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What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Posted by carinr (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 8, 12 at 10:05

Dear Forum Friends,

I haven't been around the forum much, but the change of seasons has me thinking of remodeling - especially because there's work I really should be doing! So, a question: For those of you who are, like me, not naturally neat and organized, are there features of your new kitchen that have made a real difference in how easy it is to keep on top of things? Maybe in unexpected ways?

In my eventual remodel, one giant mess problem will be solved in that my tiny kitchen currently has the only door to the back yard is thus the staging area for shoes, coats, dog leashes, misc. gardening equipment, etc. etc. In House Version 2.0, there will be a separate mudroom and a proper vestibule inside the back door, well away from the kitchen.

But I'm thinking of smaller, kitchen-specific things. Here's one: With all the messy kitchen chores to chose from, my downfall is that I hate to empty the dishwasher. No rational reason for this, but it's been that way for 40 years and is unlikely to change. In my previous house, I replaced my dishwasher with a pair of DishDrawers and it revolutionized my life, because I could use the clean drawer as the source of clean plates and cutlery and put them straight in the dirty drawer after use. I almost never put away the things that were in daily use. Not the way things are meant to be, but it had very positive effects on the whole kitchen experience.

How about you?

Carin


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Well, my kitchen remodel hasn't started yet. But, I have decided on one way to reduce counter clutter.

I'm putting in a 9" base spice pullout. It won't hold spices. It's for vitamins, prescriptions, dog pills, washable water bottles, and scissors/tape/etc that usually mess up the counters. I can't stand the way those things currently get in the way. Very soon, I hope they're out of sight.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

That is brilliant.
I don't mind loading the DW at all. My STBX would joke that I could fit 10lbs of xxx in a 5 lb bag. I am spacially economic.

However. Unloading that thing is a major PIA for me! I only do dishes about 1ce a month, but I still haven't unloaded this thing from 2 or 3 weeks ago. Granted, I use the dishes out of it, but then.... ew. Rinsed in the sink. I was just this morning thinking I needed to handle that.

I was reading the Flylady site someone here mentioned. About polishing the sink. Small ways to not be overwhelmed in household tasks. I'm going to do that today, polish my sink, then figure out how to save for dish drawers.

Thank you.
Oh - and what revolutionized any pretense at being neat for me was drawers. And remembering to put things in them. Sorry it's not life shaking like the Ah HA moment you just gave me, but they work really well!


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Cats. I cannot leave any food or dirty dishes out in my kitchen, not even in the sink. Yesterday I thought a bag of lettuce was safe but ended up chasing Bessie around the house with a large leaf in her mouth.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Drawers...my lower cupboards were always a mess. Now that I have drawers things are much better...I can actually organize things and keep them organized somewhat (they tend to dissolve into a mess after a bit, but it is so nice to be able to just open the drawer all the way and clean it up from time to time). Also, I have more storage and drawers now. There is no longer only 1 overfull drawer of cooking utensils. Now there are 3 shallow ones and things are so much easier to find.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

I love this thread! Fantastic idea.

I am in the planning process, so I don't have any tips that I have actually applied, however here are some ideas I'm incorporating.

- Two full dishwashers. This is similar to your dish drawers, but we put nearly everything in my dishwasher including pots and wine glasses. Currently it is just DH and I, and we run the dishwasher about 3 times a week. We do have a little one on the way, and I know that second dishwasher is going to come in very handy in preventing dishes from pilling up in the sink when we are too busy to empty the clean one!

- Central vac with HAH and a toe kick vent in the kitchen

- 9" pull out next to sink for dish towels, cleaning supplies that are often used, and other sink area clutter.

- Two areas for recycling (this is the one that fills up for us FAST and I end up with an extra pile of things to be taken out).


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Oh!
A trash pull out next to the stove and one next to the sink.
I'm making the former, already loving the latter.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

I know! I know!! Having my sink in my island! We really had no choice where we were putting our sink, but I sooo enjoy doing dishes now, because my back is no longer facing the "action". I can be doing the dishes and continue to participate in conversations with people sitting down at the island. It is something that seems obvious looking back but I hadn't anticipated what an impact that would have on our daily living.

The other thing that was kind of an accident is having my dishwasher also in the island and directly opposite the dw(across aisle) is the drawer that holds all my dishes. It makes for an easy unload! Love when those things happen!

Oh, and one more thing. Our architect and I spent a very long time creating a drawer deep enough to incorporate a "pan holder". My DH has many frying pans and he wasn't willing to give any up, so we saw this online (rev-a-shelf) and made the changes in that bank of drawers against wall to be large enough to hold the insert. It has made grabbing a frying pan so much easier... Here's a pic:


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket




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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

2 DWs! Never an excuse for dirty dishes in the sink/on the counters anymore!

Double trash pullout (2 full size cans)--never an excuse for excess trash to accumulate in the pullout's vicinity!

In counter soap dispensers--no more dishwashing detergent bottles on the counter!

Double tiered roll out shelves in the cabinets--access to everything!

Triple tiered 15"W spice pull out right next to rangetop--handy and large enough to hold everything with a little room to spare!

Extra 12"D storage on back side of island--who couldn't use more storage?!


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

I seem to have hit a nerve, in a good way! Annsch, I want that pan drawer! And a similar one for cutting boards and trays, and one for lids. Drawers do seem to be the answer to almost everything.

And the observation about where the sink is is great, too. One problem with my current kitchen is it has no windows except a tiny one half hidden by the fridge that looks out on the neighbor's wall. The biggest motivation for a new kitchen, relocated to the back of the house, is to have windows on two sides looking out over my yard. I'm hoping to have a whole wall of storage on the one non-window wall perpendicular to the sink and dishwasher, so I never have to take more than half a step to put things away.

I do do the shiny sink thing every Saturday morning and it makes a big psychological difference, for about half a day. :-) My old sink is white and so beat up that it stains the minute you pour out the morning's stale coffee.

For recycling, I'm envisioning some sort of system of identical bins with handles that can be filled in the kitchen, moved to the back vestibule when full to await recycling day, and swapped out for an identical empty one.

Peridot44, I hear you on the pet pills etc. etc. etc. An under-counter spice drawer is a great idea for being able to see and access all that stuff.

Keep the ideas coming! This is great.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Overall, what made me neater was a functional layout. That is THE MOST important kitchen item. I know its not a sexy answer.

Everything has a place and is used at or very near that place. When an item is needed, I don't have to rummage through a messy drawer. Knives are in the middle of the prep zone and easy to grab. Pans are a quick drawer pullout and grab. Food items for prep are taken from the fridge and pantry (located next to each other) and placed on the island on the right of prep zone. Need carrots? Take one step right; grab; one step back to the left; and I'm directly in front of the prep sink for scrubbing. Veggie peeler is in the top prep zone drawer. Bing, bang, boom.

A functional layout also makes cleaning up easier. The toaster gets out away after every use because it lives in the corner susan right under the counter where it's used. Open the door, put it in, and done. DW is easy to unload as most of the items go directly to the right of the DW in the dish hutch which also houses glasses, bowls, mugs, and silverware. Kids cups go in bottom drawer in the stack under the dish hutch. Clean prep items and pots/pans are unloaded onto the island counter directly behind DW. When DW is empty, I take a few steps around the island, open the drawers, and put away. Easy. Pots and pans are put away after I swivel around to open drawers under the rangetop. A full DW can be unloaded and put away within a few minutes. I run about 10 DW loads per week (heck, I ran more than 10 over the weekend with DD's large birthday party lunch) and used to dread unloading the DW, but it's so easy now.

If I had to name specific small organizational items. My two favorite are my spice drawer tins and knife drawer insert.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Carinr.
I think I need to start another thread. Subject: Flylady.
I think I hate you.
With loving kindness, of course.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

I've started a "Kitchen Organization" Ideabook on houzz where I bookmark everything that could help in the kitchen. Hereare some of the photos.

I hate corners, I don't like lazy (or super) susans, and I was shocked to see how much some of the blind corner solutions are. Seriously, $1000? I'm considering something like this, though, I haven't priced it out!

I have very few upper cabinets, and basically none in my cleanup area, so most of my dishes will be stored in drawers. I love the idea, but have never used this set up in practice so I am obsessed with photos of it in action




I don't have a kitchen aid mixer YET, but I know I want one, and carrying it back and forth to my pantry for storage isn't something I envison managing well on my own!


Dish Towel and misc storage (Though, my DH worries that with this set up the towels won't dry... Anyone have opinions on this?)

Organizing everything I need near my stovetop is also a key area I am trying to plan out. If all my oils, vinegars and spices are within easy reach to grab while I am cooking they will also be within easy reach to put away while I'm cooking as well!

I am going to have an induction stovetop, and I've wondered about actually having a drawer for spices beneath the cooktop itself, thought I wonder if that is a pain to get to while cooking?


Knife drawer to get the knife block off my counter


Maybe a well hidden appliance garage (Though, I don't like it when the appliance garage looks like an appliance garage)


Finally, there are some key kitchen design elements I will not be including
- any open shelving (some glass cabinets are okay, but anything open is just a place for dust to collect and items will need to then be cleaned before use).
- Those lovely wicker storage baskets for onions, potatoes etc. They look nice, but wicker will not last as long as your cabinets, and how are you going to replace it in 7 years when it falls apart?


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

I have a 4'X4' diagonal walk in pantry. In my old kitchen I had the lazy susan and blind corner thing. Now in 1 foot larger space I have SO MUCH more storage. It's really unbelievable. WAY less $ than all the corner contraptions out there.
I did give up counter but I have a 12 foot counter run opposite thanks to a corner sink.
Now I know some of you are gasping at a corner pantry AND a corner sink BUT this kitchen works really well. I have a caterer friend who loved her corner sink and long counter run so I duplicated and never looked back.
In fact I'm putting two corner pantries in my new kitchen. One for food and one for dishes. In thirty years the next person can remodel them out!


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Not exactly super clever, but we had a low window that we had to work around, so we put in a big 18" drawer that holds all my small appliances (the kitchenaid mixer, the spare coffeemaker, the two crockpots, the George Foreman and the electric griddle). I LOVE having them all out of sight and put away.

Oh and you are certainly not alone with the dishwasher thing. My girlfriends and I have had extensive discussions about the fact that we know in our heads that dishes are so much easier if you just keep up with them, but somehow we never manage to empty the stupid dishwasher! So I guess that's another tip that could be given...if you don't keep up the dishes, make sure you get a nice deep sink that will make it less obvious there's loads of dishes in there. Oh and at least a small divider, so you at least have a little clean area in that sink. This is exactly why we got the Siligranit with the low divide!


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Probably not the brainstorming idea you are hoping for, but despite all the functional storage I now have, it only took 1 thing to help me be more organized: kitchen countertops that I love... The look, the feel, the size... It inspires me everytime to keep everything in its place or find a space or get rid of it. :-)


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

'I know some of you are gasping at a corner pantry AND a corner sink'

as usual, a picture of this is required!

please.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

I'm not there yet, but I have to agree with itsallaboutthefood:

"Drawers...my lower cupboards were always a mess. Now that I have drawers things are much better.."

I hated getting down on my hands and knees to see what was in those black holes called lower cabinets. I even hated sticking my hand back there. My facelift will have ALL drawers.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

I think a small prep sink really helps to separate cleaning of fruits/ veggies before prepping from the cleanup area. Agree on 2 dishwashers. I for one prefer to stack plates and bowls. The plate rack type inserts seem too inefficient. I think thoughtful organization is the most important thing.. Everything in it's logical place takes effort to plan but much easier to maintain. I think even when things stay out and you finally have a cleaning fit, you have a place to put them away! All drawers make that easier..

Breezy --> I had not seen your knife drawer before. Is it a custom piece or a purchased insert?


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Made me neater?

Simple.

1- Pretty counter top. I like cleaning it up and moving junk off so it can be seen.

2 - White Cabinets. I can see any drips and jump at them.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Love this post!
Top items for kitchen organization in our new kitchen.

Design, design design!
When I used to empty the DW, I had to walk all over the kitchen to empty it- now, open DW, open dish drawer, glass cab and flatware without moving.

Drawers drawes, drawers & Slots, slots, slots!- some like more drawers per bank but I held it to 3 and put pans sideways in the slots! Less drawers to open and less stacks.

Drawer organizers- Made right drawer organizers, lee valley inserts, silverware insert and knife holder in drawer.

Label, label, label- still in progress- but using a brother label maker.

Love the idea of 2 DW but no room.

Establish a rule- no dishes in sink -period.

No pictures- a bit cryptic due to iPhone.

Some pictures are posted and our furniture arrives next week!


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Lalitha--my knife drawer insert is a Wusthof. I'll link it below at Amazon, although it is available from other retailers. I really like it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Wusthof knife drawer insert


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

And, of course, #1 for those of us who've lived in our old kitchens for years and years and then remodeled: clean out the junk!! It was amazing what I found in that dark, inaccessible corner cab that I hadn't seen for 15 years or more. It went. How many frozen pie tins do you really need to keep? How many knives that you never use do you need to keep? How many of those casserole dishes do you actually use? When was the last time you used a Jello mold?

We've actually applied this logic to the whole house at this point. It's very liberating. Not only that, but I have shelf space for the things I actually use and don't have to sort through the "but it's perfectly good!" stuff to locate the wanted items. ;-)


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

1. Glass uppers which made it undesirable to cram too much stuff back in the dark corners which I tended to do...

2. ONE drawer devoted to plastic crap and when I can't shut it, that means I have to clean it out.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

>>2. ONE drawer devoted to plastic crap and when I can't shut it, that means I have to clean it out. <<

Uh-oh.

Well, I guess I knew that was true. I have a 36" base drawer that is full.
When it's full and you must clean it out, make certain to match tops to containers. Get rid of all the orphans you will not use. This gives a lot of credence to the idea of buying the same kind of stuff all the time. Like socks. Always buy the same socks. Then if you lose one you won't care.

I did more laundry today. OMG.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

hi
what worked for me is organization. Like Laura said, everything where you use it. Also I have a walk in pantry and that is where my toaster and coffee pot are, Nothing on the counter. When I make hubby breakfast and pack his lunch, everything is within reach and I love that at 6am.
as far as the diswasher, I used to hate to unload the dishwasher, then I bought a whirlpool and I love the way it fits the dishes, pans etc. My old DW I couldnt fit much into it the silverware rack was in the front middle. And it was a pita to load/unload. The silverware rack is on the door on this one. It makes a big difference in what you can fit into it. we run our DW every 1-2 days.
We did a drawer for our plates. Nothing fancy, its a deep drawer. I didnt need any thing to hold the dishes they just stay.
I have pretty dish & handsoap dispensers and the bottles go under the sink.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Beautiful counters mean they have to be clear so I can see where all that money went.
All my small appliances-toaster, stick mixer, food processor etc are in a lazy susan. Easy to pull out and easy to put away.
Slab doors on the cabinets, so there is no goop collecting on edges or corners.
And of course drawers for the dishes right next to the DW. That's the best ever.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Drawers, drawers, drawers! The only lower doors I have are under the sink. Also, I consolidated the the drawers so as not to lose sapce. I have two 48" deep drawer under the cooktop that keep all the pots and pans. I also have a 36" X 36" drawer on my island that is perfect for all those little odds and ends like scissors, post it, pens, tape. I have dividers so that I can re-arrange this giant drawer easily.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

When we redid our kitchen we added an much longed for island/eating area. Our kitchen is smaller so we got rid of the table and the only eating area we have now is the island bar area. Prior we always kept our trash under the kitchen sink. That cabinet got the worst wear out of all the cabinets it seems and I attributed it to 1. being used the most and 2. because it was lower (had the faux drawer above it) and using the handle was uncomfortable with taller folks like us. So we grabbed the top of the cabinet and opened it that way most often. It was a huge pet peeve of mine.

When we designed the island I had a full height pull out built it and used an appliance pull to match the rest of the pulls in the kitchen. I wanted a big pull so that when the cabinet was used, the pull was so substantial it couldn't be missed!

It turns out that having the trash cabinet in the island also had a blessing in disguise. I can sponge down all the crumbs on the island to right on top of the trash cabinet, open it up, and swoop them all in! HEAVEN!! Keeps things much neater and I don't have to pull the trash can out like I did before and bring it over to the table to brush the crumbs in.

Hope this helps, love the thread!


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Better organized drawers-- no more junk drawer-- so things get put away in the right segment of the drawer and can be easily found. We'd had a silverware drawer and an "everything else in a shallow drawer" drawer. This is way better.

It did make me more reluctant to have help putting things away, though, now that everything has only one right place to go!


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

It wasn't very clever, but white marble counters have made me a lot more tidy in the kitchen.

I wipe up spills more quickly, but it's the crumbs that really show now...I had no idea how many of those buggers my old brown and beige countertops were camouflaging :)


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

The organization of our remodeled kitchen has really helped. I was fortunate that we could rework our kitchen so that we could add more cabinetry. Creative nesting and unnesting of objects in the few cabinets in our old kitchen was so annoying that I really hated putting anything away.

I love having a variety of cabinetry. I'm not of the drawer-for-all-purposes ilk. I love matching the items I want to store to the right type of cabinet. For instance, my large mixing bowls, stainless and glass, are on the bottom shelf of a door cabinet. It's really simple to open a door and get a good view of the bowls from the side (instead of a view of the top items only in a drawer) and to grab a bowl from the bottom of the stack without having the sides of a drawer interfering. I would hate having to pull out the entire stack of bowls every time I wanted one near the bottom. I use a variety of these bowls just about every time I prepare something and for me, the fixed shelf is the ideal spot. An all-drawer kitchen would have forced me to compromise.

I love having lots of upper shelves. I can space them as closely as possible to make as much of the vertical space as I can. The more surfaces I have, the less nesting I have to do. Roll outs, although not as convenient as drawers, allow better use of vertical space. If a drawer is too deep space is wasted and if a drawer is too shallow it's unusable.

I prioritized storage so that my most used items are in a drawer, on an upper shelf or in the front of a roll out or fixed shelf. Lesser and rarely used items get placed in the less convenient spots. That way, I have easy access to everything I need 90-95% of the time while keeping the flexibility of vertical space management with some non-drawer cabinets sprinkled in.

My kitchen still gets messy but it always feels under control because I can zoom around the kitchen and get things put away quickly since a lot of nesting isn't involved.

And I agree, our dw dish drawers have also helped with kitchen tidiness. It's a lot less daunting when only half a dw at a time has to be unloaded.

I hated getting down on the floor in my old kitchen to find something on the shelf of a base cabinet. But I love the fixed shelf base cabinet that I have in my new kitchen because I was able to pick and choose the items that are best stored there. This type of cabinet offers more storage than any of my drawer or pull out cabinets. I think an all-or-nothing approach forces items to be stored in less than ideal spots. I would hate having my large bowls in a drawer but conversely, I would hate having my pots and pans on a fixed shelf. Adding some variety allows options and in mho, a better chance for optimizing storage.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

Eliminating the old rubbermaid dish drainer in favor of a microfiber mat means all hand-washables are dried and put away immediately. Then the sponge goes in the tipout, the soap bottle goes under the sink, the towels are hung on the rack inside the cupboard, and the sink area looks neat.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

In my old kitchen, I had a little organizer hanging on the wall that had a small slot to hold the scissors. I swear that was the only thing in the house that had a definite place for storage. Now, with more space and cabinets, I am trying to organize and have a designated spot for everything. I'm still fine tuning storage, but its soooo much easier when you have space.


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RE: What clever kitchen idea helped make you a neater person?

I got a double bowl kitchen sink for my apartment (I stole the idea from the restaurant I used to work in with its kitchen faucets double bowl) . It makes it so much easier to organize things when I'm cooking a particularly ambitious meal- having one bowl for serving and one bowl for prep makes everything seem less overwhelming.

Having said that, I'm completely jealous of the posters who own two dishwashers. You ladies are living the dream.


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