Category Archives: Apartment Living

Chalk It Up, Part Two: Hoarders

It’s a special, lovely, rare day when what you think to yourself, “Wow, I’m really glad I obsessively saved this certain type of garbage.” It hasn’t happened with the plastic yogurt cups yet (shout out to my late Grandma Lois), but much to Jeff’s surprise and relief, we have found a purpose for my growing pile of clean, de-labeled glass jars.

When I ordered the tins for the spice rack, I couldn’t help pick up a few glass swing-top jars for our most commonly-used grains. Ideally, I’d love to re-do the entire pantry in glass jars, but the shopping cart got expensive quickly. So I started to re-purpose. Continue reading

Chalk It Up, Part One: Ooh, Spicy

Today’s post is a lesson in Learning From My Mistakes. If you like drinking games, grab a beverage and drink every time I say, “In retrospect…” Maybe go ahead and get two beverages.

Cabinet space is very limited in our cozy kitchen; our spices were housed in a tiny above-the-stove cabinet that is completely impossible to navigate, even for tall folks like us. It’s a miracle we never got hit in the forehead with a rogue jar of cumin.

Apologies for the terrible photos. Big surprise, the lighting in the tiny kitchen is awful.

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Holy crap. We made bacon.

One of my favorite things, and there are many, about my dear friend Carolina Gypsy are the Intimidating Food Parties she throws. The rules are deceivingly simple; stick to the theme, and make a dish that is intimidating to you. This could be making toast, mastering a family recipe, or deboning a duck, depending on your experience level and degree to which you want to stress yourself out. This past party’s theme was “Bacon and/or Beer,” and seeing as how we won the last party’s Most Intimidating award (with mole, for the “Latin” Foods theme), we were not to be outdone.

We took this challenge very seriously. Bacon or beer? We chose bacon. Just bacon. From scratch.

Thanks, Carolina Gypsy, for providing this picture, as we were too ravenous (and late to your party) to remember to take one ourselves.

It should also be pointed out that I’m a *cough* “vegetarian.” Most of the time.  I don’t eat it as an everyday rule, but I don’t deprive myself of wonderful food experiences.

SO! Here’s how we made bacon in 8 days and without a smoker or a grill.   Continue reading

The Scientifish Process: Goldfish and Grow Beds

I’m no good at houseplants. All that required sunlight casts an awful glare on the television, and that’s not a sacrifice I’m willing to make. In fact, in an effort to impress Arrie the first time she came to my place, I bought $50 worth of potted plants (I removed the price tags) and strategically placed them around my house. Six months later, the ruse seems to’ve worked.

But I do okay with fish. Well, goldfish anyway.

For years, I’ve been interested in aquaponics, the marriage of hydroponics and fish tanks. I’ve had a system similar to this for about three years now. What follows is my third version of this setup. Again, this isn’t really a how-to, just a description of how we’ve done it. I’ll try to answer any questions in the comments, but I’m certainly no expert.

Fish Tank, Grow Bed and Light

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The Lion, the Witch, and the Pantry

When we moved two houses into one small apartment, we knew we’d be limited on space. We knew we’d be tripping over extra furniture and Craigslisting a lot. I almost wish I could say we combined two full kitchens into one, but that’s a joke. My contribution basically consisted of a mixer, two pots, five beer glasses, and a half-stale package of grits.

Even so, we very quickly ran out of room to store all of Jeff’s culinary equipment. Small appliances like the rice cooker, electric griddle, and a waffle maker (this was actually my birthday present, and I freakin’ love it), filled up the cabinets immediately, leaving the pots and pans out in the cold. Spices alone fill the over-the-stove cabinet. This man came with a real pantry, full of things like vegetable stock, pomegranate molasses, and 12 types of grains, and we had nowhere to put it all.

So we got creative with our “pantry,” AKA the water-heater room off the kitchen. A cheap shelving unit and a pegboard (and one delightful trip to the Container Store) later, our pots and pans are now just behind the door. The lid rack isn’t exactly meant for pegboards, so we need some zip ties to make sure it stays put.

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