I spent the weekend analyzing drawer space in refrigerators for all the produce we go through and rack space in ovens for the trays of tortillas chips I make sometimes or the 15 baked potatoes I might make for the week. We just bought a new home in St. Louis that was in need of a kitchen and bath update. So we are designing a kitchen based around the way we live. This turned out to be an interesting adventure! we spent hours in the home improvement stores this weekend having interesting conversations with sales people, measuring things and picking out appliances, cabinets and the like.
We live a little differently than we did a few years ago. Things have changed for us a bit in the kitchen for sure. We are opting out of a microwave again. We don’t have one in our house in Minnesota either. There was one already installed in our RV so we use it from time to time. But ultimately, we find that we eat better when we don’t have the option of a microwave. It requires a little more planning, and a bit more prep time; however, better balanced meals tend to be the outcome when cooking the ‘old-fashioned’ way. This completely baffled the salesperson who was trying to sell us a package deal that included a microwave. “How do you survive without one?”
One of the questions I answer often is: “How do you fit it all in your fridge?” Well, there are lots of options for storing produce in your fridge. My favorite way is to do most of the prep work immediately upon returning home with the groceries. Chopping up produce makes it a little easier to store in the fridge when you have it in florets, spears, chips, cubes or diced. Glass containers with lids make great storage options for having an in-refrigerator salad bar. Items like celery and broccoli, melon and peppers fit much better when prepped ahead instead of in their whole state. I buy vegetables that I plan to cook in the frozen food aisle if I can. I fill my freezer, especially when they are on sale. I usually have one shelf that is frozen fruit and one that is frozen vegetables.
Choosing cabinetry for our kitchen proved interesting as well. I find I cook more often then ever and I like to have my cooking tools handy rather than locked away in cabinets. So we opted for less cabinets and more open shelves. We also only use a few small appliances, like the food processor and toaster oven, so we don’t need a lot of space for specialty appliances. Our kitchen tools have really been streamlined over the past couple of years. A good set of sharp knives, a few cutting boards, a colander, can opener and great pans are the essentials we use all the time. Other less useful items just gathered dust in our former kitchen. So we designed with that in mind. I wanted more work space in a more practical way than I had before.
Storing food in the pantry has also changed. When discussing what I need in a pantry with our contractor, he seemed baffled by my need to store so little. Keeping food to a plant-strong basics list – means a lot less specialty items taking up space and more uniform shelves for storage jars and canned goods. I know the tallest thing I store in the pantry is brown rice spaghetti or the container where I keep my rolled oats. Old habits do die hard though. When looking at refrigerators, one had a deep skinny shelf that my husband exclaimed would be great for frozen pizzas! We haven’t had a frozen pizza in 2 years I said. Oh yeah.
Designing a plant-strong kitchen is proving to be a lot of fun, I can’t wait to see it all put together! How has plant-strong living changed the way your kitchen looks? Have you found any neat ways to make your kitchen more friendly to plant-strong living? Found an innovative way to store your veggies or canned goods? Let me know!