Kitchens Made Holiday-Ready

  • By Tera Harmon
  • 16 Nov, 2017
Photo Credit: Mira Bozhko

The Set-Up for Success

For even the most novice cooks, between now and the end of the year, many kitchens are about to get a workout. We may be hosting parties, holiday meals, trying a new recipe or two, participating in pot lucks, or baking with friends and family. Would't it be great if everything we need is at our fingertips--clean and functional for when we need it?


So often the tools and items we rely on at this time of year are somewhere in the back of cupboards, sideboards, or stored on basement shelving. I recommend gathering, cleaning, and staging the items you know will be needed in the coming weeks. In last week's post ( https://www.getorganizedcolumbus.com/the-ready-made-pantry ) we talked about a well-stocked pantry for the holiday season; for now, let's focus on the items we will likely need in the kitchen and dining areas.

Let's Talk Tools

It is not just about having the tools, it is about cleaning them and testing them to make sure they are functional with no surprises. It is worth noting that many of these items are occasional-use items and can be removed from your immediate cooking area once the holidays are over to save space.

  1. Meat thermometer
  2. Turkey Baster
  3. Full set of measuring cups and spoons
  4. Food Processor and all needed extension parts
  5. Emersion Blender and/or mixer
  6. Counter top roaster or sous vide
  7. Mixing Bowls
  8. Sharpened Knives
  9. Electric carving knife
  10. Peelers and Garlic Press
  11. Zester and juicer
  12. Baking pans
  13. Dough roller
  14. Those pesky holiday cookie cutters
  15. Baking racks

And don't forget the specialty cookware like Belgian waffle makers and panini presses, which may finally get the chance to earn their shelf space when hosting guests.


Kitchen Staples

  1. Aluminum Foil
  2. Wax Paper
  3. For extra convenience--oven liners can come in handy this time of year
  4. Twine
  5. Roasting Bags and plastic wrap
  6. Sil Pats/Baking Liners
  7. Toothpicks
  8. Food saver containers--especially those which guests can take with them
  9. Cherished recipes--I suggest locating and scanning them to have available digitally. I really like that you can have on record which recipes were used by year; it's fun to look back on and review.

Let's Set the Holiday Table

So many times we store away pretty dishes and service items, and holiday plates and mugs, only to forget them when guests appear. We can avoid forgetting our cherished holiday keepsakes by reviewing and cleaning inventory to have ready for guests. This is also a good time to remove any items that you are no longer interested in using.

  1. Dishes, chargers, and paper plates--We can finally use the holiday pattern! 
  2. Silverware and extra cutlery--Hate to say it, but if you use real silver, now is the time to polish
  3. Stemware
  4. Service Ware
  5. Platters and gravy boats
  6. Hors D'oeuvre plates or extra small plates
  7. Napkins--cloth ones may need washed and pressed
  8. Tablecloths and Placemats--may also need laundered
  9. Centerpieces--you may not have these stored, but it is still a good time to plan for them
  10. Candles and candle holders
  11. Punch Bowls
  12. Cheese cutters and condiment knives
  13. Pitchers
  14. Extra salt and pepper shakers
  15. Trivets

Photo Credit: Mel Turner

  For Good Measure:
  1. This may be the time to clean the oven and microwave
  2. Make sure your large cutting boards are sanitized

 

And don't forget, the most important thing to have in your kitchen might be an extra ounce of patience and presence of mind to enjoy being in the moment with family and friends. Now that you have a list, don't be afraid to get everyone involved and delegate tasks. The more we are engaged in the process, the more invested we are in the joy.

Cheers to you and yours!

Get Organized Columbus

By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
By Tera Harmon 16 Nov, 2017

For even the most novice cooks, between now and the end of the year, many kitchens are about to get a workout. We may be hosting parties, holiday meals, trying a new recipe or two, participating in pot lucks, or baking with friends and family. Would't it be great if everything we need is at our fingertips--clean and functional for when we need it?


So often the tools and items we rely on at this time of year are somewhere in the back of cupboards, sideboards, or stored on basement shelving. I recommend gathering, cleaning, and staging the items you know will be needed in the coming weeks. In last week's post ( https://www.getorganizedcolumbus.com/the-ready-made-pantry ) we talked about a well-stocked pantry for the holiday season; for now, let's focus on the items we will likely need in the kitchen and dining areas.
By Tera Harmon 13 Nov, 2017

With the holiday season approaching, so too are the celebration meals and get togethers. How does your holiday pantry look? Time spent planning now for food and festivities will allow you to be able to feel prepared, more relaxed, and in the moment whether you are celebrating on a grand scale or an intimate get together.

Since we are just a few weeks ahead of Thanksgiving, now is a good time to pay some extra attention to our pantries and food storage areas. There are things we can do beforehand to be prepared for the season of celebration and food.

The first pantry chore to perform is to make sure there is plenty of room to stockpile in preparation for the next 3 to 8 weeks (Thanksgiving through New Year's). Before bringing anything new into your food storage area, it is good to review the expiration dates of all food items. Removing outdated sundries will surely create some available shelf space. It is also good to look at stored dried goods such as flour, sugar, corn meal, baking soda and baking powder, and grains and pastas to make sure they appear to be fresh and ready to consume. And don't forget to take a close look at your spices and oils as well.

While reviewing expiration dates, you can also take inventory of what you currently have and of what you will need in the coming weeks. I suggest starting a digital list on your phone or with your favorite grocery store app so you have it with you wherever you shop.

Listing what you presently have will help prevent unnecessary purchases at the store. But listing what you think you will need in the next several weeks, will require some meal planning. Are you hosting a large meal, or expected to contribute at another? Will you be having or going to any cocktail parties? Is there anything special that your family likes to consume during these special occasions? Thinking now about what you would like to prepare will make you feel ready to enjoy the occasion when the time comes.

Knowing your menus, allows you to make a fairly comprehensive list of needed ingredients. Here is what most cooks feel are needed for holiday-time meal planning:

  • Dry Goods: Flours, white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, corn starch, dried bread crumbs
  • Canned Goods: Chicken stock, beef stock, cream of celery/mushroom/chicken, pumpkin puree, stewed tomatoes, tomato paste
  • Spices: All spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, kosher salt, coarse ground pepper, dried soup mix (like onion or ranch)
  • For baking: powdered sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, shortening
  • Packaged goods: cranberries, raisins, nuts-especially pecans and almonds
  • Liquids: Vegetable oil and canola oil are the most versatile, olive oil, vinegars
  • Condiments: mustards, mayonnaise, ketchup, hot sauces, honey

But that is not all. Do you take wine to parties? Or enjoy bubbly with toasts? Will you be making mixed drinks or preparing mulled cider or eggnog? You will want to make sure your liquor cabinet is stocked as well. Even if you don't drink, it is good to have extra wine on hand for cooking and for gift giving. This is what most consider to be a well-rounded beverage stock:

  • Alcohol: red and white wine, beer, vodka, whiskey, gin, bourbon, tequila, bubbly like prosecco or champagne.
  • Mixers: bottled fruit and vegetable juices, club soda, tonic water, bloody Mary mix, soft drinks
  • Garnishes: olives, cocktail onions, citrus wedges, salt rim, cinnamon sticks, marshmallows

And remember the fun cocktail napkins, too!

By birdie@getorganizedcolumbus.com 01 Mar, 2017
Travel is supposed to be fun and relaxing, but getting ready to take a trip can be stressful!  Being organized with travel lists can take the stress out of your preparation. These three types of travel lists should be comprehensive enough to encompass all things travel: Pre-Travel Tasks, Packing List, and Vacation Activities. We always recommend […]
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Get Organized Columbus

By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
By Tera Harmon 16 Nov, 2017

For even the most novice cooks, between now and the end of the year, many kitchens are about to get a workout. We may be hosting parties, holiday meals, trying a new recipe or two, participating in pot lucks, or baking with friends and family. Would't it be great if everything we need is at our fingertips--clean and functional for when we need it?


So often the tools and items we rely on at this time of year are somewhere in the back of cupboards, sideboards, or stored on basement shelving. I recommend gathering, cleaning, and staging the items you know will be needed in the coming weeks. In last week's post ( https://www.getorganizedcolumbus.com/the-ready-made-pantry ) we talked about a well-stocked pantry for the holiday season; for now, let's focus on the items we will likely need in the kitchen and dining areas.
By Tera Harmon 13 Nov, 2017

With the holiday season approaching, so too are the celebration meals and get togethers. How does your holiday pantry look? Time spent planning now for food and festivities will allow you to be able to feel prepared, more relaxed, and in the moment whether you are celebrating on a grand scale or an intimate get together.

Since we are just a few weeks ahead of Thanksgiving, now is a good time to pay some extra attention to our pantries and food storage areas. There are things we can do beforehand to be prepared for the season of celebration and food.

The first pantry chore to perform is to make sure there is plenty of room to stockpile in preparation for the next 3 to 8 weeks (Thanksgiving through New Year's). Before bringing anything new into your food storage area, it is good to review the expiration dates of all food items. Removing outdated sundries will surely create some available shelf space. It is also good to look at stored dried goods such as flour, sugar, corn meal, baking soda and baking powder, and grains and pastas to make sure they appear to be fresh and ready to consume. And don't forget to take a close look at your spices and oils as well.

While reviewing expiration dates, you can also take inventory of what you currently have and of what you will need in the coming weeks. I suggest starting a digital list on your phone or with your favorite grocery store app so you have it with you wherever you shop.

Listing what you presently have will help prevent unnecessary purchases at the store. But listing what you think you will need in the next several weeks, will require some meal planning. Are you hosting a large meal, or expected to contribute at another? Will you be having or going to any cocktail parties? Is there anything special that your family likes to consume during these special occasions? Thinking now about what you would like to prepare will make you feel ready to enjoy the occasion when the time comes.

Knowing your menus, allows you to make a fairly comprehensive list of needed ingredients. Here is what most cooks feel are needed for holiday-time meal planning:

  • Dry Goods: Flours, white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, corn starch, dried bread crumbs
  • Canned Goods: Chicken stock, beef stock, cream of celery/mushroom/chicken, pumpkin puree, stewed tomatoes, tomato paste
  • Spices: All spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, kosher salt, coarse ground pepper, dried soup mix (like onion or ranch)
  • For baking: powdered sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, shortening
  • Packaged goods: cranberries, raisins, nuts-especially pecans and almonds
  • Liquids: Vegetable oil and canola oil are the most versatile, olive oil, vinegars
  • Condiments: mustards, mayonnaise, ketchup, hot sauces, honey

But that is not all. Do you take wine to parties? Or enjoy bubbly with toasts? Will you be making mixed drinks or preparing mulled cider or eggnog? You will want to make sure your liquor cabinet is stocked as well. Even if you don't drink, it is good to have extra wine on hand for cooking and for gift giving. This is what most consider to be a well-rounded beverage stock:

  • Alcohol: red and white wine, beer, vodka, whiskey, gin, bourbon, tequila, bubbly like prosecco or champagne.
  • Mixers: bottled fruit and vegetable juices, club soda, tonic water, bloody Mary mix, soft drinks
  • Garnishes: olives, cocktail onions, citrus wedges, salt rim, cinnamon sticks, marshmallows

And remember the fun cocktail napkins, too!

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