Spicing it Up!

I recently saw this spice cabinet project from Smitten Kitchen and couldn’t help myself. I’m a sucker for all things glass, so thinking of my beloved spices all gussied up in glass jars was just irresistible. Not to mention, I like to buy my spices at Penzey’s Spices (we have a local shop in Naperville), but many of their spices come in plastic bags. This makes for quite the messy spice cabinet! And you know how it goes once you start mixing and matching different size spice bottles, things just get chaotic and difficult to find. I’m a fan of anything that makes life a little easier and more streamline!

So, here is what I did. I made the trek over to our local Crate & Barrel and picked up 20 of these little glass jars. Aren’t they so cute? I believe Smitten Kitchen got them from Target for around the same price. Then, as was suggested on her blog, I used these labels to identify each bottle of goodness. After creating a huge mess transferring spices from their current homes to their new-and-improved version, this is what I ended up with:

So lovely, no?

I am one happy camper with the final product! Everything is just so easy to find and (in my opinion) darn cute! It will be interesting to see how well the labels hold up overtime, but for now they seem to be doing quite well. The best part is how well the bottles stack, giving me a lot more room to add new spices. I think I might be feeling a trip to Penzey’s coming on…


Adventures in Bagel Making

Did you know you can make your own bagels? I know that sounds like a stupid question, but until a few weeks ago it had never occurred to me that you could make bagels (or as I like to think of them: little, round, pieces of heaven) at home. I love bagels. Can you tell? During my first trimester of pregnancy, they were about the only thing I could keep down. But at any time, they are one of my most favorite breakfast treats.

About a month ago, Brian and I were able to get away on a little date. As usual, we ended up at a bookstore and each picked up something we were interested in. He came home with three new philosophy books and I came home with this little beauty:

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients

I’ve tried several of the recipes since then and they are all golden. Golden-brown, crunchy crusted, whole wheat goodness. It is the easiest dough I’ve ever made and the recipe is so flexible. After making the dough, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. From that same dough you can make bread, pizza dough, flat bread, cinnamon rolls, and, of course, bagels!

So, me being the bagel loving fiend that I am, I had to try out the bagel recipe. The best part is you can make any kind of bagel you fancy using the same dough. I am a plain, sesame seed, or everything bagel kind of girl. Brian is more of a cinnamon-raisin bagel kind of person. And yet, with one simple dough we are both happy!

Did I mention they were delicious? Oh yes, they were good!

In case I haven’t convinced you that this book is worth it’s weight in lots of yummy bread, try out this recipe from Passionate Homemaking. I do think the book’s recipe is a little more simple, but since I haven’t tried the above link I can’t vouch for taste. Anyway, making your own bagels is way cheaper than purchasing them at the store, and you can always be sure to have your favorite flavor!

Apparently I’m not the only one talking about this book! Check out Kitchen Stewardship for her take on this book (along with it’s counterpart Artisan Bread is Five Minutes a Day. There is a giveaway of the cookbook so you’ve got to check that out.  Also, she has modified some of the recipes to allow for soaking the flour if you’re into that sort of thing!


When the Kitchen Goes Awry

Sometimes when I’m reading other people’s blogs, I get the impression that I’m the only person who can’t keep it together 24/7. You know, you see people with their beautifully decorated houses, clean floors, freshly baked food, and smiling children. Of course it is easy to post all the lovely parts of our lives, but I wouldn’t want to give you the false impression that my life is perfect.

So, in the name of being honest and real, this is what my kitchen looks like at this exact moment:

OK, it looked like that until I got embarrassed about posting this picture and then I promptly emptied the dishwasher and cleaned up this crazy mess. Just being real.

I used to be an insane perfectionist. Now I guess you could call me a recovering perfectionist. I still like things to be in order, but loving those around me is more important. And that often means not stressing over the details. Like a messy kitchen. Or when something I’m cooking turns out to be a flop. Or when my baby won’t take a single nap during the day.

Ultimately, those things don’t matter. I think it is hugely important to keep my home well, but it is more important that I keep my family happy. If I serve a tasty meal but ruin the atmosphere by being a huge grump, what good is that? As much as I talk about cooking, baking, decorating, cleaning, and overall homemaking, I hope that my goal is first and foremost to keep my own heart in order, so that my home may be a joyful and peaceful place. Even when my kitchen is a disaster.


First Foods

Our little guy is officially 6 months this week and we’ve just started him on solid food. Yippee skippee! Before I was a parent I had no idea there were so many little milestones to look forward to. Now I know: from first smile, to first laugh, to first foods–parenthood is one huge journey of new adventures!

It is a little intimidating to start the “real, solid food” process when I’ve been so used to just breastfeeding my little guy for the last 6 months. I’m always concerned about the food I put on our table being nutritious. Knowing that our kiddo will be eating off our table soon just makes me all the more motivated to pursue healthy (and yummy!) recipes. I wouldn’t want Parker eating fast food or Hamburger Helper every night, so I want to start a lifetime of healthy habits from the get go.

So, for his first foods, he is getting all natural and all homemade food. Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, zucchini, apples, pears, and sweet peas. Far from being a chore, I’m having a little too much fun making all this stuff. Seriously, it should be illegal to get this big of a kick out of making baby food.

He seems to be just as excited about eating it as I am about making it!

For those of you who are interested in making your own baby food, it is a very simple process. Basically, you just need to bake or steam whatever veggie or fruit you are using to the point that it is easy to mash. For example, you might bake a sweet potato for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Then, once it is finished baking/steaming, you just put it in your food processor or blender, add a little bit of liquid (breastmilk or water), and blend away. After you have the right consistency it is ready to serve! You can also freeze in ice cube trays, then pop them into other storage containers, and freeze up to 3 months. So easy!

For further reading on feeding baby check out:
Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck
Cooking for Baby by Lisa Barnes
Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron


Welcome to Deliberately Domestic

I’ve had a couple of turning points in my blogging career (if spontaneous blogging could be called a career!). I’ve had the thought-provoking blog, the family update blog, and most recently, the crafty blog. It occurred to me that I don’t have to separate all these parts of my life, but could incorporate them all into one cohesive mix.

I decided it was time to Go Big or Go Home.

So, here I am with my newly spiffed up blog, complete with my own domain name and all. One can never tell where this sort of journey will lead, so we’ll just give a try — shall we?

You may be wondering as to the origin of the name “Deliberately Domestic”. I actually stumbled on this name after searching many different phrases in a thesaurus (Do you have any idea how many domain names use words like: natural, home, home-making, intentional, etc?! Apparently, I didn’t!). Other than my love for alliteration, this name really struck a chord with me.

Probably because it is what I do everyday. Or at least try to do everyday.

I’ve always wanted to be a stay-at-home mama. It was my only dream to care for my home and my family when I worked outside the home at an 8-5 job, 5 days a week. I would cry over this desire. Beg God to fulfill my desire. Ponder about the sorts of things I would do at home. And now, it is what I do. Day in and day out — this is my life.

I hate the fact that some people think staying at home is a brainless occupation, suited only for women who have no other options in life. I was a valedictorian in high school. I graduated with my Bachelor’s after only three years, and walked Summa Cum Laude. I worked for a publishing company, excelling in the editorial field. I didn’t choose to stay home with my baby because I couldn’t cut the mustard in the workplace.

I deliberately chose to stay home because it is where I will have the most influence in my entire life.

And I love it. Most days. And even on those hard days, I still believe it is the best job in the world.

So, I decided to write about it. I hope you will join me on my adventures in homemaking. I plan to share recipes, crafts, some personal updates, thoughts on life, frugal tips, natural tips, and anything else that runs through my mind. Together, let’s figure out what it means to be deliberately domestic!


living deliberately for Christ in a capricious world