Basic Kitchen Tools

In my quest for a Romantic Minimalist life, I was determined to make simple, healthy meals that didn’t take a gourmet

grocery list to make them. Clean up should be minimal and easy as well. My Basic Kitchen Tools list is just what I need.

  1. Cutting board
  2. Knives
  3. Metal bowl set
  4. Pasta bowl set
  5. Heavy flatware set
  6. Colander
  7. Blender
  8. Crock Pot
  9. Sprouting Jar
  10. Large bamboo spoon set

The blender is my one  luxury. My husband is hooked on his nightly smoothies and I can make a green drink, sorbet, cold soup, or tomato sauce in it quickly and easily with little to clean up.  The crock pot I use to cook beans and rice in as well as veggie soup.  My husband and I have done our best to find a set of dishes that we like to no avail. It dawned on me that we use our large shallow pasta bowls for dinner salads and soups. Why not just use them for every day? A couple of years ago we bought a George Foreman grill. It works nicely and has multiple plates that go with it to make waffles or even bake cookies. We don’t do either anymore and so the use for it seems to be fading away. We will hold onto it a while longer but we don’t really need it now.  The large bamboo spoon set does everything from serving salad with a pair of them to stirring and serving beans and rice in winter.

Our family is moving back to simple food and is losing interest in processed, cooked, devitalized food. The need that we used to have for kitchen gadgets has faded. In moving to more raw food I toyed with the idea of using a dehydrator and a juicer. This caused two concerns. The first was that some dehydrated “raw” recipes literally took two days to make. I am just never going to do that since I cook rather spontaneously. The second concern was that this equipment took a hefty investment.  Our goal was to keep things simple. So we keep the basics in our kitchen that suit us and enjoy the reduction of stress and time spent in the kitchen.


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Keep Dry Beans in Your Pantry

 If you aren’t the sort of person that can eat raw foods all of the time we highly recommend the versatility of beans. Dry beans are one of the most frugal foods you can buy. When you combine them with rice they make up a complete protein. Add a few vegetables to your beans and you have a complete meal. At our house we love black beans, pinto beans, lentils, adsuki beans, and many more. We put them in the crock pot and let them cook all day then divide them into recycled glass containers to store in the refrigerator and freezer for quick and easy use.  We put them on salads, stuff winter squash with them, mix them with rice or pasta, and make casseroles with them. The possibilities are endless.  Using just one pot makes for easy clean up. Experiment with different spices or vegetables to vary the flavor and explore the beans in your pantry. 

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Clearing the Clutter to Simplify Your Life

Most people want less stress and chaos in their lives. Few really know where to start. Making lists and taking a few minutes to evaluate what you have and what you truly need makes it easy to clear the clutter and simplify quickly.

Go Paperless

This means discontinuing magazine and newspaper subscriptions and making a point to read online instead.

How this helps you:

*Saves cleaning time

* Clears clutter instantly

* Impacts the environment in a positive way with less waste

* Allows you to easily organize your reading list

* Convenient way to take reading and notes with you

Go paperless by using a computer, digital tablet, and/or smart phone to write notes, blog, journal, shop, read, take pictures, and work. You can find applications and freeware as well as simple ways to organize your content easily. For some that still want to stay on paper and don’t care to go digital we recommend having a one touch mail filing system and subscribing to one or two periodicals to minimize clutter. Using one notebook for household management is a good idea too.


Don’t Keep Everything

Being prepared for life is much different than keeping everything “just in case”.

*Determine what you need for an emergency situation and make up a kit or bag that has all the supplies you need so that you can grab and go if you need to.

*Learn to live with just what you need on a daily basis. Let go of the Cinderella complex and buy only the clothes you need for every day work and play. No one needs six pairs of $200 jeans for instance. Few people live that kind of life.

*Give the things away that you don’t really need. Its a good feeling.


Live Now

*Work hard and let go of laziness

* Procrastination never made anyone happy

* Do what you love now.


Gadgets Are Overrated

Understandable if you need one handy gadget that does everything but thinking that you need every time-saving appliance and gadget out there will never simplify your life or clear the clutter. You will end up with a house full of things that you don’t have the energy to use and you still won’t be happy. Choose what you love and use on a daily basis. Then avoid being tempted to buy anything but the simple basics. For example, you can create an amazing array of food with a simple knife and cutting board.


Enjoy Space and Time

Clearing the clutter to simplify your life is a journey not a one day event. As you gradually create the peaceful life you want, take a moment to enjoy and recognize the time and space afforded by the effort. Space without clutter or chaos feeling so good. Making the choice not to over-commit and have the time to embrace life is something that is precious.






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Moving Back to Simple Food

Our family has made the decision to move back to simple food.

Breakfast is simply fruit by the hand. Apples, grapes, and bananas are our version of fast food on our way out the door. It keeps things simple when they are no kitchen tools or cooking necessary, no bowls or spoons to wash and no electricity used in making breakfast. We love fruit for fast energy and tasty treats.

Lunch is a luscious salad from our container garden or the local Farmer’s market. We tear up some greens like spinach and romaine to top with ripe tomatoes, crunchy carrots and celery, roasted almonds, spicy sprout combinations, and colorful peppers. Apple cider vinegar and olive oil meld it all together.

Our afternoon snack is a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit to keep us going. We buy nuts in bulk and bring our own cloth bags to the store when we can to reduce packaging and costs.

Our evening meals usually consists of beans, rice, and vegetables with a berry smoothie for dessert. We especially like cilantro and onion inspired black beans, red beans and Cajun rice, and stir fried vegetables with Bragg’s Amino for flavor.

I haven’t convinced my husband to go completely vegan yet but he may get there without really realizing that I was that sneaky. In the meantime we do enjoy simple food that only Mother Nature has processed.

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Moving Toward Permaculture

I saw a documentary  about the shifts coming in 2012 and the move of society towards permaculture and sustainable living. I have to admit it enticed me and intrigued me to learn more. In the coming weeks I will post more information on it here at Romantic Minimalist.
When relating some of the information to my husband I was pleasantly surprised that he was interested in talking about using alternative energy such as passive solar, creating our own garden, and creating an energy efficient home when we move to our own living space. For now in our apartment I can make some adjustments to how we spend our money and get down to the basics.

Coffee and tea- I hope to allow these to just fade away. My caffeine consumption has been altered by my Graves disease and quite frankly I don’t miss it that much.  My husband travels most of the time so he drinks little of it at home. End of year should be the last.

Cereals- We gave these up. Now a simple piece or handful of fruit and sometimes some nuts make up our version of a healthy meal.

Cosmetics- I struggled for quite some time with wanting to get rid of makeup and expensive skin creams but didn’t want to look like a Gothic ghost.  Finally I decided to get highlights instead of coloring my hair dark brown and now I don’t really need makeup. I replaced my skin creams and lotions with olive oil. Done.

Clothing- Continuing my $1 clothing challenge at the second-hand store seems in order as well as using  Freecycle . Any clothing that we can’t wear anymore will be considered for up-cycling to something new to use before we discard it or give it away.  Using old clothing for quilts, pillows, and rice bags seems a good way to use what we have more than once.

Electricity and natural gas-we began unplugging those things that we weren’t using such as kitchen appliances, chargers, fans and other such items to save electricity. I don’t really need the digital clock on the microwave. To do away with kitchen appliances would be even better. We will get to that one gradually.

Space- Clutter just isn’t our style anymore. We want peace and calm in our home and we can have that while we still do all the things we love to do. We went paperless a while ago and do most things digitally. The result was so pleasing that we never looked back. There is no need to keep many files or magazines anymore. My next little project is to give my china away. It seems lonely collecting dust.

Simple Exercise- we adopted simple exercise a while ago and intend to keep it! Walking, jogging, dancing, and body weight exercises are simple, easy, and fast to do. We don’t use extra electricity playing an online game or watching a video and we don’t waste gas driving to the gym.  Right now is the time for me to ride my bike to work and not worry about gas prices!

Container Gardening- My favorite move towards permaculture and living a simple life is patio gardening. I’m planting some containers this week and it’s so exciting to think of fresh herbs and lettuce for our table!

I believe that this kind of living is a work in progress, a joyful work, and anyone can do it. Will you do your part to save earth?

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A Fresh Start

I always love new beginnings.
January 1st is my favorite day of the year.
Of course it’s silly in a way because every
day has potential for a fresh start.
Every moment we have the chance to decide to do better.
On my list for 2012 are great adventures.
Healthy living, and love top the list as well.
My adventures entail endless possibilities.
Things that speak to my spirit are on the list
Healthy living is here to stay for me.
I’ve changed to a vegan diet and walk 5 miles a day in 2012.
Letting go of covering up has been freeing for me and I embrace it.
We have just a few more things to minimize in our home,
but for the most part we are free of the stress of clutter.
I look forward to making quality time with my family.
I wouldn’t say that I have resolutions. Goals set us up for a
narrow path and I want to experience new things and my passions.

It’s going to be a great year.

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How to Improve Your Self-esteem

From time to time we all have some trouble with self-esteem. Here are some tips to improve self-esteem and feel good about yourself.

Talk Positive
If you are always telling yourself what an idiot you are your self-esteem will always suffer. Instead of using negative language start using positive talk. You don’t have to use flowery or unreal language but tell yourself it’s okay when you think you made a mistake. Most things aren’t worth the worry and no one is perfect. Use positive talk in every conversation. Avoid gossip and talking about others. Put yourself in their shoes. You will gain a reputation for being kind. Talk positive and see your self-esteem go up and up.

Keep Friends That Build You Up Not Tear You Down
If you hang around a friend that always points out what you do wrong or puts you down then tell them to take a hike! Keep company with people who will realistically reinforce your good traits and doesn’t pick on you. Good friends are the best thing you can do to improve your self-esteem.

Don’t Allow Someone to Talk Inappropriately
Don’t ever allow anyone call you names or call you stupid even during a fight. There are “rules” for fighting such as no name calling and staying on the subject. If you have a spouse that constantly puts you down or is abusive you need to consider counseling and possible ending the relationship. There is never a reason for anyone to be treated this way. Having healthy conversations and relationships is what everyone needs for their self-esteem.

Take the High Road
Avoid getting caught in sticky situations by paying bills on time or making payment arrangements with someone you owe money when possible. Keep your head held high and stay honest. When you have good and honest standards and morals you won’t have to worry about your self-esteem.

Be Aware of the World
To Improve your self-esteem you don’t have to follow the latest fashion trends or have everything under the sun. A good rule is to be aware of the world and decide what you need versus what you may be obsessed with and keep a happy medium. It’s okay to have material things that make you happy as long as you can pay for them without creating stress. Keeping up with the Jones’ won’t make you happy or improve your self-esteem. It will only make you crazy.

You can improve your self-esteem by a using a few basic rules and focus more on the inside of you- your spirit.

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