Thursday, February 6, 2014

Trying to be Helpful


            A blog that I enjoy on a regular basis is www.houzz.com. One contributor I read consistently is Becky Harris. I like her because she gives what I call “do-able” suggestions—projects that fall within my range, both stylistically and monetarily. Her projects are manageable while making a big impact.
            This past week, Becky ran an article entitled “10 Ways to Set Up Your Kitchen for Healthy Eating.” This intrigued me because Weight Watchers has a strategy they call “controlling your spaces.” I wanted to see if Becky had anything to add. She did.
            Below is a compilation of ideas from WW, Becky, and moi, that I find helpful in controlling my space and my waist.
1.  An Herb Garden – In Becky’s article, she has a picture of a lush herb garden hanging right on a kitchen wall. It’s a lovely idea if you can do it, but I’ve tried inside herb gardens in the past and haven’t been too successful. This isn’t surprising, since growing even a Chia pet inside presents a challenge for me. But what has worked for me in the summer time is potted herbs on my patio. I generally have chives, sage, basil, thyme, and rosemary readily available, and these basic herbs fulfill most of my cooking requirements. Of course, in the winter, I have to resort to dried herbs and spices. But if you have a green thumb, I say go for the indoor garden.
2.  Fruit and Veggies on Display – This is one practice I’ve followed faithfully over the past year, and I attribute much of my weight loss success to it. “Hello, my name is Dee Dee Chumley, and I’m a nibbler.” Yes, I confess, if it’s sitting out or it’s handy, I’m going to eat it. So I decided my best strategy for controlling this urge was to feed it. But I try to feed it healthy food. So instead of having M&Ms or Cheetos at the ready, I generally have a bowl of fruit displayed on my kitchen island. My favs include Honeycrisp apples (has to be Honeycrisp), grapes, bananas, pears, grapes, and Cuties—bushels and bushels of Cuties. Check out what Becky says about making “still lifes” out of your fruits and veggies. I did this, and was thrilled with the results.
3.  Organization – Been there, done that! Last fall, I totally organized my cabinets and pantry so I could stop wasting time and driving myself crazy looking for stuff. I’ve found that be it rice vinegar or the blender, if I have to stoop and scrounge for it, I most likely am not going to use it. And this especially goes for the crockpot. A busy cook’s best friend is the crockpot, and the way I ensured I’d use it consistently was to make it easily accessible. So far, the organization efforts in my cabinets and pantry have held. Even my husband has been cooperative. However, my refrigerator is another story. The two places in my house that defy organization are my desk and my ‘fridge, and I don’t look for that to change any time soon. I welcome suggestions.
4.  A Tea Station – Already do this, too. Sorta. Both Bill and I are big hot tea drinkers in the winter, so I always keep a teapot on the stove—red one in winter, yellow the rest of the year. We keep a good selection of tea on hand. I don’t keep the tea displayed, but it’s kept within easy reach in the pantry. And limes and lemons are usually in the fruit bowl. I also keep honey out on the island, but am in desperate need of a decorative honey jar.
5. Pretty Dishes – Becky and WW suggest using smaller plates, but I say use pretty ones. During a move a few years ago, my mother gave me a collection of dishes. I kept them stored, bringing them out only for Christmas or Thanksgiving. I finally decided to use them during the winter. I like them. I like the way food looks in them. I like the way the table looks when it’s set with them. So even if it’s just Bill and I eating, I use them. And I generally switch out dish sets to match my mood and/or the season. Silly? Maybe. But it doesn’t cost a dime more, takes no extra time, and makes me feel like I’m “dining,” even if I’m eating only a bowl of oatmeal.
            These are the strategies I’ve found helpful, but visit with Becky for more suggestions. One disclaimer: If you follow the link, know that my pantry in NO way resembles the one she has pictured. I’m organized, but I’m not anal. 

6 comments:

  1. Some great ideas here, Dee Dee - I'm lovin' the still lifes!

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    1. That is my favorite, too, Shel. Fresh fruit really is pretty, and for a long time, I've "splurged" on fresh flowers. However, I really don't consider flowers too much of a splurge because they can be bought so reasonably at the grocery store and they're an instant mood lifter!

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  2. I highly approve of the tea station!!! (A shock, right?)

    Fruit on display is also nice--I do that--but I can't think what sort of veggies to put on display for snacking. Hmmm.

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    1. Yes, Sonia, I'm pretty sure you have a tea station of some sort in your house. I was going to link to one of your posts for some good recommendations for tea, but I started running over on my word count. Will save that for a future post!
      And, yes, displaying veggies can be tricky. Tomatoes are about the only veggies I can think of that would keep well outside the fridge. But, tomatoes now come in such an assortment of colors, shapes, and sizes, they can add a lot of variety to groupings. I guess a few carrots or bell peppers would work as long as they were eaten pretty quickly. Anyone else have suggestions?

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  3. Fruit still lifes are beautiful. I'm great at buying fruits and veggies, and aging them in refrigerator until they should be mulched. :) This posting is encouraging, though. Will keep plugging at it! :D

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    1. I hear ya, Natine. I once heard this definition that fits my 'fridge to a T: a place to store food until it's old enough to throw out.

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