up I have a peek into every jar and bottle to look for freshness.  If your family are extremely messy sandwich-fixers they are more likely to stick knives and spoons with peanut butter and crumbs into jars and vessels in their haste to make that sandwich pronto. 
 There are a couple of recipes I can pretty much always put together out of the contents of our fridge and pantry.  The first is the old reliable crepe.  These are so easy to whip up and always have the feeling of a special treat.  They are great to serve for breakfast but I also give them to my youngest daughter for an after-school snack.
This is the recipe I use (the basic crepe recipe, this link includes a delicious-sounding mushroom sauce paired with asparagus, there's a good crepe lunch recipe right there).


 To tell the truth I don't even measure it out, I know the crepe batter has the right consistency when it falls off the whisk in cascading ribbons:
I use my flat grill set-up on my stove top to cook them:
 Serve a stack with various jams, maple syrup and for a bit of decadence some whipped heavy cream.
 How about an easy lunch recipe?
I've been trying to incorporate pumpkin seeds into our diet as they are so healthy.  The raw seeds are quite bland so I roast mine in a skillet:
Don't get distracted: they burn easily.
 It took me some time to get used to cooking quinoa but I'm not sure why, it's actually so easy.  I buy mine in bulk from the health food store and I cook it at a 2:1 ratio (two cups of water to one cup of dry quinoa).  I saute a shallot in olive oil, add the water and an organic vegetable bouillon cube, some chopped parsley and the quinoa.  Cover and boil low for 15 minutes or so... towards the last 5 minutes I chuck in some greens, in this case a bit of shredded kale:
 Top with the pumpkin seeds and you have a filling, superfood lunch:
 I garnish it with a bit of pink salt:
If the refrigerator is clean and organized I find my nerves are far less frayed.  How about you?
Enjoy the weekend Tooties.
xoxDani

26 comments:

  1. My refrigerator cleaning regime sounds much like yours. I too like to use glass jars for leftovers (we are not a plastic family!). I have a couple of sets of 1920's and 30's stacking glass refrigerator jars that are constantly in use in our fridge. The large one I use to store the cheese. I use its lid separately - it sits on the fridge shelf, inverted, and holds jars of marmalade and preserves. Easier to clean a small glass lid than the entire shelf. I also found a vintage glass meat thawing tray that is useful for holding our milk containers because, inevitably, there are always splashes of milk that end up in the tray instead of all over the fridge shelf. Again, easier to clean.

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    1. CD your vintage glass pieces for the refrigerator sound so useful and attractive! So much nicer than plastic.
      I'm going to keep an eye out for similar items. xo

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  2. I eat bags of pumpkin and sunflowers seeds, last night's dinner was satay sauce, pumpkin seeds and butternut squash, it was so good.
    I love that wire basket, our eggs don't need to go in the fridge, I keep all of my nuts, which I rest much live on, in the cupboard, I didn't eve know that you could keep them the fridge.

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  3. ah, insert, pretty much live on - I struggle with animal protein, so nuts it is.

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    1. Tabs butternut squash is so good roasted with the pumpkin seeds, who would think of adding satay though that's genius.
      We've cut back significantly on meat and even fish. Nuts are such a good substitute.
      Thanks for the sunflower seeds reminder, I have to action those in a recipe! xo

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  4. That recipe looks delicious. I have fridge envy! I have one of those awful split fridge/freezers and since this was always a temporary house, I've not bothered to get a new one. I'm looking forward to a decent fridge in the new place where I can see things. I love the wax paper, glass jar idea. I hate plastic so much and think it's contributing to the decline of society (I think the Kardashians are the byproduct of too much plastic, no?)

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    1. Jen you know me out of sight out of mind. This fridge, a Fisher Paykel, is the best one we've owned. It's not very large and very simple in design but everything is quite visible which is key.
      Plastic is likely the work of the devil as FF would say! Agree re the decline of society, plastic, and the K's (ugh AD cover). xo

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  5. I also reuse glass jars for things - so much easier to see what you have, and I like the reuse aspect of it, even though glass is easily recycled. Sometimes the jars are simply to pretty to put in the recycle bin! Thank you for the interesting recipe, Dani. I plan to try it this weekend.

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    1. DF they are far too pretty to recycle and so great for storing everything in the kitchen including leftovers. Try the recipe it's surprisingly good, my hubs loves it too.
      I might even make it for Superbowl to follow the snacks ;) xo

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    2. I agree with you both when it comes to reusing glass jars. I store loose teas, herbs and nuts in nice recycled jars. I also use them to freeze leftovers. Much healthier than storing food in plastic. Some of the jam jars are so pretty and a perfect size for freezing single servings when I make a big batch of chili or soup and want to thaw just one cup at a time. Your crepe recipe is wonderful!

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  6. Your fridge clean out is such a good idea. We have a tendency to forget what lies in the depths of this appliance....fresh ness and reorganized shelves do wonders don't they?
    Love Bonne Maman Jam and have 3 in my fridge...as I also love and have the same delicious yogurt in the jars. I ordered the plastic tops from the company headquarters in Quebec too and put my spices in them.

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    1. Hostess what a good idea! I've been keeping those cute little jars, that yogurt is so so good. Doesn't it remind you of being in Paris? I'm going to source those lids too, thanks so much for the tip xo

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  7. Thanks for the reminder that cleaning the fridge should be next on my list. And, I love your wire ware basket from Provence. I collect antique/vintage and beautiful new wire ware. I just love it. Sometime I will send you a photo of my collection. I use them for bread baskets, fruit baskets, juice glass holders and all kinds of other things.

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    1. Susan I would love to see your collection I bet it's lovely. You continue to inspire me with your excellent eye on Pinterest, love your style! xo

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  8. Hi Dani, so lovely to get a new post. Like everyone else, I'll get on the fridge-cleaning too! I just bought pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds for making 'energy balls' for after the gym - with dates, etc.

    I've seen Leslie's yoghurt pots on her blog - they are so cute, I wish I could find them here!

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    1. Patricia I found the yogurt at my health food store, not easy to source I have to say, but I wonder if we could find them in your city. Great idea re the date energy balls for post-workout snacks, I've been meaning to try those! xo

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    2. Here's the recipe I've made: http://www.theleangreenbean.com/lemon-energy-balls/
      I'm going to try these ones next: http://www.theleangreenbean.com/no-bake-peppermint-chocolate-bites/

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  9. I do marvel at you Kitchen Maestros. My mother was a klutz of a homemaker (but a lovely woman) but her mother was at your level and never once put out a meal that wasn't beautifully laid out in every way and as her formative years were in the depths of the depression with a father lost to Spanish Flu, she knew how to stretch a dollar.

    My new humble abode is right next to a Whole Foods and 75 feet away from a fab Thai joint, value priced. Last time I even started an oven was to dry golf shoes about 5 years ago.

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    1. G it doesn't sound like you'll be turning your oven on anytime soon (bar the drying out of some sporty footwear that is). You do come from a powerful matriarchal line and I always love to hear about these wonderful women! The Spanish flu, that was another hit of sorrow during that time period, so difficult- yet on your grandmother marched. xo

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  10. My husband likes to go through the fridge do I rarely do that task but I might BC I want to start eating at home more this year and fill it with more than just condiments and that nights dinner! Xx

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  11. I clean out the fridge everytime before a big shop. I am particular about my kitchen and its cleanliness. Your recipes are always appreciated...of course, now I want pancakes!

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  12. dani i love a deep clean like that so much. love the organization and spotless look to it all! x

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  13. I got my habit of reusing glass jars from my parents, who being immigrants could not understand why anyone would throw out a perfectly fine glass jar. I often reuse glass jars to store leftover soup when I've made a large batch of, for instance, Brunswick Stew. Then I can share the extra soup with my adult children and their families. I especially love the Bonne Maman jam jars and the tiny ones are great for spices. We don't own any plastic storage containers, instead we use the old Pyrex refrigerator containers for our leftovers - these I find at flea markets and yard sales. I agree that a clean, orderly refrigerator leads to more efficient use of resources. Love this post!

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  14. I haven't deep cleaned my refrigerators since Thanksgiving. It's time I do this again. Whenever I do, I'm surprised how easy it is. Why don't I do it more often? Yours looks fab!

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  15. Dani Inspiring post! I'm going to make haste to the frig, yours looks so pretty. Great idea the cheese basket and storing the nuts in there too. I agree that glass is so much better. I really try not to use plastic and those mason jars are wonderful to store things. I like this quinoa recipe. I think I'll try it tonight. Isn't nice to purge and clean out after a bust time? I like to get things all back to just so again. Have a good week. xo Kim

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  16. I envy you, having your milk delivered; and I don't even drink milk!
    I remember having a milkman from Silverwood's Dairy when I was a child. We used to collect the milk tops for some reason, I can't for the life of me remember?

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