Planning meals, for those of you like me.

And ‘like me’ means that you’re bad at it, mostly because you simply don’t think about it that far in advance. Generally you cook on inspiration or out of sheer need, which can be lovely, but generally just means you want food and you want it soon and leftovers be damned.

Ever heard of Quamut? Yeah, me neither, until B&N sent me a newsletter that I happened to scroll through (it had Breaking Dawn in the title, so I couldn’t help myself). A Quamut is basically a howto guide that comes in three formats: free online, pay-for .pdf or pay-for laminated. This one was a free download for the week and it’s about planning meals. Now, I know that I can’t be the only one that is miserable at planning meals, despite the fact that I’m aware that I should solely for the fact that I often don’t eat until 9:00pm most days because I can’t be arsed to fix anything until I’m so hungry I have to. But this handy little guide is actually pretty useful, I thought. Some of the information is something some of us might know, but especially for new kitchen pioneers, the how-to stuff would be gold. I like the seasonal produce list, and the pantry stock, myself.

Anyone who may be interested, check it out and download it before the week’s over. If you can’t get to it until after the free period’s over, email me and I’ll send you a copy of the .pdf. I don’t think that’s copyright violation… right?


My new island!

I haven’t really mentioned this previously, because it hasn’t been exactly pertinent, but I’m in the process of moving. (Big surprise – I’m 22 and in college. Moving is what we do, second only to freaking out about classes. Or maybe drinking. But anyway.) I’m downsizing apartments, which is nice and not nice. Nice, because I don’t really need that much space and I will no longer have a roommate (hurrah!) – it’s just me and the dog now, baby! Not nice, because of the kitchen. Let me explain.

This is the building in which I will be living soon (not soon enough, but still). There are actually three apartments in that building; they are all quite small, as they kinda have to be. I have a picture of the apartment itself somewhere, most notably the kitchen. I can deal happily with the small proportions of the rest of the place – the bathroom is big enough for me, and the closet is eight feet tall and six feet wide, and the pantry is quite adequate – but the kitchen is woefully tiny. I have a foot of counter space – literally. I’m not exaggerating. Most of that counter space is going to go to my dish drainer, so that ensures that any prep area will not exist. My cooking days are over! I’ll have to chop and prep and plate and mince on – my computer desktop! My bookshelves! My TV tables!

Not so, thankfully, because I have a wonderful boyfriend. Wonderful, I tell you. And good with his hands.

…get your mind out of the gutter, you.

As you can (sort of) see behind the island itself, my kitchen is indeed tiny. And that’s all of it – stove, economy fridge, single sink and a foot of counter space (where the blue dishtowel is). Hence why I begged and aggravated Wonderful Boyfriend into the idea that he should build me an island. His original plan was (is) to build me a bedframe, but I waxed poetic (ha!) about a rolling island so much that he up and built it. Maybe just to shut me up. Which is fine – I got what I wanted!

It’s all mismatched wood and it looks kind of patchy, but it’s pretty awesome. I especially like the shelf and the top for the grain that came out with the poly coating. I ♥ pretty woodgrain in a serious way. Now all I have to do is get a decent cutting board or butcher block to put on top, and some hooks to screw into the underside of the top decking, and I have more storage space! All my pots and pans are going to live on that shelf, and possibly my baking pans, too. As it was, all of that would have to be relegated to a cabinet above the stove or the fridge, and the lowest cabinet shelf is still at least a foot or so above my head.

This island will probably last me the rest of my life – it will definitely be coming back to Kentucky with me next year and will roll happily about my kitchens for years to come. I wouldn’t want to let it go to waste.