Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Small Pantry Blues

Close your eyes... (Come on! Humor me. Just for a minute) Think about your dream home. Walk into the kitchen. You're about to prepare for supper. Walk over to your pantry. Open the door and WALK IN... Just look at those shelves! Everything has it's own place. There's plenty of room to group like foods together. Oh, and over here- the counter where all of your small kitchen appliances are kept. You have everything you need in one convenient place. Open your eyes...

Some of us are blessed in the pantry area. When we were on the market for a new house, having a pantry was my main make or break. If there wasn't a decent pantry, we didn't even talk about the house. I have a problem. I'm a pantry snob. When I was growing up, my mom had a pantry. It wasn't luxurious or anything, but it served it's purpose. There was plenty of room for all the food we needed and it housed our extra stuff like ziploc bags, paper towels, foil, etc.

When Justin and I bought our first house, we thought we knew what to look for. It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a decent living room and kitchen... and no pantry. I stored our food in the laundry room. The house needed a renovation and what did we do (along with tons of other updates)? We added a pantry!

Fast forward a year.. we sold our house! After a few months of house hunting, we've decided to build and we're renting a house for the time being... a house without a pantry.

We're using three cabinets as our pantry. Is it luxurious? No. Do I wish I had a bigger pantry? Yes. Is there anything I can do about it? No. I can, however, make the most of what I have. Hence the purpose for this post.

I have gotten in a REAL BAD HABIT of buying groceries and stuffing them wherever they will fit in the "pantry". No rhyme or reason. When I go to look for something I need I often can't find it.

I needed an intervention!
 I ventured out to our local Walmart in search of some inspiration. I found a Better Homes and Gardens 6 piece stack-able canister set (I bought two sets) and a couple of baskets. When I got home I got straight to work.
I used the canisters to store food that was already opened like noodles, dry beans, and cookies. I used the baskets to store snacks. One basket for Justin and my snacks and one for Brooks. Where we had a lot of half empty boxes, I combined them or put them in a snack basket. I organized the canned goods into like foods. The less often used things like cake mixes and pie fillings I moved to the top shelf.

The pantry is still full, but I know where things are now.

I hope to purchase some more of these canisters when we finish our house.

Maybe, just maybe, this inspires you to make the most of your small pantry.

Do you have any tips for organizing small pantry spaces?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Easy Banana Bread Recipe

It never fails. I buy fresh fruit or vegetables, we're gone from the house during meal times, and they inevitably go to waste. I hate when I've spend hard earned money on something just to throw it away. It seems to always happen!

I bought a bunch of bananas with every intention of making a smoothie for breakfast every morning while I was at home. I made one. I was opening the lid to the trashcan today about to toss those {almost} rotten bananas when a light bulb went off- BANANA BREAD! We hadn't eaten breakfast yet and this would be the perfect surprise for Justin- he loves banana bread. I'm not a bake at breakfast kinda girl, so he wouldn't be expecting it.

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law way back. It's pretty much a no fail recipe.

3-4 really ripe bananas (mashed)
1 c.sugar
1 stick margarine (softened)
2 eggs
1/4 c. oil (I used vegetable)
2 c. plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

In a medium mixing bowl, beat together sugar, margarine, eggs, and oil. Add mashed bananas. Mix until combined well. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Add the dry mixture to the banana mixture.  Mix well.

Pour mixture into a greased pan. I used two loaf pans, but you could use a muffin pan or another pan of your choice.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee!

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 Word of the Year: Balance

Resolutions- I've never been very good at them. Who is? On January 1st we all set these unrealistic goals and be March we're back to our same old selves. It's hard to change. Change, though, is a good thing. God is always working on his children. We have to be willing to grow, be mold-able. I've been thinking about my life as a Christian wife and mother. Relationships take work- every day. Parenting is hard. LIFE is hard! Then, the world hands us all the extra 'stuff' that throws us off kilter. My prayer this year is that I can realize what's important in this life. Really focus on things that make me smile.

I was over on The Small Things Blog where Kate posted about her word of the year success story from 2015 and announced her word for 2016: focus.

My word for 2016 is Balance. Finding a way to balance parenting, relationships, work, blogging, finances, etc. Not taking on more than I can handle. Doing my best for my family. We've got a lot going on this year (read that post here). If not properly balanced, it could drive a person mad.

I'm excited about this year. It's going to be hard, but it's going to be worth it!

What's your word for 2016?