Friday, January 28, 2011

Glass Food Storage Containers

America's Test Kitchen just posted a review of glass food storage containers. Last summer I made the switch from plastic reusable containers to glass, due to the hype about microwaving plastic. I really like using glass containers and feel that they will last much, much, much longer than plastic ones.

Click for the review from the experts.

I use Pyrex glass containers and really like them! I purchased 2 sets of 3 various size bowls, as well as a set of rectangular storage containers. One thing I like about the bowls is that it's great for portion control because it lists the number of cups that it can hold.

The rectangular containers are terrific for sandwiches.

Of course, all of these containers can be used for other things than bringing your lunch to work or school. Keeping paperclips and office supplies or storing bobby pins and hair binders are the first things that come to mind on how to make these multi-taskers.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Recipe Organization

The need for a recipe organization makeover comes with a love of cooking. Pursuant to a conversation I had with a friend, Nora, over the holidays, I decided to revamp my need to maintain organization with all of my “loose” recipes. I have my fair share of cookbooks, which require little effort to keep organized, but where the challenge lies is the recipes I print off the internet and the recipes I rip out of my many cooking magazine subscriptions.

I was able to house my loose recipes in file folders until I filled two to capacity and couldn’t find anything. If you only have a few favorite recipes, this could work well for you; however, those of you who see a picture of something delicious and decide to rip it out of the Food Network Magazine like I do… well, you need something bigger and better to stay sane and also to save time.

One of the problems I had with keeping all of my recipes in file folders was that I would have to sort through hundreds of recipes just to find something to eat for dinner or to find a favorite recipe that I wanted to try again. No fun that is. So I picked a beautiful rainy evening (living in Seattle, I have had many to choose from!) and went through all of the recipes about four times trying to consolidate and weed out the recipes I just knew I would never ever try. You’d be surprised how many I got rid of!

Then….. I came up with several categories and sorted recipes based on categories, including: baking, breads, meat, chicken, fish, brunch, sandwiches, slow cookers, sauces, soups, salads, beverages, holiday, ethnic, pasta, etc. After categorizing the recipes I went out and found a recipe organization book on It took me quite a while to narrow down which book to buy; my selection was based mostly on the categories on the dividing tabs that it came with. I chose a C.R. Gibson recipe organizer; C.R. Gibson makes a lot of different recipe organization paraphernalia you might be interested in. I’d recommend browsing Amazon to find a wide variety. There are certainly plenty to choose from! Be advised that these binders don’t come with too terribly many sheet protectors, so you may want to run out and get a pack of them. I quickly ran out!

Aside from the greatness in organization, one of my favorite parts of the new recipe binder is that all of my recipes are kept in sheet protectors, which allows me to wipe off all of the cooking remnants after I’m done with the recipe. I can always tell what recipes I’ve tried before because they have been destroyed.

Another organizational tool I employ for my recipes is for the 3x5” notecard size recipes I print from the internet. Mostly these are from, a personal favorite site of mine (I keep an online recipe box here, too!). I keep these in a little notecard box that I used to use for school, I think. There are some great notecard boxes on the market that will fit 3x5 or 4x6” recipe cards. I like this idea, too, because it’s alphabetized. I usually remember the name of the recipe that I am looking for if I liked it, so I can find it pretty quickly; but regardless of the recipe’s name, I keep all chicken in the “c” and all pasta in the “p” instead of having, say, “Anniversary Chicken” in the “a” category or “Lemon Pasta” in the “l” category. I just think that’s easier to keep track of everything.

I have to tell you, though, my dream kitchen would include a touch-screen computer in my that pops down from under the cabinet and magically stores all of my recipes and allows me to view online recipe collections for easy kitchen access. I have a feeling I’ll be dreaming for a while.

P.S. – you may be wondering how I keep this system up! That is a “resolution” for me this year. I have subscriptions to three (or more?) food magazines. I have formed some new habits around ripping recipes out of these magazines, due to the fact that with all of the recipes in my house I would need to try a new recipe every day at every meal time for about 900 years in order to actually try something, so I am only allowing myself to rip out a recipe if I am really going to make it. I do look through the ingredients and determine if that’s something I’m even remotely interested in, and if so, then it comes out and goes into a file folder. Yes, a file folder. Also, I should note, after I page through each magazine and determine what I'm going to use, I recycle the magazine, so as to avoid messy buildup. Well, actually, I keep my Cooks Illustrated magazines, but only because every page is filled with delicious goodness and fantastic tips.

From that point, I plan my weekly menus around new recipes. Err, I try to, anyway. If I try the recipe and enjoy it, it goes in my recipe binder, if not, it goes to the curb. So far this is working for me, but I have a lot of new recipes to try and a very, very excellent new cookbook from friend Nora that I am ecstatic about (Williams-Sonoma’s Cooking at Home)…. Off to the kitchen I go!

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011... A Year of Organizing

Happy New Year!

I don't really do the whole "resolutions" thing at new years, more like a "wish" or a "goal" for me. You better believe I have some serious organizing goals and wishes for this great new year. I will share how and when they become accomplishments as we continue through what I hope to be a great year.

I'd really, really, really like to get my recipes under control. I cook a lot, therefore I have at least a million recipes in my kitchen. This is a great project for rainy Seattle winter evenings.

File cabinets for my files would be a great goal to strive for this year.

A place to put the mail that isn't on my kitchen counter is something I'm hoping will come very, very soon! Nobody likes clutter or bills in the kitchen. That's supposed to be the happiest place in the house.

My home office could use some attention and love and de-cluttering.

I'd like to figure out how to use Google apps to its fullest potential. Google/"G" anything and I are not the best of friends. I am an Outlook/Microsoft girl all the way.

Lastly, I resolve to write on this here blog more! Stay tuned.

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