Kitchen revealed

I know I’ve taken a wee bit of a hiatus from blogging, which makes me as sad as it might make you. I’ll go WAY out on a limb and say I’m sadder. I know I’ve discussed my perfectionist problems... for whatever reason I don’t want to share works in progress just the final. I mean, I will of course show the in betweens but I have this THING with wanting it to be final-final.

That being said, I need to start revealing. So without further ado…. the KITCHEN!

Here is where we started…. There was a LOT going on. With the sponge paint on the backsplash and three of the walls. Plus I always have been one to cram my fridge with lots of pictures; our counters were cluttered and we had another photo/crap wall.

Kitchen_before

For such a small room, we actually did a LOT of changing.

First on my list was getting rid of the sponge paint back splash. I liked it 7 years ago when we moved in, but it was looking dated. After investigating a few option, I settled on wallpaper.  WALLPAPER?! You say? Yes, wallpaper. And here’s why.  Of the options I was looking at, it was the most economical, it offered a wide variety of patterns, if I change my mind I can rip it down and change it AND if we ever do win the lottery and update our kitchen for REALZ I won’t want to cry when the contractors tear it down. Which WOULD have happened if I tiled.

Before_faucet

When you look at it like this, it almost doesn’t look so bad!

Behind the sink was the easiest break of all. Popped right off without much work on my part.

that_was_easy

That was EASY!

clean_break

YUCK!

The other side of the counter… not so much

prying_last_piece

At this point I realized spackling was a must… What I didn’t realize was that I’d have to wait another full day if not more before I could actually HANG up the wallpaper!

spackle

half_spackle

halfway there

All spackled up and nowhere to go

Now comes the fun part. Getting the wallpaper on the walls. This wallpaper, thank GOODNESS was prepasted. So all I had to do was put it in water, double it back and then hang it up. Simple right?

It actually was pretty easy. The hardest part was figure out how to best trim the wallpaper so that the pattern remained intact. Once I got my system down I was good to go.

cuttingMat

My tools

Cutting

LOVE.THIS.PATTERN!

sink_trough

Yeah I used the sink as a trough, what of it?!

first_piece

First sheet up, only 10 more to go!

I honestly cannot believe how much easier this was than the closet. I mean, SO much easier. I guess because the pieces were smaller, and it was all at chest level as opposed to standing on ladders and reaching awkwardly over my head. It was done pretty lickety-split.

first_wall outlets

I even got fancy around the outlets

Final_faucet final_whole counter

Gorgeous right?

So now it was MONTHS before we actually got back into the house. So all that sat under the tarps.

The ghetto corner of the kitchen that couldn't quite get the tarp to cover.

The ghetto corner of the kitchen that couldn’t quite get the tarp to cover.

And finally (I will update this with a proper after, but in the interest of getting it out there) …

2013-01-27 15.38.57

Other upgrades you may notice. We got rid of the Pergo Flooring and replaced it with 4″ Wood Planks. “Heart” it. I never had a huge problem with the Pergo like my husband did. BUT I did have a problem with the uneven floors going from the front of the house and then the slant between the family room and the kitchen. All fixed!

table_side

I know I’ve said it before but i LOVE this lamp.  Funny story: the light burnt out in it and we let it sit like that for about a month because we couldn’t figure out how to CHANGE the lightbulb. THANK GOODNESS for Google!  Once I remembered the model name/number for the lamp (Eurofase: Pop-2) we were golden.

2013-01-27 15.40.01

You might also notice I pared down on what was on the counter, namely the big-ass coffee maker. I LOVED my coffee/espresso maker however I literally never used the espresso part, and heck I needed the counter space. DONE.

fridge

 

I’ve also greatly pared down what is on the fridge. This is a lot more organized and calming to look at.

Of course the spice rack made the journey:

spices

 

I know this might seem counterintuitive as I was trying to open up my counter tops; but the one thing I lack even more than counter space is drawer space. I saw these on EBAY and fell in love. They are soooooo splendid.

utensil_holder

 

In general after making the move back from the rental, I had gotten rid of so much unnecessary kitchen junk that I actually feel really good about our kitchen and the organization in it.  I still need a better tupperware solution but aside from that. We’re good!

Friday night yum

I think you know by now how much I love yummy food. I’m partial to savory and I do love my meat.

Every now and then I will spy a good deal on lamb chops at the grocery store. Not a jargundo rack but enough for the two adults in the house. Such a deal presented itself last week when I was grocery shopping. Not only were there only 4 chops, but it came seasoned. Check and check.

Last night was the night and they could not have come out better. And so quick/easy. Also key for this house. First I split them into the four chops, seared both sides (3 min a side) in an oven proof pan. Then stuck the whole pan into the oven (400 for 20-30min).

Around that time hubby called to see what was for dinner. He was very excited to hear lamb chops and said, you know what would go great with that is polenta. I agreed but didn’t think I had corn meal and to not give away how easy it is to make polenta said something to the effect of “oh yah sure I’ll just whip up some polenta noooooo problem, scoff”

After we hung up the phone I saw we did indeed have corn meal and after a quick google search to remember the steps polenta was made. I had some help from my helper extraordinaire, big D.

Hubby was not only surprised but thought everything was delicious! Which it was.

All in 45 minutes. Absolutely delicious.

Enjoy!

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A little more YUM!

I love quick easy meals.  I love yummy meals.  I love sharing them with you!

Last night was chicken night. It was too cold to grill so I went through my spice rack and remembered this YUMMY garlic pesto that I had from Tastefully Simple.

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A little EVOO and some water and you get this potent paste (it smelled SO FORKIN’ GOOD)

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yummo x10

Then I sauteed some chicken, cut it down so it would cook faster. As well, we had some left over sweet potato fries. So those went into the oven.

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check out that golden brown

And then it all comes together…….

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and yes, it was that good.

 

A little YUM

I love to cook. I’m just throwing that out there. I have lots of cookbooks and I love to troll the internet for new recipes. My brother-in-law actually always makes fun of me and asks what website I found a certain dish at and never quite believes me if I happen to have created it myself or used a family recipe.

Anyhoo. I think I have mentioned before how I like to cook dinner weeknights for hubby and myself. The caveat is that it needs to be made in under 20minutes and be pretty simple as far as prep work. Why you ask, well our end of day is a bit hectic. I pick up the kids around 5:45/6pm and G gets home around 7. The first few minutes are spent with me wrangling them into the house and keeping them from destroying EVERYTHING in their path. I try to throw some snacks and milk at them and pop them in front of the television for whatever is on Nick Jr or Sprout. (Hey, I never claimed to be a font of parenting and I never said this was a parenting blog.) Every now and then we put on some music and have an impromptu dance party like this….

Booty Shake

While they are distracted, I unpack their bags, unload/load the dishwasher, THEN get dinner started. Realistically it is around 6:30 giving me 20-30 minutes from start to finish.

What’s a girl to do? Well she cuts corners that what she does.

Trader Joe’s has amazing prepared foods, as well as pre seasoned meats and cut veggies. I have a honking jar of minced garlic in the fridge and usually have some chopped onions as well. These are things that take up critical time, and as long as I can find quality product, the more organic and natural the better, I buy it.

There are tons of great websites (brother-in-law is rolling his eyes, I can feel it) where you can find 20-minute meals. I have a cookbook from at least 10 years ago that is called just that, 20-minute meals that is amazing, it has complete meal plans including shopping lists and what you should have in your pantry.

Here is what we had for dinner tonight.

Chicken Masala over Brown Basami Rice.

Sounds exotic doesn’t it. I will let you in on my secret for this one….

it’s all about the sauce

This dish came together on the fly… I decided we were having Indian but knew it would require some doctoring. The simmer sauce is great but not as robust as you would get at a restaurant.

First up I chopped some onions and peppers and got them sautéing

Peppers and onions the basis of every great meal.

You want to make sure that they are super soft but just short of caramelizing. Then the simmer sauce is dumped in and the chicken added.

Chickoooooon

I was so busy taking pictures that I sorta forgot to get the chicken cubed… then i got so into the cooking that I forgot to take any more pictures… but I have leftovers so I will take some picts of those and add them… I’m owning up to it now. Bad blogger, bad.

Yummy füd

and a close up

mmmmmm gooood

Let’s review:

1. Saute peppers and onions. 2. slice chicken. 3. add simmer sauce 4. yum

 

Random side step…. see the cutting board I have above. I have a whole set that is color coded with icons. When I got them I thought they would be awesome. Nice and thin and different ones for each food group. But honestly, they don’t store flat, they start to curl up. and if you’re cutting anything that has juice or liquid of any kind in it there is no well for it so it gets all over the counter. NOT FUN.

I think I am ready to invest in a good butcher block cutting board. Any recommendations?

Pinterest Post

So I have finally downloaded pictures from my camera, about 3 months worth! I know that I had alluded to this before, but I am a Pinterest ADDICT! I have found a bazillion recipes, decorating ideas, clothes, and other ideas.

Back in April, it was Easter (duh, I know). I found this amazing Pin

I clicked through to FoodJiMoto and printed out the recipe. Yes printed and read through at least 10 time because I wasn’t sure if I was really up for it. Every year we head to my in-law’s house, and it is a FABULOUS affair. About 20 adults and 15 kids! INSANITY!!!!  And the food is always amazing, and while my brother-in-law always makes fun of me for finding recipes online I HAD to try this.

THREE important things of note:

  1. I’m Jewish, so while I have been celebrating Easter with Glenn’s family for over 10 years I am still somewhat a neophyte when it comes to tradition.
  2. Because of point 1, I have never dyed Easter Eggs. EVER…. EVER EVER EVER
  3. I have never made Devilled Eggs

So while Karolyn at FOODjimoto does a GREAT job at breaking it all down, I was TERRIFIED of making them. But I also don’t back down from a fight.

Step One – we boiled the eggs then gently tap tap tapped them to crack the shell while they were cooling.

Step Two – Food Coloring. It took us a LONG time for G to find this in the store. He went up and down a lot of aisles.

HOLY CRAP. that was easy!!!! Who knew?! D wanted to keep them in a super long time to make them REALLY dark. I overruled him for the most part.

Seriously?! Look how awesome! Not to toot my own horn but I was very impressed with these.

Final Product – Hardly any were left over!

Even my Father-In-Law, who likes things “normal” had one and I gave me compliments. I made sure to have some white ones for him and my mother-in-law.  Ironically, my sister-in-law also used food coloring in her dish, and she and my niece made an adorable bunny rainbow cake.

Enjoy!