Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Check out my Kitchen (dis)Organization

(I almost called this post "Please laugh at my kitchen so you'll feel better about yours" but that was too long.)

Just as it's practically impossible to blog when your children are home and bored and fighting with each other on Christmas vacation (*twitch twitch*) it's also nearly impossible to get down and dirty with your bad baking self in a kitchen that lacks organization.

I would know about both of these things firsthand. My little snarlings still have a few days before school starts and I have stopped just short of buying myself a one way ticket to Crazytown. Many colourful words are being uttered under my breath, but it's making writing down anything blog-worthy rather challenging. Furthermore, I've done nothing but clean, organize, and re-clean my kitchen over the past few days. There are two reasons for this:

1. There are five people here who are constantly adding unwelcome decor to the countertops, and,

2. If I don't know where anything is, I can't be constantly feeding their boredom and my stress.

Back before I was gluten-free, I used to think my kitchen needed organization; it did, but not as much as it needs it now. I can't speak for everyone, but when I took wheat flour and other typical staples out of the equation, I entered a new dimension of Hell in which I now have an overwhelming number of ingredients in my life. I'll write about some of these in more detail in later posts, but for now let's just say that I've inadvertently become one of those weird collector types. You know those eclectic sorts who collect figurines or creepy little dolls or vintage mannequin parts?

Well, apparently I collect flours.

Don't believe me? I figured you might not, so I went and counted up what I currently have (like a crazy person would. Did I mention it's week 2 of Christmas break?) Not including pre-made mixes or blends, I have the following:

  • White rice flour
  • Brown rice flour
  • Tapioca starch (also known as tapioca flour)
  • Potato starch
  • Potato flour (not the same thing)
  • Soy flour
  • Corn flour
  • Millet flour
  • Sorghum flour
  • Quinoa flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Arrowroot flour
  • Chickpea flour
That's 13 different flours in all. And I'm still hunting all over the city for garbanzo bean flour, which eludes me (if you're in Ottawa/Gatineau and know where to hook a sister up, please share). 

Where the Frigidaire do I store all of these, you ask? Allow me to introduce my not-at-all patented organizational system:

You can stop being unimpressed any time now.
It's more organized than it looks, I swear.

Yep, that's red electrical tape and a sharpie.
And when I lost those I used a post-it note and a Crayola marker.

Flour on the 2nd floor, all other baking essentials on the 1st. And yes, all 13 flours and various pre-made mixes are up there; the more often used ones in large, labelled containers, and bags of everything else in a large container behind the boxed millet and sorghum flours.

What you're seeing here is my hodgepodge use of birthday gifts, Easter baskets and magical finds from thrift and dollar stores. It's so ugly it might make Martha Stewart pop an Ativan, but it's surprisingly functional. And until I get a rich person job or slap on some hooker boots for a few weekends in a row (my classy kitchen reno budget plan), I will not have cupboards overflowing with matching Betty Homemaker perfection. 

Someone pass the Ativan.

I started the container system a few weeks ago after I got sick of digging through plastic bags. I buy most of my flours at a bulk food store, which means they don't come in nice, easy to use packages. I fixed that problem.

Except - oh, you knew that was coming - I'm a slob. A huge, messy slob. A lot of the flours I deal with are very light and dusty - tapioca and potato starches, for example, are as bad as icing sugar - and I get them all over myself, invariably when I'm wearing dark clothing and am about to go out somewhere. Even transferring the stuff into containers was a problem because it would spill all over everything. So, I came up with this idea:

It's revolutionary.

Great, right? Untie the bag, twist up the top, place the bag upside down into the container, then gently lift and shake the bag. I am so fucking smart.

Except - oh, you knew that was coming - when I'm not.

Sometimes I buy too much flour and I don't realize it until after I've tipped the bag into the container. This creates a little problem. I can't exactly take back the action of flipping the bag over. I've crossed the point of no return and I need to finish the cycle. Then I get this:

Not sure if the Ativan would mix well with
my apparent cocaine habit.

Kitchen work is messy. Good thing I'm hot when I'm doing it.

PS: A big word up to the JenJens at 2FitGals for not only trying, but loving the green smoothie recipe - and for mentioning it on their blog. How cool is that? I feel like a celeb. They added some protein powder to make themselves all badass and I celebrate that. You have to take smoothies and make them your own, I always say.

Actually, I've never said that. Not once. I'm just trying to impress the JenJens because that's their name and it reminds me of the hot popular girls in every high school that always had the same name (the Trishes, the Kristens, the Mackenzies, the JenJens). They're getting gorgeously fit, too. That's what their blog is all about. And I just sold my treadmill today because I hated it so much. So yeah, I'm trying really hard to look cool, here.

Up next time: a recipe of some kind.


  1. Hon, if you have chick pea flour, then you also have garbanzo bean flour. They're the same thing. You're more organized than you thought! :-)
    Also, don't feel bad about the mishmash of flour GF flour mix is currently stored in an old ice cream container. Ugh.

  2. They're the SAME THING?!? Are you serious? The other day I "substituted" chickpea because I figured it might be close enough. Hah! My life is now complete. Thanks, chick - uh, garbanzo!

  3. Most of the major Ottawa grocery store have garbanzo bean (aka chickpea) flour, maybe even Bulk Barn. BTW, you system is pretty good. You know what isn't smart, labeling your containers with dry erase markers!

  4. I love your writing. Laughed out loud at the post-it & crayola ;)

  5. @jaydamomphd: I really gave that sharpie-on-container some serious thought before doing it. But considering I bought them for $.50 each at a thrift store and use those flours the most, I figured I wouldn't be crying over it any time soon ;)

    @fleur_de_lotus: Thanks! Many times I wish I was making this stuff up, I really do.

    @Koreen: I need some almond flour in my life! I keep forgetting to buy it. Such an essential, too. Very protein-y.


Get hot in my kitchen and say something naughty. Go on, I know you want to.