Today, we'll outline our Kitchen Specs ideas. And, we'll expand at length on this in our podcast this Thursday on the PJ Wellness Show at 7PM, wherever you get your casts! So tune in for more in-depth details on kitchen specs. Subscribe here to your favorite podcast channel!
No matter what the size of your kitchen is, creating a bit of zoning will streamline everything you do, & make kitchen life so much easier. We've all seen the counter that's miles away from the stovetop when you've got a hot pot in your hands. An accident waiting to happen. Although you can't rebuild your kitchen you can create your working triangle to facilitate whipping through your kitchen duties with ease.
Check out Patrick's Kitchen Triangle TakeAway TipSheet. It really helps set up the specs you need to maximize your space in the kitchen. Once you've got your zone operationally functioning, you'll be happily surprised at how much more enjoyable your time in the kitchen is. Getting used to moving about in the zone is fast & easy, because now, everything is in a conveniently reachable place. You can keep it handy for reference if someone or something disturbs your new zone!
Next to consider, your storage spaces. What do you stock & where to store it?
Non-perishables for starters: rice, pasta,& other flours & grains. Canned fruits, vegetables, beans & lentils. Canned fish, soups, & broths. Seeds, nuts,dried sweets & other snacks. Peanut butter, which doesn't need refrigeration, contrary to popular opinion.Unopened fruit-only jam,raw honey, sugar or stevia, & maple syrup. We always recommend natural,organic, unfiltered or unprocessed everything.
Bread,potatoes,onions & garlic. Best kept in the pantry, except for small amounts you plan to use quickly, which can be kept in the fridge. If you don't have a seperate pantry, any cool, dim spot will do. And wicker baskets are breathable, so they're not only pretty, but ideal for keeping items like these fresher longer.
Oils & vinegars: Olive oil (cold-pressed & extra virgin) & coconut oil (unfiltered-organic) are our preferred oils, both for taste, consistency & health benefits. Other options: canola (rapeseed) oil & sesame oil, which is full of omega-3. Balsamic vinegar for a hearty flavor, apple cider vinegar-with "the mother", unfiltered & organic, which is great for smoothies. And of course,white wine vinegar for a more subtle taste. All can be mixed with oils for great-tasting sauces & salad dressings.
Condiments: Soy, hot & barbecue sauces, tamari (if you’re gluten intolerant), ketchup, mayonnaise,mustard. Again, shoot for the cleanest varieties you can find. Some will need refrigeration after opening, some will not.
Spices: Salt & pepper are de rigueur: we like Himalayan or sea salt, both for their unprocessed nutrients & more robust flavor. Pepper, freshly-ground is terrific, & don't be afraid to try all the varieties-cayenne, chili, & peppercorns that come in many different colors with subtle differences in flavor. We love grinding our own fresh salt & pepper, choosing how coarse a grain we like best, so we recommend investing in a set of salt & pepper mills.
If you're limiting sodium, there are many great-tasting spices. If you lean towards Italian and Mediterranean cooking, make sure you have plenty of basil and oregano. If your tastes veer towards the East, then stock up on coriander and cumin. And, fresh garlic is better, but you should keep garlic powder & onion bits on hand when fresh is not readily available. Mrs. Dash makes a great "everything" mixed spice which is fabulous & sodium-free.
Coffee & tea, of course-have a great selection in stock. Treat yourself to a combination brewing system, so you can enjoy all there is to offer. Spice it up with mild coffeehouse blends to smooth dark roasts, & keep a stash of flavored teas: soothe your spirit with lavender, boost your immune system with hibiscus & relax before bed with chamomile. Don't forget the spices that compliment: cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger for cooking, baking, & to flavor your beverages.
You can access our complete Kitchen Essential Staples List here. You'll get even more information on what to stock in the fridge & the freezer. Once you're done creating & stocking your Essential Kitchen, you can let us know if we've missed anything, or share whatever cool tips you've discovered along the way.
And in Thursday's podcast this week at 7PM, we'll be giving you the skinny on everything we know about containers. The bamboo, the plastic, & the glass. We've tried them all & can recommend what's worked best in an active kitchen!
Patrick & Jo-Anna
PS-TakeAway Tip-It's always best to prepare & use everything, to prevent spoilage & waste. But with more than one person to feed, make sure you have the storage & space you need with containers, & in the pantry, fridge, & freezer. Organizing will save you time & money, & you can keep extra food fresh & available when you need it!