Monday, August 22, 2011

Wine in miniature

These are so perfect for trips and hotel stays where you may not have access to a wine opener! And who doesn't love miniature versions of delicious things? =)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I have the organizing bug!

Do you have any idea how exasperating it is to have caught the organizing bug when all your household goods are currently crammed in boxes on a moving truck somewhere between Washington and Texas? Auggghhhhh!

As much as I've been looking forward to having my stuff back, a little part of me was dreading it. We don't have a ton of stuff as far as furniture goes, but we do have a lot of other stuff (ie, clothes, Army gear, books, camping equipment, papers, etc.). Our new house has a few rooms that are the same size or bigger than our old one, such as the kitchen, living room, and bathroom, but the rest of it is going to provide more of a challenge and truth to be told, I've been worrying about trying to fit into a slightly smaller space.

That changed when I found IHeart Organizing and discovered there are plenty of ways to make a small space work! The key is to organize that space effectively. =) I have found so many perfect ideas and put a handful of cheap organization items in wish lists online so I can order them and get to work right away when our stuff arrives. Here are some areas I'm excited to work in the most:

As I mentioned, our new kitchen is a good size with a lot of cabinet space. However, being a cooking and baking enthusiast, I have a TON of kitchen stuff. And if I don't purchase some tools to keep it all displayed and stored effectively, I'm going to feel like I'm bursting out of the seams again. Particular collections I need to work on are my pots and pans, baking pans, plastic food containers, and herbs/spices. I have plans for all of them! For example, I'm getting 2 of these for my herb/spice collection:

Oh my gosh, we have SO MUCH PAPER everywhere in our house! I have always sucked at keeping paper organized. We have one small and overflowing file cabinet that we may not have room for now, so I am going to clean that out and utilize a binder system instead that can be stored on our bookshelves. I'm also going to come up with a better system for sorting and storing things that come in the mail. And one more thing that is a top priority: magazines! One whole bookshelf in our bookcase is taken up by several years' worth of Real Simple and In Style magazines! Ridiculous. =) I'm going to go through them all, tear out any pages I want to save (both magazines have lots of ideas and pictures I would like to have filed somewhere for reference), store them in an indexed binder, and then get rid of the magazines. If I make a habit of doing that as magazines arrive in the mail, I'll never have to deal with this problem again. I've already done this with a cooking magazine I subscribed to for awhile, and it has worked out amazingly. Plus I actually end up trying the recipes. Go figure! ;-)

Our new master bedroom is a little smaller than our old one, and the closet is definitely smaller. However, it's still a good-sized closet and if both mine and Andrew's stuff won't fit in there comfortably, it obviously means I have too many clothes. =P I've gotten a lot of ideas for making the most out of a small closet space, so I'm excited to implement them and do some more purging. I've also decided I'm going to sell my cedar chest. It's this model exactly:
It makes me kind of sad to think of getting rid of it, because I wanted one for a long time growing up, finally got it for my birthday about a year before I got married, and used it to store stuff for my future house. But...we are not going to have room for it, and it's not the finish I would pick now. Cherry completely clashes with all of my black furniture and it has bugged me for awhile. One day I'll get another one, in a lighter finish so that it complements the rest of my decor.

So, as you can see I have my work cut out for me! =) But I have the next few months off from work or school, which makes this a great way to use my time. I will be putting up pictures and status reports of my progress, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

8 Foods I really wish I liked

I grew up a rather picky eater. Some foods I have learned to like, mostly because of trying it cooked in different ways at restaurants or in my own kitchen, like mashed potatoes, eggs, zucchini, and broccoli. But there are some foods I have always despised and apparently always will. Some foods I don't really care that I don't like. Others, I really really wish I liked them because they always seem to put so much flavor in recipes. Not to mention it severely limits my restaurant dish choices sometimes!

Here's a list of foods I hate but really really wish I liked.

1) Corn.
Corn is probably my most hated food. I almost have a psychological fear of corn. No matter how it's cooked, I despise it. I can barely stand to look at this picture. I can force myself to eat it if I'm served it at someone's house, but it takes a lot of willpower. I've also never tried corned beef because it has the word "corn" in it.

2) Celery.
Gross. I hate the flavor, I hate the crunch.

3) Olives
Chopped olives in a dish are a sure way to have me shuddering with horror.

4) Onions
Now, onions can be a little complicated. Overall, I don't like them. I refuse to eat them raw. I can tolerate them in dishes if they are cooked down to mush. I will occasionally add them to soups and stews because I like the flavor and they help tenderize meat, but I either leave them in huge chunks so I can pick them out easily, or make sure they're chopped so fine I won't notice them once they're cooked down. With onions it's more of a texture thing with me than a flavor. Also, I do like green onions, surprisingly enough. I can't explain why.

5) Cucumbers
I have tried cucumbers so many times, determined to like them. I like most vegetables, so why not cucumbers? But it's impossible. I just can't like them.

6) Avocado
Again, another food I have tried over and over again hoping I'll like it, yet I never do. I feel especially lame when I go to a Mexican restaurant and order my meal with no guacamole. I'm pretty sure they walk back to the kitchen thinking, "Stupid American white girl, why is she even here??" and I don't blame them one bit.

7) Peppers
It makes me really sad that I don't like peppers. There are so many recipes I find with almost no ingredients besides peppers and I can never make them. But alas, peppers remain yuck on my palate.

8) Thyme
Thyme is technically an herb, not a food. But I think it counts. I'm crazy about herbs and spices. But I was surprised when I discovered that any dish I put thyme in was ruined for me. I've had to come to the sad realization that I just don't like the flavor of thyme, and it's not worth it to keep ruining dishes in an attempt to change that.

I'm in Texas

Well, we have been here in Texas for a little over a week now. I haven't taken many pictures yet, so this is going to be a photo-less entry. I apologize.

* We have a place...a 2-bedroom duplex with a good-sized kitchen and living room and a cute patio. Overall it's a little on the small side but our BAH (housing allowance) is really low here and since we can't live on post this time around, we need a place with rent enough below BAH that we can include utilities and cable/internet. In a couple months we'll be able to afford a 2nd car, which will be so nice.

* However, we are not in said place yet since the movers have decided to take their sweet time in getting our stuff to us. Hopefully by this time next week we will have it but I'm trying not to get my hopes up. I sure miss my stuff! And I miss cooking! I've gotten obsessed with watching the Food Network since there hasn't been much else to do in the hotel, and it's getting me really antsy to get back in the kitchen!

* So far I think I'm going to like El Paso. The mountains are beautiful and you can see them almost no matter where you are. The neighborhoods you can see from the main highway are pretty scary, but once you get off and get farther away from it, there's plenty of really nice neighborhoods, restaurants, and shopping. I can't WAIT to save up some spending money and go to the fantastic outlet mall that has everything an outlet mall should have--I've never been this close to one before. We've already tried one yummy Mexican restaurant and have a few more on the list to visit. There's so much to do over the next few months: a wine festival (we're near some great New Mexico wineries!), a free Chopin concert festival, an air show with the Blue Angels, New Mexico state fair and rodeo, etc.

* Ft. Bliss is nice too. The Freedom Crossing (PX, commissary, movie theater, restaurants, etc.) completely lived up to my expectations. I've never seen anything so nice on a military installation. We did decide though that Ft. Lewis had more superior gyms. The one here is nice but is lacking in a few areas.

* We thought Andrew was getting put in a training unit, but when he signed in he got put in 1st Stryker Brigade, 1st Armored Division. We're both okay with that. We've heard good things about this unit. The infantry life is what I'm used to and I handle it just fine. I'm looking forward to volunteering for the FRG again if they need anything!

* I hate to end on a not-so-positive note, but it must be said...I really miss my friends. =( I had the best group of girls ever at Lewis! Words can't express how much it sucks to not have them around anymore. And I'd better stop now before the waterworks start!