Friday Favorites: Spice Drawer Makeover

Happy Friday, friends! I feel like I was just here with you for last weeks post but boy, time flies when you are having fun. The kiddo and I escaped to the coast for a beautiful week in the sun and sand, and my soul feels revived. The ocean has always been my happy place but coming home to my own bed, shower, and sweet husband felt amazing, too. It was especially welcoming since he had the good idea to vacuum before we returned. He knows how much I appreciate order, and with all the chaos around us in the world, its even more important to create a place of rest and peace at home.
Last week in my Instagram stories I talked about revamping my messy spice drawer. Luckily for me, my husband is amazing cook, but our collection of spices had gotten out of control, and after weeks on end of cooking from home more than ever before, we needed a better solution. I will be the first to admit that originally I did not want to purchase all new matching jars and labels like a lot of people around the internet had been doing the last few years. At first it felt wasteful in both product and expense, but once our drawer was overflowing, I pulled the trigger. 

Of course it was my old friend Amazon to the rescue. There are numerous options available to you, but after weeding through reviews, I settled on this wonderful little set. It gave me enough to cover all the spices we currently have while still having a few leftover to grow. The set came with round black labels for the tops, as well as a white pen and blank labels to create your own. It also included small clear labels for the sides of the jars, but I opted to purchase this set of capital letter labels separately to really dress them up. The kit also included a small rubber funnel to help with transferring your spices to the new jars. To give you an idea of the size: the new jars are exactly the same size as any of my Trader Joe’s glass jars for seasonings and spices. 

With a little help from my favorite kitchen helper, it was quick. work to transfer the spices and it was absolutely worth the effort. The capital letter labels set even included labels for popular spices like Everything But the Bagel, Lowry’s Seasoning Salt, and Chili Lime. Everything was immediately better organized and more easily recognizable. It worked out just right for me that every bottle I owned fit into the original drawer I had been using. It was just meant to be! 

As you can see, it was just that final touch to really dressing up our kitchen, making it feel homey and custom, and also insanely practical at the end of the day. It has made the few recipes I’ve pulled together since last week just more enjoyable, plus I can really keep an eye on how much of any spice we have left and know what to add to the shopping list. If you’ve been looking to up your kitchen organization game, this is one small project I highly recommend! 

Stay safe. Stay well. 

Jill 

Friday Favorites: Saving Sanity in Quarantine

 

Well, what did you choose? Online shopping or building that ark? Because last we spoke, I made a joke about the rain and now it seems as if those of you with the ark had at the right idea. I am barely hanging on, but that overwhelmed feeling inspired me to share some of my favorite things that keep my sanity mostly in check. (Mostly.) If you’ve been following along on Instagram for a while, you may have noticed that I’ve seriously stepped up my workout game recently. That doesn’t mean I want to spend a thousand extra hours on my hygiene and beauty routine from sweating in the gym or from the miserable NC humidity. Here’s how I save time, the health, and the style of my hair.

shower cap

Let’s get right to the star of the show. Many of my friends know that I am Team Dirty Hair and try to limit how much I wash and style my locks. Frequent showers were really taking the life out of my style until I found this amazing shower cap. It is not the first one I have tried, but even with my melon sized head and thick hair, this is definitely the best one. The style is cute, the cap is comfortable, and there is room inside for even more hair than I currently have. My hair stays nearly perfectly dry even with my double face cleansing routine, general showering, and shaving. It dries quickly and has held up so well even after months of abuse. Ten out of ten recommend to all my Team Dirty Hair girls!

dry shampoo

The next tool in my arsenal of sanity saving techniques is this dry shampoo. Look, I know we all have different hair and that there are a million other brands out there, but this has been my go to for YEARS. I’ve tried the more expensive options and the cheaper options and I always come back to this. Ten years ago when I first learned about dry shampoo you had to visit Ulta or another beauty supply shop to get your hands on pricey bottles of dry shampoo. Now they are in every drug store around the country. If you don’t like this one I really recommend trying out a few different kinds to see what works best for your hair. Also know there is a learning curve to using new products and just because the first use or two isn’t great, doesn’t mean the product can’t work for you.

To my husband’s amusement I spray dry shampoo around my ponytail before I hit the gym without really brushing it in. Of course I am working out at home with only him to notice, but this technique really helps absorb the oil and sweat straightaway and helps save my hairstyle. I can then easily let my hair down and brush it out after my shower and I’m ready to roll. A lot of people also recommend spraying it in before bed so it can work on absorption throughout the night. I don’t really find that helpful, but if you have especially oily hair, give it a try! Don’t forget my biggest tip for saving your hair at night found here. Oh, and when you finally do wash your hair, don’t forget the REPEAT part of the shampoo instructions. Double cleansing really does make a difference!

hair ties

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share my love for the perfect hair ties to save your style. If my hair isn’t actually pulled back, you can always find me with one of these on my wrist. They are my go to when pulling back my hair for everything from daily chores to four mile runs (peppered with lots, and lots of walking). I love that they aren’t that noticeable on my wrist, and that I can take my hair down and it basically jumps right back to whatever style it was before with no creasing. My hair feels secure without being too tight, and it doesn’t tangle like traditional hair ties. I couple of times a year I pick up a new pack at Ulta, but they really do last. The best tip I can give you is that if they are looking stretched out, you can easily reshape them by hitting them with your blow dryer. I have held them down with tweezers so I don’t burn my fingers and they will shrink right back to their original shape and size.

I hope that some of these tips help you take better care of yourself mentally and physically. No one has extra time these days to waste on haircare if we can help it. Give yourself a little grace, a little break, and a little boost all at the same time. You deserve it!

Stay safe.  Stay well. Happy FriYAY!

Jill

 

 

 

Monday’s Menu: Chicken Taco Bowls

I am super excited for tonight’s edition of Monday’s Menu! It has been a while since I’ve shared anything with you all! And because of the social distancing lockdown, it doesn’t even matter that I’m calling this post Monday’s Menu on a Wednesday! Did you even know it was Wednesday? Be honest!

If like me you are missing all of your usual food haunts, dinners with friends and family, and just overall OVER IT with the kitchen, I’ve got a sure fire way to please *most* of your family in one easy meal that can provide leftovers so NO ONE can come back to Mama to ask “what’s for lunch?” My favorite thing about this meal is that it is what I call a pantry ready meal. All of these ingredients can be collected and stored in the pantry and freezer and pulled out just when you are about to lose your mind. Let’s get down to business!

Chicken Taco Bowls 

Ingredients:

  • 2+ pounds of precious, rare, hard to find chicken breasts
  • Salsa of your choice
  • Mexican / Spanish Rice – whatever you like! (tonight were just using brown rice!)
  • The fixins’
  •    – Diced jalapeños
  •    – Corn
  •    – Black beans
  •    – Queso
  • Optional: tortillas or tortilla chips

Directions:

Depending on the type of rice you choose, that may be the item that takes the most time. Read the box/bag instructions and get that going before anything else. Afterward, toss your frozen chicken breasts into the Instant Pot with at least 1 cup of salsa. This method works best when the breasts aren’t frozen together. Set IP on manual for ten minutes and then let it naturally release for 5 minutes before doing a quick release. (If you still have your sanity and mange to pre-plan meals, the slower cooker is also an option. I like low and slow for 6-8 hours for chicken). Once the chicken is cooked, use your hand mixer to shred the chicken right in the IP or crockpot. (Kitchen Aid stand mixers are also brilliant at shredding chicken!)

While the rice and chicken is going you can gather your other canned ingredients. It doesn’t matter that I prep the beans and corn before the main items are ready because I will be honest, I always microwave my bowl about 35/40 seconds so my queso gets hot and melty.

Once the rice and chicken are ready, you can load up your bowls or tortillas (I actually like to put crunched up tortilla chips in my bowl!). The bowl will pile up quickly if you have more than a few ingredients so make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach! The order I usually follow is rice, chicken, beans, corn, queso, and finally I top with jalapeños. The best part is that this meal is just as yummy the next day (or two!).

This meal has been a go-to of comfort the last few months and I hope it helps you break out of whatever kitchen funk you might be in due to being stuck at home 24/7. Please let me know if you try it or add it to your rotation!

Be safe and be well!

Jill