Showing posts with label Small Space. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Small Space. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

embracing the tiny kitchen

 photo DSC06379_zps0217b710.jpg

sure, yesterday morning i knocked my head on the corner of an open cabinet above my head, and sure we run into each other, and sure our sink practically only fits just a cereal bowl....

...but is it weird that i'm actually LOVING the tiny tiny kitchen?

here's why:
  1. it has the "kitchen triangle" - if you draw a line from the sink to the fridge to the stove to the sink it makes a triangle.  i never knew how much this really mattered until i had a kitchen that was actually laid out this way.  so many brownstone apartments get stuck with long and narrow kitchens, making the only practical layout one with EVERYTHING on one wall, and NOTHING on the opposite wall.
  2. i can get almost anything without moving my feet - ok maybe i'll take a step sideways or backwards, but still, i don't have to go across the room, into the pantry, on top of  stool just to get the sugar... it's 1 step and an arms reach away from where i do nearly all my prepping.
  3. i'm forced to purge - do i really need 4 pairing knives? do i really need that mango corer? (sorry mom) do i really need to have 4 bottle cap openers and 2 wine bottle openers? no, no, no, and no. it really does feel good to get rid of things we don't need, but kept because we had the space in the old kitchen. and when's the last time we used the deli slicer anyways?
maybe i'm still on the high that i finally OWN my home instead of rent, but we're learning more and more everyday that "more" space doesn't always mean "better" space.  finding more efficient ways of tetris-ing storing things is so fun!

check out a little (very little) kitchen tour below.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

three little birds

chunky necklaces never make their way back into the tiny pockets of my jewlery hanger, but instead end up cluttering up my dresser and get tangled in my more delicate jewelry, bobby pins i take out of my hair at night, etc.

i couldn't pass up these little bird hooks when i saw them in a cute store in denver, and finally decided to use them for necklace hooks!

they even have magnetic beaks too! 
(i'm not sure what i will use that funky feature for, but it just makes them that much cuter!)

what's your small space jewlery storage solution? i'd love to hear from you!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thank Goodness for Friends

Mr P and I have put the kibosh on getting more kitchen appliances, with the exception to attachments to the Kitchenaid mixer.  Our friends, Nick and Christina, however have almost convinced us that we need a deep fryer. They didn't say it in words, they convinced us through making amazing deep-fried Lake Erie perch.  Though they say that since they use theirs max twice a year, we could just borrow theirs whenever we need it, it surely would be nice to have one of our own.  We really don't need one though, we absolutely don't have the space for one, and our figures certainly don't need one either (sigh).

When they first asked us to come over for a fish fry, I was expecting over-battered fish with an accompanying deep-fried side like fries.  I was pleasantly surprised when the fish came out with a light batter, served over a bed of romaine, tomato, and onion tossed in a lemon, salt, oil dressing (sounds salty, and tastes salty by itself, but goes sooo well with the fish).  It was a great way to make a deep-fried dish taste summery and light.

Thanks Nick and Christina!  We will leave the deep-frying to you though, and we will bring over homemade bread and wine whenever you want to host us again :D     (because we just can't get more appliances... even ones we really want)


Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Step Away from the Kitchen

Though our home is often times centered around the kitchen, sometimes it's nice just to get out and actually see the wonderful place we live.  Even though people sometimes criticize Hoboken for being a 'bubble', full of yuppies that took over the city, I still love, LOVE, living here.  Hoboken in itself has many things to offer, but we're also at the "center of the world", as many New York City dwellers proclaim. 

Most of you have experienced this awful heat wave going through the US.  For those of you with central air, it simply means you stay inside more and your electric bill gets high.  For those of us with window units, it often means suffering inside as well as out.  Mr. P and I have set some priorities for how we spend our loot, and getting another AC, or just a better one than the one that came with our rental apartment, is not on the list, not this year anyways.  We have too many weddings, too many people to see, and now that we're halfway through this dreadfully hot summer, we can certainly last the rest.  For us though, 'suffering' doesn't just mean 'suffering' through the heat and having a hot apartment even when the AC is on, it means 'suffering' in the kitchen.  With an ancient (and I mean ancient) gas range, turning it on is literally like turning on a fireplace, maybe worse.  Needless to say, we have limited its use when the temperatures are above 85, and that's been everyday as long as I can think back.  We have gotten creative with our cuisine, utilizing the crock pot, eating salads and sandwiches, and making food that lasts when we actually do use the stove or oven. 

Now that we have more time on our hands without cooking so much, we've had the chance to get out and see this wonderful place we live.  We recently went to the beach, in Avon-by -the-Sea, NJ.  I'm sure most of you have your own judgements about the "Jersey Shore", based on the MTV show, however "going down the shore" isn't just for 20-something partiers who want to exploit New Jersey's best assets.  People of all ages go, and there are beaches for all types of people.  Avon-by-the-Sea is more of a family-friendly beach, with clean sand, surfers, a boardwalk, children making sandcastles, and plenty of waves for swimming and my favorite, body-surfing!

Before our trip, we packed food to eat for the day.  Considering we left at 6:30am to beat the traffic, we had to pack breakfast and lunch.  Our cooler was filled with fresh fruit, wraps, and LOTS of water.  Since Mr. P is so awesome, he pulled homemade pastrami out of the freezer to make sandwich wraps with pastrami, leftover deli meat, arugula salad mix, cheddar cheese, horseradish sauce, and tortillas (whole wheat wraps for me :P)

With the sauce in the middle, away from the wrap, we folded them up like a burrito and wrapped in tin foil.  This way nothing would spill out, and the wraps wouldn't get soggy from the sauce.

When we got to the beach (around 7:45am), there was nobody there (except the surfers of course, who catch the morning waves before the beach is overcrowded).  It was so peaceful, and nice to be able to relax with the light breeze, sun, and the sound of the crashing waves.  Without anyone else around us, the sounds of the waves and wind sounded like one of those alarm clocks with "nature" sounds to wake you up!  Getting up that early was so worth it.

Soon though, the beach became crowded, and we decided to go back to the car, grab our bikes (thankfully our bikes are foldable, so they fit in my little hatchback Yaris!), and ride around the little beach towns (well, sort of, after 9am you have to pay to get on the beach, and we got 'caught' without paying, so Mr. Police Man told us we had to pay or leave, so we left since we had already been there for 3 hours).  At this time though, it was so crowded and so hot, we were almost ready to leave anyways, so the bikes were a good option!

We strolled up and down Ocean Ave., grabbed some ice cream cones, and were back in Hoboken by 1:30pm!  Not too bad considering usually at that hour on a Saturday we are still in our PJ's, drinking coffee, and watching reruns of Holmes on Homes or other shows on HGTV!

So, cheers to getting out of the kitchen for once, and truly enjoying the outdoors! helps when there's a beach an hour away ;)


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Thai Cooking in the Vietnamese/White Household

Sure, we believe that we can make anything in our teeny kitchen, but there are some things that are just not worth the time and effort of putting together, let alone finding the right ingredients.  Thai food and Indian foods are common evils that we buy semi-pre-made.  The curries are made with so many ingredients that are so difficult to find that we buy the pre-packaged pastes.  Lots of people think that making any kind of Asian food just sounds too difficult to make just because they have never tried, but making Thai curry is sooooo easy when you buy curry paste.

One of the great things about buying curry paste is that you can make a meal in no time with whatever "bites" you want (our in our case, whatever was in the fridge and freezer).  You can eat it with just veggies, or you can put in any kind of meat, potatoes, etc.  Just think of making almost like a vegetable soup, except you are using curry instead of chicken stock or vegetable stock.

We are really trying to "clean" out our freezer, because sometimes we get this idea in our heads that we have infinite freezer space and "oh, chicken breast on sale for under $2/lb? lets buy TEN pounds! ....flank steak for $5.99/lb? can we buy it all?"  We also only have one cupboard with no shelves inside to put our canned goods and other processed foods, so we're trying to clean that out too so we can discover hidden delicacies in the back.  So today we made red curry!  It's simple, easy, uses many things we already had, can make a lot, and doesn't take too long on the stove (since it's 90+ degrees outside and turning on the stove is basically like turning on a fireplace in our small apartment).

Thai Red Curry

6 tbsp. red curry paste
2 cans coconut milk
(if you find that you need more "sauce", add 1 can of coconut milk per 3 tbsp. curry paste)
1 lb. flank steak, thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
1 cup sugar snap peas, cut in half
1 cup green peas
1 red pepper
2 heads broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces, stalks sliced so that more of the inside shows instead of the tough outer layer

1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 thai chili
salt, to taste

Heat up a 6-quart dutch oven over high heat (or other deep pan or wok).  Once hot, add curry paste and stir will wooden spoon until fragrant.  

Add coconut milk and stir until completely combined, then bring to a boil.  

Add fish sauce and vinegar (if you want).  Add beef, onion, snap peas, green peas, brocoli, and thai chili.  Stir and bring to a boil, then take down to a simmer and cover.  Let simmer for about 20 minutes (or until the beef is cooked and the veggies are to your desired texture).  Add salt to taste, and serve over rice. (I chose to eat without rice this time... saving a few calories :P  it's basically like a soup anyways)

We used beef, green peas, and onions, because we had them in the fridge and freezer already, however literally any kind of meat is good with curry, and we wanted more greens, so we went to the bodega down the street and picked up the snap peas and broccoli to be more healthy :P  

The "sauce" can be made just with curry paste and coconut milk, but we wanted to add the "optional" ingredients just because we had them and knew they would add a little depth to the dish.  You should be able to find coconut milk in most grocery stores for around $1.00-1.50.  I think the Thai food brand called "Thai Kitchen" sells both coconut milk and curry paste, though we found both for pretty cheap at the local Asian grocery store.

If you haven't tried making Thai food, I encourage you to try this recipe!  You will be surprised how fast and easy it is to just throw it all together.  Maybe you won't be tempted to spend double or triple your money on Thai take-out the net time you get that craving!


p.s.  if you dare to put in the Thai chili, make sure you KNOW where it's at the the pot!  In the midst of typing this post I accidentally bit into it!!  it was hotter than anything I've ever eaten... my face was dripping sweat, my eyes were pouring tears, and my nose was so runny!!  ahhhh!!! Mucho thanks to Mr. P for saving the day with some water and rice to sooth my burning mouth (he had to improvise since we ran out of milk).

Lesson learned, I suppose.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Funday

How can the day be filled with a trip to A&P, fresh ground and brewed 44 North Coffee, homemade poptarts, meatballs, bread, chicken salad, cucumber tomato feta salad, knitted slippers, and a new blog... and we STILL feel like we had a relaxing day?  ...because everything was something we enjoy.

Welcome to Two Peas.  We cook, we craft, we do what we love, and like to have fun.  Living in Hoboken has proven to be a challenge, given our roughly 350sf apartment and our passion for all things kitchen and craft (and video games, but I certainly won't be blogging about that, unless my other half sneaks on here and writes, but given his track record on blogs, that won't be happening anytime soon!)  It's a good thing we really like one another, otherwise we would be pulling our hair out with the mess we can make in just a few seconds, whether it's me stringing yarn all over our 8x11 living room, or flour covering all 3' of counter space we have in our kitchen.

We have grown to love our small space, and really live with what we have.  It wasn't easy getting to this point though... a few decluttering rampages, and me getting "the talk" about "babe... do you really need to have 6 winter coats?" has led to a few trips to Salvation Army with my teeny car packed to the brim with bags of clothes, kitchen doubles, and old electronics.

So, much of our efforts and "leisure" has turned to cooking.  It's fun, exciting, delicious, and gets gobbled up eventually, leaving nothing to sit around taking up more space.  Though we have more gadgets than the average bear, we have managed to keep it all within the boundaries of the kitchen.  When I start to find gadgets hidden under the bed, or under the couch, I might have to have a decluttering rampage, much to someone else's dismay.

Many of our adventures stem from reading other blogs, and many inspirations come from the places we go, food we eat, and people we meet!  I look forward to documenting the exciting times doing what we love, with who we love, and hope you love it too!

I will leave you with one picture of our many culinary treats of the day, homemade poptarts! After a visit from my mom last weekend we were left with a big bag of rhubarb, and decided that rhubarb jam was the best use, since we could enjoy it for weeks on toast, in yogurt, or even added to smoothies!  ...or ice cream... yum.  Then posted an article with mini poptarts on a stick, and I knew I had to make them.  Here are the recipes I pieced together to make it all:

Martha's basic pie crust recipe:

Random googled rhubarb jam recipe:

Inspiration article:

Actual pop tart making article: