Fall Chores

Friday was like a day of Spring Cleaning for me except it’s the fall. After I dropped Skylar off at school, I went for a 5 mile run and while running I mentally strategized the rest of my day and dreamt about pumpkin recipes.

It was about 78F and perfect. Perfect, meaning the pumpkin recipes I was dreaming up in my brain that I can’t wait to cook because I’m craving pumpkin.

I came inside organized what I call my Appliance Closet, which is the place that appliances go when they’re not being used.

I have a couple mixers, cake pop makers, coffee makers, juicers, espresso makers, three blenders, toasters, waffle makers, and more. And all those appliances were taking over.

This cupboard is where I keep my smaller items and things I use almost every day like baking pans, mixing bowls, and cookie sheets but the bulkier appliances don’t fit there.

And then there’s an entire subset of appliances that I’ve used precisely once that go into the Appliance Graveyard as I sometimes call it.

Now the closet is organized.

And yes, I keep mixers in the closet.

I keep food in the kitchen, dishes in the living room, and appliances in the hall closet.

Urban condo living at it’s finest where every square inch must be utilized, including closets.

My usable countertop space is limited and covering that up with big appliance isn’t a workable option so they have their own little place in the closet.

Good thing it’s a warm climate and we don’t actually need to store many coats in the closet.

In the process of organizing, I de-cluttered and thinned out my stash.

I packed up a couple boxes of things from the Appliance Graveyard that I’ll never use and donated them to the thrift store.

After the thrift store, I went to: the grocery store, Trader Joe’s, Kinko’s, and Rite-Aid. It was Friday afternoon and everyone else apparently had the same idea as I did because the stores were packed and parking was scarce.

I came home and comforted myself with a fresh batch of Homemade Peanut Butter

I had just made a batch from 16 ounces of peanuts when I returned home from Aruba last week but within 5 days, I ate it all.

I was in major homemade peanut butter withdrawals and was just making up for lost time.

For the new batch, I processed a bag of honey roasted peanuts from Trader Joe’s for about 4 minutes and then added almost 3 tablespoons of vanilla extract. Because peanut butter is so robust and intense, it can take handle an intense amount of vanilla. The resulting peanut butter is a Very Vanilla-Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and it’s fabulous.

Use this recipe and method and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of vanilla at the end of processing, after it has liquified, and blend for another minute or so to incorporate the vanilla.

You could also just add a shot of bourbon.

I predict the new batch will last more than two days but less than five.

It’s so good with the honey and vanilla, but then again, I’m a Vanilla Monster.

I also made a loaf of Banana Bread with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze. The bread has vanilla incorporated in it in four ways.

Clearly, I’m on a vanilla kick.

I cleaned three bathrooms from top to bottom and took out tons of trash and before I knew it, it was time to pick Skylar up at school. Her first day went wonderfully and the second day went just as well. She’s an old pro at first grade now after two days.

Just when I thought I was done and could start dinner and make more dishes for myself to do, her teacher handed out the Back To School Supplies list (yes, they do it after the first week) and we hit up Target and went back to school shopping. Needless to say, I slept very well last night after my day.

Have you checked any chores off your list lately?

I didn’t plan to have a chores day but realized it just had to happen because things were getting out of control and yesterday was as good as any to just handle it.

Where do you store your appliances or bulkier items if you live in a smallish space?

I grew up in the midwest where we had basements and garages. In California, we have earthquakes and no basements. And we have a parking stall, but not a private garage.

Just stuffing things into a closet and praying the door will shut only lasts so long before I had to take care of business.

There are people who live in far smaller quarters than we do, but between a child and her kid stuff, my cooking supplies and photography paraphernalia, and all of Scott’s things, I have to be careful not to let things get out of hand and keep everything organized and in it’s place. And make charitable donations monthly.

Clutter makes me crazy and if my house doesn’t look like this, I can’t function in it. It has to be neat, orderly, and clean.

Have a great weekend!


47 Responses to “Fall Chores”

  1. Laura Dembowski — September 8, 2012 at 9:39 am (#

    There is such a feeling of accomplishment that comes with cleaning things out. I have a lot of storage space, but it seems it’s never enough!

  2. kris — September 8, 2012 at 10:14 am (#

    mmm i could totally go for a slice of that banana bread right now. i also did a chores day a few days ago, but i still need to finish up. it’s amazing how accomplished i can feel after everything is back in its place!

  3. Sue/the view from great island — September 8, 2012 at 10:15 am (#

    You are one busy lady—I always come away feeling like a sloth after reading your posts, seriously, where do you get all your energy?
    Starting first grade has to be the most exciting time ever, for both the first grader and the mom, congratulations!
    I love your appliance graveyard1
    The honey Roasted Vanilla Peanut Butter is absolutely brilliant—I am SO adding the bourbon!!!
    Off to clean up my kitchen…

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 8, 2012 at 11:05 am (#

      Bourbon or Baileys. Or they make some really crazy but good vodka’s like marshmallow vodka or chocolate vodka. I’m kinda wanting to try it :)

      Thanks for the Bundt pan info on your post. BTW I just got a new bundt from…Ralph’s grocery store last week. On sale for $5.99 Worked just fine for a cake I made that am posting about in a week or so!

      I can’t believe your girls are in college! I bet looking back, that it all went very fast…I can’t even imagine…

  4. j3nn — September 8, 2012 at 10:31 am (#

    Kitchen counter top real estate is extremely valuable. My new kitchen is well-endowed with counter space, but I am running out quickly regardless. I also store some appliances in the pantry. I’ve realized that I can never have enough kitchen counters. Ever. :)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 8, 2012 at 11:02 am (#

      I think I would be in HEAVEN in your kitchen. When I was writing this post I was thinking of you b/c you have so much space! Ironically, I used to have a kitchen like yours – when I didn’t cook! lol

  5. Paula — September 8, 2012 at 10:34 am (#

    I’ll get right to it–the sweet potato soup was great!! Thick and rich, just how we like it. I am presently waiting on a plumber to come un-clog the kitchen sink. Drano didn’t work last night and sulfuric acid didn’t work this am. Why does this stuff happen when the weekend hits?!?! Anyway–a vitamix soup recipe was perfect today since my kitchen is off limits until later!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 8, 2012 at 11:02 am (#

      Oh I am so glad to hear the Vitamix soup was perfect. Yes, thick and rich – sometimes that’s just the only way to go! Drains. Ugh. Our drains in Aruba are always on the fritz and always on the weekend, I feel your pain! The good news is in the US they work on weekends. In Aruba, calling on a Saturday will get you an appt, maybe, the following Thurs. Or not. :)

  6. tlm — September 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm (#

    averie, last night my friend asked us to bring a baked good to his house for a get together before we all went out. a lot more people participated than expected so it turned into sort of a bakeoff! i made your mint oreo brownies and they were a HIT. i put a little card with a link to the recipe next to the plate i served them on, so you might be getting an influx of 21 year old male readers in the next few days!

  7. Erin Motz — September 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm (#

    I just love that white cabinet for all your dishes! It’s so quaint! And the feeling of crossing off your chores is one of those simple pleasures in life… actually, a lot of times I’ll go back to my list to add something JUST so I can cross it off and feel that much more accomplished. Lol!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 8, 2012 at 6:21 pm (#

      Checking chores off is a GREAT feeling and I got the hutch from Ikea about 4-5 mos ago!

  8. Brooke — September 8, 2012 at 3:44 pm (#

    Homemade peanut butter sounds AMAZING right now!


  9. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — September 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm (#

    Um, your house is gorgeous. Or at least your kitchen, from what I can see. And I think I’ll forever be jealous of your dishes hutch! Too. Cool. So glad Skylar had a successful first week!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 8, 2012 at 6:21 pm (#

      Thanks, Hayley! I got the hutch from Ikea of all places! The dishes in them have been a collection from all over. It’s a lot more filled up now than that photo shows (that was taken about 3-4 mos ago) :)

  10. Sasha — September 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm (#

    You’re lucky to have so many appliances! I don’t even have a single mixer :(

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 8, 2012 at 6:20 pm (#

      I spent over 3 decades without one, too! Finally the mixer gods smiled on me :)

  11. Alicia Orozco — September 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm (#

    I love how your kitchen looks. It might be small but it is well loved! Good job on donating those appliances that you aren’t using! I have to go through my clothes and do the same thing!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm (#

      I do it with clothes too but the appliances are so bulky that sometimes they just have to go – not worth hanging onto b/c they are space hogs!

  12. S @MasPublicHealth — September 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm (#

    Love the blue-skied palm tree pics (as usual) and your kitchen looks beautiful! If you recall, last summer, I finally got inspired to made the trek out to SD to visit some friends and lived in PB for a few months; now I’m headed back to stay! :D (Back-and-forth cross-country moves are absolutely thrilling……. you have a lot of experience moving so I’m sure you can sympathize.) But it’ll be worth it!

  13. Ellen — September 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm (#

    I WISH I had a big KA mixer to complain about!
    Glad you for lots done-I do not know how you get so much done. Actually I am
    amazed at people with kids in general. I have done nothing technically productive this weekend…except for spend all day at the kcrw pie contest I entered(not a winner but hundreds of people had entered) and eat other contestants pie, haha.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm (#

      a pie contest sounds pretty rad!

    • Ellen — September 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm (#

      It was! Would have been more rad if I’d won but I was up against literally hundreds of pies. But I it to eat a lot of pie, and meet Joy the baker(she was one of the judges) so it was a good day.
      Thank you for using the word rad. Hadn’t heard that in a while and I think I want to start sneaking it into my vocabulary:)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 9, 2012 at 9:11 pm (#

      Rad is a fun word to bring back, isn’t it! And Joy – met her once about 6 mos ago and she’s a doll. Your weekend sounds….RAD!

  14. Cathy @ Noble Pig — September 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm (#

    That peanut butter sounds amazing…wow.

  15. Katie — September 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm (#

    I can’t deal with clutter anywhere. In my home, at my office, I am constantly de-cluttering. I go to friends’ houses and do it there, out of habit. THey usually don’t mind thougj.

    I have very little storage at my house too. I just bought a small microwave cart, but for the most part, the lack of storage space is good, becuse it limits my purchases!

  16. Michele Sparrow — September 8, 2012 at 9:56 pm (#

    I’m with you on the absolutely no clutter thing. I absolutely cannot stand it! I love how immaculate your house always looks in photos. It’s the only way to live! :-)

    I feel like I am always, constantly doing chores. But, I recently went through all of my clothes and shoes and did the same with all the boys clothes and shoes and we came up with literally BAGS of things to take the the local thrift store! It really felt great to purge the closets. It’s simply wasted space when things are just sitting in there and someone else could use them. Next up…paperwork. Blah.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm (#

      You have two kids and you’re the mom, so yes: “I feel like I am always, constantly doing chores.” <– that’s a true statement

  17. sally @ sallys baking addiction — September 9, 2012 at 5:04 am (#

    I have plans to visit the thrift store this week! I am in search of beautiful vintagey plate ware after gawking over all your treasures lately. :) I need to organize my kitchen. Averie, it’s a disaster! But I am moving next March soooo I will probably just be lazy all winter and wait until I get a new place to clean out all my junk and make room for more! Chores I have checked off lately? Ummm…. yeah… does vacuuming my room count?! I have to clean out my closet as well. The more room I have, the more excuses to go clothes shoppinggggggg. :)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 9, 2012 at 9:26 am (#

      Given your weekend and all you accomplished, I don’t blame you for having a little bit of a mess going on AND that’s a HUGE thing to check off your list. So yeah, you’ve done plenty! And congrats in advance on the new place. Regarding thrifting, it’s a very long-term process. There are times I go to the thrift store 4x a month, and then times I go once every 3 mos. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t. Go with the plan to buy anything you see that you like. Sometimes I really want plates but I see a great glass and I buy it b/c I will eventually use it. And just be persistent and try different places, too. Some places get great stuff, some places get…junk. lol

  18. Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations — September 9, 2012 at 8:14 am (#

    Oh my, I so hear ya on limited living space. In our tiny apartment in Canada my KitchenAid had to live in the cupboard at times as well. Now that we are traveling Asia, the places we rented for longer usually always had bigger kitchen then we had in Canada. But my cooking and baking opportunities are so limited here. Oh, well…

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 9, 2012 at 9:18 am (#

      Interesting that your Asia place is bigger than your Canadian one….I always hear that space is at an absolute!! premium in Asia!

  19. Leonor @foodfaithfitness — September 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm (#

    I can’t stand clutter. I get rid of stuff every few months. It’s a good feeling!

  20. Heather (Where's the Beach) — September 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm (#

    So glad she’s settling in so well! I need to do a major cleaning spree. That’s all I can say about that one LOL

  21. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — September 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm (#

    I MUST try that peanut butter. Honey roasted and vanilla, my mouth is watering. When we moved to this house, the garage had been converted to two large rooms. One is a never-used-playroom where toys go to die, and one whole wall of the other room became the appliance/overflow cake stand/platter area. And now, because I’ve developed a Goodwill/Ross addiction, I have shelving in my dining room for my props. :)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm (#

      You’d love the PB and I would love to have…a garage. Omg I can’t even imagine! Actually, I can. I’ve had them before and they’re pretty much the raddest things – you can just…store stuff in them! Novel concept! And I love your Goodwill addiction!

  22. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — September 10, 2012 at 8:49 am (#

    Oddly enough, since I’ve been pregnant, I cannot stand nut butter…isn’t that terrible? Nuts ok – nut butter not ok. I used to carry around a jar of pb in my purse and eat pb&j sandwiches at least twice a week for lunch. I hope my taste is reacquired once my baby is born! I don’t want to live in a world where pb grosses me out… :)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 10, 2012 at 10:43 am (#

      When I was pregnant, PB was NOT appealing to me (one of the only times in my life that’s ever happened!) but my taste for it came back, quite nicely :)

  23. Chris M. — September 10, 2012 at 9:29 am (#

    WOW, You’re able to keep your house like that?! That’s awesome….jealous-jealous-jealous ;p I really struggle keeping up with day-to-day clutter. Our house was built in the 40s. We’ve got 2 small sections of countertop on either side of the sink. There are pipes and a big disposal under the sink nottomention liquor bottles:D, that I can’t store the drain rack under there. Alas, it’s always on the counter. We do have a basement, we spend a little time here and there decluttering–that is very satisfying! I want to try your peanut butter recipe with sunflower seeds. TJ’s sells sunflower seed butter and they can’t keep it on the shelves. It’s pretty darn tasty.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — September 10, 2012 at 10:42 am (#

      It drives me nuts if it’s not neat! It’s too small to be messy – otherwise all I see is The Mess! ha! And yes, TJs SFSButter is so good. Been eating it for about 5 years and you can make it at home but make sure to sweeten it with agave because sunflower seeds on their own can be kind of bitter when ground up!

  24. Christine (The Raw Project) — September 10, 2012 at 9:36 am (#

    Always nice to check of a chore list, I got a lot done this weekend too, but not as much as I wanted to with a cold. We have a fairly large corner pantry that I store a lot of stuff in – including our juicer, slow cooker, and bulk kitchen supplies.

  25. Christina @ The Beautiful Balance — September 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm (#

    I store most of my appliances in cupboards. However, my Vitamix NEVER leaves the counter. I use it way too often to be dragging it out multiple times throughout the day.

  26. Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — September 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm (#

    I have soooo many fall chores on my list and haven’t gotten around to any of them … oh well!

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