Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spice Organizing

I love to cook. I enjoy trying new recipes, including international dishes, many of which require unique spices. So, I have a large collection of spices which I decided to organize. I had spices on the counter top, in a spinning organizer, in three drawers, and on two shelves. (Sorry, I don't have before pictures.) One goal was to clear my counter top. Another goal was to organize them somehow. Finally, I wanted them all in one place.

I had this spinning spice organizer on the counter.


It holds 24 spices, with pre-labeled tops, in 2" glass jars which look like this:

One would think that 24 spice jars were enough. But noooo. I had more than 24 spices. Plus, some of them were in large bottles and others were in packages. I had to find a solution that would work, for the most part, to include different sizes.

While wandering the isles of a store, I impulsively bought this spice rack.

product image

I liked how it would fit different sizes, was compact, and didn't sit on the counter. But, I decided I wanted to save money and use whatever I already had on hand. So, I returned it to the store.

I went through my spices and threw away unidentifiable ones, grouped duplicates, and came up with a strategy. I was going to decant as many spices into the 24 little bottles that came with the spinning spice organizer. Then I would use other little spice bottles for what was leftover. I washed and dried all of the bottles before refilling them.

I decided to store all of the remaining spices in three drawers which are to the left of my stove.

The top drawer is shallow and would fit all of the short bottles. The second and third drawers are deep and can fit the tall, large, and odd-shaped packages.

To fit more bottles in the drawers, I decided to stand them up so that the tops would show and not the labels on front of the jar. This meant that I had to identify the spices that weren't in jars with pre-labeled tops. I also wanted a consistent look for all of the tops.

One thing I have a lot of is paper crafting supplies. I decided to go with a low tech solution using my paper crafting supplies. Here are the supplies I used.

I decided to label all of the jars using white card stock cut into circles that cover the tops. I hand wrote the spice names on the card stock and then adhered it to the tops using Glue Dots. Here is the results.

I keep extra blank labels already cut into circles, a roll of Glue Dots, and a black marker inside the top drawer along side of the bottles.

The middle drawer looks like this.
The bottom drawer isn't organized yet. I ran out of steam after finishing the second drawer. It'll do for now.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sneak Peek

Do you remember the side table I bought from the thrift store?

Well, I was thinking I'd paint it a bright color in a Moroccan-inspired design. It ended up being in a softer color with a kinda-Moroccan design. Here's a sneak peak.
I think it'll be a night stand for my youngest. I'll let you see the rest once it's done. I still want to make a bright, Moroccan table. 

Did I show you the pedestal dining table I bought at the thrift store?

I'm thinking I'll paint this an off-white or the same gray-blue that the base of the side table is painted. I already have dining chairs that are black with white polka dots and solid black in a sleek, modern design similar to this:
Lyle Black Modern Dining Chairs (Set of 2)  by Baxton Studio

but the legs are shiny metal. So, my dining table will be a juxtaposition of modern and traditional. I'm thinking that by painting the table white or some other light, solid color, it'll make it feel a little contemporary. You know the best part? The table only cost me $59.59.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mushroom Ravioli with White Wine Butter Sauce and Asparagus Tips

Today I dined on homemade mushroom ravioli with a white wine sauce and asparagus. This was a two-day effort. I made the ravioli yesterday and then cooked the pasta and sauce today. Here's the results.

I used two different recipes and adapted them to what I had. The ravioli was based upon Cyn's Wild Mushroom Ravioli at Her recipe calls for shitake, oyster, cremini, and white mushrooms. I used just the cremini and white mushrooms. Cyn also made the pasta dough from scratch. I used these instead.

I've read several recipes where people used egg roll wrappers in place of pasta dough for ravioli. I thought I'd give it a try. Also, in keeping with my ovo-lacto vegetarian fast, I used vegetable broth in place of beef broth. Everything else I followed Cyn's recipe.

I chopped the cremini and used pre-sliced white mushrooms. Then they were sauteed in a yummy butter and olive oil mixture.
I pureed the filling mix using my blender. (Sorry, no photo of that step.) Then I assembled my ravioli. I made two per won ton wrapper, sealed them around the edges and down the middle with water, and then used my pizza cutter to cut them apart.

I dried them for an hour on a wire rack.
I got sleepy so I piled them into glass containers until this evening.That was a mistake. They stuck together from the moisture that condensed in the containers. I had to slowly peel each off the stack by grabbing a drier edge and pulling it slowly up. What a hassle.

The sauce is from the Ravioli with White Wine and Asparagus Tips recipe on Again, I generally followed the recipe substituting shallots with red onions, eliminating fresh thyme (since I didn't have it), and used Yellow Tail Moscato wine which I opened last night. Another mistake. The sauce ended up sweet since Moscato is sweet. DUH. I also used baby asparagus which I probably could have left whole instead of cutting them as instructed in the recipe.

Instead of using a large pot to cook the asparagus and pasta in, I used a too small 4-quart one because I was being lazy and water conscience. That meant I could only cook 4 raviolis at a time. Third mistake.

My final mistake was making the ravioli so large. When they cooked, they expanded and ended up being jumbo ravioli. They were REALLY BIG ones!

Even with all of these mistakes, I enjoyed my dinner and I would definitely make it again after correcting my mistakes. Next time I would probably top them with roasted pine nuts to add some crunch and maybe red pepper flakes or something else red to add color.

I felt like such a gourmet.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I'm under the weather....

...and have to take a short blogging break.

My First Furniture Find

This is the first piece of furniture I bought from the thrift store. It cost $49. Unfortunately, I don't have a before picture.

It originally had a lighter brown finish with ornate handles. The color and the handles were similar to the lighter dresser shown below.

I refinished the dresser in an espresso color, using the Rustoleum kit below. I replaced the knobs with brushed nickel. The most challenging part of this project was trying to find the bar handles. They are 4" and the local hardware and home improvement stores didn't stock this size for months.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Shhhh, don't tell anyone

I have an obsession with clocks and calendars. I can never have enough of both. Maybe this is a subliminal sign of some inner dysfunction associated with the passage of time? Who knows? I don't care, really. I just laugh at it as one of my many quirks.

I found these clocks, at two different thrift stores.

I *think* the little one was 50% off  of $1.90 and the larger one was 33% off of $4.94. They both have a few dings, which I won't change. Thankfully, the distressed look is still in style.

The small clock reminds me of a console TV our family had in the 1960s. Designs from that time is now in vogue. It's now called mid-century modern. I call it "when I was a child".

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pampered Chef Small Batter Bowl With Lid

I bought this 1 quart mixing bowl with lid at the thrift store.

I know Pampered Chef has good quality stuff which is expensive. I wanted to replace this measuring cup, which is in good condition but

I can't read the measurement lines with ease any more. I bake a lot and measuring is key to success. So, I'm donating the much loved, still usable, barely readable measuring cup now that I have a more functional replacement.

Pampered Chef doesn't sell this size batter bowl anymore. However, I did find this used comparable for sell on eBay for $34.99. My price from the thrift store was $3.93. Unfortunately, it wasn't on sale that day. But, I was okay paying "full" price and saving more than 88% compared to eBay.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Broyhill End Table

This is the end table I talked about in a previous post

It's made by Broyhill, is solid pine, and has dovetail joints. Lovely. The single drawer is missing its knob, which can easily be replaced with something else. 

I started by sanding the surfaces. You can see in this post sanding photo below, that there are quite a few gouges on the top. I'm not sure if this was intentional distressing by the manufacturer. Or, was this inflicted by a previous owner? 

Either way, I don't mind the distressed look for this project. It'll add character, so I hope.

After sanding, I wiped the table down with a tack cloth and then painted it with a coat of primer using a synthetic brush. The sales person at Home Depot recommended I use Kilz 2 Latex Primer Sealer Stainblocker.

Here is what it looked like after one coat. I let that dry overnight and then painted a second coat.

Here you can see what the second coat looks like (on the left) on top of the first coat.

I finished the second coat and will let it dry overnight again. While it's drying, I'm going to research and try some design ideas before proceeding to the next step.

I stopped by JoAnn's on the way home from work to look at some stencils. I'm thinking about using stencils to create the patterned design on the table top.

While I had the Kilz out, I primed some other wooden pieces I bought from the thrift store. If you haven't notice, I've been on a thrift store shopping spree lately.

I looked for my end table on the internet to compare prices. I found two similar tables. There was this one
Bryson End Table

a Broyhill Bryson end table retailing for $299, currently on sale for $182 at Economy Furniture. Then there was this one

 Broyhill Yorkshire end table. A pair is selling for $316 at StillGoode Consignments. So, taking an average from the two sources, I came up with a cost of $170 for one end table. Guess what I paid for mine? $9.90! I love the thrift store.