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Nashville, Ark. – Are your kitchen counters the catch all for the family? They are
at my house. We drop the mail there, and most days we have to move something just
to eat breakfast at the bar or sit down to visit while food preparation is going on
in the kitchen. If you can relate to this scenario, you may find it difficult to prepare
meals or find what you are looking for. It can be very frustrating.
To get rid of clutter on your counters you have to start by cleaning off
and organizing. Sort items on the countertops into baskets or piles for each family
member and have them take it to their room immediately for them to put away. Have
them understand that if they leave it on the counter, you will throw it away. Put
the bills and mail together in a basket in an area where you will answer and pay them.
Next, begin on what’s in the kitchen cabinets and drawers for maximum
organization. Begin by taking inventory of what is in the kitchen. If it is broken
or not used, get rid of it. Make sure that all the equipment is in good working condition
and clean. Divide the kitchen into four work areas – mixing/cooking, storing, cleaning
and serving. Store items near where they are used most often.
In the mixing/cooking area you should store measuring utensils and mixing
bowls. You may also want to store your seasonings, flour, sugar, and so forth in this
area because this is where it is most often used. You should store pots, pans and
baking dishes that are used often. Store hot pads in a drawer located in this area.
The major appliance in this area is the stove and/or oven.
The storage area is where you should put your plastic bowls and lids for
storing leftovers, and other storage items such as zip-lock bags, aluminum foil and
plastic wrap. This is also a good place to store kitchen equipment that is not used
often if you have room. Remember to put heavy things on bottom because it is easier
on your back to lift from the floor rather than overhead. Many kitchens have pantries
and this is considered part of storage. Try to keep canned foods rotated in the pantry
according to expiration dates with oldest in front and newer foods in back. If something
is out of date, throw it away!
The cleaning area in the kitchen includes the sink and items that should
be stored here. It is good to store cleaning agents under the sink or close to the
sink. Remember to make sure that cleaning agents are stored where they are out of
reach of children – if stored under the sink make sure that your have child-safety
locks on the cabinets. All cleaning agents should be properly labeled so that you
know what the product is and how it is to be used.
The serving area is near the table and where the dinnerware, flatware
and table linens are stored. The serving pieces such as bowls and platters are also
stored in this area. Some kitchens or homes may have multiple serving areas. If you
have a formal dining room, you may have a china cabinet and buffet located there that
you store items in. For everyday use items, you will probably store them in a different
area located close to the table, where you eat most of your meals.
Organizing your kitchen can take a little time, but it sure makes life
easier. It will reduce the amount of time you spend in the kitchen preparing meals
when the clutter is gone and you have space to work in. It also helps when you know
where everything is located instead of having to hunt for them. Encourage your family
members to help you by putting things in their place so that clutter can be reduced
to a minimum.
For information on healthy meal preparation, contact the Howard County
Extension Office and ask to be on our mailing list which will contact you whenever
we offer a class that focuses on nutrition or health and wellness. Call the Extension
Office at 870-845-7517 for more information.
Recipe of the Week
This recipe is from an older EHC cookbook compiled by great cooks in Howard
County. There are only a few of these recipe books left in the office. If you would
like to purchase a copy, please visit the Howard County Extension Office located on
the second floor of the courthouse.
2 c. sugar
¾ c. butter flavored shortening
2 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ c. buttermilk
Seven Minute Icing
Cream together the sugar and shortening until smooth. Add the eggs, one
at a time, beating after each addition. Sift together flour, soda, baking powder and
salt. Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk until all is added. Pour batter
into three prepared 9-inch cake pans and bake at 350 degrees until done, 25 to 30
minutes. Frost with Seven Minute Icing.
Seven Minute Icing:
1 ½ c. sugar
3 egg whites
3 Tbsp. corn syrup
1/3 c. water
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
1 c. miniature marshmallows
7 oz. flake coconut
Combine sugar, egg whites, corn syrup, water and salt in the top of double
boiler. Place over boiling water and beat continuously until soft peaks form (about
7 minutes). Stir in vanilla and miniature marshmallows. Beat slowly until marshmallows
melt. Spread icing on top and sides of each layer. Sprinkle generously with coconut.
By Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff Chair U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service 421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
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