Home · Kitchen

Kitchen Remodel, here we go…no…wait!

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 needed 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.

Family · New Traditions · Uncategorized

Celebrating Moms!

Each year, for the past four years, a group of gal pals have gathered to celebrate ourselves. This wonderful group of women saw our kids grow from adolescents to adults and we have a lot to celebrate! While we don’t see each other as often, we do gather together for a Mother’s Coffee/Tea as well as in smaller groups for Book Club, Card Making, and Christmas.  These women are such a blessing for me as well as for their children.

That being said, we all LOVE to come together over food. Each year our friend, Barb, captured pics of our delicious array of food as well as pics of our group.

2013MDfood

Last year was the first time our daughter, Sarah, joined us as a Mom celebrating the birth of Evan. It’s such a wonderful gift to now have our daughters (and in the future daughter-in-laws) join us in the celebration.

P1120107We will be celebrating a week before Mother’s Day this year so let the party begin.

Family · Holidays · Humor

How to cook a turkey…with a smile!

English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for ...
English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m back but you may see more humor, sarcasm and random topics above and beyond food. Understand, food is one of my passions, but so is laughter. When I saw this post on Facebook, it brought a smile to my face. While I don’t cook with a glass(es) of wine, typically, the humor of it all just got to me.

Credit:  Paleo Cupboard/Facebook

Don’t stress out about the holidays and cooking. It’s truly a time to be grateful for every precious moment we have on this earth. Look for the humor and blessings in every moment.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Family Favorites · New Traditions

Brie and Honey; Brie and Jam, Brie any way!

Brie is truly my favorite cheese or all time.  I love it plain, baked in pastry with jam or simply topped with honey or jam. It is a simple, elegant, crowd-pleaser every time.

Happy New Year! Wishing all a wonderful year creating new traditions for your friends and family.

New Traditions

Mother’s Day Coffee…a new tradition

Two years ago I hosted a morning coffee for the wonderful Mothers and friends that shared many of the same life experiences.  Mothers everywhere are hustling and bustling 24×7, seldom taking time for themselves.  This annual coffee is now tradition, honoring these wonderful women, our friendships, and…our love of good food!

The past two years, the coffee has been held on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. Somehow, this year, I ASSUMED that would be the first Saturday in May.  You know what happens when you ASSUME!  This year it’s a week early but what the heck!

My friend, Barbara, is the official photographer for all of my gal pal gatherings, commonly referred to as ‘hot flash___’ (just fill in the blank for the actual event of book club, cards, yoga, etc.).  She did a wonderful collage last year capturing the great food we all shared that wonderful morning.

Mother’s Day Coffee 2011

The past year has brought many joys for myself and friends and many sorrows.  We support each other through thick and thin.  I have a sign in my house that sums it up best:

good friends will laugh with you in the sun
great friends will be with you in the shade

Nicaragua

Nicaragua … Tropical Food, Foliage and Fun!

My first full day in Nicaragua and I was almost bright-eyed and bushy-tailed…but could I use a cup of coffee! Not only was I going to have coffee but I was having organic coffee raised and roasted at Finca Esperanza Verde (FEV), made with certified mountain spring water. You haven’t had coffee like this at your local coffee shop! My coffee adventure was only beginning.

Path to Tucan Lodge
Tucan Lodge

As I walked down the path from our lodge, which I shared with five other wonderful women, I marveled at the views and the foliage, pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

The covered, open-air, dining room at FEV overlooks a beautiful tropical forest allowing the diners to take in the view yet enjoy the fresh air.  Our tables were set, as they were the night before, with our name on a clothes pin attached to the napkin. The staff moved our napkin and clothes pin at each meal, giving us a chance to get to sit with everyone in the group. Genius!

We were served fresh, local fruit from the farm including watermelon, pineapple, papaya in addition to fresh local maracuya (passion fruit) juice.

Passion Fruit
Fresh Fruit, Coffee and Juice at FEV

Next we were served Gallo Pinto, fresh tortillas made by the staff over a wood stove, and scrambled eggs topped with crumbled cuajada cheese and pico de gallo. The farm-fresh eggs are from the FEV chickens! (Reminded me of home and the fresh eggs on our Iowa farm.)

Breakfast at FEV Day One

What a wonderful experience to eat local, eat fresh in the splendor of the tropics.

GALLO PINTO

3 cups of cooked rice
2 cups of cooked black beans
1 onion, finely chopped
1 chopped red pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons oil
¼ cup chopped cilantro
4 tablespoons Salsa Lizano  (or Worcestershire Sauce)
salt and pepper to taste

  • Fry onion, red pepper, and garlic in the vegetable oil, about 3 minutes.
  •  Pour in the beans and sauce, black pepper and seasoning. Let it cook for a few minutes, but keep it moist.
  • Pour in the cooked rice and mix with the beans.  Sprinkle with crumbled cuajada cheese.  Optional:  sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro.

After breakfast, we were scheduled for a nature hike to begin to explore the gorgeous plants and flowers of the tropical forest and our first introduction to how coffee is grown.  Our guide took care to highlight local birds and foliage.

Coming from the high desert of Colorado, I was amazed at the plant life.  How can so many plants live on one tree?  This is the trunk of the Ceiba tree, which was a mystical tree in pre-Columbian cultures.  This photo captures the mystical experience of the tropical forest hike.

FEV Blue Trail photo

After a wonderful morning out, it was time to return to the lodge and lunch…what wonderful treat would be awaiting us?