kitchen

People always say not to sweat the small stuff, but sometimes it’s the small stuff that can make he biggest difference.

This summer I have been trying to do little things around the house just to make life simpler or prettier or just nicer in some way.  It’s funny what can change your life in a small yet very significant way.

calendar

I am not the most organized of people and with two kids in two different schools this year, I figured I needed to create a way to keep track of who needed to be where, what forms needed to be filled out and returned and what days I have a meeting or Karli is going to be home late etc etc etc.

With school starting last week this has really been my first introduction into the crazy schedule of a family of four.  To help me stay on track, I dedicated a wall in my kitchen to family organization.  I have two white board calendars as well as cork boards and white boards for notes and forms and stuff.  I even found a stick on post-it dispenser and some really cute orange cube push pins.

My office supply fetish is definitely satisfied on this one.  We even have a different color pen for each member of the family.

kitchen_window

Another addition to my kitchen is the hanging fruit basket.  This worked out really well, providing plenty of room for all the fruit bowl items and keeping the onions and garlic separate from the fruit.  By finding a creative solution to the overflowing fruit bowl we also cleared up some much needed counter space, which is at a premium in my tiny kitchen.

Cleaning out the garden window which had previously been filled with all my poor suffering house plants cleared enough space to start an herb garden in that window which had always been the plan and only took me 8 years to get around to.  We also gave the window sill a fresh coat of paint which really brightened it up.  It is so nice to be able to look out that window and see the kids playing in the back yard.   I don’t know if I ever thought we would get there.

pantry

Probably the biggest kitchen impact came from the addition of this giant pantry unit.  We finally got the extra shelves we needed and the drawers we forgot to buy the first time around and it is now complete and a fully functional pantry.  Having this extra space makes all the difference in a tiny house with little storage.   And I finally have all my little plastic storage containers with labels and everything.  Mmmmm, it makes me all warm inside.

house_plants

And yes, those suffering house plants (there are many more) have finally found legitimate homes throughout the house.  I look forward to watching them finally thrive and grow.  Only a few weeks later they are already looking very very happy.  They even all got matching pots in complimentary colors.

It is really amazing how much more alive and homey my house feels now.   Having the youngest to an age where he no longer feels the need to tip the plants over and dig in them is a great relief to both them and me.

towel_rack

And last, but certainly not least is the new over the door towel rack in the main bathroom.  There has never been a really good place for a towel rack in this bathroom and since I am sharing this bathroom with the kids for the time being, where to put he towels has been an ongoing struggle and trial and failure.

But here it is, my big beautiful towel rack.  Like I said, it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference.  Ahhh!

This is one of those dishes that I just made up out of the sky one day. Hmmm, what to eat for lunch, combine a bunch of random stuff and poof, great dish. Well, some of the time it works out that way. As is also the way with these types of dishes, the ingredient list may seem a little eccentric, but it is a clean out the randoms in your kitchen kind of dish and boy is it good.

As with all my recipes, I recommend that you try it and customize it to your own liking. That is what cooking is all about. If there is an ingredient that you don’t like, or don’t have, omit it or substitute for it.

Since this is a kitchen cabinet meal, use what you have. No chicken? No problem, this would be good with any meat, no meat or tofu. Perfect use for leftover meat from last night’s dinner. Pretty much any vegetable would be great in this and any kind of rice will do just fine. The green olives and peperccinis are pretty integral to the flavor of the dish, but if you are strongly averted to one or the other, this dish will stand up just fine with just one of those. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make this dish your own.

Funky Chicken and Mediterranean Rice Salad

1 c. cooked cubed or shredded chicken
2 c. cooked brown rice
1/2 c. chopped red pepper
1/2 c. roughly chopped mushrooms (I like cremini, but any kind will do)
1/2 c. finely chopped or shredded carrots
1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
1/4 c. chopped green olives (my favorite are the garlic stuffed ones, but any will do)
1/4 c. chopped peppercini peppers (you can find these by the olives)
1/4 c. Italian Salad Dressing (this is My FavoriteNewman's own parmesan and roasted garlic salad dressing, use yours)

Putting this together is pretty simple.  Mix it all together and serve. The chicken and rice should be pretty warm when added.

mmmmm, tasty!