Sunday, November 23, 2014

The countertops have arrived!

I can not even begin to describe how happy this makes me. Of course my happiness is directly proportional to how aggravated the hubbs, my brother-in-law and stepdad were with this install. say it was a bit trying, is an understatement.

So--that could be a problem
There were some issues with installing the countertops flush with the walls. While imperceptible to the naked eye, there is apparently quite a bit of wave in the walls. This resulted in..ahem... more than a few sessions of dry fit, scribing and sanding. 7...SEVEN...just for the the corner section.

There was a lot of this...
The hubbs (left) and my step-dad discussing the sanding strategy
There was even more of this...
The hubbs holding the countertop in place while my brother-in-law uses a belt sander to sand down to the scribe marks
Once all the sanding and dry fitting was checked, it was time to secure the countertops in place. One thing we discovered, is our off the shelf cabinets have a design flaw. There was NO blocking to attach the countertops and cabinets...NONE! Fortunately we had some scrap wood that was the right thickness (3/4 inch) that was cut to fit, mounted inside the cabinets and then the countertop secured by running a bead of clear 100% silicone caulk along the edge and drilled in 1 and 1/4 inch screws.
You can see the blocking in the back. The front left corner had a corner block installed. The front right didn't have space for blocking because of the sink placement. After the silicone bead it was clamped overnight.
My brother-in-law securing the countertop

Worth the hassle, dontcha' think?

Look at all the counterspace! I could stretch out and sleep there, haha

Eventually the toaster oven will go away--to never EVER be used by me again! haha
No plumbing connection yet, but the most importantantly there is caffeine!
This eventually will be my baking corner
We still have quite a bit to tackle on the list. Still making progress, it is all that matters!

Here's my list from my earlier kitchen remodel post with some additionsmodifications

  • Finish tearing out the plaster and lathe on the North wall--DONE!!
  • Tear out ceiling--DONE!!
  • Cut out the wall boards in the sink area to remove mold. It appears to be contained in a few spots. Decided to do a complete tear out--DONE!!
  • Patch/ repair the remaining 2 walls. Possibly skim coat. Decided to do a complete tear out
  • Build temporary supports for new headers over door and window.--DONE!!
  • Cut out a  2 foot by 8 foot floor section (sink area)--DONE!!
  • Sister the joist beams and shim where the floor slopes--DONE!!
  • Determine if sill plate needs repaired  Damage is minimal-yay!--DONE!!
  • Install a floor jack on North-East corner--where the the sill plate is water damaged
  • Move the stove outlet from floor to the wall and update to a new receptacle-DONE!!
  • Build bump out wall (west wall/ kitchen sink side) to accommodate for out of plumb wall.DONE!!
  • Lay a new subfloor--DONE!!
  • Replace, update and attach the outlet to a stud on east wall--DONE!!
  • Add 1-2 new receptacle(s) to the east wall (window wall)--DONE!!
  • Add 1 new receptacle to west wall-DONE!!
  • Purchase recessed light housing and trim kits
  • Order focal/ center light--DONE!!
  • Move center junction box, DONE!!
  • Install recessed lights perimeter of the kitchen (3 on each wall) and install dimmer switchDONE!!
  • Install/ wire in electric for stove exhaust hood--DONE!!
  • Replace the window--DONE!!
  • Insulate and seal. Minimize any possible cracks, leaks or vermin/bug/ draft entry points-IN PROGRESS
  • Electrician inspection--DONE!!
  • Drywall, mud, tape, prime and paint --DONE!!
  • REPAIR THE EXTERIOR WALL FROM INSTALLING A SMALLER WINDOW--IN PROGRESS On hold due to budget and weather. This is now moved to Spring.
  • Install the linoleum -- DONE!!
  • Install plugs and light switches--DONE!!
  • Final electric connection to the breaker--DONE!!
  • Purchase additional corner cabinet DONE!!
  • Install cabinets-- DONE!!
  • Figure a solution for the 6 inch gap in run of cabinets (stove side)--DONE!
  • Order remaining counter top (stove side of the kitchen) 
  • Order NEW counter tops due to laminate being discontinued-21 days lead time DONE!
  • Install counter tops DONE!
  • Install sink (part of the counter top fabrication) SORTA
  • Plumbing!
  • Install garbage disposal
  • On demand hot water? Maybe??? NOPE
  • Order and install stove exhaust hood--DONE!!
  • Paint and install the new entry door On hold due to weather. This is now moved to Spring.
  • Purchase door hardware--DONE!!
  • Install door hardware, including kick plate On hold due to weather. This is now moved to Spring.
  • Add a peephole to the door since it is windowless On hold due to weather. This is now moved to Spring.
  • Trim work (doors, the window, baseboards, crown molding and cabinet toe molding)
  • Purchase  additional tile for back splash--expanded project (aka scope creep), now need to tile sink aside and food prep/ cook side
  • Purchase shelves for open shelving storage between wall cabinet and pantry, as well as, above the sink. DONE!
  • Install tile back splash 
  • Install shelves
  • Install stove and refrigerator
  • Purchase end panel for dishwasher installation--DONE!!
  • Purchase and install a dishwasher--IN PROGRESS
  • Purchase and install cabinet hardware--IN PROGRESS
  • Purchase ceiling medallion--DONE!
  • Install the ceiling medallion and chandelier
  • Decide on window treatment--DONE!!
  • Order and SEW fabric for window valance/ curtains/ shade--IN PROGRESS
  • Paint  mobile island/ cart
  • DIY some wall art
  • Purchase/ DIY 1 or 2 kitchen stools
  • Accessorize
  • Cook, bake and ENJOY the finished kitchen!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What a Bargain!

I stopped at the grocery store on my way home to pick a few items I need to take in for my work's pot luck dinner on Friday. I recently changed jobs (last Monday in fact) and was pretty much last on the list to sign up. So bring on the turkey gravy and cranberry sauce, haha

In my quest to buy several quarts of gravy, I realized I needed a way to heat and transport the gravy.  I have a really nice 5 quart crock pot, but no way was I hauling it to work.  Kroger (my local grocery store) had a 2.5 quart crockpot with an in-store sale sign of $14.88. I thought that was a pretty good deal. Except it wasn't --initially.

When I finished checking out the crockpot was listed as $19.99 on my receipt. Well that wasn't what the sign advertised! So off to the service desk I went to find out what happened. It turns out their sign was wrong, it was supposed  to be on sale for $19.99.  Except they honored the sale price based on the ScanRight guarantee.  I didn't  pay $19.99 plus tax...Nope...I didn't pay $14.88 plus tax...Nope.  I paid a whopping total of  $5.44-- which is the difference between the wrong sale price and right sale price (with tax). What. A. Bargain!!   And not to mention excellent customer service!!

So now I have a groovy new crockpot on the cheap and no one will suffer the agony of no gravy with their mashed potatoes at the pot luck Friday. And if they intentionally go without gravy, they were just cut from my list of potential friends. Because it's gravy...say it with me...GRAAVVYY!  Whoa...groovy that even a thing? Is that even a legal thing?  I must have been breathing a few too many turkey gravy fumes. haha

WHat groovy bargains have you found recently?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Italian Pork Stew

Ciao Bella Cibo... Hello beautiful food

I have been perusing cookbooks lately, well in addition to, using Google to view other blogs and pinterest for new recipes. 

I found a recipe for Spezzatino di Maiale which simply means Pork Stew. The ingredients and resulting flavor can vary by region. It is a rustic stew, so there really is no right or wrong way to make it. Maybe there are some Italian Nonna's out there frowning in disagreement ....

Here are some links to other recipes for comparison

I used the ingredients I had available. But I plan on making this again using wine and cannelloni beans. I can only imagine the richness the wine will impart. Or maybe serving it with some creamy parmesan polenta or a nice side dish of risotto...mmmmm

6 medium potatoes cubed
1/3 lb carrots, bite size chunks
2 stalks of celery cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup of diced onion
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 16 ounce can of vegetable stock

1 lb lean pork, trimmed and cubed (I used pork loin)
 2 TBS flour seasoned with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic
Toss the cubed pork in the seasoned flour mixture until well covered. Then I stored mine in a plastic bag, refrigerated overnight.
Heat the oil on med high heat. Saute the pork until golden brown on all sides. It will form a slight crust.

1 10.5 ounce package of cherry tomatoes, blanched and peeled
1 can of tomato soup (I was out of tomato sauce)  Don't judge me!
1 TBS garlic powder
2 TBS onion powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients as shown
Veggies, broth, pork, tomatoes, bay leaf/ rosemary, sauce (or in my case soup), herbs/ spices, and cover.

Set crock pot on low for 8-9 hours. Make sure to take the bay leaf out before serving.

I can tell you the house smelled fantastic when I came home from work. I whipped up a quick batch of parmesan herbed biscuit bread to go with the stew. 

Follow your normal biscuit recipe, add 1/4 additional milk (to thin the batter), 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp rosemary, and 1/2 tsp oregano. Spritz pan with non stick cooking spray. Add batter, which will be thick. Spread in pan until until it is an even thickness. Sprinkle a little extra parmesan cheese on before baking. Bake at 425°F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown

The stew was fragrant, the pork tender and all the flavors had melded together. The overall flavor was subtle.  It was the right combination of sweet, spice and savory. A delicious, comforting and hearty meal--perfect for a cold and rainy day.  

Whatcha' got cookin'?