Archive for the 'organize' Category
With food prices going up and the economy looking bleak, a lot of us are looking for ways to tighten our belts and save money. Food budgets add up, and there are more creative ways of cutting costs than eating macaroni and cheese all the time.
Packing your own lunch instead of buying lunch in a restaurant or cafeteria is an obvious money-saver, but there’s more that you can do to shop smart, reduce food waste, and conserve resources in the kitchen. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t follow *all* of the tips below, so just pick and choose the ones that work for your lifestyle. Read on to save money: 1) at the store, 2) at home, and 3) when traveling or dining out.
How do you cut food costs at home? Share your own tips in comments! Read the rest of this entry »
Published by Biggie on October 21st, 2008 tagged bento, freezing, organize, parenthacks, tips | 576 Comments »
A warm welcome to new readers from this week’s article in Newsweek Japan with a Japanese-language profile of me and Lunch in a Box. It’s a special “Nippon Daisuki” edition with articles about non-Japanese people who like Japan (you know, the “hen-na gaijin tokushu”). There are a couple of minor factual errors in my profile (“Bento Ninki ni Awase Kantan Recipe o Shokai: Blogger Deborah Hamilton”, Oct. 15, 2008, pg. 62), but it’s largely fine. I’ve updated my Press & Awards page to include it, and you can view the full article here.
In other news, this weekend I finished the surprisingly challenging task of switching the site over to a new hosting company, which should hopefully eliminate most of the downtime issues we’ve been experiencing lately. Please e-mail me at lunchinabox (AT} gmail DOT com if you find something on the site not working correctly, and I’ll get it fixed.
Finally, the last installment of my Kitchen Organization Series! As you may recall, this summer I panicked and did a sweeping overhaul of my kitchen for For Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn blog’s photo tour of my bento kitchen. In part one of the series, I showed how I reorganized my scary spice pantry; part two examined the makeover of my messy pantry, and part three overhauled my terrible refrigerator and freezer. Here’s the last bit: the remaining cabinets and garbage containers for the prep area. (Read on for details of the reorganization, with feedback on what’s been working for me over the last few months and what hasn’t.)
Published by Biggie on October 15th, 2008 tagged equipment, organize, tips | 636 Comments »
Terror is an excellent motivator. For Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn blog’s photo tour of my bento kitchen, I panicked and did a sweeping overhaul of my cabinets, refrigerator and pantry before they came. In part one of my Kitchen Reorganization Series, I showed how I reorganized my scary spice pantry; part two examined the makeover of my messy pantry. Here’s part three: my terrible refrigerator and freezer. (UPDATE: The series concludes with the reorganization of the remaining cabinets and garbage containers for the prep area.)
I don’t have “Before” photos this time around because the refrigerator was the absolute worst, messiest place in the whole kitchen and I couldn’t bear taking even one photo of the inside before cleaning for the cameras. Sorry! Just imagine stuff crammed in everywhere willy nilly, overpacked and unorganized to the naked eye. I’ve got pretty good recall so I mostly knew where everything was, but somehow my poor husband wasn’t able to read my mind to find things… The photo shoot was a good opportunity to get things in order using ideas from my Japanese-language kitchen organization books. Do you have any great tips for organizing your refrigerator or freezer? Let us know in comments! (Read on for details of the refrigerator and freezer reorganization, with feedback on what’s been working for me over the last few months and what hasn’t.) Read the rest of this entry »
Published by Biggie on September 29th, 2008 tagged organize, tips | 437 Comments »
A common concern I hear from parents is, “How do you make sure your kid brings back all of those cute bento containers? I’m afraid to send anything expensive to school as my child would lose his own head if it weren’t attached to his body. I’ve lost so much stuff!”
I hear you! Even my husband sometimes forgot to bring lunch containers back home when I was sending lunch to work with him during his celiac disease misdiagnosis. Unwashed containers would age in his desk, until I asked him to start washing (or at least rinsing) them out after he ate. Even then, if he brought a large lunch container such as a Mr. Bento-style thermal lunch jar with him, he’d put it under his desk or in a drawer and forget about it when he came home. Out of sight, out of mind.
I think there are both hardware and behavior approaches to the problem, and came up with the following six ways to ensure that your lunch gear comes back home. Have you come up with any creative ideas? Let us know in comments! (Read on for the full list and an expanded section on labels.)
Published by Biggie on September 15th, 2008 tagged equipment, for kids, organize, parenthacks, tips | 653 Comments »
I freaked out in anticipation of a photo shoot with Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn blog for last month’s photo tour of my bento kitchen, and did a sweeping overhaul of my cabinets, refrigerator and pantry before they came. In part one of my Kitchen Reorganization Series, I showed how I reorganized my scary spice pantry. Here’s part two: my main kitchen pantries. Once upon a time these cabinets were organized, but all that remained was a general skeleton of sections where different types of foods went. It was time to get to work before the cameras arrived! (UPDATE: The series continues with the reorganization of my refrigerator and freezer and the remaining cabinets and garbage containers for the prep area.)
Organization had gone downhill and turned into the disaster area that you see above. The problems were that I often forgot what was in the back of the cabinet, and I needed to get out a stepladder to root around in shelves up high. I did have a single pull-out pantry basket with baking ingredients like cornstarch and baking powder, but this was just a drop in the bucket. This kitchen cabinet needed some serious culling and organization. (Click on any photo for a larger, annotated view.)
Again, enter pantry baskets. To rehash, here’s why pantry baskets work for me:
- Storing related things together in baskets means that you can just pull a single basket down from a high shelf instead of pulling out a stepladder to root around.
- Because I pull out entire baskets more regularly, I’m more familiar with what’s in the pantry and will be less likely to re-buy something I already have (I do this from time to time. D’oh!). Any food inventory system should save you money in the long run.