Monday, March 29, 2010

Coralling the Spices

You know how sometimes your mind grabs hold of a problem and refuses to let it go until it's solved? This was my mini-obsession this week. I love to cook. I also believe in cooking as much from scratch as possible, since processed foods are so high in fat, carbs, sodium, and chemicals. Therefore, it's been a hassle each trip to try to remember what spices to take since I obviously couldn't take the two large spice racks I have next to my stove at home.

The first step was to identify which ones I use a lot of: chili powder, parsley, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and powdered chicken bouillon. I found these small magnetic tins at Cost Plus World Market for $1.99 each. They're approximately 3 inches in diameter and 2 inches tall. The lid rotates to expose a slot and some holes for sprinkling without having to take off the lid. There is a larger size that is $2.99. [Note: right next door to Cost Plus, the small ones were selling for $2.99 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Always go to Cost Plus first!] These are going to be hanging on the side of the "hood" above the stove where they'll be immediately handy all the time.

Next, I was experimenting with ways to store and organize the small bottles of spices. (My trailer has a "spice rack" below the sink, which has enough room for 6 or 7 tall bottles.) One good idea was to put them all in one drawer, and to use a label maker to put the names on the tops so you could pull out the drawer and see them. I spent a few minutes one afternoon making the labels and cleared out a drawer in the trailer for them. Within 2 days, all the labels had come off. It seemed I was going to have to rummage through the drawerful of jars to find what I wanted each time.

Then yesterday while I was sewing, I looked up and saw my thread holders:

I bought these at Slumgullion Gift Gallery in Lake City, Colorado. Each one is made with two yardsticks and some "shelves." I moved the thread to a drawer in my desk (where it's much easier to get to from a sitting position while I sew), and filled the little mini-shelves with my small bottles of spices:

The McCormick, Simply Organic, and Penzey's plastic jars fit neatly into each shelf, and won't come out if jostled. The glass Penzey's jars (why did they change?) are almost too wide, but rubber bands hold them nicely in place. Since each one of these "shelves" hangs individually, I'll be able to put them on the wall next to the refrigerator.

Now my mind can go work on something else!

Another Day Closer...


Cindy said...

Isn't it fun organizing our future little homes!!

Cindy from Tx

Cindy said...

I noticed in some of your previous post you were a Texan at one point.
Where did you live in Tx? I grew up in Dallas..Canton..college Athens..married Seguin.

Cindy from Tx

Merikay said...

I've been marking my spice jars with an x on the bottom when I use them. That way at the end of a year I can toss the ones that haven't been used. My husband is quite a foodie and loves to have me try new recipes. This often involves buying some special ingredients or spices. I hope to cull down to frequently used, and if he wants something special, we will just buy it again!

Tap plastics have lots of small containers. I have thought of using something from there when the time comes.

Also I have switched to only buying the small jars and saving them when they are empty.

Seems like we have some of the very same priorities!

squire said...

Interesting little shelf. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Vicki and Porter said...

Once you go full-timing, all of your spices will be with you all of the time. No more deciding what to take! My wife is a total foodie and aside from the occasional Diner's, Drive-in's and Dives visits, cooks all meals in the rig. Our purchase of this rig was influenced in a large part by the spice-rack, pantries, pull out island and ovens. Needless to say, I didn't have much input... Porter