Friday, April 4, 2014

DIY Spice Organization


I have a love/hate relationship with spices. I love to add them to food but I typically use my stand-bys, salt, pepper, Lowry's Seasoning Salt and then Jake will take some sort of Cajun seasoning and add it on top since he likes things a little spicier. So I wanted to get my spices under control when we moved into the new house so I created a spice drawer which actually expanded into a spice drawer and cabinet.

I also realized that I keep spices you really throw away the spices that you haven't used by their use-by date, or how do you even know? All my research says 2-3 years but honestly how much do you use something like All Spice? I just keep using mine but then one day I realized I had garlic powder that had turned a golden yellow and it is supposed to be a creamy white, guessing that wasn't the freshest thing I had in my spice drawer.

Anyway when we moved I wanted a better way to access my spices and hopefully to use them more so I purchased little jars from Libbey that are 4.5 ounces, clear and have these great little flat tops on them that I painted with chalk paint. I got mine on Amazon and they came 12 to a box for $20.99 plus free shipping because I am a Prime Member! Note: It took 3 coats of chalk paint on the glass, but they paint dries quickly and I was able to get three coats on with a foam brush in a few hours. Then I took a chalk pencil, like what you would find in the sewing section, and wrote on top what I was putting them. Now realizing that I use some spices very little I left them in their small containers and put them in little white baskets on their sides so I can still access them quickly. The larger containers of mixed seasonings or Jake's favorite Cajun seasonings I left in their shakers since we go through them quite quickly. I also have a shaker with cinnamon and sugar mixed together...why you might ask well for cinnamon toast of course...when was the last time I made cinnamon toast you might ask...well probably 3-4 years ago, but my mom has one in her pantry so I have one in mine is the simplest answer. And the final jar in there is the John Elway Steak Seasoning from Elway's Restaurant in Denver. It IS that good for me a KC Chiefs fan to buy a Denver Bronco's steak seasoning.

Please excuse that my drawer is missing it's front,
 it didn't know it was going to be on the internet today.

Did I misspell taco? Kidding but made you look!

Four staples in our house. Check out why I love the one on the left here.

Because my drawer wasn't big enough for all the large containers of seasonings and my collection of BBQ/Steak rubs I have collected from many places I had to expand up to the cabinet above the drawer. I used a simple basket (like all the baskets in my pantry) that I got from Wal-Mart and then I used a 6-pack beer container for the spices. This makes it really easy to take down and look at or take to the grill or outside during a party for people to use as they wish. I love this original Coors box because the bottles were short so the sides are shorter.

I'm obsessed with white baskets.

Who knew? If you aren't a drinker any glass bottled 6-pack box would work.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Supper in 45

So it is spring time, not that you could tell it by looking out my window where it is currently lightly flurrying (is that even a word), and it is the time of the year that we end up eating a lot of sandwiches and freezer pizzas because we want to be outside and supper just isn't a priority. Well last night I made a great easy meal that was pulled together from start to finish in 45 minutes.

First thing I made was a premarinated pork loin. I don't know if anyone else has seen these or not but I picked up a Oven Perfect(r) Pork Loin from HyVee this week. It was Farmland brand and we got the Chipolte BBQ version but they have plenty of other flavors to choose from. You cook the pork loin in the bag that it comes in...removing the stickers of course. It was sooooo simple, and tasted amazing and was super juicy. You bake it for 35 minutes and let it set for 5 before slicing. How easy is that? and tasty!

The second thing that I made was a recipe I found on Pinterest over the weekend. Now if you are like me you are a little skeptical of the recipes you find on Pinterest so I never share them until I have tried them and made any changes to them I feel necessary. This recipe was originally a Skinny Lobster Mac 'n' Cheese, but I just wanted it to be a Skinny Mac 'n' Cheese so I did and I altered it a little bit and my version is below edited from the Skinny Mom's website. Visit Skinny Mom's blog for more skinny recipes and healthy tips. This Skinny Mac 'n' Cheese took me less than 20 minutes from start to finish.

The final thing I added to the meal was a nice lettuce salad, I just tore up some romaine and added some precut kale and we threw our favorite dressing on it!

In less than 45 minutes I had a fairly healthy and tasty supper ready.

Skinny Mac 'n' Cheese
1.5 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1.5 cups reduced-fat, shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp pepper
1 - 14.5 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 cups whole wheat pasts shells
1/2 cup skim fat-free milk
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Srircha
  1. Bring a stock pan of water and salt to a boil and cook pasta. Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add flour and cook, making sure to stir constantly to make a roux. Stir until golden brown for about 1 minute.
  3. Add tomatoes and continue to stir constantly. Cook for 2-3 minutes until tomatoes become bubbly and start to thicken.
  4. Next, add cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, mustard powder, Srircha, black pepper and milk.
  5. Make sure to stir constantly until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth for about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add in cooked shells and lobster chunks and stir to cover evenly. Cook and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes until heated through. Serve immediately.