Saturday, July 30, 2011

How to Equip a Kitchen: Spices

      It's time to add a little bit of spice to your life or at least you spice rack. When I started my spice collection, I again searched Martha Stewarts' Website. Martha Stewart has a list of what should be in your spice rack, but I don't even know what have of them are and I consider myself a pretty good cook. So I came up with this list of spices that I use most often, divided into Sandra Spices and Martha Additions. Take your pick from each list to start your spice collection.

     This is the second part of my series in How to Set Up a Kitchen, you can see the first post here. And see the final installment with what to put in your pantry here.

     A note about spices, you can go all organic and buy really expensive spices. You can go cheap and buy the grocery store brands. Personally, I do not really care, unless you are making for a chef or some Gourmont, they won't notice either. Do what is right for your kitchen and budget and have fun while at it!

Sandra Spices

Baking Powder

Baking Soda



Garlic Powder

Garlic Salt






Sea Salt


Vanilla Extract

ALSO- get one of those four mixed spices shaker (like lemon pepper, rosemary blend) they can add spice to every dish and this way you don't have to make your own spice mixes!

Martha Additions

Almond Extract


Bay Leaves

Chili Powder


Cream of Tartar

Ground Ginger



Red Pepper

Seasoned Salt

Sesame Seed

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Weekly Wonderings: July 27, 2011

Fish the kids will eat!

I've been busy all summer, here I thought I was coming home to relax but trying to help my mom around the house has been quite trying. When I try to watch a movie with my boyfriend, I fall asleep within an hour while still on the phone with him. I don't know how she does it. Taking in two 10 year old foster kids is a crazy amount of work, between taking them to and from camp and their doctors' appointments, it is full time job and she also teaches. I've been trying to think of fun things to do with the kids all week, so here are my fun for kids and adult ideas:

Smores and Science, yes please!

If only we had enough milk cartons…

Trix on stick, what more could a kid want!

Sushi for kids!

From Pinterest of course! What have you been pinning recently? 

Monday, July 25, 2011

How to: Equip A Kitchen (Basics)

      I love lists, I constantly carry around a legal pad to keep lists going. Lists for what I need to buy, lists for what I need to do, lists for what I need to think about even doing, the list goes on. I realized the other day there is not a good list out there for what you need to start your first kitchen, at least not on a budget. Sure if you have a hundred dollars to spend on knives alone then epicurious has a great list. Otherwise, nope. So I've decided to try to make my own.

     It takes all types to make this world, and sometimes you can simply divide it into Marthas and Sandras. As in Martha Stewart and Sandra Lee. One makes everything from the scratch, the other knows how to make it look that way. No matter what your preference, there is room for every type here. Don't think you have to spend a fortune either, a good place to look for some of this stuff are places like TJ Maxx, or Marshalls. This way you can get good quality stuff without paying full price! Check thrift stores for vintages glasses and plates, just make sure to run them through the dishwasher once or twice!

Let's start with the basics:

Sandra Basics

Baking Pan (9 x 9)

Blender (drinks don't mix themselves!)

Bottle opener

Can opener

Cookie Pan

Cutting Boards

-at least 2, so you don't cross contaminant

- I like the plastic kind that have a picture of fish, vegtable, cow and chicken so you never mix them up

Dish set

  • 20 piece set
  • 4 large plates, 4 bowls, 4 small plates
Dish towels

    -2 so you have one when the other's dirty


  • 8 so you don't have to wash them everyday
Knives (at least 3 plus 4 steak knives)

Measuring Cups

Measuring Spoons


Mixing bowls

  • A set of three (S, M, and L) that nest are perfect
Oven Mitts

  • 2 so you can grab the sides of a baking pan
Pots w/lids

  • 10 qt. stock pot
  • 8 qt. stock pot
  • 5 qt. stock pot
  • 2 qt. sauce pan
  • 1 qt. sauce pan


Silverware set

  • ( 8 forks, 4 knives, 4 spoons)
  • They don't have to match, A la Anthro

Slotted spoon


Vegetable peeler


Martha Additions


Baking Pans

  • Casserole dish
  • Glass baking pan
  • Round ones for cakes
Butter Dish

Cake Plate

Cheese grater

Coffee Maker

Dish drying rack


Hand mixer


Kitchen timer

Knives (different kinds)

Meat pounder

Muffin Tin

Nesting Bowls


Place mats/ table cloth

Rice Steamers

Rolling Pin

Salt and Pepper Shaker

Serving Platters/Trays

Table Cloth

Tea Pot/ Kettle

Toaster Oven



Wooden spoons


    Did I miss anything? What do you find yourself using most in the kitchen? Later this week, I will post about kitchen essentials for your pantry! Be sure to check back!

P.S. To see what to put in your spice rack, look here! And finally, to prepare your pantry, look here!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Weekly Wonderings: July 21, 2011

This week has been hectic, between planning out a birthday party for my younger sister and doing school work , I have barely had time to rest. Plus, my mom and I are trying to coupon, not extreme mind you, but so far we have managed to save about 100 dollars every week at the grocery store. This summer, she went from having a household of 2 to 6, so there has been a lot of adjustments as we all adopt to having two youngsters in the house. And 10 year olds never seem to run out of energy.

  1. These shoes. I need them. (I wear a size 8.5 if anyone wants to get them for me)


    2. Inspiration for Aurora's birthday cake. She's turning 10

This is filled under my "When I have time to home make everything pinterest category)

I always wear mine!

My Halloween costume, apparently I can plan this far in advance.

What have you been wondering about this week?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Leftover Magic: Strawberries

It's summer time again, which means tons of fresh berries, but after a while strawberries and sugar loses its appeal, and I don't want all the calories from strawberry shortcake. Enter dried strawberries, an easy way to change up the normal routine without inviting tons of inches to my waistline and saving old strawberries from spoiling.





  1. Heat oven to 210 degrees or the lowest it will go to.
  2. Wash and quarter strawberries, removing the cap (leaves, for us simple folk)
  3. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray, then place the strawberries on it
  4. Bake for about 2 ½ to 3 hours, set a timer. (otherwise, you'll forget)
  5. Strawberries should be pretty stiff but still pliable.


Have you ever dried fruit?


P.S. Photos will be up as soon as my little brother gets home from camp and can show me where he hid it!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pinterest Love

        My summer has been hectic! Since coming home, my computer has crashed and I've had to completely reinstall everything, including windows. Plus, my parents got empty nest syndrome when I left for college and became foster parents. I now have two foster siblings, a boy and a girl 9 and 10 respectively. They are the cutest angriest things ever, but they are quite the handful. Between my summer online classes and running around trying to help my mom with those two, I barely have a second to myself. But in the past few weeks when I get a spare minute or two, I find myself drawn to the same place, Pinterest. For those of you who have not joined, it is simply a website where your favorite designs, inspirations, recipes, clothes are all "pinned" together. I have found myself (and my mother) drooling over bedroom photos or delicious desserts, plus they have tons of cool DIY ideas. If you haven't joined, simply comment with your email, and I will send you an invite. If you have, please follow me: blairfal . Here are a few of my favorite things I have found so far:



What site do you find yourself wasting time on?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy Bastile Day!
I am a true Francophile thus I love Bastile Day Celebrations and how fitting is it my computer is finally fixed on this day! Hope you are having a fun filled day celebrating! Promise to get my blog truly up and running with new posts tomorrow!