Back from the dead…

11 01 2009

It has been a solid six months since my last post, and I honestly thought that I would just abandon this site.  I’m still not sure if I want to keep it going or maybe start a non-cooking specific blog about our lives, but I figured I should at least update the site with pictures of our new (now broken-in) kitchen.  

So here goes… Here are some pictures that I took of the kitchen over the summer.  The only real difference is that we have the cover for the hood in place now, and there are a few things on the counter – coffee maker, toaster, knife block, etc.  We still need to install the light above the sink and dining room table, but that’s not pictured below.  Take a look…

So there you have it.  Our updated kitchen, complete with a wall removed, new floors, new appliances, new cabinets… you get the idea.  And I have actually been doing a lot of cooking and baking, but I’ve been too lazy to get my butt moving and post about all the great recipes I’ve tried yesterday.  Who knows, maybe 2009 will bring new inspiration.

Happy New Year!


Christmas in July!

7 07 2008

Happy post 4th of July weekend!  We had a great weekend at my family’s huge annual party –  lots of swimming, volleyball, good food, great family and friends, and, of course, fireworks!  

After the fun overload, we headed back home to prime and paint the kitchen.  It’s hard to see the color in the pictures, but it’s called “Light French Gray,” and it’s a light bluish gray color.  For now we just did one quick coat, and we didn’t worry about getting close to the ceiling, because the cabinets will go all the way up to the ceiling with crown molding.  The second coat of paint will come after the cabinets are installed.

We needed to hurry up with the paint job, because the cabinets were delivered today.  Woo!  It feels like Christmas in July.  Check it out:

The contractor is coming tomorrow or Wednesday to start the installation.  I’m beyond excited, as you can imagine.  After the cabinets are installed, we’ll paint again – a second coat for the walls and the dreaded trim work.  We’re also going to paint the built-in cabinet white and change the hardware on it to match the cabinets.

We’re a little tired after doing so many home improvements, but Mia might be the most tuckered out.  Poor puppy… napping on the air conditioning vent is exhausting!

Stay tuned for another update in a few days!

Walls in the kitchen

3 07 2008

I haven’t been updating the blog with changes in the kitchen, because it has been a slow process.  Maybe I was in denial or just plain naive (probably the latter), but I didn’t think kitchen renovations took this long.  Updates have been slow, but I’m happy to report that the plumbing and electric work are done, the dry wall is finished, and the next step is to install the cabinets.

Do you want to see how we’ve been living since we moved in?  Actually, let me correct myself.  The kitchen is currently an improvement to what it had been for weeks, because now we actually have walls and can get a feel for the space.

Check out those walls!  The window is new and is larger than what was there previously.

I know it’s hard to see, but this picture sort of shows you the opened space now that the wall is gone. 

Don’t worry!  We still have that built-in.  This picture shows you the room from the other side.

For reasons too complicated for me to discuss (translation: I’m too lazy to type it all), the contractor had to drop the ceiling a bit in the previous existing kitchen area.  That means that the ceiling isn’t the same in the former dining room, but Contractor Don has a remedy for that.  See the dropped-just-a-bit ceiling?

We’ll add some crown molding to that dropped area (or whatever the heck it’s called) to match the crown molding in the previous dining room.  I think it’s going to look great. 

And finally, a little note about dust.  When you drywall and sand, dust is everywhere.  And when you have a new puppy, she gets in the dust and drags it throughout the house.  Want proof?



Puppy = super cute

Dust = not cute

Note to self: Do not renovate and bring home a puppy at the same time.

Stay tuned for updates!

Kitchen update

18 05 2008

Here’s another update of our kitchen renovation.  My husband and his father have successfully ripped out the entire kitchen, and now we’re ready to completely remove the wall between the kitchen and dining room, extend the hardwood floors into the pre-existing kitchen area, and start bringing in the new cabinets and countertops. 

Until then, here’s what the kitchen looks like:

The hardwood floors will be stained a dark oak color, that ugly chandelier will be replaced, and this whole space will start looking more like a kitchen in the coming weeks.  I am ridiculously excited and am having a difficult time being patient! 

Oh, and here’s a picture of the dining room as it currently looks, separate from the kitchen:

I’ll keep updating as changes are being made…

Goodbye, old kitchen!

17 05 2008

We are exhausted these days.  EXHAUSTED.  And it’s all because we bought a house and decided that we wanted to do work in the house before moving into it, and then that “work” turned into gutting the kitchen while simultaneously removing wallpaper (a horrendously tedious, annoying task), ripping up carpet, refinishing hardwood floors, painting, and completely digging out the entire yard to make way for new landscaping. 

And this is all very exciting, but I’m tired, and I’ve been too tired to cook all week because I get to work at 7am and then leave around 4pm, squeeze in a quick workout, and then head to the house to dig into whatever needs to be done that day, only to return home at 10pm and crawl into bed.  And then the vicious cycle continues!  But this won’t last much longer, right??

Anyway, some visuals…

Here’s what the kitchen looked like when we closed on the house:

And the other side:

And we decided that the kitchen was too outdated and too small for our taste, so my wonderful husband and father-in-law got to work and started the kitchen demolition.  Do you see that wall that separates the kitchen and the dining room?  It’s already gone!  Do you see the dated parquet floor?  That’s gone, too. 

So… I probably won’t be cooking much lately and instead will post about the kitchen transformation, because that’s cooking related, too, right?  More soon!

Rosemary garlic chicken

7 05 2008

This chicken is not drool-worthy simply by looking at the picture, but let me tell you – it is GOOD.  And did I mention that it’s ridiculously easy?  And really delicious?  And something that you should make very soon? 

Yup – there’s the rosemary garlic chicken with roasted sweet potato slices and slices of cucumber.  I was even too lazy to steam a vegetable or make a salad, so sliced cucumbers it was.  I’ll tell you the recipe, but it will be in my words, because I already packed the cookbook in one of the many boxes ready for the moving truck.  Just dig out your slow cooker, and keep reading…

Here’s the general idea:

Rosemary Garlic Chicken
Healthy Crockery Cooking by Mable Hoffman (or something like that)

DISCLAIMER: This is not the exact directions.  It’s just what I remember doing… (But honestly – this would be tough to mess up.)


1 roasting chicken (4 1/2 – 5 lbs.)


1. Remove the bag of jibblets/organs (what are those called?!) from the inside of the chicken.  Remove excess fat.  I cut off the neck, too.

2. Carefully push your fingers between the skin and the meat.  Stick some rosemary sprigs and peeled garlic cloves underneath the skin.

3. Make a slit in each wing, and push a rosemary spring and garlic clove into each.  Put some rosemary and garlic in the body cavity, too.

4. You’re supposed to tie the legs and wings closely to the breast at this point, but I just stuck it in the slow cooker breast side down, as the recipe suggested.

5. Cook on LOW for 6 or 7 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut into the breast.

6. At this point, the meat will just fall off the bones.  I used tongs to remove the meat and left the rosemary and garlic behind. 

If you want the real recipe, send me an email (go to the Contacts link at the top of the page), and I’ll locate the box that the cookbook is in.  Don’t worry – it’ll be easy to find, because I’m anal and like to label each moving box with exactly what’s in there.  🙂

Lemon garlic shrimp skewers

6 05 2008

This was a super easy meal that’s perfect for a weekday.  There’s not much to say about it, except that I paired the shrimp with brown rice for a healthy meal. 

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Skewers
Cooking Light


2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 to 2 1/2 pounds peeled, deveined shrimp (12 to 15 per lb.), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
Lemon wedges


1. In a bowl, mix salt and sugar. Add shrimp and stir gently to coat. Cover and chill 45 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse shrimp well and drain; also rinse and dry bowl.

2. Return shrimp to bowl. Add olive oil, parsley, lemon peel, garlic, and pepper. Mix to coat. Thread shrimp on metal or soaked wooden skewers, running skewer through the body once near the tail and once near the head end of each shrimp so it looks like the letter C.

3. Lay shrimp skewers on an oiled barbecue grill over hot coals or high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 2 to 3 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook, turning once, until shrimp are bright pink and opaque but still moist-looking in center of thickest part (cut to test), 5 to 6 minutes total. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over shrimp.

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

Nutritional information: CALORIES 161(47% from fat); FAT 8.3g (sat 1.2g); PROTEIN 19g; CHOLESTEROL 140mg; SODIUM 259mg; FIBER 0.2g; CARBOHYDRATE 1.6g