The Pantry Gets a “Back-To-School” Makeover

The Pantry Gets a “Back-To-School” Makeover

The rumors are true!  A Windy City Momma TOOK the summer off!  But now that the kid is back from camp and the house is a mess, so it’s time for A Windy City Momma to get back to work!

My first project: A Chaotic Pantry.

As self-proclaimed “Foodies” who love to cook as much as we love to eat out (okay, he cooks and I eat), we have quite a collection of FOOD! There’s only one slight problem, there is so much shoved in our narrow but deep pantry that I can’t tell what’s actually in there.  As a result, I continue to buy the same “stuff” because  I can’t find what I need in the pantry.  So I asked Organizer Sandy, an incredible resource and lovely lady, how I should start this daunting project.   She tweeted that I must: “Take everything out of the pantry.”

Yesterday, I decided to dive in and take her advice.  The first step was to figure out what I already had and what, if anything, I really needed. In the end, I wound up learning quite a bit about my family’s eating habits and about me! First the Wordless Wednesday pictures:


Actually, no one (including me) can find anything in the pantry because there is just too much in there. So, I decided to get organized…

The Pantry: Cleaned and Cleaned Out

Yeah, about that…



Seriously, it took me eight hours and a very long and involved trip to The Container Store to conquer the Foodie’s Pantry.

One question….

Step 3: Keep it that way!

So what did I learn?

  1. Our family loves storage containers (tupperware, sandwich bags, gallon sized plastic bags etc.)  We have so many of them that I decided to get rid of a lot.  They were out of control
  2. We drink A LOT of tea including green, white, black, chai, diet, ginger, dandelion and the list goes on and one.  And, since purchasing the Keurig, I have even more tea and have added all sorts of coffees to my selection.  (Note to self: DO NOT BUY ANYMORE TEA!)
  3. We love peanut butter and can’t seem to stop buying it
  4. We love sugar, flour, pasta and rice (including risotto):  I had to donate quite a bit of unopened dry products just to be sure that we had enough room in the pantry for what was already opened.
  5. We love spices and nuts.  I could have dedicated an entire shelf to these dried goods
  6. We don’t eat a lot of salty, crispy snack foods but BOY (!) do we LOVE chocolate!  We have a huge assortment of bittersweet, semi-sweet, dark, milk, white, powdered, hot, cold and chunked chocolate.  It may be time to investigate how old some of the cooking chocolate is and get rid of the chunks left over from our “dating years.” (Almost 15 years ago.)
  7. We have too many canned tomatoes and not enough tomato soup (or any soup for that matter.)
  8. We really need to stay away from bulk stores like Costco, or Sam’s Club.

Project “Get the House Ready for School” continues.  After finishing the pantry, I decided that I needed to take a few days off and concentrate on my writing. Baby step…baby steps People!

Next stop?  The bathroom shelves and drawers–I have heard that there are some scary prescriptions hanging around since the 1990’s.  Tsk, tsp….



Gastronomical Utopia At Next Restaurant: One Course At A Time

Gastronomical Utopia At Next Restaurant: One Course At A Time

Next: El Bulli

I am not sure what I would do without my husband, Adam.  Certainly I would not eat nearly as well as I do.  Not only is he a gourmet cook and an impassioned “foodie” but he is also an amazing photographer.  So, if you combine his passion for fine cuisine with his love of photography; well you get some awesome shots of the amazing dinners we have had over the past 10 or so years.

We had tickets to Next Restaurant on May 19th.  Do you know how freaking hard it is to get tickets to this restaurant? If you do, then you also know that Adam was near tears when I told him that there was NO WAY that I could go out for dinner that night.  I had just been diagnosed with strep throat and had an 102 degree temperature.  Unless it involved a heating pad or good drugs, I was not interested.  And despite his best efforts to find someone to go with, Adam recognized that he was not going to enjoy the tastes of El Bulli on Saturday night.  But, he was not derailed and he managed to get last minute tickets on the following Wednesday night.  It was a miracle that he (a) got the tickets and (b) that I was well enough to handle a 29 course meal.

I’ve been asked to share my thoughts and reflects on the meal.  There are few adjectives that do it justice.  With that, and recognizing that you really don’t want to read my prose, here is the video that Adam compiled from his pictures of that evening:

Next Restaurant: El Bulli, A Meal in 29 Stages of Culinary Utopia

To answer the inevitable question: Yes, as a matter of fact, I did gain 10 pounds.  But they were SO worth it!