Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A LITTLE THANKSGIVING GIFT

I have an early present for you...

You don't have to wait to open it...

I hope you enjoy it...

Ready???


 
They are both great this time of year...

When the weather is nippy...

And you want something a little special...


I got the first recipe from a very sweet friend named Barb...

I think of her every time I make it...

And give thanks that she was my friend...

Barb's Cranberry Bread

Topping Ingredients
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup pecan pieces

Dry Ingredients
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients
1 egg beaten
3/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons orange peel

1 cup cranberries
1 cup raisins

Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients until moistened.  Fold in cranberries and raisins.  Put 1/2 of the combined mixture in a greased loaf pan and add 1/2 of the topping mixture.  Repeat.  Bake at 350 degrees for 65-70 minutes.  Enjoy!



Now, for some bone-warming White Chili.  Several years ago, we were invited to a casual evening with friends and this was served.  We've loved it every since!

I add a torn up flour tortilla after I heat up the soup... 
 
Janet’s White Chili

1-2 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
29 ounces chicken broth
4 cups cooked, cubed chicken
2 cans (15 ounces each) great northern beans,
rinsed & drained
1 can (15 ounces) great northern beans, pureed

In a soup pot, sauté onion in oil until tender.  Stir in garlic, chilies, cumin, oregano and cayenne.  Cook and stir 2-3 minutes.  Add broth, chicken and beans.  Simmer 15 minutes.  Serve with Monterey Jack cheese and tortillas.


 No thanks required for these yummy recipes...

Your mouth will thank you for putting such yummies in it!!!

 Thanks soooo much for stopping by
and
Happy Thanksgiving
to you and yours
 Robin

Linking Up With




Tuesday, November 18, 2014

SOME SMALL PROJECTS

With the kitchen remodel finished and walls in various parts of the house lightened up, the dilemma was whether to put up the same "stuff" or do a some updating (i.e., retiring of some of the accessories).  I decided on a mixture of both.  I loved some of the items and not the others.

Using a Pinterest board for inspiration, it was my turn to paint.  Here is that project...


 I needed this area to coordinate with my living room in a very quiet, understated way. 



Around Halloween, I decided to make a shaggy wreath I had seen on Stonegable with a great tutorial and decided to give it a try.  Let me just say, it was harder than it looked and I'm still not as happy as I wanted to be (that is, Stonegable's is prettier), but...


Then, I looked at my blank chalkboard hanging in my "new" kitchen and drew this...


Finally, here is a before/after of the living room mantle painted white...


So thats what I've been up to lately--that and trying to recover from a long bout of the flu and a very sore left foot.  Thanks for stopping by.  Till next time...

Robin

Linking Up With


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

LESSONS LEARNED DURING A KITCHEN UPDATE

After all these months, this post is hard to write.  Not because there isn't anything to say, but because there are SO MANY THINGS I'd love to share with you about the remodel!  So, (taking a deep yoga breath) I'll start at the beginning (if I can accurately remember back that far).

Once more, let's look at the kitchen before the remodel...


After...
 



The area behind the chandelier and above the stove, not visible in the preceding picture.



THE FIRST STEP:  Come Up With A Plan, without going into all of those details here, you can read about it and see the drawings here. 

THE SECOND STEP:  Get tradesmen lined up.  All I will say here is get yourself some buckets of PATIENCE and then find a friend(s) who will listen to you whine about them!  One trade goes off schedule and the whole project is delayed.

NEXT:  Start selecting materials.
My first selections was going to be my countertop.  And, so I  danced around granite yards for at least a month, trying to find white granite in a quiet pattern (because I really wanted white marble, but not the upkeep).  I had planned to use the existing backsplash but decided at the last possible moment, the backsplash needed to change too.  This was a major panic for me because I like to look at absolutely everything on the market before making an informed decision, but I knew I wanted marble (the real deal) so that narrowed it down a bit.  I got a lot of pressure to go with subway tiles, but that was what I was replacing.  I am so glad I listened to myself at this point and chose a hex mosaic for the backsplash.  

WORDS OF WISDOM:  ALWAYS, ALWAYS, LISTEN TO YOURSELF ABOUT YOUR SELECTIONS.  IT IS VERY EASY TO GET OFF TRACK WITHOUT A FIRM PLAN IN YOUR MIND BEFORE YOU BEGIN.  CONTRACTORS, SALES PEOPLE AND OTHERS WILL TRY TO TALK YOU OUT OF YOUR PLAN.  YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHEN TO TAKE ADVICE AND WHEN NOT TO.

Here's a closeup of the backsplash...

The countertops are polished 3cm Ceasarstone in Frosty Carrina.  It looks like a very faint marble veining pattern.  It is stronger than granite (which I have on the island from my last remodel) and doesn't stain or react to acids and oils the way real marble does.  Very important details if you cook in your kitchen!

Here is a closeup of the countertop...very hard to see the details in a picture.

I went with the most reputable company in town for fabrication of my countertops and it was a very wise decision.  After my installation, my countertop was chipped and scratched!  My stomach was in knots for days!  Three visits from the installer later, everything was perfect and still is!  Yeah!

Some of the other details added...


The microwave was moved from above the stove a few years ago and it sat on my countertop in a hidden spot for a long time.  With the remodel the microwave and it's electrical circuit were moved here and additional lighting was added inside the cabinet.  The microwave is totally hidden when the doors are closed, but is readily accessible too.


New painted cabinets with glass and lights were then added to the top of existing cabinets and the kitchen went from this...


To this...


And this...


And this...

These cabinets were taken down to the countertop also.

Continuing around the room...


 And the last addition to the kitchen is a floor to ceiling platter rack...


 A few other things added...
  • That arrow is pointing to the disposal button (sorry I didn't wipe out those new stainless steel sinks).  The existing faucet wasn't replaced.
  • Over-the-sink lights were replaced with LEDs so the lighting throughout the kitchen would be the same.
  • The cabinets (oil) and walls(latex) were painted SW 7005 Pure White.

Thanks for being interested in my biggest project to-date.  In this project, my 20-year old vision became reality and it was a thrill ride!

Til next time... 
Robin



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

THE KITCHEN IS FINISHED

A long, long time ago, in a far, far away place, a woman dreamed of updating a kitchen.  Friends and family questioned her decision, but it was a dream whose time had come...

The woman dreamed of a white kitchen...
The dream originated from a childhood memory of her mother's white kitchen and so she set about putting her plan into action.  So, in April, 2014, the woman made a phone call and got her first bid.  But the bidders did not hold the woman's ideas in high regard and so she moved on to the second contractor.  This bid was much too high (even though he'd been given her budget at the first meeting) and he suggested she cut some of her dream out of her kitchen design.  Being a compliant woman, she obliged and the contractor must have thought the woman a fool because his second bid was still too high and he got very angry with the woman and told her mean things to bring her into compliance with his offer.  This hurt the woman's feelings, but she said nothing to the mean contractor and moved on wondering if her dream was too big and feeling sad.  Finally, the woman had a thought--she would be her own agent and she would contract the project herself.  It made perfect sense and her dream would come true.

Now, there is a WHOLE LOT more to this story, but it is time to see what the woman dreamed of (and the story will continue next week...stay tuned).

Here is the kitchen the woman wished to change...



And, here is her dream realized after 13 weeks of babysitting her contractors...


There is still a bit of work the woman must do for the dream to be complete, but the woman did not want her faithful readers to have to wait any longer to see some progress.
 
The woman's heart now sings when she enters her home   and she is so very, very glad she listened to her own heart (because most of the contractors did not want to do what she wanted--they were a wiry bunch--and tried to talk her out of her dream at every step).  

The woman is tired now and will tell more of the story (and show lots of pretty pictures too) in Part Deux next week.  She hopes you will return again and she'll share details and tips to help you find your dream too (and save some money)!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HAPPY OCTOBER

I know, I am a little late in wishing you a happy October when it is already the 14th but I've been traveling for the first part of the month and do not like the way my blog platform centers my pictures when I compose blog posts on my IPad.  Sooooo, that is why my greetings are a little off--that, and my kitchen is still not finished!  Supposedly it will be tomorrow, but I've been down this road so many times, I try not to get my hope up just yet.  I am learning patience in spades right now...well, maybe.

But, I don't want you to think I've forgotten my little blog, so in the spirit of the month of October, I thought I'd share some beautiful, spooky little critters I've gotten up-close-and-personal with lately.


Isn't this a beautiful spider?  Don't get me wrong, I'm terrified of them too, but this one was quite remarkable.  If anyone knows the name of this one, I'd love to know so I could learn more about it's habits--namely, if it will stay in the garden and not invite itself into my home and give me a heart attack!  Eeeekkk!


This little one was hanging out in my tree (again, I hope the spider doesn't seek shelter in my garage or inside the house).  You cannot tell from this picture, but it was spinning its web and I always find it fascinating to watch and see what pattern they will spin.  Remember, this is the October Robin talking here, most of the time these things freak me out! 



This itsy-bitsy spider was doing something with that leaf and working like a madman.  Look at those legs!

Okay, finished with the spider pictures.  But I didn't watermark these pictures and you're free to use them if you give me credit for being the photographer (although I do use that term loosely).  Might make a nice collage for the spooky season...just a thought.



This is an actual pinecone I spotted in Florida and the only editing to this picture was to take OUT some of the highlights because the pinecone was too bright!  The growth on the pinecone is lichen.

(lichen (/ˈlaɪkən/ or /ˈlɪtʃən/) is a composite organism that emerges from an algae or cyanobacteria (or both) living among filaments of a fungus in a mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationship. The whole combined life form has properties that are very different than properties of its component parts  on the cone.) 

Just thought I'd throw in that definition for you, no charge!  I love the color of lichen.  It is usually this very pale sage-green.

And the last picture today is just a single gorgeous leaf--the epitome of autumn.  Enjoy.  Hopefully next week I'll have pictures of a finished kitchen BUT maybe not....

Thanks for reading.  Till next time...
 
Robin