KITCHEN UPDATES + MY LACK OF BEING ABLE TO MULTITASK

I haven't blogged in about a month, but as you can see above...we've made some progress. I have found it verryyyy hard to multitask during this renovation (ie blogging, working out, etc). My house is a mess and there is stuff everywhere that has been displaced from the kitchen. I will get through it because I try to remember how blessed we are to be in a situation to renovate our kitchen, but I will tell you this: it's been hard and has taken about twice as long as I would have hoped and imagined. We are extremely lucky that we have family members helping us do everything from trim and cabinetry to plumbing and electrical. The concrete countertops were a shot in the dark, but didn't turn out too terrible. There are a decent amount of air bubbles and voids in the fronts of the counters, but we have ordered a concrete patch kit that is on its way. Stay tuned. Clayton and I have definitely learned a lot so far during this process. The biggest lesson i've learned is to never assume anything in your 1950's home is level, uniform, or a standard measurement. I would loveeeeee to say when we would be done....but in my last kitchen post I believe I said I would be done in the beginning of January. Well folks...Its looking like its going to be a couple weeks into february. I clearly have no concept of time either. :-)

WHATS NEXT

  • Patch concrete and seal it
  • Recessed lighting 
  • Pendant lighting
  • Pantry and refrigerator surround trim and cabinet doors
  • Plumbing: Run water line to refrigerator, hook up dishwasher, install faucet and garbage disposal
  • Install stove (we've had the gas line installed finally)
  • Tile backsplash
  • Install floating shelves
  • Touchup paint

We are getting there! I can feel a home-cooked meal on the horizon! 

LAST MINUTE FELT BALL CHRISTMAS GIFT TOPPERS

I love wrapping gifts. Well, let me correct that. I hate wrapping gifts...but I like what they look like when i'm done and I also love coming up with new ways to make them look special. I kept it simple this year with brown paper, velvet ribbon and I then made these quick, last minute toppers with felt balls. They are super easy and you can buy felt balls at most craft stores and probably even Target because its Target. I actually hand-felted my felt balls because i'm a huge nerd and I know how to needle felt. Tutorials on that for another day. 

THINGS YOU NEED:

  • felt balls
  • some kind of string...doesn't really matter what kind
  • gold paper clips
  • big needle
  • pliers with cutting capabilities 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • String your felt balls however you like...you can switch it up and space them out or stack them. Get crazy. 
  • Take your gold paper clips and cut them so you end up with a long looking "J". 
  • Tie the string to one end and close the loop in "J". 
  • Loosely fold the straight end of the "J" as this will be the end that hooks onto the string on the package. 

Thats it folks. Its pretty simple and you now have some dope looking gifts. You're welcome and Merry Christmas. I need to go cook now!

I'm sorry but I had to post a picture of my new holiday-ish plates I got on sale at Anthropologie. I love them and everything on sale is now an extra 40% off if you need any last minute gifts. I want everything there....just saying. And no, I don't get paid to say that, I'm not that popular yet people. Merrrrrrrrry Chrimus! 

KITCHEN REMODEL: THE INSPIRATION + THE PLAN

This was a picture of the kitchen I took during my closing. Hey, at least the cabinets went all the way up to the ceiling. No, I didnt get to keep those sweet jello molds...

This was a picture of the kitchen I took during my closing. Hey, at least the cabinets went all the way up to the ceiling. No, I didnt get to keep those sweet jello molds...

I think it goes without saying that those overhead cabinets were the first thing to go. 

I think it goes without saying that those overhead cabinets were the first thing to go. 

Look at my husband, brother-in-law and dad GO. There was literally a foot long bolt holding that thing to the ceiling. 

Look at my husband, brother-in-law and dad GO. There was literally a foot long bolt holding that thing to the ceiling. 


It will be two years in March since I moved into this house. I love this house. Its an old house that needs work, but I love it and love the neighborhood. I have had to be extremely patient with any updates I've made to the house because of time, money, and well, money. My husband would laugh at the fact that I used the word patience because I'm sure he doesn't think I've been patient at all. Well, whatever, I can't help it. I love to cook and I want my kitchen to be nice and I'm tired of hand washing all of our dishes (no, we don't have a dishwasher).

Over the past two years I have torn down some cabinets, refaced my existing cabinets, made a butcher block for my island and bought a new refrigerator. But now, my friends, its time to go a little further. Its time for me to get my DIY on like I never have before. I'm talking concrete countertops, backsplash, floating shelves...all the things. Hell, I might even try to DIY the plumbing. Don't worry, I already got a quote for that because I have a good idea of how that will probably turn out. Either way, its going to be a fun learning experience...and hopefully I get a pretty cool kitchen out of it. 


The second set of cabinets that we pulled down were over the old refrigerator. The plan is to fully tile that wall and install a pantry and open shelving. The refrigerator will be moved all the way to the end of the wall. To the left of the refrigerator in the above picture is where the dishwasher will go.

The second set of cabinets that we pulled down were over the old refrigerator. The plan is to fully tile that wall and install a pantry and open shelving. The refrigerator will be moved all the way to the end of the wall. To the left of the refrigerator in the above picture is where the dishwasher will go.

The kitchen island (or peninsula) has been completely redone. The island is a blueish slate color that i'm obsessed with. The chopping block was made by my husband and my dad (I helped a little) out of hard maple. Its the bomb. 

The kitchen island (or peninsula) has been completely redone. The island is a blueish slate color that i'm obsessed with. The chopping block was made by my husband and my dad (I helped a little) out of hard maple. Its the bomb. 

The cabinets on the other way are all white and have been refaced as well in shaker style trim. 

The cabinets on the other way are all white and have been refaced as well in shaker style trim. 

NOW FOR A LITTLE INSPIRATION

1. DIY concrete countertops. Ill be making these using the Z counterform system . Stay tuned for how these babies turn out 2. Standard subway tile with dark gray (maybe even black) thin grout 3. Mid century modern pendant lights from West Elm (they don't sell the ones pictured anymore) but you can find similar on their website 4. Open shelving 5. 30 inch professional range with a flat top (TBD which one I get.....any suggestions?) 6. Pre-rinse kitchen faucet in matte black 7. Slate colored island with white cabinets 8. More open shelving because its amazing- also love the gold, wood and marble mix

1. DIY concrete countertops. Ill be making these using the Z counterform system . Stay tuned for how these babies turn out

2. Standard subway tile with dark gray (maybe even black) thin grout

3. Mid century modern pendant lights from West Elm (they don't sell the ones pictured anymore) but you can find similar on their website

4. Open shelving

5. 30 inch professional range with a flat top (TBD which one I get.....any suggestions?)

6. Pre-rinse kitchen faucet in matte black

7. Slate colored island with white cabinets

8. More open shelving because its amazing- also love the gold, wood and marble mix


SHOULD BE DONE IN JANUARY- STAY TUNED!!!

HOLIDAY PARTY MEATBALLS - KITCHEN SINK STYLE

Holiday parties might be one the best parties. Maybe its the season or maybe its the delicious appetizers and cocktails adorned with rosemary and cranberries that just make you want to scream "gimme all the holiday things". For most holiday parties I go to or throw I bring crock-pot meatballs. And I know you've all heard the expression "everything but the kitchen sink", well that pretty much sums up the sauce for these meatballs.

It's Monday night, and no, I don't have a holiday party to attend, but I did however, have a bag of meatballs and about 100 half used sauces in my refrigerator. The most basic (but delicious) party meatball recipe calls for BBQ sauce, grape jelly and sometimes sweet chili sauce. But because I loveeeeee to use things up and I see it as my personal challenge to waste as little as possible- I used about 12 different sauces and it worked. And don't worry I added chunky cranberry sauce as well so they were super holiday-appropriate meatballs. 

I must also note that I had 3 bottles of ketchup. Thats just ridiculous. 

Essentials: mixing bowl, wisk, a billion sauces and wine. Wine might have been the most important factor here...got the creative juices a flowin'

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There is no exact science to these meatballs. I will list what I used, but for those of you who are nervous to just dive into the fridge and start slingin' sauces, keep these general ingredients in mind:

BBQ sauce, some sort of jam(s), spice (if you like that). 

Also, cranberries are a great way to make this a holiday meatball, obviously :-) 

INGREDIENTS I USED:

Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce

Kentucky Bourbon BBQ sauce

Homemade (chunky) cranberry sauce

Ketchup

Gochujang

Raspberry jam

Worcestershire sauce

Orange marmalade

Hoisin

Blueberry jam

Garlic powder

Adobo seasoning

Combine all ingredients you choose in bowl. I would suggest starting with the sauces you know will taste good together. Add small amounts and then taste. You can always add more of one sauce but you can't take it away. Pour sauce over meatballs. Cook on high in crock-pot for 3-4 hours. Be sure to stir occasionally to distribute the sauce over the meatballs.

ENJOY!!!!!

A DAY LATE THANKSGIVING TABLESCAPE

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So, I realize that I said on Instagram yesterday that I would post on the blog "later". "Later" has turned into today...so for those of you who are already planning your Thanksgiving tablescapes, well, I'm your girl. Bare with me people....I'm still getting the hang of this blogging thing. 

I do love how the table turned out. Simple, yet, colorful. I used a chalkboard runner and added the white paint pen embellishments (with the help of my sister, Shane) for a little extra flair. The Thanksgiving worksheet (get the printable PDF here) was actually a hit and everyone at the dinner table filled it out and then shared it afterward. No one made fun of me and no one ripped it up...winning. 

And because its Thanksgiving I just want everyone to know I'm super thankful for my husband, my family, food, humor, creative outlets and iphones (for when your real camera is acting up and you're trying to take pictures of your Thanksgiving tablescape).   

SPANAKOPITA PASTA WITH PHYLLO BREADED CHICKEN

Hey, remember the time I messed up a whole package of phyllo dough and then promised to show you how I fixed it? Okay, well I stay true to my word...even if it has been a couple weeks. 

Hey, remember the time I messed up a whole package of phyllo dough and then promised to show you how I fixed it? Okay, well I stay true to my word...even if it has been a couple weeks. 

I took the phyllo and broke it into even smaller pieces with my hands. I laid it on a cookie sheet, seasoned it with salt, pepper and butter and then baked at 350 F until brown...the rest....well, you'll see in the recipe. Bottom line- use this to bread all the things because its delicious and buttery and flakey. 

I took the phyllo and broke it into even smaller pieces with my hands. I laid it on a cookie sheet, seasoned it with salt, pepper and butter and then baked at 350 F until brown...the rest....well, you'll see in the recipe. Bottom line- use this to bread all the things because its delicious and buttery and flakey. 

INGREDIENTS

1 pound of penne or other pasta

1 box frozen spinach, drained

1 cup crumbled feta

15 oz  ricotta cheese

1/4 cup chopped dill

1/2 cup of milk and more to spare if consistency is too thick 

salt + pepper

mozzarella to top dish with

2 chicken breast

1 egg

1 cup of flour

1 tbsp butter

1 clove of garlic

coconut oil 

DIRECTIONS

Cook the penne for about 6-7 minutes. Don't cook it for the full amount of time as it will continue to cook in the sauce

Melt butter and garlic in saucepan, add spinach

Add milk, ricotta, feta, salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer

Meanwhile, prepare the chicken. Mix salt and pepper with the flour in one bowl. Whisk egg in another bowl. Place about two cups of phyllo dough crumbs in the last bowl. Dredge the chicken in flour, egg and then the bread crumbs and set aside.

Turn broiler on. Melt coconut oil a frying pan. Place both breast in pan and fry on both sides until golden brown and internal temperature reaches between 160 and 165 F. 

Combine pasta and sauce.

Put shredded mozzarella on both breast and place under broiler until bubbling. 

Enjoy!

FOUR WAYS TO REUSE AN OLD CANDLE CONTAINER

 There are two things I keep in my house always: 1) flowers 2) candles. They make me happy. They smell good. And there is this new trend of putting candles in the most beautiful containers ever. I'm super into it and I'm going to show you a couple ways I like to repurpose the containers. You're going to feel accomplished and proud when your done...so get ready. 

Start with your sad but full of potential candle jars

Start with your sad but full of potential candle jars

Pour boiling hot water into each jar and let sit for a while. I'm not sure I let most of mine sit long enough as I had to scrape a bunch of wax out.

Pour boiling hot water into each jar and let sit for a while. I'm not sure I let most of mine sit long enough as I had to scrape a bunch of wax out.

Once jars have sat with the boiling water for a while, swish around to loosen up the wax. You might have to do some scraping too. 

Once jars have sat with the boiling water for a while, swish around to loosen up the wax. You might have to do some scraping too. 

Hopefully the swishing was able to get most of the wax out...if not you must scrape the rest of the stubborn wax and you should end up with a bowl of leftovers that you can repurpose...i'll show you this momentarily. Also, once the majority of the wax is out, you can use soap and water to clean the inside of the container. Goo Gone is also good for cleaning up residue or removing old labels. 

Hopefully the swishing was able to get most of the wax out...if not you must scrape the rest of the stubborn wax and you should end up with a bowl of leftovers that you can repurpose...i'll show you this momentarily. Also, once the majority of the wax is out, you can use soap and water to clean the inside of the container. Goo Gone is also good for cleaning up residue or removing old labels. 

REPURPOSING

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Supplies: Wooden dowel, gorilla glue or super glue, wick, and old candle jar

Supplies: Wooden dowel, gorilla glue or super glue, wick, and old candle jar

Melt all leftover wax and keep in pot on simmer on the stove. Use super glue to attach wick to the base of the jar. Be patient....I am not patient at all. I now have super glue fingers. Fun times. Wrap the wick around a wooden dowel to keep the wick straight when you pour the wax in the jar.

Melt all leftover wax and keep in pot on simmer on the stove. Use super glue to attach wick to the base of the jar. Be patient....I am not patient at all. I now have super glue fingers. Fun times. Wrap the wick around a wooden dowel to keep the wick straight when you pour the wax in the jar.

Slowly pour the hot wax into the jar.

Slowly pour the hot wax into the jar.

I put this sucker in the freezer...because once again, I am SUPERRRRR impatient. Once its solidified, cut the wick to length with finger nail clippers and marvel at how wonderful and resourceful you are.  I forgot to mention: Make sure all the leftover wax you are using will smell good together once melted. Mine were all somewhat florally so it worked well.  For those of you wondering, my favorite candles ever are Capri Blue Volcano. You can find a great assortment here Another favorite are Candle Fish. They are based out of Charleston, SC and if you're in the area you need to check them out...you can make your own candles. They smell like flowers and tiny angels. You can get your own kit here

I put this sucker in the freezer...because once again, I am SUPERRRRR impatient. Once its solidified, cut the wick to length with finger nail clippers and marvel at how wonderful and resourceful you are. 

I forgot to mention: Make sure all the leftover wax you are using will smell good together once melted. Mine were all somewhat florally so it worked well. 

For those of you wondering, my favorite candles ever are Capri Blue Volcano. You can find a great assortment here

Another favorite are Candle Fish. They are based out of Charleston, SC and if you're in the area you need to check them out...you can make your own candles. They smell like flowers and tiny angels. You can get your own kit here

So, this is what happens when you are impatient and you get super glue all over you and then you touch paper towels. No, I cannot get the glue off my hands. 

So, this is what happens when you are impatient and you get super glue all over you and then you touch paper towels. No, I cannot get the glue off my hands. 

A DIY MODERN/BOHO BRIDAL SHOWER

I don't know about anybody else, but I wholeheartedly believe that brunch is the best meal of the day. You can literally get away with eating anything and mimosas are typically involved. Did I mention I love a good brunch? I also love a good party. When I decided to throw my now sister-in-law, Brooke, a bridal shower I knew I wanted it to be outside, have great, pescatarian-friendly food (except bacon, because its bacon) and have lots of flowers. I also saw it as a good way to try some DIY projects that I'd had my eye on for a while. Brooke loves fawl, which is fall said in Brooke's Long Island accent. But since the shower was October 1st and it was barely what you would consider fawl, I decided to go for more of and Indian Summer theme. I knew exactly how I wanted everything to look and even though I almost killed myself doing it because I tend to overdo it, everything turned out perfect. Brooke is the best person to do stuff like this for because her reactions are always over the top and really quite enjoyable and that makes it all worth it! Stay tuned for some in depth how-to's...but for now, see some links below. Enjoy!

Shibori napkins- buy here 

Plates + bowls- Verge series from Crate and Barrel- buy here

Place setting- vintage silver 

Macrame table runner- Anthropologie- buy here (similar one)

DIY Flower Crown- tutorial coming soon

DIY Printable Menu- free pdf coming soon

DIY Place cards

DIY Printable pickled green tomato label- free pdf coming soon

DIY fabric ribbon backdrop- tutorial coming soon

SOURDOUGH CRAB SANDWICH

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I love seafood, and I especially love crab. So, when I went to the Giants game while in San Francisco you can imagine my enthusiasm when I came across a stand at the game called Crazy Crab'z. I got the crab sandwich which consisted of Dungeness crab and tomato on buttery grilled San Francisco sourdough. It was insanely good and was everything I wanted it to be. It even made me forget about eating a hotdog...yeah, that good. For anyone who knows me at all, they would not be surprised at the fact that right after I ate the sandwich I was dreaming up my own version. So here it is! 

Sourdough Crab Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • Fresh sourdough loaf
  • 1 lb crab legs
  • Mayo
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh dill- about 4-5 sprigs give or take based on preference, finely chopped
  • Fresh lemon juice from 1 small lemon
  • 1 Tsp pepper
  • Salt (if needed- I would recommend tasting the crab first. My crab legs were brined and therefore didn't require any additional salt)
  • Red pepper flakes (you can omit if you don't prefer a kick)
  • Butter (just enough to butter the bread)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place crab legs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook crab legs for about 10 minutes, or until you can start to smell the crab. Keep the oven on even once the crab is done cooking.

Once the crab is cooked (this is the fun part....kind of) you need to get all of the crab out of the shell. I found that about 2 1/2 clusters were enough for my sandwich, but that depends on how big your sandwich is and how big your clusters are. 

You'll notice I didn't put many measurements for the mayo or sour cream. I would add this to the crab based on how creamy you want it, and honestly, you could do this with most of the ingredients. 

Once your crab "salad" is ready, set it aside. Butter two slices of sourdough bread and toast them just enough for the butter to melt and the edges to brown.

Lastly, assemble a generous...more like heaping portion of crab on the sourdough and top with a couple slices of tomato. Place the sandwich in the oven to warm it through. 

Enjoy!