Spice Drawer Makeover: Is Organization the Spice of Life?

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I’ve been meaning to get some organizing done this summer and finally got down to business. I love to organize, or more importantly love the feeling of an organized house. It’s something I got into years back, probably the same time Martha Stewart was in her heyday. It can become a bit overwhelming once you start, I felt like I needed to do everything all at once. This can definitely lead to some ‘over-organization,’ or unnecessary time spent. Taking the time to think through the best, most creative plan of attack for those untamed and unruly junk drawer pays off in the end. You need to plan to avoid overdoing it, i.e., if you find yourself labeling a clear glass mason jar that holds pencil crayons… ‘pencil crayons,’ you’ve gone too far. The bottom line is that organizing, if done right, can really make you feel happy and more comfortable in your home. It has to fit your lifestyle and usually reflects how you use objects, making your everyday life easier.

Always start with a huge purge. Recycle and donate anything you are not using or has no sentimental value. Then figure out a plan.

My most recent master plan to organize my spice drawer had me really rubbing my hands together. I could definitely justify using the label maker which got me pretty enthused. I knew the current system I had wasn’t working but it did take time to settle on a new way to organize. Now I’m going to sound like a true infomercial. “Tired of always sifting thought the dozens of little spice bags stuffed in your pantry?” That’s me. I had a system in place where I would buy those little bags, and stuff them into a large Ziploc in my cupboard and just fill up my spice containers as needed. The bags were always falling out, looked so unkempt and I ended up buying duplicate spices because I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Worse was the spices in unmarked plastic bags from the bulk store. Trying to identify those was a nightmare, I’d open the bag take in a sniff and end up with cayenne pepper in my nose for the whole day.

Let’s start. This kitchen drawer is filled with sturdy plastic containers from an organization store. To get the best fit for these I took the inside measurements of the drawer and taped together several large pieces of white paper to replicate the size. I took it into the store and laid it out on a table and started to play with different sized containers and configurations until I found the best use of space. When I got home they fit perfectly!

 

I had previously used magnetic spice tins with twist lids that dispensed in two areas. Over time, with friction, they became impossible to twist and open so I needed a better system. I don’t often shake spices, I’m either measuring or pinching so I found jars with screw tops. I found these white ones at the dollar store and liked that they were a thick sturdy glass with clear lids.

 

I went to town with my label maker and was in my glory neatly labeling all of my containers. I love my label maker, its compact and easy to use but let’s be real, the option to have a border with rounded corners is the draw of this machine.

The bags of spices never fill up my little spice containers so I got these mini mason jars for the overflow spices left in the bags.  I put thought into this step. It could easily have gone one of two ways. It could end up being brilliant or go to the other side, the overly obsessive world of organizing (two spots for the same spice?) It ended up working great, when the mason jars are empty it’s time to add the spice to the shopping list.

 

I wanted to highlight some of my favorite gadgets that I try to keep organized in this drawer, the list is below.

  1. Grams tools -these cooking and baking tools are antiques and bring back so many memories. I can’t say I use them often but making space for them reminds me of cooking with gram and makes me happy
  2. Silicone lids -I use these in the summer to cover drinks outside, I have larger ones to cover leftovers and they are a great alternative to saran wrap
  3. Measuring Spoons -Having several sets helps when cooking for a crowd and the metal set I like for baking to run a knife across for precise measuring
  4. Garlic Rocker -This is the best way to mince garlic. I remember the old ones with the box-style end that was impossible to clean, this one is so easy to clean and works so efficiently
  5. Sporks & straws -I love a good Spork and they are for more than just camping. I use them for work lunches, regular flatware always seems to get mis-placed in bagged lunches but these bright little guys always come home. Sometimes a certain drink calls for a straw, these are fun and can be used over and over again.
  6. Measuring spoons -I always break the set up and separate the tablespoons, so I can have easy access to them

 

I’m off to work on a few more summer projects, hope you are having a great summer!

Lv, Julie♥

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Quick Tabouli Salad

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When the weather gets warmer I make this salad a few times a month. It’s fresh, easy and reminds me of one of my favorite Middle Eastern restaurants.

The quickness comes from using a boxed salad mix and adding some fresh ingredients to liven it up. On its own the boxed salad is just pre-measured couscous with some herbs and spices so it definitely needs a helping hand. I’ve made tabouli salad from scratch before with bulgur, fresh mint and a clove of garlic which is amazing. In the summer though I like the simplicity of this quick version. This package uses couscous, not bulgur which means you don’t need to turn on the stove.

The most time consuming part is prepping the parsley. The fastest way I have found is to cut the leaves away from the stem using kitchen scissors.

 

 

Ingredients

Casbah Tabouli Garden Wheat Salad Mix (make as directed, hot water & olive oil)

2 bunches curly parsley

2 medium tomatoes

2 lemons, juiced and strained

3-4 green onions, finely sliced

salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1. Make the Tabouli Salad according to the directions on the box (mix package with 1 1/2 cups hot water & 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil and let stand covered for 1 hour).

2. Trim parsley, put in a colander and rinse very well. Let parsley air dry or wrap it up in a tea towel to remove the moisture. Finely chop parley (I use my mini chopper for this!).

3. Cut the tomatoes in half and gently squeeze them to remove the seeds and juice, then chop finely.

4. Once the Casbah salad mix has absorbed the water and oil for 1 hour fluff with a fork. Add all ingredients, stir and serve!

 

 

 

If you get a chance, try this salad out, its great this time of year and can be stored in the fridge for a few days! Hope you are having a great summer!

Lv, Julie♥

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