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March 25, 2019

Essentials in the Blue School House Kitchen

This year when we were in Seaside for spring break we rented a house.  I love when we rent homes for vacation because it keeps us from having to eat out every meal.  I love to cook (obviously), so this is a treat for me.  We still eat most meals out, but I love cooking at "home" a night or two and being able to pack picnic lunches for the beach.

We loved the home we rented in Watercolor (124 Sunset Ridge) - it was so lovely.  You'll never guess what color the kitchen was... blue!  It got me thinking about what I would keep in a vacation home kitchen - with only essentials.  Then I remembered that I do have my very own "only essentials" blue kitchen - at the school house.

We painted the cabinets Benjamin Moore Puritan Grey.  More details about the easy DIY renovation, here >

I'm planning a Seaside post about our trip and my recommendations soon, so stay tuned for that.

We have done a lot of cooking and entertaining at The School House.  We've done family big dinners there, hosted a bonfire/hayride for friends, "put up" produce from the School House garden, made big batches of Tomato Sauce and hosted holiday parties.  It is also the "break room" for the school house girls where they make their coffee, heat up their lunch, bake cookies in the afternoon, etc.  It is a hard-working little kitchen!

Everything we keep here has lots of uses and do double duty on various things - the key to keeping an essentials only kitchen.

*This is the same brand of seagrass rug I keep in our own home.  Shop here >

I thought you might like to see the few items that I keep there and how I organize/store them, if you are setting up a new kitchen, a weekend house, or just starting fresh in your own kitchen for spring.

Kitchen Sink :

Classic Stripe Kitchen Towels

Just to the right of the sink, I keep it full of fresh clean towels.  When we lived in Concord, Ma., I once helped a friend clean out her kitchen and reorganize.  She resisted starting with all new fresh kitchen towels, then I said, "life's too short for stinky, stained kitchen towels."  She laughed so hard!  But it is true!  When I did personal catering in peoples homes, my clients would always apologize about their dish towels.  Why can't we let them go?!  Put them in the rag pile and start fresh.

Under the towel drawer, I keep a drawer with all of our Plastic and Paper Containers.  These are handy for leftovers or packing up picnic lunches.

Plastic Kitchen Containers
Paper To-Go Boxes
To-Go Soup Containers

We used the To-Go Soup Containers this winter when we filled them with Creamy Mushroom & Chicken Vegetable Soup.  I'll share the recipe soon.

Another way I love to use these when we're having friends and family over - I pre-scoop ice cream into them, pop the lids on and stick them back in the freezer.  When it's time for dessert, I pull them out of the freezer and set out toppings for them create sundaes.  They are great for kids to take outside and we don't have to worry about breakage.

We use the Plastic Kitchen Containers for everything from organizing the pantry, keeping leftovers to putting up tomato sauce (recipe) in the summer.

To the left of the sink, we keep a coffee maker and canister of sugar.  The drawer directly below is filled with k-cups.  Below the k-cup drawer is where we keep Paper Coffee Cups and Clear Plastic Cups.

Paper Coffee Cups
Clear Plastic Cups

Oh how I wished our vacation home in Seaside had had paper to-go cup and cups with lids for the kids! I love to leave early each morning on a walk with a cup of coffee, and having these paper to-go cups have become such a part of my daily routine, it was hard to not have them.  I ended up just taking a regular coffee cup and sloshed it all over myself : )

It is so nice to keep the clear cups and lids around for kids!  Every time Emma has friends over, we sharpie their names on the outside and we don't have spills and we don't have mixups.  Would've loved to have these with us on vacation.  We use the clear cups at home for homemade smoothies on the go, too.  Recipe, here >

I keep Tote Bags, watering cans and pitchers hanging on the pegs we installed.  The pitchers do double duty as vases for flowers and branches we cut.

Tote Bags will be restocked soon!

To the left of the stove, I keep our cooking tools.

Essential Tools :

Wooden Spoons (in crock on the counter)
Knife (I only keep one sharp knife here, but could probably use a good serrated one too)
Can & Bottle Openers (happy hour!!)
Large & Small Scoops (cookie dough and ice cream)
Plastic Wrap & Foil
Cupcake Papers
Pastry Tips
Offset Spatula (spreading icing, buttering bread)
Disposable Pastry Bags (freezing donut and muffin batter, making eclairs, decorating cupcakes and cakes)
Small Strainer (dusting powdered sugar, straining lemon seeds for lemonade and vinaigrettes)
Measuring Cups & Spoons
Paper Disposable Tart Pans (used these for muffin batter too - to make "muffies" muffin tops when I realized I didn't have a cupcake pan here)

The middle drawer holds :

Large Baking Sheet Pans
Small Sheet Pans
Parchment Paper
Donut Pans
Blender (smoothies and sauces)
Liquid Measure
Glass Bowl Set (also used for slime and now has glitter on them...)
Mini Food Processor (garden salsas and chopping)
*Need to add a muffin pan.

I would've loved if our vacation rental had had basic baking sheets and parchment paper!  We baked some cinnamon rolls (from a can... ha!!) a couple of mornings and I had to scrub and scrub to get the pans clean.  I'm spoiled by parchment paper at home - it is just too easy.  Not to mention, I make so many "Sheet Pan Supper" meals that are so easy - would've been a great option for dinner.

I try to keep the school house freezer stocked with frozen cookie dough balls and scones for them to pop in the oven when they need a treat.  Here are a couple of my favorite recipes that are perfect out of the freezer :

Pots & Pans : 

These were all hand-me-downs from my own kitchen that I found I didn't use, but could use here.

8" Cake Pans (we have more than we need due to some samples we received!)
Large All-Clad Skillet/Saute Pan
Stock Pot with strainer for Pasta
Cast Iron Skilled
*I still need to find a good 4-quart small sauce pan for reheating soups and making Mac and Cheese : )

I just love this little blue kitchen.  Another time, I'll show you what we keep in the cupboard for our entertaining essentials, too... basically creamware platters and enamelware along with some vintage wine glasses : )

Of course, I always like to keep something growing on the windowsill, too.

Is there anything I missed that is an essential in your house?

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