Friday, August 29, 2014

Fresh Inspiration


Sorting, discarding, reorganizing…I’m plodding along, continuing my efforts to declutter and simplify.  Last weekend I decided to tackle cookbooks and a bulging folder haphazardly filled with to-be-filed recipe clippings.  I realized I couldn’t keep putting off this task after the folder was bumped and fell from its precarious perch on a shelf, scattering its contents across the floor and into Misty’s water bowl! 


What dawned on me as I was working on this project was how our cooking preferences and habits have changed over the years.  Before our daughter was born, my husband and I devoted a greater portion of our leisure time to culinary exploration, but nowadays, there is far less time (and money) for elaborate experimentation in cooking.  Our free time has also shifted focus to some of our other interests and pursuits outside of the kitchen. 
 

Because our cookbooks and recipe clippings reflected our old lifestyle, our collection was in definite need of updating.  I edited the number of complicated multi-step recipes and those with obscure ingredients that had not been part of our menu rotation for several years.  Our cookbooks now fit neatly on one set of bookshelves instead of on bookshelves, under the microwave and atop the refrigerator!  Editing and updating our recipe binders also opened up space for the loose recipe clippings.    
 

Although my husband and I still enjoy cooking, and on occasional weekends or for a holiday or special event, we may even still dabble in a recipe with more complexity, focusing on “what is” instead of “what isn’t” happening in our kitchen (similar to my last post about the garden) helped me rein in our cookbook and recipe clutter. 
 
 


 

In simplifying our meals, we haven’t skimped on fresh ingredients and have actually gained fresh inspiration.  I enjoy creating my own dishes and improvising meals much more than I ever did in the past.  Earlier this week, I harvested a second round Pattypan squash from our garden, and along with some chicken sausage and Swiss chard already on hand, I assembled a simple stew with onion, garlic and cannellini beans. 
 
 
 
 
This morning, I picked our first ripe pineapple heirloom tomato, and my mouth has been watering as I’ve been contemplating how to enjoy such a flavorful tomato this evening, perhaps in a Caprese salad or simply on its own?  (We gave my dad an assortment of tomato seeds from one of my favorite suppliers, The Gifted Tomato on Etsy, a local farmer and fellow “mompreneur,” and my dad, in turn, gave us some of the seedlings he grew.  The delightful Black Cherry tomatoes I featured in my last post were also grown from The Gifted Tomato’s seeds.)


This “what is” perspective is proving to be helpful in many different situations, including decluttering in the kitchen!


How do you incorporate a "what is" perspective into your daily life?