Kitchen is on the Uphill Slide

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

The Kitchen Remodel has turned the corner. It’s beginning to look like like a real kitchen.  Or, as my brother says, ‘the taking out is over and now you’re putting things in.’  Good way to look at it.

So where are we?

  • Design Complete, Appliances Ordered, Cabinets Ordered: CHECK
  • Cabinets and appliances removed: CHECK
  • Asbestos Abatement: CHECK

Asbestos Work Begins

  • Fixtures and cabinet handles ordered: CHECK
  • Backsplash ordered: CHECK
  • Granite Ordered: CHECK

IMG_4712

  • City Permit in Place: CHECK
  • Dumpster arrives (just in time to put all of the tree damage from the Mother’s Day snow storm): CHECK
  • Structural walls and ceiling removed:  CHECK

IMG_4714 IMG_4721

  • Plumbing moves and changes completed: CHECK

IMG_4867

  • Electrical moves and changes completed: CHECK

IMG_4866

  • City Inspection: CHECK and PASSED WITH FLYING COLORS
  • Cabinets delivered: CHECK
  • Drywall installed: CHECK
  • Tape, Mud and Texture completed: CHECK
  • Wood Floor Patches: CHECK

IMG_5033

  • Downstairs Doors Installed: CHECK
  • Cabinets Installed (except for a couple of pieces to be replaced): CHECK

IMG_5090

  • Counter top Template:  CHECK

AND YET TO COMPLETE:

  • Appliances Installed:
  • Lighting and Plumbing Installs Completed:
  • Final Wood Trim and Crown Molding Installed:
  • Countertop Installed:
  • Backsplash Installed:
  • Wood floor refinished:
  • Painting:
  • Dogs go into depression with all of their new friends gone:
  • Move furniture back into the house:
  • Glass of Wine and a big sigh of relief: CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH

Once all of the work is done, I will post the before and after shots.  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Remodel, here we go…no…wait!

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

People have told me for years that a remodel project will always take longer than you expect because of unforeseen issues. Got that right!

KEEP CALM AND REMODEL THE KITCHEN

I’m not big on snap decisions so I was torn on whether to take down the wall between the formal dining room (used once or twice a year) and the kitchen. Should I pop the dropped ceiling in the kitchen? Was it worth the time and investment?

I spent the bulk of the winter planning, working with a designer, visiting showroom after showroom until I felt confident in my choices.

By the end of April the appliances and cabinets were ordered. The contractor was scheduled and soon I finalized orders for hardware, doors, tile and other details. Now the waiting game begins.

Before the actual construction began, I solicited the support of my son-in-laws to help remove the cabinets to either donate or use in their own garages.  The process was easier than I thought…all systems go.

Next step was to remove the drywall on the ceiling and between the kitchen and dining room.  I signed up to do that myself (I know…not smart).  However, I did think to get an asbestos and lead test before I began this project.  The test revealed a small amount of asbestos in the wall and ceiling texture, more than allowed.  First budget and time set back.  Oh well, I’ll chalk it up to just one of those things.

Next, the permit was pulled and  the contractors crew came out to demo the structural pieces while the plumbing and electrical crew assessed electrical and plumbing changes.  Needless to say we must have had a prior ‘do it yourselfer’, so the extent of the work was greater than expected.  Oh well, better to do it right than regret it later.

In the meantime, my house is quite a sight. Frig in the living room by the front door, new doors stacked throughout the 1st floor, furniture and old cabinets stuffed into the garage, and constant dust.  I’ve learned to embrace the dust and know that it doesn’t matter.

that-feeling-in-the-midst-of-a-kitchen-remodel-when-you-cant-find-the-can-opener-anywhere-4621b

Cooking, other than microwave reheats, is down to zilch. Cheese and crackers, grapes and cherries, Rudi’s gluten free Cherry Almond Bars, popcorn, and hot dogs top the list.  Eating out and meals with the McKennas have been wonderful.  Soon, I hope to be able to cook REAL food and use the greens waiting in my garden.

It’s exciting, I suppose, or will be once it’s done.  The dogs aren’t complaining as this is the most excitement they’ve had in years!

I am lucky to have a wonderful contractor and crew to work with. Any way you slice it, it’s a long, involved process.  Be prepared, be patient, and look forward to the day you can cook your favorite foods once again.

Kitchen Memories

Tags

, , , , , ,

Kitchen Memories started to flood back to me as I looked at my kitchen for the last time before the cabinets were removed.  So many conversations took place in my kitchen with our girls from babyhood to teenage years to adult years.  Meals were prepared for many loved ones, some of which are now gone.

IMG_6246

Kitchen 2015 after the cabinets over the island were removed.

When we first moved into our Smurf blue house in 1988, the kitchen had brown, patterned kitchen carpet, one of the worst ideas on the planet. The Cherry Cabinets were quite nice and the Columbine (Colorado’s State Flower) tile was fitting of the ‘country’ craze at the time.

This kitchen became the heart of our home. Weekday mornings were frantic as Karl and I prepared for work so the girls would often gather on the floor of the kitchen as I prepared breakfast and our lunches.

As I look at the kitchen for the last time, a stream of memorable movies play in my head, including:

  • Homework, Science experiments, crafting
  • Holiday meal preparations
  • Meal preparation while the kids often sat on the counter to chat and share
  • My mother, when visiting, making homemade egg noodles on my kitchen counter to freeze for later use
  • Making our Christmas favorite Kringla for the holidays
  • Birthday Celebrations
  • Christmas parties & Mother’s Day Coffee
  • Dying Easter Eggs

Sarah and Megan dye Easter Eggs 1991

  • Teaching the girls to bake

Megan and Sarah bake a cake 1991

  • Rescuing animals or playing with our own

Daddy has a bird

  • Running Circle through the house (Gamma Stout and Sarah)

1992 003

  • Preparing flowers for the Megan (top) and Sarah’s (second) weddings

megan and cathy do flowers 1580

  • Evan’s 2nd birthday, the last event in the old kitchen.

IMG_6407

So here we go…out with the old and in with the new! I’m soooo ready…

Kitchen Remodel…what led up to this decision?

Tags

, , , , ,

Kitchen Remodel…something I’ve dreamed of for the past 15 years when my current kitchen began to literally fall apart. Doors and drawers would not close, cabinet doors were breaking off and I contributed to the kitchen’s demise through a series of mishaps.

Continue reading

Peach Lilac tree…and the ensuing battle

Tags

, , , ,

A few years ago, I noticed a large branch growing from the middle of one of my lilac bushes.  I’d pass it now and again and wonder what it was, but let it grow. I was sure the squirrels left a seed that eventually sprouted into something new.

One year, this mysterious branch had blossoms different than the lilac, so again I watched to see what would happen. IMG_4909

Eventually small fruit began to form from the blossom and revealed itself as peaches.

1350

The peaches continued to grow and would soon be ripe.  I couldn’t wait to pick a peach fresh from my yard and enjoy every drippy, lucious bite.

UNTIL…the squirrels came back to claim their bounty. Most of the peaches ended up on the ground, partially eaten by the squirrels.  The least they could do is the eat the whole thing!

Peach with Squirrel damage

The squirrels were kind enough to leave a couple of peaches for me.

Peaches 2012

It’s a new year and the squirrels and I are plotting our strategies.  If peaches form, who will get there first?  The tale of the Peach Battle between Team Squirrel and Team Cathy continues.

Strawberry, Blueberry & Spinach Salad

Tags

, , , , , , ,

It’s salad time, again.  I love salad 365 days a year but with fresh produce and fruit in spring and summer, it’s the best! This salad is so simple and so delicious and you can have it anytime. Experiment with different greens, fruit and nuts and enjoy!

What a yummy patriotic salad to share this Memorial Day weekend.

IMG_4586

Strawberry, Blueberry and Spinach Salad ingredients

  • Baby Spinach salad mix
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, rinsed, drained and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

 Sweet Balsamic Dressing

  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Blend salad dressing ingredients together and chill.

When ready to serve, toss salad with dressing and serve immediately.

Recipe from Faithfulprovisions.com

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin…Tender and Delicious!

Tags

, , , , ,

Roast Pork was a staple in our Iowa farm home, tender, juicy and always accompanied by mashed potatoes and gravy.  Through the years, I’ve cooked pork roast many ways but this recipe, shared with me by buddy Jan, was different and equally tender and delicious.  A great crock pot recipe I’ll be making again and again.

IMG_5966

Balsamic Pork Tenderloin Recipe

1 two-three pound boneless pork tenderloin
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • Place pork tenderloin into the insert of your slow cooker. In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix together all remaining ingredients. Pour over pork and set the timer for your slow cooker. (4 hours on High or 6-8 hours on Low)
  • Once pork tenderloin has cooked, remove from slow cooker with tongs into a serving dish. Break apart lightly with two forks and then ladle about ¼ – ½ cup of gravy over pork tenderloin.
  • Store remaining gravy in an airtight container in the refrigerator for another use.

Recipe by Cooking | Add a Pinch at http://addapinch.com/cooking/balsamic-pork-tenderloin-recipe/

Generations of Mother’s Day Sentiments

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Mother’s Day holds a special place in our hearts that grows each and every year. This Mother’s Day I ventured down Memory Lane reading sentiments shared through the generations and, again, realized the love we hold for Mother’s is so very dear. How I miss my Mother and wish I could hug her and talk with her one more time.

My Mother often expressed her feelings in poetry and I found a poem she wrote in 1956 about her sweet Mother, Susie:

Cathy 006

HOW WELL I DO REMEMBER

By Betty Gaunt Smaha

How well I do remember
My Mother sweet and fair,
Who was the first to hold me
And utter a thanks in prayer.

She taught me first to sit up straight
Then baby words to talk,
She gently led me around the room
Until I learned to walk.

She sat me down upon her knee
And taught me how to say,
‘Now I lay me down to sleep’
So I’d know how to pray.

She also taught me how to love
My sisters and my brothers,
To share my toys and not complain
Twas a trying time for Mother.

She proudly sent me off to school
With a smile upon her face,
And assured us all twas well
As off to school we’d race.

She could look at me and always smile
With a twinkle in her eyes,
She loved me in a clean starched dress
Or knee deep in mud pies.

As years passed by and I left home
Mother silently shed some tears,
For she wanted just my happiness
For the many coming years.

But now I am a Mother
With children of my own,
But ‘Mother’s Day’ is special
For that dear sweet Mom back home.
—————————
Most of my childhood drawings and cards are long gone, but one card survived.  I only wish I had inherited my Mother’s poetry gene.

Mother’s Day card to my Mother about 1958 (age 5)

Scan0004

There is nothing more precious that the hand-made cards from the girls through the years. I’ve saved many of their cards and drawings and want to share two of my favorites.

Mother’s Day card from my daughter, Sarah

Scan0011 Scan0012

Scan0014

Mother’s Day Poem from Daughter, Megan

Mothers Day Poem from Megan 1995

To Mother’s everywhere, have a wonderful Mother’s Day this weekend!

Biscuits and Gravy…Tradition!

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Biscuits and gravy were introduced to me when I moved to St. Joseph, Missouri in 1975 and they’ve been a favorite breakfast in our house since then.  My husband, Karl, made biscuits and gravy, with scrambled eggs, and sausage almost every weekend while the girls were young.

Biscuits were made from scratch, Bisquick mix, or even refrigerated buttermilk biscuits.  The gravy, however, was always made from scratch and the flour browned to just the right shade of perfection before adding the milk and watching the bubbly goodness thicken to our perfect gravy thickness. A cast iron skillet was always the cooking vessel of choice.

Daughter, Megan, stayed with me for a few days while her hardwood floors were being refinished and she wanted to make biscuits and gravy.  We tried a new drop biscuit recipe that we liked but she made the gravy the old fashioned way.

IMG_6239

I love a little sweet with my savory so for my breakfast dessert, one biscuit with honey.  MMMM…

IMG_6243

What a wonderful walk down memory lane and the chance to revisit family tradition.

Daddy’s Delicious Baking Powder Drop Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • Combine all dry ingredients.
  • Blend in the warm butter.
  • Slowly add the milk to the mixture until the dough holds together.
  • Use two spoons to drop evenly sized biscuits on ungreased baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned.

http://www.food.com/recipe/daddys-delicious-baking-powder-drop-biscuits

Old Fashioned Sausage Gravy

1 lb. bulk breakfast sausage
1/3 cup flour
3-4 cups milk
salt  and pepper to taste

  • Prepare biscuits and keep warm.
  • Cook sausage patties in a large skillet, preferably cast iron. Set cooked sausage patties aside and keep warm.
  • Add flour to sausage drippings and let brown (watch carefully or it will burn). Once flour is brown, add milk, salt and pepper and let gravy bubble until it thickens.  This may take about 10 minutes.  If the gravy becomes too thick, add milk to gain desired thickness.
  • Optional:  Add some crumbled cooked sausage into gravy.
  • Serve hot with biscuits, sausage patties and eggs of your choice.

Cherry Granita

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Sour Pie Cherries are one of my favorite summer finds.  In the late summer, the Farmer’s Market has frozen tubs of cherries and I hoard them until Christmas when I make Cherry Kolaches. I froze the extra cherry juice to make  Cherry Granita. What a delightful, refreshing treat from extra juice.

IMG_5974

CHERRY GRANITA

3 cups sour cherry juice
1 lemon, juice of
1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • Put the cherry juice in the saucepan over a medium heat, along with the sugar.
  • Cook until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.  Cool.
  • Pour the cherry mixture into a shallow container and freeze, stirring about once every hour, bringing ice crystals from the edge into the center.
  • It will take about 5 hours to freeze completely.
  • To serve:  Remove from freezer 5-10 minutes before serving.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 476 other followers