Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My Kitchen

Welcome to my kitchen sink! What you see here is a little 70's style kitchen with a bit of paint slapped on it to fancy my personal tastes. This post is to let you know that it does not take a state of the art, million dollar kitchen to be able to have healthy natural meals on a regular basis (although I won't complain if I win something off of the home and garden channel). It also doesn't take an outrageous grocery bill or no life outside the kitchen to feed a family organic, whole grain, hormone free, natural and friendly foods. I will make the same statement even when you have a family member with serious food allergies and requires a special diet.

This blog entry will give you a tour of the place where all my kitchen play takes place, aka Dori's "lab". My intentions in doing this is to point a new direction for others who are tired of traveling the same "industrialized" road they have been traveling. My heart lies with families and a lifestyle that allows them to accomplish what is important to them. For my family it was important that we stayed together, so we made drastic changes in our lifestyle which for us meant giving up 50% of our income and overcoming some health issues. An organic whole foods diet, aka "slow food", environmentally and animal friendly (vegan for me, lacto/ovo for DH, depends on whose cooking for the kids) and home made happiness. This kind of living can be less expensive than choosing the commercialized/ fast food offerings in which you get "super sized" bargains and it can also be more expensive depending on how much commerical convenience you want to pay for.

I was once a full time professional mom who thought I could do it all (work, educational improvement, and family), but I was wrong - everything has a price. When our family structure began to crumble under the pressures (mentally/ physically) of keeping up with modernized life and divorce was immenent, two hurting souls looked up to the heavens and wondered, "Is there more to life than this?" A reconnection and commitment to our spiritual values allowed a divine intervention to work in our marriage and save our family from being a statistic. When we yielded and took a turn to a road less traveled, we have discovered a journey that at times has been tearful many times, but meaningful and satisfying. We have now known no greater joy since making the change. Although I realize others will not find satisfaction doing the same that our family has, I would like to invite you into my kitchen so that if there is something that inspires you to make the changes that you will find satisfaction with you can know that you are not alone. On the Bakehouse link, there is more about our friendly, more peaceful eating lifestyle (this includes friendlier to your personal health, so you do receive direct benefits from it!) and the work we have dedicated out bakehouse to.

As the picture above shows, the kitchen sink lies directly south in my kitchen with a window and window shelf above it (DH, put the shelf up for me and a black lacey curtain is hung behind it). The main color scheme is black and tan. To the left of the kitchen window is an under cabinet toaster oven, a big flower pot that I keep tall handled goods in, our coffee maker in the corner, my magic bullet blender to the right, a spice rack, and my black convection oven. We got such a bargain on the black oven that I decided to make it one of the main colors in my kitchen

My family moved into this house in 2003. In our previous home we lived through a constant remodel job, one of which was the kitchen and I had the wonderful opportunity to design it literally from the floor jousts up. It was a big 15 x 15 kitchen with a center island, a sliding glass door leading to a patio ... It has taken me some adjustment to the smaller kitchen I have now BUT the advantage is what lies outside my kitchen window, the bakehouse (in the picture you see our garage to the right and the bakehouse behind that). That and our one acre garden to the left of the bakehouse is why we decided to move, well that and what our previous home appraised for after all of our handiwork :o).

Continuing past the south west corner where the coffee pot sits you see the stove with my huge spice rack above it and a cupboard where I store more spices/ flavorings, etc. The doorway beside the stove leads into a little hallway. That hallway has a large closet where I store kitchen goods that I don't use daily, the location makes it handy and lets me keep my kitchen counters uncluttered. In the picture you see my bread machine, a kitchen mixer (bosch compact), my magic whisper grain mill, and a professional 24 cup muffin pan, and the fire extinguisher. There is a lot more in this cupboard, some things I only use once a year and I also keep some canning supplies in the bottom as well as dog food.

You see my white refrigerator (barely) in the right corner of the above picture and again you almost see it underneath all our family stuff posted on it. I'm going to give a tour around the refrigerator because I know I have the busiest multi tasking refrigerator of anyone I know. To the left you see the south side of my frig and pictures of everyone we love including special event invitations and Christmas letters. To the right you see the FRONT of my frig... and my grocery list pad, coupons, important family papers as well as work well done (Yes, we all still feel a great school paper or crayon colored picture is a great thing to post on the frig. This carries almost as much prestige as a professionally published work in our family). And last you see the north side of my refrigerator. This is the main family information and planning station. Our calendar, conference papers, financial budgeting goals, prayer list, and all other thing a family needs to keep life organized is located here. As well as a shelf which doubles as a phone stand, office supply basket holder, as well as phone book stand at the bottem.

Next, you see our peninsula. In my previous kitchen we had an island, but in this kitchen we had a cold air vent coming up from the basement that needed a partial wall. Islands are free standing, peninsula's are attached to a main wall. It was frustrating to have a half wall separating the kitchen from the eating area, so I sent DH to his garage/ workshop to come up with what we have here. I have legumes, grains, soy curls, and teas stored in jars on the top two shelves. You can barely see the bar stool sitting up to the peninsula top here. I sometimes sit and study cookbooks there and when we have company I use this a serving window/ table. The east wall contains a bakers rack holding our microwave and a lot of baskets holding a variety of things ranging from napkins, teas, snacks, and fresh or dried fruits as well as cookbooks. In the bottom I have two baskets where I store onions, potatoes, and squash.

Directly beside the microwave is a small 2x2 table. Currently it holds a basket full of file folders and recipes. I have the file folders arranged seasonally and when I try a new recipe, if I want to save it I place it here for when I have fresh produce available, then I check there first. I have been working on this organization method for awhile. I'm the kind of grower who only grows what I use and if I share my produce I'll share my uses for it. I have thought about putting together a small book (self-made) for my market customers arranging the recipes in the order produce becomes locally available in our area. Behind the table is a wall and behind the wall is a closet (I love my little kitchen's storage capacity). This is actually an under the stairway space. At the bottom of it I have another shelf where I store canned goods as well as more canning jars, large bowls, and other awkward or only used seasonally kitchen equipment.

This is the south east corner of the kitchen. It was shown in relation to the little table above and the closet is directly to the left of what you see here. The open cupboard is for food storage. The drawers and cabinets hold plastic lunch box dishes, more kitchen equipment (salad spinner, servings bowls, mixing bowls, ice cream maker, etc, etc.), and all sorts of odds and ends that I couldn't find other room for. On the counter sits my BOSCH Universal and Soyajoy soymilk machine. I have a dealership agreement with both companies and can sell these, but at this time that is not my focus. As you can see in the right corner of the picture I am back at the sink. We have now completed this tour of Dori's little kitchen.

NOTE: I do have many, many kitchen gadgets and appliances... if I had a hobby it would be called not inspector gadget, but something close. Other than the BOSCH universal, grain mill, and soyajoy I got most of my utensils from second hand stores at extremely cheap prices. The goods that I did pay full price for has well paid for themselves in the savings many times over. Remember a road to change is taken on step at a time, so you can get a well stocked kitchen for a small price also.


Starla said...

Dori: Let me be the first to thank you for the tour of your kitchen. That was fun! You are very organized and have so many fun kitchen "toys". That closet you keep your larger less used appliances in is almost identical to my little closet I have off of my kitchen because I keep my crockpots, rice cooker and citrus juicer on that top shelf and below I keep CAT FOOD (like your dog food). Amazing.

primaryconsumer said...

Thanks for showing everyone around your kitchen! I'm going to be doing a post about mine soon (inspired by everyone who is blogging about their homes). I saw in your MM post below that you got the Vegan Deli cookbook. I have it and I love it! My family especially loves the carrot salad with cumin (actually, it's called the carrot salad with caraway but the cumin is the variation).

Vicki said...

Hi Dori! Thank you so much for that wonderful tour of your awesome kitchen! A "real" cook's kitchen. Looks like we have the same coffee maker - a cuisinart? I love the view out your window...and the BAKEHOUSE! When is that tour? Can't wait to see photos of your garden too.

Your husband is handy with the shelf above the sink & the super cool peninsula...I want a serving window! (btw: my husband may want to speak with yours after I tell him about that -- but right now, he's busy working on a raised garden bed I had heard about)

I think you have a brilliant book idea. It reminds me of Fresh From The Farmers' Market by Janet Fletcher. Her chapters are: The Market in Spring, Summer, Autumn, & Winter. Only hers is based on CA growing season...and, I don't think she grows ALL the crops for the recipes! LOL! You are amazing.

That really was a great tour, thanks again. :o)

PS -- What's a soymilk machine?

EatPeacePlease said...

Dori, I saw this yesterday. The blogger wouldn't let me comment. Your kitchen tour was wonderful. I am so sleepy right now (you are last on my bloglist) and I will comment more tomorrow, I just wanted to pop by because I did look as soon as you told me to. I enjoyed reading all the details!

I still can't wait to see the bakehouse.

MIchelle said...

I have gotten on here three times to tour your kitchen and each time a child has interrupted me. I'll have to come back later for a longer visit. (lol) Anyhoo, thanks so much for sharing your home. Looking forward to visiting a while. :)

Dori said...

Vicki.. funny about the coffe maker. Mine is a gevalia from the mail in coffee company.

Leslie, you are up late. I have been unable to post also... frustrating to spend alot of time commenting to someone and then totally lose it.

Totally off food subject here, but you mentioned blog list... mind if I ask if you have the type that alerts you when someone on your list posts or do you just scroll through links on your page. Someone made mention of a bloglist service.... I'm not finding much info about it in my search.

Dori said...

Here is a link to info about it:

Michelle said...

Well, I finally had a nice visit to your kitchen, Dori. Thank you so much for sharing it. Love your view. :-)

AK said...

Hi Dori - our frig's look much alike! Thanks for stopping by A Veggie Venture -- I do keep a list of vegetarian resources. Unfortuately I haven't been able to make time to update it for a couple of months now -- way too long! But I'll be sure to add your blog to the list when I do. PS I lived in Iowa for some years too, also graduated from Iowa State. "Kellogg" is a frequent word in Ames (from my Dad's side of the family ...)

Urban Vegan said...

Whata great post, dori. Quality of life is so important, and I'm glad you were able ito improve yours so much. Life's too short.

I love your kitchen, but you do realize that it's not erally a kitchen, don't you? It's an ARTIST's studio, filled with all the things you need to paint wonderful healthy meals.

Dori said...

Thanks Urban Vegan.. I'll take that kind of talk about my "not really" kitchen.

KleoPatra said...

That's an unbelievable kitchen, Dori, and i mean that in the best way.

The outside of my fridge looks a lot like yours... and that's about all i can say in comparison/contrast to this amazing kitchen you have.

Lovely, lovely, lovely!

Thanks for the TOUR!!

Bryanna said...

Great page, Dori! It's always reassuring to see real cooks' kitchens-- not the ones in house mags. makes me feel right at home!