Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Streamlining Our Kitchen & My Online Pampered Chef Party

As we're moving through our home and belongings, downsizing and simplifying, we've been zeroing in on our kitchen for the past week or so, and are in the midst of an overhaul to make life simpler, more streamlined and practical for us. As I've mentioned in the past couple of posts, we've sent our microwave to Appliance Purgatory (aka the garage) and sold our large hard-anodized aluminum cookware set to purchase a few cast iron pieces. We've edited other small appliances such as the toaster oven, a small food processor and a few other single-use appliances. At this point we are only keeping the toaster, waffle iron, food processor, hand mixer and stand mixer--although one or more of these are still up for further review. (Oh, and the crock pot and bread machine, which are as much permanent fixtures in our kitchen as the oven and refrigerator.) We've boxed up 2 sets of glassware and have 3 sets of dishes set aside to sell. We're also paring down our gadgets and utensils as well as trying to eliminate as much of the non-stick-coated and aluminum bakeware from our kitchen as possible.

One thing that I've noticed as I have made my way through my kitchen is that what we are committed to keeping are the items of quality that have and will stand the test of time and will serve multiple purposes. The bulk of what remains are our Pampered Chef items, which I love for their quality and design. As I am planning to purchase some stoneware bakeware to replace items that do not work for our family, as well as a few kitchen prep tools, I decided to team up with my friend Alison to host an online Pampered Chef catalog show, so that anyone else that is in the market for quality kitchen items can also do so.

I'd also like to open up my show to our readers, as well. I'm seriously a very non-sales-pressure kind of gal, so no worries if you aren't in the market. Let's be real. Our family is buckling down and focusing on stewardship and simplifying, so you know I'm not trying to talk you into buying something that you don't need or won't be useful to you! However, I have found almost every Pampered Chef item that I have owned to be both quality pieces and useful to me. Additionally, the special for the month of February includes all metal and unglazed stoneware bakeware at 20% off--which is totally why I'm doing the catalog show until the end of the month!

If you are interested in browsing the products, you can check out Alison's Pampered Chef website through this link to my show:, click on "shop online", and enter my name, Stephanie Simpson, to shop.

If you are in the market for great kitchen items, I would love if you place an order through my show, as it will help me to also get a bit of a discount on the items that I'm planning to purchase as I streamline my kitchen. The show will close on Wednesday February 29, so it's just for this week!

We had a Pampered Chef wedding shower before we were married as well as a Pampered Chef housewarming party when we bought our house, so if you are interested in some of my personal favorites and what has withstood the test of time, I'll fill you in on the top 10 Pampered Chef pieces that we love around the Simpson Six kitchen!

These are gorgeous, simple serving pieces that are very modular for a multitude of purposes. We've also recently transitioned to using these as our everyday dishes and they are a striking background for meal presentation.

I love every piece that I've used! I have the original large pizza stone, medium rectangle, large bar pan, small bar pan, bread loaf pan, mini-loaf pan, deep dish pie plate, large rectangular baker, square baker, oval baker, deep dish baker, mini baker and deep covered baker (roasts a PERFECT chicken, every time!). I use these for almost everything in my oven and over the course of 10-14 days, each of these pieces gets used at least once. Most days, at least one of these gets used. It is a natural, virtually non-porous, non-stick surface that I swear makes my food items taste better than when an identical item is cooked in metal or glass. Jason (our dishwasher), loves the super-easy clean-up!

This tool saves my sanity every fall! I LOVE apple season and we go through 100+ pounds of apples each year. We make and preserve applesauce, apple butter, canned apples, make apple pies, apple crisps, apple breads--and I royally stink to high heaven at peeling apples! This tool makes quick work of peeling, slicing and coring apples in no time flat. I may only use it for 2 months out of the year, but it's a permanent fixture in my kitchen during September and October!

(See above for how unskilled I am with a knife) For all of those jobs that I don't need to pull out the food processor for, this little tool chops veggies, nuts and even chocolate in just a few quick seconds.

These super-cute little cutters make fun little sandwiches, fruit slices or cheese chunks for kids' lunches or party trays.

6) Large scoop/Medium scoop/Ice cream scoop (discontinued item)
These are used regularly for measuring the perfect amount of batter into muffin cups, uniform size cookies, and dishing up our ice cream every night (yes, every night--remind me to tell you about how Jason and I were both raised by ice cream lovers!).

I have the smaller, and have used it daily for nearly 9 years. It is a great prep bowl, lidded storage bowl, and you can bake in it, if you choose to! I am planning to purchase the large bowl to replace a few other bowls that don't work as well for me.

We have the old version, but it is the easiest can opener I've ever used--easier than an electric, takes up less space and is more portable. Also, its design makes it so that there are no sharp edges, which is helpful if you reuse cans or if a child is responsible for putting cans into the recycling bin.

These have replaced chip clips and twist-ties. We've had the same set for 9 years, added a second set 7.5 years ago and it's all that we use to securely close all of our open bags that contain food products.

The cookbooks that I go back to over and over are Pampered Chef cookbooks. They are great for cooks of all kinds. They are very simple and straightforward for beginning cooks and are easy to modify for more advanced cooks. As newlyweds, they were great for someone like me that knew how to cook little more than Hamburger Helper and Rice-A-Roni at age 23. Yes, once upon a time that's how I used to cook! In recent years I have modified many recipes to make them my own or to fit how our family eats better, but some of my favorite launchpads for recipes come from The Pampered Chef.

There are many more that we love. Seriously, the heavy half of what remains in our kitchen as we're downsizing are Pampered Chef items. The only items we don't have experience with are their knives or cookware, and I can count on one hand the pieces that we've passed on to others in the course of de-cluttering and simplifying (including the microwave-cooker--which is great, if you have a microwave!).

I'd love to hear from you any suggestions to help us achieve a goal of a user-friendly, simplified kitchen. I'm anxious to get this room under control and move on to editing the next area of our home!

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