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My Playground

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I am always getting  requests to view my kitchen, so I felt it was time to share some photos and tell you a little bit in how it came to be.  We have a licensed commercial kitchen attached to the house which is one big playground for me. This space use to be a double-car garage but over time, we have slowly converted it to my own personal slice of heaven.

When Bob and I were living part-time in Arizona and part-time in Alaska, we thought that we would create a commercial kitchen in Tucson. We hired an architect to help with the design and purchased some equipment from a business that was shutting their doors and thought that we were well on our way to setting up shop there.  But we ended up moving to Oregon where we decided to live full-time.  So we shipped everything up from Arizona in hopes that one day we would have a commercial kitchen here.

oldfather-farmsLet’s start the story…

Roughly three years ago, we started a raw food manufacturing company, Oldfather Farms.  There was local interest in selling my raw desserts and I had one particular recipe (Crispy Monkey Brittle) that we wanted to manufacture and get into stores. But first, we needed to have a licensed kitchen to produce our products. So we did tons of research and got ourselves well prepared for this new chapter in our lives.

We outgrew our kitchen…

In Oregon you can get something called a licensed domestic kitchen.  Which means if you meet certain restrictions you can use your home kitchen to manufacture foods for commercial sale.  But as business picked up, the demand for more space became apparent as we continually bumped into one another, ran out of space to mix batters, and soon discovered that the sink was too small to properly sanitize all the dishes I created.  Visions of how to expand without building or renting a space became a challenge.  We spent a lot of time mulling over the pro’s and con’s of renting, we looked into vacant spaces with eager minds, but we came to the decision that we somehow had to make whatever space we had… work.

As you will see in the photos we have 2 large freezers and 2 large fridges. These were tucked away in the garage, but one day I figured out that they made for a wonderful mock “wall” when lined up.  I confronted Bob with a tray of raw chocolates and a request to give up 1/4 of the garage for me to start a little kitchen space. With his blessings, I set out to conquer the garage, inch by inch.

And that… I did!  Bob agreed to “lend” me 1/4 of garage. I lined up my freezers and fridges to create a barrier between the two spaces.  There was a tiny little walkway between the freezers and the wall that Bob could use to get to his workspace.  My new area was wonderful but it still felt a little crowded, so every night while Bob was getting ready for bed, I snuck out to the garage and moved my wall of freezers just an inch.  Who misses an inch? Right? hehe

Before, he knew it, I had claimed 1/2 of the garage.  It didn’t take him to long to notice that he couldn’t open the toolbox drawers all the way…. “Amie Sue!” …. “Yes love, may I offer you a slice raw Key-Lime pie?”  I know how to soften the mood of any situation and I won once again. hehe

Soon we decided that I needed 3/4 of the garage, so together (no more being sneaky hehe) we moved the wall of freezers a few more feet.  This left Bob with 1/4 of the garage. My, my how the cards had changed. He could open the garage doors and it looked like a front of a tool store.  While it may have looked cool… it wasn’t all that functional.   I was beginning to feel bad for taking over the garage but Bob was enjoying all the wonderful foods that I was creating… so much to the point that he freely offered up the whole garage to support my culinary journey. Is this man amazing or what?  (Someday I will share the challenges of building a barn for his tools and projects.)

Creating the playground

We did a lot of work to get the “garage” ready to be licensed and turned into a commercial kitchen.  To give the kitchen a good foundation, we had to start with the floor of course.  We sealed the concrete and then laid down tile.  I  freshened up the walls and ceiling with new coat of white paint.  We replaced two small windows that were high up on the wall with two large windows (got them discounted) which brought in tons of natural light and allows me to enjoy the gorgeous nature that surrounds us. Talk about inspiration!

With the kitchen stocked with sinks, rolling shelves, fridges, freezers, dehydrators, and everything else in between, it really started to take shape. The only thing that gave the space away as a former garage were the garage door railings.  At first, we decided to keep them in place… just in case we ever wanted to convert it back to a garage. Ah yea not likely. hehe But after quite a while, we decided it was time for them to come down. And then before we knew it, with the help of a friend, the wall was soon framed in, sheet rocked, textured, and I had pulled out the paint roller one more time.  And just like that, the garage doors disappeared from the room. From the outside, it looks like we have a two car garage but from inside, it now looks like one huge amazing kitchen!

Over time little things have changed in terms of organizing everything, but you have to really live in space to understand the flow. Last year I brought in some Husky tool boxes to create more storage and extra work surfaces.   Around that same time, Bob and I had been discussing the idea of getting a farm dog.  We had many conversations on what breed we wanted.  Bob loved huskies but truthfully, I can’t handle the shedding.

Anyway, with that conversation muddling around in our heads, one day we were in the hardware store.  That was when I spied the toolbox and knew that it would perfect for the kitchen.  It was cheaper than purchasing any cabinets or building them, and it was on wheels which I need so I can thoroughly clean the floors.  I found Bob in the plumbing aisle, pulled up along side him, looped my arm in his, and asked him to come with me. In a sweet playful voice I said, “Remember sweetie how much you said you really wanted a husky?”  Bob nodded. “Well I decided that I do too!” Just then we rounded the corner and there she was… large, black and tan… obediently sitting there waiting for my return.  “I found us one!!”  Good thing he loves my sense of humor. :) We loaded her up and brought her home.  Perfecto.

The next day, I went back to the hardware store and found three more on sale and was also able to get another discount on top of that for taking the floor models.  So, I loaded the truck up and headed home.  Once there, Bob came out to the truck as I lowered the gate… “Well babe, you can’t have just one husky… they get lonely, so I brought home a few more!”  lol

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I use the toolbox drawers for storing spices, utensils, molds, zip-locks, trash bags, disposable

gloves, hair nets, towels, ingredients… you name it. The spices and powdered ingredients that I use

large amounts of are in mason jars and stored on lazy-susans on top of the toolboxes.

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I store all my spices in labeled mason jars and store the overflow in food-saver bags.

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These toolboxes are the ones that contain towels, non-stick dehydrator sheets, gloves,

hair nets and so forth.  Across from them, which you can’t see just yet is the washing station.

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Above is a sneak peak of my what I keep stored in the fridges.  I store all my grains,

nuts, seeds, and some dried fruits in there.  I only keep the amount of nuts that I plan on

using within a couple of months in fridge, the rest go in the freezer.

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The tall rack in the center of the windows houses all my kitchen gadgets; spiralizers, choppers,

mandolins, ice cream machines, blender jars, and mixing bowls. All appliances are plugged in and

ready to go at a moments notice… because that is how I roll. hehe  The tall rack on the right side

of the photo is where what I refer to as my “banana ripening station.”   We can ripen about 250 lbs

of bananas for making of our Crispy Monkey Brittle.

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The tall rack that is between the two tool boxes is my kombucha station.  I have been running a

continuous brew for about a year now. In the photo it is empty because I am doing a deep

cleaning of the equipment.

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A new angle.  As you can see I store some of my ingredients on the shelves under the work

stations.  The rack to the left which isn’t in full view is my office station that holds; printers,

mailing material, paper, tape, and many other non-food items but still related to my creations.

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This is what you see once you walk out of the house and into kitchen, and turn left. Two full

sized washing stations, my Areogarden (growing fresh herbs year round) and a door that leads

out to the pear orchard.

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Everyone, meet Big Red. Big Red, meet everyone. :)

This is the commercial dehydrator that was made for us so we can make our Crispy Monkey Brittle, and other things of course.  She weighs in at 2,000 lbs and can dry 88 trays at one time.

Trust me, it wasn’t an easy task getting her into our kitchen. First of the shipping truck needed a loading dock, which we didn’t have so we had to have it unloaded at a nearby tortilla chip factory who was kind enough to let us the use of their’s.

We had to borrowed a fork lift to transfer it another truck and then had to s.l.o.w.l.y. drive it a few miles to our property. From there the fork lift was able to get it off the truck and then proceeded to drive it up our 1/4 mile long uphill driveway…. backwards, yep backwards!  Oh, and in the rain! lol He had to drive that way so the weight would be over the driving wheels and not slip n slide.  It may have been a lot of work, but we handled it with grace and ease.  :) Is there really any other way?

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You won’t find any stray almonds or raisins on this floor!  Clean as a whistle.  I assume they are clean. hehe

Black, white, shiny.

So, that about sums things up.  This is where I create all my recipes, dirty tons of dishes, wash lots of dishes, spill lots of things, and have blenders explode on the ceiling. All in a day’s work. :) If you have any further questions about the kitchen, please don’t hesitate to ask. I hope you enjoyed this, Blessings, amie sue

 

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54 thoughts on “My Playground

  1. Gayle Asche says:

    Love your playground! Thanks for the tour. Where do you sell your brittle?

  2. Helen says:

    Wow, Amie Sue! What a fascinating tour of your kitchen! I so enjoyed reading all that and seeing the pictures. Thanks so much for sharing. My head is buzzing with ideas now and I have a strong urge to revamp my kitchen (while my husband’s getting ready for bed, obviously! ;) ) Totally inspiring! :)

    • amie-sue says:

      lol thanks Helen. Don’t go getting me in trouble with your husband. hehe But if you need help moving anything, just let me know. ;) Have a blessed weekend, amie sue

  3. gracefulheather says:

    What a delightful story and a gorgeous kitchen! Such a labor of love and partnership. I love your sense of humor and creative approach to “compromise”…I think we would get along very well! :) Thank you for sharing your creative space with us. I’ve worked in professional kitchens, as well as out of my own kitchen, and have a deep appreciation for where the creative process takes place. And, the kitchen is my favorite place in a home! When I fantasize about my ideal space, it looks really similar! Big Red is truly impressive. What an undertaking bringing it into your kitchen! You are inspiring and I’m very grateful to have found your site. Cheers!

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Gracefulheather,

      Thanks so much. I enjoyed sharing it. It was fun for Bob and I sit here and look how we have come with things. I appreciate your appreciation. hehe I think you and I could create a LOT of dirty dishes together! :) Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day. amie sue

  4. Tere C. says:

    Wow!!! What a beautiful commercial kitchen! Wonderful space! Thank you for sharing the story of how it came about – lovely!

  5. Jesse Pfoser says:

    Hallo Amie-Sue.
    Der genialste Spielplatz der Welt, da würde man man mich gar nicht mehr weg und raus bekommen.
    Und die super aufgeräumten, oganiseierte Schubläden und Kühlschränke sind der Hammer.
    Das habt ihr super hinbekommen, großes Lob an Bob.
    Ganz liebe Grüße, Jesse Gabriel

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Jesse.

      I had Google translate your comment:

      Hello Amie-Sue.
      The most ingenious playground in the world, one would not get me out and get away.
      And the super tidy, oganized drawers and refrigerators are the hammer.
      You got great, big praise to Bob.
      Best wishes, Jesse Gabriel”

      Thank you Jesse. hehe I always love hearing from you. I find that my world works much better for me when I am organized so I do my best. :) Your comment put a huge smile on my face. (as always) I hope you and grama are doing well and I am sending you love and hugs for the holidays. Blessings, amie sue

  6. Glorianne says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your incredible space!!! WOW, so blessed to have that playground! Great story, great pics, and GREAT creations. LOVE IT!
    ALOHA!

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Glorianne. It was my pleasure. I have been meaning to do that for some time now. So glad that you enjoyed it. :) Have a wonderful weekend. amie sue

  7. jerrod@hometask.com says:

    Very neat story! We are a family of 5. I (dad) was diagnosed with terminal cancer 16 years ago and instead of conventional medicine, we began eating healthy! The rest is history. Our kids are 11, 13 & 15 now and they have never been sick or to the doctor. My daughter and I certainly make up the bulk of the work in the kitchen as we both really enjoy it. The two boys and mom get in there quite a bit also and sometimes we make things all together.

    Each family member is tasked with making 1 all-raw dish each week. They research it, make up an ingredient “to-buy” list if we do not stock the items and make it with help if needed and serve it to the rest of the family.

    Our daughter found your site a few months ago and came to me with the idea of joining. I was apprehensive but thought it would be worth a try. We have been impressed with the recipes but also the business model that you have developed in what feels like a no-win arena. Great work! As for the garage, that is my most favorite place to be so I shift between the garage and the kitchen so this story was entertaining to me. Kudos to Bob for giving up his garage but wonderful work and example for you to see how easily a little sweetness can move a man to where he needs to be.

    Keep up the great work. We are enjoying it.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Jerrod,

      What an amazing story to read from you. Thank you so much for sharing that with me/us. I am so impressed how you turned your life around, all starting with eating healthy. You are a true testament on just how powder foods can be.

      I just loved reading about how you and the family handle dinner times. That is something pretty darn special. It sounds like you all spend some good quality time together which I think is so important. Good for you for establishing that in your home.

      I am so thankful that your daughter brought my site to your attention and the fact that you decided to give it a try means a lot to me. I hope that I can continue to bring inspiration and many wonderful dishes to your dinner table.

      Thank you for all the kind words and again for sharing. Many blessings to you and your loved ones. amie sue

  8. Ruth Ann Lingwall says:

    This is a dream kitchen! Love it!

  9. louise says:

    just amazing

  10. Lorraine Jobin says:

    Thank you so much Amie-Sue. What a fascinating kitchen. Thank you for all your sharings, your an angel frim heaven keading us to a better and heathier life! God bless you Lorraine

    • amie-sue says:

      Oh Lorraine, thank you. I love sharing that is for sure. :) Together we can all come together and help support one another as we make our way through life. :) Have a blessed weekend. amie sue

  11. Penelope says:

    What a treat, Amy-Sue! Thanks so much for going to the trouble to share this with your admirers. I’m so grateful to have found you and your wonderful website!
    You’ve change our lives, so much for the better and I’m so very appreciative.
    All good things to you and Bob,

    • amie-sue says:

      So wonderful to hear from you Penelope. :) It was my pleasure, really. I am thankful that you found my site too. It’s a win win for all us. hehe

      I am honored, humbled, and touched that I have been able to make a positive change in your life. We all need support… and you do that for me too just by being here. Have a blessed weekend and keep in touch. amie sue

  12. tishammas says:

    What a thrill to see where you do your creating and work. So happy Bob got his doggies too.
    The best thing was seeing your beautiful logo on the giant dehydrator. So very happy for you all!

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Tishammas,

      Thank you. It was a joy to share it with you. And yes… Bob got his “puppies” hehe Got to keep him happy too. :) Many blessings and I hope you are enjoying the holiday season. Blessings, amie sue

  13. Petr says:

    Thank You Dear Amie :-)))

    I like very much Your kitchen.
    and also your combination tiles on the floor is perfect (I use too).
    Great view ..
    Thanks for your inspiration ….
    have nice day Petr …

    • amie-sue says:

      Good afternoon Petr,

      Thank you very much. Those tiles are fun, aren’t they? Do you have those tiles in your house? Happy holidays and many blessings, amie sue

      • Petr says:

        Dear Amie :-))) thank You……..
        just like this kind of color of tiles….. I like this kind of combination – for example – long time I use exactly the same cap for my head (combination of color), or my car is white with some of the parts – black :-))) have happy holiday :-))) Petr :-)

        • amie-sue says:

          I understand Petr. Black and white can seem very stream-line, crisp, and clean. And it’s timeless. Thanks for sharing Petr. Have a wonderful day. amie sue:)

  14. Keira says:

    Hi Amie-Sue impressive kitchen to say the least! Pristine too! I’m a big fan. Could you please tell me who makes the dehydrator? I’ve been doing research and “big red” looks like a perfect size. Appreciate any advice. Any way, happy raw eating and happy holidays!

    • amie-sue says:

      Thanks Keira. Keeping things tidy and clean are important when it comes to preparing food. :) We had Beltomatic (http://www.beltomatic.com/) make the dehydrator for us. Are you wanting to get into manufacturing a food product? I am having a wonderful holiday season… and I hope you are too. Blessings, amie sue

      • Keira says:

        Dear Amie-Sue while at the moment I am not thinking of food manufacturing, I don’t know what the future holds. I dehydrate a lot and wish to share my creations with others at the moment sort of non profit. I think it’s important to educate others and there’s nothing that gives me more pleasure than the look on someone’s face when I tell them how healthy that corn chip they just ate is! That said I’m a rebel and it empowers me to rebel against conventional foods that are unhealthy and habit forming. Although I’m only one grain of sand, I want to do my part!!!!

        • amie-sue says:

          I so understand Keira. We share the same heart for giving and sharing what we know. Big Red is for commercial use and would be way to large of an investment for just home use. But again, I guess that depends on how much you want to share. hehe Keep your passion alive and many blessings to you on your journey. hugs, amie sue

  15. Tina says:

    Oh, Amie! Looks better than I could ever dream about :D I’m so happy for you, I can imagine you doing your magic in this beautiful place. I can even feel the energy :)
    Sending you a big happy hug and I wish you a lot of happy times in your playground :D

  16. panamakim1 says:

    I love your “playground” kitchen and the space it gives you to create! I love your “Monkey Brittle” made with your huge dehydrator. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Panamakim. It’s a great space to work in, that’s for sure. Have you tried my Monkey Brittle? I hope you are enjoying your weekend. Blessings, amie sue

  17. Afsaneh says:

    Dearest Amie Sue, we had seen a few pictures of how neat and organized you are but this tour is even more fascinating to get some ideas how you spend your days when you are at your gorgeous kitchen! Wonderful sharing to allow us into your playground. Thank you ❤️We Wish you all your days filled with Lots of fun, joy, great healthy delicious ideas always and everywhere, much love and many blessings 🙏🏼💐💐💐

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Afsaneh,

      Such a pleasure to hear from you. I hope to share more intimate details of my set up, organization, etc in the future. If there is anything that you want to see more of, please let me know. :) I do wish we could spend a day in the kitchen together. We could make quite the mess… I mean creation! hehe Have a wonderful holiday season my friend. Blessings, amie sue

      • Afsaneh says:

        Dearest Amie Sue, meeting you and spend a day in your kitchen is on my wish list…nothing is impossible..and who knows some day we meet in person..would love to see more videos at work…see and hear the sounds…although all your instructions are already perfection and very clear…i just wished we were close by and i could visit you here and there… :) Much Love and Blessings and wish you the best holiday season Ever! XXX

        • amie-sue says:

          I agree Afsaneh, nothing is impossible! :) I know videos are the next step, I just need to overcome my fear of cameras being pointed at me. ;P Thank you for the warm and loving words. Have a blessed day my friend. hugs, amie sue

  18. Rhonda Henderson says:

    Awesome tour!!!

  19. Ginger says:

    Wow that transformation of the garage is OUT OF CONTROL!!!!!!
    You and Bob are amazing. I remember the garage the one time I was in it with Bab’s workshop and woodworking tools.
    You both did a great job. :-D

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Ginger. hehe The transformation is incredible. It was fun sharing this post. When I was looking for some photos to share it really hit me how much we did. :) And yes, that Bob is AMAZING! But his sacrifice came back and blessed him with a new work space… so all is good and we both came out with work spaces that feed our creativity.

      Happy Holidays Ginger. amie sue :)

  20. Gayle Scirocco says:

    Hi Amie Sue,

    Thanks for sharing. Now I have to go to confession because there was a lot of coveting going on!!

  21. Lyn says:

    Can we trade kitchens :] !! Wow , great job in creating a creative space. LOVE ALL of the organized places. Love it,love it!! You are amazing my friend, you make my head spin with all that you get done in a day!!! Bob you are such a wonderful encourager , good sport, handy man and I am so glad that Amie Sue has you for her husband!! Amie Sue you are incredible , simply incredible ….love, Lyn :]

    • amie-sue says:

      I am not sure that is possible Lyn but you are welcome to come play in my kitchen. hehe I am thankful for Bob too. He is my number one fan and supporter… and let’s not forget taste tester. hehe Thank you for all the sweet and loving words. Love and joy as we enter into the new year my friend. amie sue :)

  22. villarosa says:

    WOW, what a gorgeous, pristine, and practical place to spend the day creating delicious, healthy food! Thank you for taking the time to share with us! I LOVE your Crispy Monkey Brittle!
    Do you mind sharing what storage containers you use for the items stored in the refrigerator? Looks so organized and inviting to look forward to use everyday!

    • amie-sue says:

      Good afternoon Villarosa,

      Thank you… I run a tight ship. hehe Meaning, I like to keep things organized and clean. May I ask where you tried the Monkey Brittle? Do you live here in Hood River? :)

      In my fridge I use food safe cambros which I either get on Amazon or at a restaurant store when I visit Portland. I have also collected some when we were living in Tucson. They seal tightly and stack which helps with organization in the fridge.

      Have a wonderful evening, amie sue

  23. Allison Crain says:

    Wow…I think if I had 5 minutes in that kitchen I know I would be in Heaven…LOL…It is amazing…I pray for an “inith” of that space and setup…Thanks for sharing..

  24. Carol says:

    Oh for a kitchen like yours Amie Sue. It looks absolutely awesome and I can now see why you so love your work! What a beautiful space to play in. You are a real inspiration and this is a dream for my bucket list…. when I move outside London! Thanks so much for the tour. It’s lovely to see where all the magic happens!
    Carol x

    • amie-sue says:

      Oh thank you Carol. So happy that you enjoyed the “tour.” It keeps me inspired. :) Remember we can make the magic happen no matter where we are! Blessings to you. :) amie sue

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