Know what I did a few weeks ago when I was wondering how I was going to get anything done on my huge to-do list?
I organized the spice cabinet.
Ridiculous, right? But for some reason, being able to exert control over that one little thing made me feel empowered enough to take a deep breath and figure out a game plan for the rest. After tackling the spice cabinet I couldn’t stop– I organized each cabinet one by one. By the time I was done I had an inventory of what I needed to buy to get ready for the holidays and everything was back in it’s place.
Guess what we were almost out of? Pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. It’s a good thing I checked!
Free time is hard to come by during the holidays, so maybe grab a spare moment now and get organized for later. You’ll appreciate that it’s all done so you can relax and enjoy this beautiful season. Here’s a few strategies to get everything ready, and honestly they only take a few minutes each so you can do them in-between the other big things on your list!
Spices: We have two spice areas: the cabinet and a spice rack. I went through and pulled any spices of which I had doubles. I did the sniff test to see which was freshest, and then decanted it into the spice rack jars if needed. Spices do get old, and mine have been hanging around for years. Any ancient spices were discarded and put on my list to be purchased a few at a time or when they are on sale (p.s.– if you have a Safeway, they had spices on sale last week. Perfect timing!)
|guess which one I kept?|
I had some spice jars left over, and if they were glass then I kept them because I have a recipe for a Salmon Spice Rub (I’ll share it in a few weeks) that I wanted to make and hand out as small gifts for family members. This recipe is a perfect way to reuse those handy jars!
|ahhhh, organized and ready to cook!|
Baking Supplies: This was a simple inventory. I checked dates on things like flour and made sure we had at least a bag of sugar (regular, brown, and confectioners), flour (both regular and bread), baking soda, baking powder, and salt. These are things that are on sale right now, so you might as well get them on sale and not at the last minute when you realize you are out of something in the middle of that batch of cookies!
The Fridge: Get ready for an influx of food in your fridge by clearing everything out, giving it a good cleaning using baking soda and vinegar, and throwing away expired goods. Now your fridge and freezer are ready and waiting for all those holiday meals.
Kitchen Areas: A few years ago I did this and it made all the difference. I organized my cabinets by “theme”. For example, there’s a baking area that stores muffin tins, cooling racks, popover pans, rolling pins, and anything tied into baking (except cookie sheets, those get stored in the drawer under the stove). My pots and pans go in another area. Ovenware in another. You all have probably been doing that for years, but it was new to me and once I organized the space that way I no longer had to wonder things like, “now where did I put my electric mixer?” because I know it’s tucked in with the baking supplies.
The Bartender: No matter your drink preference, it’s good to have a bunch of options on hand for all those guests that tend to stop by during the holidays. I was given a can of Ghiradelli Hot Chocolate and it was a great gift; now I have something luxurious and sweet to warm up visitors when they come in from the cold.
Here are a few other ideas of beverages that are sure to please:
::: a Thanksgiving tradition in our home is to sip warm Frangelico around the fire. The hazelnut scent of warmed Frangelico always reminds me of the holidays!
::: If you live in Pennsylvania, I have to say that Chaddsford Winery’s Spiced Apple Wine is pretty delish and very timely. I serve it chilled, but it can be served warmed as well.
::: non-alcoholic and yummy, mulled cider not only tastes wonderful but makes your home smell like the holidays. You can buy cider and jazz it up with bagged mulled spice mixes, but I have to say that if you’re in the mood to spend a few extra minutes this wassail recipe from Little Birdie Secrets is the bomb!
::: Port. We get ours from a friend’s winery, and have found nothing tops of a meal like ending it with a tad bit of port.
::: tea is also a great way to take the chill off, so we have a cabinet of herbed versions as well as a carton of chai tea mix. Add frothed milk and you’ve got a chai tea latte.
::: for the non-drinkers around the Thanksgiving table (like my mother-in-law) I have sparkling apple cider. I loved this when I was pregnant.
Just so you don’t think I’ve got it all under control, my spice cabinet is perfect but here’s a scene from the end of the day last week, in the middle of our renovation and just after the hubs got home: