Jul 15, 2013

Kitchen Happenings and a Galvanized Stand

Some changes have been going on in my kitchen! 

 We've gone organic! We have a wonderful Farmer's Market and a new Whole Foods Market here in Boise that have made it super easy for me to start replacing the food in my cupboards with organic alternatives. Organic seasonal fresh food tastes so much better to my family that we've started eating a lot (and I mean a lot) more vegetables and fruits in place of processed food. It's not cheap. So far, I figure it's at least $100 a month more for us to eat organic, but we all feel so fantastic since the switch, we think it's worth every penny.

It means a lot more chopping and dicing and time in the kitchen for me, too. I feel super fortunate that we have both the time and money to live in the city and eat organic. We have a huge organic green salad almost every night with dinner, full of every color of vegetables and often sprinkled with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. I wanted a good place to store all these healthy and delicious salad toppings where I would remember to use them, and where better than on my counter top?

What do you think? I love the industrial look of galvanized metal of all kinds and shapes, and had come across what looked like a galvanized bowl at a yard sale one day for 25 cents. Later, my husband told me it was the end cap from a heating duct! 

Well, you know I was down at Home Depot scoping out the furnace section in no time, and sure enough there was a whole section of galvanized duct work and end caps. I bought two more end caps in graduated sizes and glued painted dowels between them to make this tiered stand, then I put the seeds, nuts, and dried fruit in jars.  

Here's another change we've made in my kitchen. We used to keep paper napkins in this basket, and one day when we ran out, my daughter suggested we start using more environmentally friendly cloth napkins. In the old days when laundry was a lot harder to do, people used one cloth napkin for an entire week before sending it to the laundry. Napkin rings, embossed with family members' initials or names were used to identify who belonged to which napkin.

I actually prefer cloth napkins over paper, but I was a bit skeptical about the practicality of this. We gave it a try, though, and maybe because we're all adults here who don't have big spaghetti sauce rings around our mouths when we eat spaghetti (as a toddler would), it has worked out really well for us.

 I bought a box of wood napkin rings at the thrift store for a dollar and painted our initials on them. I found cheerful inexpensive cloth napkins at Target in eight different colors, and they only get tossed in the laundry when they're dirty. The rest of the time they get tossed back into this basket on the counter for the next meal. 

 I hope that doesn't gross anyone out. I promise if you come to my house for dinner, I'll give you your very own freshly laundered napkin!

Aren't these tomatoes just ridiculously gorgeously red?! I almost toned down the color in my photos because I didn't think you'd believe how red they are! They're glowing, they're so red!

  Another kitchen happening around here has to do with the recipe on my pig blackboard. We used to eat a lot of those prepackaged salad kits because, hello, they're so darn easy! Then I heard Dr. Oz saying Americans were putting on a lot of pounds from salad dressing, not realizing how much hidden sugar is in them. I started checking the ingredients on the little salad dressing packets that came in the kits, and I was SHOCKED. Not only were there a lot of corn sweeteners, there was a bunch of stuff there that I couldn't pronounce, and for me, that's always a bad sign when it comes to nutritional value. So, now we make our own salad dressing, and, hello, it's so darn easy! 

Thanks for checking out my Kitchen Happenings. I'd love to hear what you think of my changes. Have you tried eating organic? Do you notice a difference in taste or how you feel? How about those cloth napkins? Do you think I'm a nut case for doing that? 

Well, I already know I'm kind of nutty anyway. 

Have a great week, everybody! 

Are you thinking of going organic, too? It's easier than you think! Check out my new friend Shelley's blog series called Friday Food Focus over at Calypso in the Country. Her series highlights new healthy foods and brands she finds each week. 

When you're finished checking out Shelley's great blog, come and party with me at



  1. I don't think you are crazy at all about the napkins! My first law of nursing was always ~ "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!!!"

  2. I love your stand! Your smart to mix your own dressing. I am trying to make more food from scratch all of the time. It is better fresh!

  3. I love what's happening in your kitchen Laurel - pretty, practical and healthy changes! I totally love your galvanized stand! It has wonderful farmhouse style! Your napkin idea makes so much sense! And I'd really like to know more about eating clean. I think my shopping habits definitely need an overhaul too! I hope you continue to share more details!

  4. I love the little changes in your kitchen - you have a nice relaxed style! I've been eating more whole foods, also and find that the more fresh food I eat, the more skeptically I look at processed foods. I haven't done a complete overhaul as you have, but I find myself headed in that direction.

  5. Totally agree on the organic way as well as buying local. I think more and more folks are moving away from processed foods which is definitely the way to go. I love the idea of the cloth napkins and think I will start doing the same today! Good excuse to head over to Tuesday Morning and look for some variety of napkins. Enjoy your posts very much.
    Jane B

  6. I love this idea!! Pottery barn has something similar that I could never bring myself to buy--but I can handle this!!

  7. Laurel, you are awesome! Thanks for mentioning my blog! You are so sweet and I love your changes in the kitchen! That galvanized stand is so pretty...and could those tomatoes get any redder?!! You crack me up with the comment about the spaghetti sauce rings around the mouths. My seven year old still gets those every time he eats pasta. No cloth napkins for him - well at least not white ones! Thanks again for the mention and congrats on all your organic changes! Enjoy your week! - Shelley

  8. Laurel, great post and I think that spending the extra money is worth eating a much healthier way! I eat very healthy myself and even though sometimes the food bill can higher my husband and I think it is worth every penny. I love that galvanized stand, it is so charming.


  9. You know, these are all great tips and easy to incorporate into most families. I have a drawer full of cloth napkins that we only use on occasion, I'm going to start using them every day!

  10. I LOVE this idea and am already brainstorming ways to incorporate it into our wedding reception decor. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Katie @ Upcycled Treasures

  11. Wow I really like this stand, I love the look of metals mixed with other materials in decorating. Thanks for sharing! :-)

  12. Love the stand . We also use napkins like that all the time. I buy the handkerchief
    ( like the cowboys wear ). They have them in cool colors now
    and I roll them up and put them in a galvanized can for our outdoor eaten.
    I just throw them in the washer when need !!!

  13. I am in love with this stand...you know I will be going to Home Depot today!! I would love it if you came by and shared this at One More Time Events...Share it One More time party http://www.onemoretimeevents.com/2013/07/features-july.html Hope to see you there. New follower

  14. I have wanted one of these galvanized stands for ages, but the price is outrageous! I can't believe you made that from duct work. Awesome!! I am going to Home Depot see if I can find it. Thanks for sharing. What type of glue did you use?

    I'd love it if you would share this at "What We Accomplished Wednesday," at Green Willow Pond. It is live right now. Have a great week!


  15. Love your stand...I have been wanting to make one from old cake pans...this gives me another option.

  16. This is so awesome Laurel! I love love love it! I am actually making something from old cake pans too! lol!!!! It's Perfect and congrats on going organic...each those veggies says the vegetarian...veggies rock and organic veggies are just pure awesome!!!!! hugs...

  17. I LOVE that tiered galvanized stand! How clever to use duct ends. I need to get more imaginative in the furnace/electrical/plumbing departments of Home Depot. Thanks for the idea! (Also, just pinned this post hehe) ~M.


  18. Hi Laurel,
    Absolutely brilliant idea using the galvanized duct ends for your tiered organizer. I love repurposing items into useful "necessities". I'm visiting from Green Willow Pond where you are featured. Now I'm hooked to your blog, so subscribed, and look forward to future inspiration. I blog at Altered Artworks. Hope you'll come over for a visit and look around.

  19. So many good reminders in your post! We are just the two of us most of the time, yet we don't reuse our cloth napkins. We will start doing that immediately. I sometimes just buy veggies without checking to ensure they are organic...I will not do that again either. See, you are saving the planet one blogger at a time! Thanks for sharing the great tips. I found your blog via One More Time's blog party and can't wait to come back and read everything.
    Sugar At Rivercrest Cottage

  20. I was searching the web and came across your blog. Love it! I wanted a cheaper version of pottery barns three tier galvanized stand. I've got to try this. You don't mention the cost of the ones from Home Depot but I'm going crazy right now knowing they exists. Thanks I too try to eat organically as much as I can afford. Merry Christmas to you

  21. What kind of glue bonded wood to the metal furnace duct caps?


Thank you for your comments. I love reading your thoughts! If you would like an answer to a specific question, please email me via the link on my sidebar. Thank you!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.