Organized Chaos

I recently moved to a larger condominium (1 bedroom and den) and I was excited that I had more storage space … wrong.

I realized my front hall coat closet was only 2/3 the size of my old closet.

In the bedroom walk-in closet I lost a whole wall which also means floor and shelf space too.

My laundry closet in the old place had space where I could fit in a floor sliding wire shelf unit on the floor and a wire shelf could be hung on the wall at the side of the stacked dryer.

My kitchen cupboards are not as deep as in my old condo.

I have an extra room (it’s called a “dining room” on the condo unit plan) with no windows.  I was excited that I could finally bring out my book and cookbook collections from storage and bought a bookcase (even though I have donated quite a few books to charity).  I made a rule that I will no longer hang on to novels or magazines (eg. Food & Drink) once I’ve read them.  Novels and magazines donated to charity (Value Village) are re-sold in their stores.

I want to share one of my kitchen storage problems that I’ve had almost everywhere I’ve lived and I’m sure you must have a cupboard like this one in your kitchen.  The under counter cupboard has a half shelf on the bottom 1/3 of the cupboard leaving a bare spot for possible storage in front of the shelf.  Almost 2/3 of storage space is lost!

Here’s my solution to one of the kitchen cupboard dilemmas.

I bought an Ikea SAMLA storage box 501.102.99 (in Canada) and put it on the cupboard floor in front of the 1/2 shelf placing only items under the shelf that didn’t reach past the shelf.  If you can see from my pictures I have an Ikea (again) spaghetti/frying set which is too big to fit in the stove drawer.  I also have a small basket holding my cake decorating supplies that I don’t necessarily use all the time (sprinkles, vanilla extract, and paste icing colours, birthday candles, etc.).  I just don’t have the shelf space for them in my new condo.

Then I purchased a plastic bin (Dollarama) which is almost the same size of the Ikea container without the lid.  You could buy the SAMLA without a lid but the dollar store bin is less costly.  In the top bin I put mostly those plastic food container that have no reasonable place to put them.  Then I put small hardly-ever used baking pans and silicone baking pans in the bottom container.  Also, awkward items like colanders can be placed on top.

If you find you have enough space you could stack two SAMLA bins with lids on the bottom and an open bin on top.

I made this change about a month ago and it seems it seems to be working out well.

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Baked Garlic Kale Chips

Baked Garlic Kale Chips

1 head of kale, cleaned and torn into “chip” size pieces
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic saltKALE CHIPS
2 teaspoon minced garlic

Put the oil, garlic salt, and garlic into a gallon size Ziploc bag.

Clean kale and break into “chip” sized pieces, remove the center stalk.

Put kale in bag.

Shake coating kale with oil and seasoning.

Spread into single layer on baking sheet.

Bake at 325F for 15- 20 minutes. Bake until the edges start to turn brown, but be careful not to burn it.  (Might take a little longer.)

You want it to be crispy. Adjust time for your oven, and thickness of Kale.


Chocolate Avocado Mousse

1 large avocado, cut or broken into small pieces
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup soy or nut milk (I used almond milk)
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put all ingredients in a food processor. Process for 10-15 seconds, stop, scrape down the sides. Then process until smooth. Can be eaten at once or chill if you prefer.


Note: I have made slight changes to the recipe.

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Soup

4 large red peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 minced garlic cloveschicavowrap (10)
2 onions, chopped
3 cups chicken broth or bouillon
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Sriracha sauce (to taste)
sour cream
1 avocado, sliced

Preheat oven to 375F (190C).

Place whole peppers on a baking sheet and roast, uncovered, about 18 minutes. Turn peppers and continue roasting about 18 more minutes, until skin is blistered. Remove from baking sheet and place in a heavy paper bag. Seal bag and let stand until peppers are cool, about 10 minutes. Remove peppers and peel off skins. Slice in half and remove seeds. Cut into large chunks and set aside. Refrigerate if making ahead.

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions. Sauté until onions are very soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in roasted peppers and continue cooking until peppers are very soft. Then puree in a blender or food processor, using an on-and-off motion, until smooth. Make sure you puree in small batches as the hot mixture could splash.

Return purée, basil, Sriracha sauce (a little at a time) stirring occasionally until soup is warm, from 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon into soup bowls and sprinkle with black pepper. Add a dollop of sour cream and avocado slices.

Keep covered and refrigerated, soup will keep well for at least 2 days and can be frozen.

Nutrition (per serving)

Protein 2.7 g, fat 2.4 g, carbohydrates 6.8 g, fibre 1.3 g, iron 0.5 mg, calcium 15 mg, sodium 294 mg, calories 57