I Love Pantries

Why do I love pantries so much?

 

 

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Pantry Organization

 

 

I love organizing pantries so much because I’ve always felt that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s my happy place, and I want to make it yours too! We spend so much time in our kitchens through out the day that we need to make it a priority! You should love being in your space. I can help you make it pretty as well as functional.

 

 

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Clear, Air Tight Containers

 

 

I look back fondly, to the years when my kids were little, of cooking and creating good meals for my family. I’ve always loved cooking for large groups, after all I am the oldest of seven, I can do it with my eyes shut.  Like my Grandma, feeding people is my love language.  So naturally for me, creating a functional yet pretty space in any pantry is a must.

 

 

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Create Zones

 

How I organize a pantry.

 

If you follow me on instagram you know the drill by now. Take it all out. By taking everything out of the space, you will touch and see it all, forcing you to decide if you want it, need it, and/or use it.

 

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Before….you must take it all out!

 

Next step is sorting. Sort like with like. Check expiration dates during this process. I put all the baking together, all the lunch items together, all the snacks together and so on. If I had a quarter for every time I heard “how did I end up with five of these?” I’d be rich.

 

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Oxo Brand Pop Top Containers

 

Now create Zones.  Here is how I zone my pantries: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, eat first (snacks), baking, paper goods, cleaning supplies (if applicable).  I use the top shelf for large items that aren’t used very often.

 

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Keep it simple.

 

 

Next, choose your favorite organizing supplies. Mine are  Oxo brand containers,  baskets,  bins,  lazy susans , can stackers, and labels.

 

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Use lazy Susan’s in the corners.

 

 

Lastly, use floor baskets help hide clutter. I use big floor baskets for paper and plastic sacks, lunch boxes, cleaning supplies, paper goods, and Costco snacks.

 

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Hide the clutter with large floor baskets.

 

 

 

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Target Basket

 

 

 

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Belly baskets hold a ton!

 

Now, it’s time to enjoy!

That’s it! That’s my pantry formula!

 

I’d love to help you organize your pantry too! Did you know I do virtual organizing? It’s so fun and easy. We FaceTime for forty five minutes and then I send you a detailed to do list and links to all the products. It’s that easy. Or if you live in the DFW area, I’ll drive straight to your house. I also travel! Send me a plane ticket and I’m there! We will have fun, I promise.

 

Is redoing your pantry on your to do list?

 

I’m ready to help you today,

Lisa

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Food Prepping – Back To School Edition

What does it mean to food prep?

 

For me food prepping (preparing food ahead of time) is a way to keep my sanity during the busy school weeks. When we have food prepped and ready to go for lunches, dinners, snacks and breakfasts, we not only save time, we save money!

 

I typically grocery shop on a Friday or Saturday and food prep on Sunday afternoons.  Sunday’s are slower days for us and it’s relaxing for me to be in the kitchen making good food for the week ahead. Get the whole family on board to help. Littles love to help in the kitchen, and big kids can help you cook!

 

What food items do I prep ahead?

 

Meat. Even though I eat vegan, I prep meat for my family. I will cook up all the chicken, beef, turkey burger, bacon, sausage etc. all on one day. Then I freeze it into portions for quick meal prep for spaghetti, tacos, chili, breakfasts, or whatever is on the menu for the week.

*Side note: our trash cans go out on Monday night, so when I cook up all the meat on Sunday, there’s no stinky wrappers sitting in the trash can all week!

 

Veggies. I wash, dry, cut up and prep all the veggies I can. We use these for salads, lunch boxes, snacks, fajitas, you name it!

 

Fruit. You’ve seen my vinegar wash for strawberries and blueberries. I buy in bulk, dump them into a large bowl. Cover with water and pour in 1/4 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (with the mother), stir and let set for one hour. Drain, rinse and set out on a towel to air dry completely. Then I put into mini serving reusable baggies for lunches or snacks.

*Side note: fruit has to be completely dry before putting back in the fridge.

 

Snacks: I buy snacks in bulk and portion them into smaller reusable baggies This saves money and time each morning. When you have a grab and go section in your pantry it makes packing lunches a breeze!

 

Muffins: I like to make a double batch of muffins (any kind) to freeze. Perfect for breakfast, snacks, or to have on hand for guests. They freeze so well.

 

Steel Cut Oats/Pancakes: I make a large batch of oatmeal and heat up a little each morning for breakfast. Add honey, walnuts and cinnamon for the yummiest breakfast ever. You can also do the same for pancakes; make a huge batch on Saturday or Sunday and freeze the rest…pop them in the toaster and you have a quick, hot, and home made breakfast!

 

Quinoa/Grains: I also will make up a batch of quinoa, lentils, rice, or couscous, etc. They make a great side dish when you add veggies, are good in salads, soups, tacos, etc. Having them made up ahead of time makes weeknight meal prep go quickly.

 

Chili/Soup: I love to make a big batch of chili or soup for dinner on Sunday. Freeze the rest and you’ve got a quick dinner all ready to go. Add a salad and bread and you’re done.

 

What do I use to freeze my food in?

 

I have slowing been phasing out plastic baggies and switching to reusable baggies whenever possible. Last week I showed you all the reusable lunch box inserts we have for the grandkids.  Today I’ll show you the reusable silicone baggies I love and use daily.

*Side note: they are dishwasher safe, but I prefer to hand wash and dry them.

 

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Half gallon reusable baggies made of silicone. Thick and durable! Perfect for freezing soups and chilis. I also use them to freeze cooked up meat of any kind. They hold a ton! So easy to have it already cooked up and ready to add to any recipe.

 

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Keep all your frozen bags in this clear bin for easy access, not to mention great freezer organization.

 

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Here are the reusable baggies I love and use. You can write a name in Sharpie for each member of your family. Wash and dry to use again and again.

 

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These are my favorite reusable snack size bags. Portion out the perfect snack and reuse and reuse and reuse.

 

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I love keeping other snack items in the fridge using this divided turn table. I keep one in my fridge and one in my pantry. Easy access to grab and go, or to help littles pack their own lunches.

Fridge:

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Pantry:

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Use these bins and labels to keep fresh foods contained and accessible as well. Be sure and measure your fridge first. These bins come in lots of different sizes to fit any space.

 

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Now what?

Well, you’ve spent one afternoon cooking and prepping. Sit back and enjoy the rest of the week. Trust me, food prepping works. I was a teacher when my kids were younger. Our weekdays were jam packed with school work, activities, sports, you name it. By having a plan for each week, it saved my sanity not to mention my time and money. It takes a little getting used to at first, but if you start simple and stay consistent with it, you’ll soon be a food prep pro!

 

Need help? I’m an email away.

 

Ready to help you today,

Lisa

 

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Organization: Before & After

My most popular posts on instagram and facebook are the before and after pictures. This pantry I organized earlier this month has gotten the most likes ever!

Here is a before pic….

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And here is the after…

 

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These pictures show instant gratification….and that’s what happens when you organize. You see and feel instant results in your space and in your mental state!

 

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When you walk into a cluttered space your brain feels overwhelmed and your eye can’t find peace or calm. That results in the open and shove method….close the door on clutter and “you can’t see it”…..but guess what? You can feel it….

 

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By putting a few simple elements in place like baskets, bins, turntables and labels, the visual clutter goes away, telling your brain “ohhhhh this is wonderful”.

 

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Do you have spaces like this in your home? Are you ready to feel peace and calm in your surroundings?

 

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I can help you! If you live in the DFW area, I’m an email away. If you don’t live in the Dallas area, I offer virtual organizing OR can recommend you to one of my many organizer friends all over the country.

Summer is around the corner, it’s the perfect time to get organized!

 

Ready to help you today,

Lisa

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Food Prepping

Do you food prep?

I started doing this years ago and I cannot tell you how much time and money it has saved us! Not to mention taking the stress away on those busy school nights. Menus planned and meals prepped help this busy, working mom run her home better!

 

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How do I do it?

I love to food prep on Sunday nights. I get lunches prepped and ready for the week as well as cook all the meat I will be using for dinners. Bulk cooking saves time, energy, and money since you aren’t tempted to run through the drive thru. We always plan on eating out once a week for our date night, so having meals ready during the week is key!

I love using these  Stasher brand reusable storage bags from The Container Store . They save so much space.

 

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For example, here are two leftover boxes that we had this week. Restaurant to go boxes stink up the fridge and don’t seal very well. They also take up a ton of space! So I transferred the leftovers into these stasher bags and wow, space saved and smells gone!

 

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Not to mention, three lunches for this week all ready to go!

 

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These reusable baggies are microwave, stovetop, and dishwasher safe! Here’s what the label says, I know you like to read labels too!

 

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The half gallon bags hold a pot of white chicken chili that I prepped and made ahead. Make a pan of fresh cornbread, and dinner is served in 20 minutes!

 

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Next I clean out my fridge and freezer.

I like to organize my fridge and freezer every week. Cleaning out the fridge weekly keeps it organized, and ensures we use everything we have. No waste. Plus it makes putting groceries away easier too!

 

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I love using these bins  in the fridge and freezer.  They are divided, which I love! The dividers are removable though, if you need the whole bin. Labels make it easy for my family to find what they want, and help everyone put away groceries!

 

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Perfect for snacks in the fridge, or frozen foods in the freezer .

 

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If you have a freezer drawer, try these wire baskets. I love having all the frozen bread items in mine.

 

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One quick grab and I have all the bread in one spot. Freezer organization made easy!

 

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Here’s a tip to help keep your berries fresher, longer.

One last thing I want to show you. Save your berries and make them last longer using this apple cider vinegar soak.  Pour one half cup of vinegar (must be the kind that has “the mother”) into a bowl of water. Soak for one hour, rinse, and let air dry completely before putting back in the fridge. No vinegar after taste! Just fresh berries minus the spores that make them go bad.

 

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BUT, if you do have some soft berries, don’t toss them! Make frozen berry cubes. I made mine in this covered ice cube tray  . So yummy in fizzy water, lemonade, iced tea or champagne!

 

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So simple and easy. I have so many ideas for this tray. Freeze left over coffee to put in my iced coffees, cut up herbs and freeze in EVOO, make homemade baby food…so many ideas!

 

Did I help you today?

I hope so. Once you get the hang of food prepping, it will become easy and routine to do. Get your whole family involved. Put on some fun music and make Sunday nights family food prep night. Kids love to help, and everyone will love the benefit of a hot, ready to eat meal during the busy school week!

 

If you’re in the DFW area, I’d love to come help you. If not, I offer virtual organizing services. We FaceTime and I tell you what to do lol! It’s really fun.

 

I’m ready to help you today,

Lisa

 

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Disclaimer: This is a paid sponsorship with The Container Store. All products mentioned above were given to me in exchange for my honest review. You all know by now that I would not recommend any product that I don’t use or love myself! Thank you for your support – Lisa

 

Back To School Routines: Food Prepping

This time of year brings a shift in all our homes. Wether you have kids going back to school or not, summer routines come to an end.

As a teacher, I personally love this time of year. It brings me a renewed resolve to start fresh! I love setting up my classroom, making new lesson plans and welcoming the change that’s about to happen.

Two ways I stay organized during the school year is by food prepping, and sticking to my daily routines.

Food Prepping:

Every Sunday evening, I prep food for school lunches and dinners for the week ahead. Involving your kids in this teaches them about food, helps them feel included, and makes them feel proud to help accomplish an “adult task”. They also get a bonus lesson in math while measuring.

 

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I usually cook double of whatever recipe I am making. For instance, I will cook a huge roast or two, or a double batch of ground turkey seasoned with onions and garlic. This creates a base for so many dishes.

I also make up a large batch of quinoa, brown rice, steel cut oats, and hard boiled eggs. I use these as a base for lunches, adding to salads, side dishes for dinner and breakfast every day. 

  • Quinoa: add to salads, soups, or with veggies for a side dish
  • Brown rice: base for tacos, in salads, or with veggies and chicken for dinner
  • Steel Cut Oats: warm up a portion each morning, add fruit, nuts, honey
  • Hard boiled eggs: breakfast with an avocado, or add to salads

Putting my lunch in individual dishes helps make packing up every morning before school a breeze.

After dinner, have the kids help you pack their lunch box for the next day while you’re cleaning up. Letting them make choices usually ensures they will eat what is packed.

 

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Teaching kids to cook is a life skill they will cherish. When supervised, they really can do a lot of things in the kitchen.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are of cooking with both of my grandmas. They made everything from scratch, and taught me to do the same. I think back to those times with the fondest of memories. I love passing it down to my own grandkids.

Other food prep that I like to do weekly includes:

  • washing fruit
  • washing and cutting up veggies
  • baking healthy snacks and freezing for later
  • food shopping once a week

 

Planning ahead makes those busy week days so much easier. You always have something on had for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try it for a week and see for yourself.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back with daily routines and schedules to make your days easier! 

Need help, but don’t know where to start? Email me, I’m here for you.

 

Ready to help you today,

Lisa