Sunday, August 26, 2012

Size Doesn't Matter

Size Doesn’t Matter
I have to say and believe that size does not matter.   Some experts would disagree with me but these so called connoisseurs are most likely less adventurous and less expected to take on the arduous task to achieve a height of complete enjoyment; aah you think to yourself how can this be possible; of course size does matter! Yes I do agree one look and all hope of creating a succulent moment become deflated. Yet from conception to consumption the work before me is focused and driven to achieve satisfaction to all that I cater to.    I am talking about the tiny area of my home called the kitchen.  This room is a very special space and there is no other like it.  Two of the drawers that are in the cabinetry are placed one near the stove and the other near the dishwasher; to open one I need to open the oven door, to obtain what I need in the other drawer I need to open the dishwasher door which is a small apartment size dishwasher that we bought when we needed a new refrigerator we decided to get rid of the full size dishwasher because we would rather have a full size refrigerator.  
With my tools on hand a sharp chef knife that I purchased at TJ Maxx, a red apron and my cutting board I begin my mission.  I perch myself at the right corner where the electric stove meets the counter, this is my corner.  Yes I did say “Electric Stove!” My cutting board is in front of me and in the cabinet above on the first shelf contains all my spices, some in the containers I bought them in, a few in various jars that I bought to display neatly and a handful I harvested from my own summer herb garden, that is displayed so proudly from Spring into Fall outside my side door.  On my right lined like soldiers are my bottles that hold red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar; joining the party are two more bottles olive oil and extra virgin olive; at end of the row is a wooden red peppermill which I absolutely adore only because it was an item that was on my wish list (a red peppermill; which I could never find) and finally found it at a Home Goods Store. In front of the bottles are my jars of salts one fine sea salt, another coarse sea salt and lastly a stocky jar that holds black pepper. Caddy corner to my right is a basket that is always stocked with limes, lemons and tomatoes; on occasion I have pears, oranges, apples and avocados gracing the basket. In front of me are three containers one for garlic cloves, another that has oregano, and the last one holds cayenne pepper; after that is a large ceramic pestle and mortar that claims it is from Capri, the pestle shares the space with a  wooden citrus reamer.  Following is a large ceramic piece that’s holds my wooden spoons, ladles, whisks, and a couple of strainers.  In this tiny area I added three tiny chefs one is holding a wine bottle, the other is holding baked bread and the third is holding a pie.   This whimsical trio represents to me, respectively merriment, friendship, and that life is truly sweet.
That is the layout of my workspace, continuing the area is a large stainless sink a small area to drain the washed dishes, caddy corner at the end of the counter top is the microwave. Rounding the corner perched on top of the dishwasher is the coffeemaker and it is there because that is the only place in the kitchen that it could be plugged in.  We have a flat faced plug that can hold up to six outlets. The main appliances plugged in it is the refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker  at times  I need the other outlets for the blender, food processor, submerge blender, various kitchen tools and to charge my cell phone.  Following this area is the refrigerator with a bottom freezer and the ability to make ice. Yay! The kitchen is painted yellow and the vintage cabinets (from the 40’s original when the house was built) are painted white. Throughout the kitchen, it is decorated with an array of items that I have collected that has meaning to me. On two shelves are various salt and pepper shakers that I have found at stores like The Dollar Store, Home Goods, T.J. Maxx, Christmas Store, and from Birobidjan Russia.  If I paid $1.00 or 956 rubles they all get displayed equally.  Not sure why I love them, but I do.  I collect salt and pepper shakers. Maybe it’s the spiritual meaning of salt – the antiquity of this spice how it is mentioned in the Bible  so many times,  or  because  I heard so many times  to take things  “with a grain of salt.”  I also love the term; the salt of the earth which means- Those of great worth and reliability.  Another reason for the love of salt shakers is my Italian heritage I was taught it wears off the evil eye.  But all in all salt and pepper shakers come in so many forms, and shapes. I love the whimsical figures, the traditional containers, and the eclectic shapes. I look at my collection and I am reminded daily that we are truly the “Salt of the Earth and we all have great worth and reliability, no matter what shape and size we come in.
Along the walls are various plaques with sayings reminding me to “Laugh out loud!”, “Love Each Other”, pointing out that this is my “Home Sweet Home”, allowing me to reflect on the word Grace and  considering  the  “Sweetness of Doing Nothing”, in Italian. Yes my kitchen is special it is not the state of the art kitchen that I dream of having one day. The counter top is red Formica (I think) and where there are spots of wear and neglect I covered with cutting boards; one cutting board is actually glass with a Renoir painting.  The kitchen is also the main traffic area and my linoleum stick on tiles are scrubbed clean weekly. 
So literally in a nutshell is the description of my kitchen.  My very own sanctuary, in a space of twelve inches I cut, chop and create meals for my family and friends.  I have my stand-by meals. I try new recipes and I am always tweaking and experimenting with the fundamentals that I have learned.  I am not a chef I did not go to culinary school but I did grow up with women that were always cooking.  I was probably 12 years old and helping out in the kitchen.  Although I say I love to cook there are days that am not a fan of the task, my tiny kitchen becomes messy if I take out a fork.  However I am an admirer of good food and a healthy lifestyle and truly believe that true home cooked meals are so much healthier for everyone.   My shopping list hardly contains foods that are processed and basically almost everything I cook is from scratch.  I believe it is wallet friendly and figure friendly too. 
Preparation is so important; weekly I prepare a menu and a shopping list, my ideas of what I will cook come from my weekly supermarket’s flier of items that are on sale and staples that I always have on hand.  I am on a budget yet I do not clip coupons because what I am buying are food items that never or hardly have coupons.  On the most part I prepare most of meals on Sunday and freeze it.  I work full time and before I leave in the morning I take out what we will be eating that night to defrost.  Whoever is home first will turn the oven on; or put the water to boil.  I will make a salad and add my own dressing.  Dinner is usually ready in thirty or forty-five minutes when I come home.
Some of my usual meals are meatloaf, chicken cutlets, pasta sauces, stews.  I have surprised my husband and two kids with other dinners that they loved.  Please allow me to share with you my love of food, and home cooked meals.  It is much easier than you may think.  Follow me blog about meal planning, daily family sit down meals, and healthy lifestyles.  I will show you how to entertain your extended family and friends with easy meals that will wow them. You also can sit at the table and proclaim Mangia, Mangia …no talk!

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Shopping List - April 24,2016

Vegetables/Fruit Bananas .49cents a lb. 1 bunch Tomatoes .99cents a lb. 4 or 5 Eggplants 1.39lb get three String Beans @ .99 cents a pound Avocado @ .99 cents each (2) Mangoes 2 for $3.00 (2) Bag of Eastern Potatoes $1.99 Limes and lemons Mini Cucumbers 1.99 English Cucumbers 2 for $3.00 Romaine Hearts 1.99 Deli/Bakery Pretzel Chips Feta cheese Hummus – Boars head 2 for 5.00 (1) Pita flat bread (Greek) Meat Chicken Cutlets 3.49 a pound Chicken Kabobs 3.99 a pound Dairy/Frozen Mozzarella Shredded Cheese $2.50 Plain Greek Yogurt or Tzatziki sauce (deli) Ricotta Cheese Biazzo $3.99 Almond Milk 2 for 6.00 I need is 1 Grocery One box of Orzo Coffee $4.99 Cups Paper Plates 1 can of Tomato Sauce - small can One bottle of Balsamic vinegar Cereal –General Mills 1.99

What's for dinner - W/O April 24,2016

Dinners This week April 24, 2016

Sunday

Chicken Kababs – Greek Salad and Orzo

Monday

Fusilli with Ricotta Cheese- salad and Italian bread

Tuesday

Chicken Cutlets-Salad- Green Beans - French-fries

Wednesday

Eggplant parm – salad and rolls to make sandwiches

Thursday

Peppers and Egg Frittata – Rolls and Salad

Friday – Tuna Salad – fries- salad - (green)

Saturday – Fun night – could be take out, homemade pizza, Mexican (homemade) Deli-Meat quesadillas, grilled cheese and soup – or Diner style cheeseburgers. Until next week’s flyer

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