pantry1

Living on a remote island that lies on the also remote Eastern Shore, a well stocked pantry is essential to me. Sadly, it’s usually in a state of utter chaos and dissaray. And that’s a super bad thing, because half the time I forget what I have in there in the first place – and by the time I find it again, it’s gone and expired.

So, when the good folks at OXO and The Container Store asked me to be a part of their POPtober Campaign, I couldn’t say no. Since moving to the island, I’ve had a really hard time keeping things fresh. I’ll open a bag of tortilla chips, and by the next day they’ll be stale (pretty sure that it has something to do with all the moisture we have in the air here), and I knew that OXO’s air-tight seals would be an answered prayer! And as I’d mentioned above, my pantry was in desperate need of a makeover to begin with.

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They were kind enough to send me a 10-Piece POP Container Set, as well as several sizes of their POP Cereal Dispensers. The square and rectangular shapes fit together so snugly and are so pleasing to the eye. They’re stackable as well, which makes them super space efficient. I also love that they’re able to be opened with one hand, something that I have to do so often these days with baby boy #3 in tow!

I couldn’t believe how many bunched up little baggies I was able to toss out, and instead have the contents up front and visible. Where they can be seen, and used – instead of forgotten about. It’s been a week since the revamp, and I’ve not had any issues with cereals or crackers that have been opened being stale – they’re just as fresh as the day that I opened them. So of course I’ve added quite a few more of the OXO items to my wishlist on Pinterest. Are you paying attention, Santa?

Follow Laura (Tide and Thyme)’s board POPtober on Pinterest.

I thought I’d also give you guys a run-down of what I think are essential pantry items. With cold and inclement weather sneaking up on us – it’s good to have basics like these safely stashed away. With all these items on hand, you could whip out a delicious meal in no time at all!

Basics:
Kosher salt
Fine salt
Black peppercorns
Oils (olive, vegetable, extra-virgin olive)
Vinegar (apple cider, red and white wine, balsamic, and rice vinegar)
Coffee
Tea
Long-grain white rice
Brown rice
Quinoa
Couscous
Dried pasta (standard, whole grain, rice noodles)
Grits or polenta
Panko
Oats (Old-fashioned rolled, and instant)
Dried beans (black, pinto, chickpeas, navy)
Tortillas (corn and flour)
Country ham (a post on this is coming soon!)

Baking:
Flour (all-purpose, whole wheat, and cake flour)
Baking soda
Baking powder
Cream of tartar
Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
Bittersweet chocolate: chips and bars
Evaporated milk
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Vanilla extract
Granulated sugar
Confectioners’ sugar
Brown sugar
Maple syrup
Honey
Agave syrup

Snacks:
Crackers
Tortillas
Pretzels
Marshmallows
Popcorn kernels
Dried fruit (raisins, apricots, cranberries, cherries)
Peanut butter or almond butter
Applesauce
Granola

Canned Goods:
Broths (chicken, beef, and vegetable – I like the powdered varieties found in the Hispanic aisle)
Beans (cannellini, navy, chickpeas, pinto, and black)
Vegetables (artichoke hearts, corn, green beans)
Olives (black, green, Kalamata)
Chiles (chipotles in adobo, pickled jalapenos, pepperocinis, sliced banana peppers)
Salsa
Tomatoes (whole, diced, crushed, fire-roasted)
Tomato paste
Roasted red peppers
Tuna
Anchovy fillets or paste

Now,  are you ready to go and tackle the organization monster in your pantry? OXO wants to help!

Starting today, OXO is hosting a Facebook Giveaway that runs through Friday, October 31st! Enter to win a prize pack worth $500, including your choice of OXO Storage & Organization tools (up to $250), as well as a $250 elfa gift card. Make sure you scoot on over today for your chance to enter!

Disclaimer: I received a set of canisters from OXO for review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Posted in DIY

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

Who doesn’t love Funfetti cupcakes? They’ve long been one of my favorites, and my boneheaded self bought the boxed version for far too long – unable to unlock the mystery of the Funfettiness. Turns out it’s just sprinkles. Or Jimmies. Or whatever you call them in your neck of the woods.

So I used my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe, mixed in a handful of multi-colored sprinkles, and baked. Voila! I had homemade Funfetti cupcakes. I’ve made them as the base for several batches of birthday cupcakes now – and everyone always loves them.

They are colorful and delicious, and it’s always a comfort to know exactly what’s going into them -versus the boxed stuff, with an ingredient list a mile long and ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Make these for your next celebration (or just because!), you’re guaranteed to have smiles all around.

Source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

New England Style Hot Dog Buns

There’s nothing quite like a homemade roll to put a hamburger or a hot dog on. I’d been making my own for quite some time now, and haven’t looked back since. A basic dough, rise, then shape and re-rise before baking. But, after receiving this New England Style Hot Dog Pan for Christmas from my mom, I have to admit I have a new favorite way of preparing my hot dog buns.

You make the dough, let it rise, then press it into the bun mold and let it rise. It’s then baked in the oven with a sheet pan on top, once browned is allowed to cool, then the individual buns are sliced – leaving you with an awesome bread-to-toasting ratio on  the sides of the bun.

Not only are they great with hot dogs, but also lobster rolls.  Or a fun Maryland twist, crab rolls – which are next on my hit-list to try once I get my hands on some good crab meat (as in, I pick it myself). These buns would definitely add a really nice touch to any 4th of July celebrations you may have going on.

To celebrate the 4th, and festive get togethers – my favorite linen company, Hen House, has graciously sponsoring a giveaway for a set of napkins perfect for you summer celebrations! 2 Bargello Navy (pictured above), 2 Devine Scarlet, and 2 Gracious Persimmon. I can’t say rave enough about their linens – I use them everyday, they wash beautifully, and the colors hold up so well. To enter, just leave a comment letting us know how your favorite ways to spend your time outside in the summer.

Hen House Linens

Want a couple of extra entries?:

Like Tide & Thyme on Facebook – leave a separate comment letting us know you did so.
Like Hen House Linens of Facebook – leave a separate comment letting us know you did so.

Contest will end Wednesday, June 26th @ 11:59 PM ET. Winner will be selected using a random number generator and contacted via email.

In addition, they’ve been kind enough to offer our readers a 10% discount now through July 19th. It’s a great opportunity to treat yourself to some new kitchen linens that will really brighten up your house for summer. Just use the code “TIDEANDTHYME” when checking out. Thanks so much Hen House!

henhousegiveaway

Congrats to Sarah, who had comment #21 – I love going out on the boat with the family. I think that’s one of my favorite things to do in the summer too. Take a picnic dinner and enjoy these linens!

Source: slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour

Homemade Pretzel Buns

Pretzel buns are all the rage right now. Folks just love to make their burgers “twisted” but using a pretzel bun instead of a traditional sesame seed bun. I had yet to experience one, so a few weeks ago I set to making my own at home.

I’ve never made pretzels at home either, and I must admit I was worried about the whole boiling the dough in water process. But, it was actually really easy and my concerns were totally unfounded. After the initial quick-cook in the water bath, the buns are then finished off and baked in the oven to achieve a deep golden-brown color.

They have great pretzel flavor – chewy on on the outside, yet tender on the inside. We used half of them for our burgers that night, then I tucked the other half in the freezer to have on hand the next time we are throwing some burgers on the grill. It’s comforting to have something like this on hand in the freezer to make a quick-dinner extra special!

Source: adapted from King Arthur Flour