This may be a chilly November morning, but I'm day dreaming about the most amazing island. 🏝No, not one with tropical beaches and tiki torches. The island I'm dreaming about has a cutting board drawer and a drawer with an outlet for my computer. This 2x6 foot island has a whopping 30 drawers! #organizersdream Oh, and I forgot to mention the best part - this incredible island has a retractable platform so I can stand at my counter like a normal sized adult. 🤣
We're 24 hours away from seeing my vision become a reality. Nearly a year ago, I sketched what I imagined to be the ultimate kitchen island on a tiny piece of paper and here it is - about to be installed. There were lots of nay sayers and cabinet makers who outright refused to even attempt to build this crazy cabinet. There were hundreds of reasons why my plan wasn't going to work. It wasn't structurally sound and some of the things I included in my plan, didn't even exist. What can I say? I'm a baker, not an architect.
Some people have a work desk - I have a work island.
Along with the kitchen island, my stove will be reinstalled tomorrow as well. Something I've been without for a week and a half. You don't realize how much you depend on your stove until it's missing. And can anyone explain, why I started craving pasta the minute that they took away my ability to boil water? 🍝Thankfully I still have my wall oven so I've been using that this week. If you need a super tasty Fall comfort, sheet pan meal that you can make in your oven in less than an hour - you need to give this Roasted Chicken recipe a try. It's healthy, it's super flavorful, it's quick and easy to put together and ...it doesn't require a stovetop.
Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Poblanos
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and halved and sliced into 1/2" slices
2 poblano peppers, halved, seeded and cut into 1/2"wide strips
3 Tablespoons oil
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
4 bone in chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 cup cojita cheese, crumbled (optional)
2 Tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Brush chicken with honey.
Sprinkle vegetables with cheese and pumpkin seeds.
To all of you who have been waiting to see pictures of the new kitchen - they're coming. Lots of changes coming this week - new lighting, pantry shelves and doors and of course, my piece de resistance - the island. I'm pretty sure you'll be sick and tired of seeing pictures of my kitchen by the time this is over. Thanks for sticking with me through this process. Much love. A
I have to admit, I’m a little sad to see summer go, but I can't help but be excited about the all of the possibilities that autumn has to offer. 🍂A season of fresh starts, new routines, activities and adventures. Sure, I'll miss my more laid back summer schedule and nights when the sun didn't set until after 9:00 but I'm excited about this new season that we're entering into. 🍁
I'm ready to trade in my bathing suit for some soft, cozy sweaters and my fresh strawberry shortcake and corn on the cob for all things warm, delicious and pumpkiny. 🎃There's something about the crisp Fall air that makes me want to escape to my kitchen and start putting together hearty casseroles, make comforting soups and bake soul warming desserts. 🍎
Sadly, my kitchen still isn't quite ready for me to use - still waiting on water and countertops - so my Fall cooking might not happen until late November this year. Rest assured that even if it's delayed - it WILL happen. I can hardly wait to start to start baking in my new dream kitchen. Just imagine the Thanksgiving extravaganza that I can create this year with double the oven capacity. 🦃 😅
We eat a fair amount of take out these days and grain bowls have become my new go-to meal. I've have some really awesome grain bowl creations from local restaurants so putting together a homemade bowl filled with roasted sweet potatoes, fresh apples, walnuts and dried cranberries just seemed to make sense. I actually made this Autumn Harvest Grain Bowl just before kitchen demolition began in September. It was super satisfying and SUPER delicious.
Autumn Harvest Bowl
2 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup quinoa cooked
1 small sweet potato
1 apple, sliced thin
1/4 cup chickpeas, rinsed
2 Tbsp dried cranberries
1 Tablespoon chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons cheese
for the dressing:
2 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
Grain bowls are growing in popularity and you might remember the other grain bowl recipes that I've shared on the blog. My family loves mediterranean bowls with olives, cucumbers, tomatoes with a tahini sauce. Mexican bowls are another favorite in this house. Brown rice, cilantro, black beans and cheddar cheese take center stage when I serve those. These Fall themed grain bowls are a great way to enjoy the deliciousness of this autumn season. Pair it with a steaming cup of butternut squash soup - and you've got yourself a perfect Fall combination.
We're three days into our kitchen remodel and I'm still riding the high of this whole overwhelming experience. I know that the progress will slow and even pause for brief periods of time but as for now, I'm in awe of the progress and transformation that happens on a daily basis of the space previously known as my kitchen. 😂
I really didn't know what to expect my kitchen to look like during our remodel phase. I anticipated that my appliances would be relocated to other areas of the house for the duration of the demolition. ♨️ I really had no hope of being able to use my oven or microwave for several weeks and I was fully prepared to walk to the garage every time I wanted to get something out of the refrigerator. 🥪🚶🏻♀️
Much to my surprise, my amazing contractor set up a temporary work space in the kitchen with a working oven, microwave and refrigerator! #It'sthelittlethings. We might not have a countertops or water in the space but I'm so not complaining - we have a heat source and a frig and that's all I need. 😁🚰
Although there's no cake baking or gourmet cupcake making right now, I am actually cooking a few things using the stove and a few essential utensils and pans that I didn't box up with the rest of the kitchen. You'd be surprised at what I can make with one skillet, a whisk and a bowl. If you happen to find yourself in a similar situation (or if you just like amazing breakfast foods) I recommend that you make these breakfast quesadillas. They're delicious and they require very little kitchen equipment.
¼ cup milk
Salt and pepper
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
6 slices bacon , cooked, drained, and roughly chopped
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese , divided
6 medium soft tortilla shells
Transfer to a cutting board.
Cut into triangles.
Now that we're doing dishes in the slop sink in the laundry room - we've switched to paper plates, silverware and cups. It might not be the most eco-friendly way of dining - but it's the most practical, right now and I have a new appreciation for recipes like this one that are not only delicious but also require very few dishes. 😂
Summer 2021 - you did not disappoint. Sure, I had my fair share of struggles and disappointments but there were a whole lot more great days than bad. The highlights: our amazing trips, the time we spent with our family and friends and the lifelong memories that we made in the process. Oh, and I'm pretty sure I ate my weight in s'mores this summer too. After all, isn't that what summer is all about? 🍫
Our busy summer of travel had us eating out of the house more than usual this year. And while I appreciate a meal prepared for me by someone else, I have to admit that I'm ready for some home cooked meals. They might not be accompanied by an artfully displayed appetizer, a glass of red wine and a sweet dessert but then again - maybe that's the reason that my shorts are fitting just a little tighter these days. 😅
There are just a few weeks of summer left, before my kitchen gets completely torn apart and then reconstructed, so I'm taking full advantage and cooking as many meals at home, as I can. Healthy meals. After a summer of indulgence - okay - over-indulgence, it's back to healthy, nutritious meals for us.
I've tried serving giant bowls of lettuce in an attempt to get my family "back on track" after some unhealthy food choices and you can probably imagine how that went over. 👎🏻🤣 Turns out, displaying a big, colorful summer salad on a giant platter in the middle of the table is received much better than a bowl of lettuce. Giving my family the control to create their own customized salad from the platter, is the key to getting us all to eat healthier.
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4-5 cups baby spinach
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and sliced
1/2 English cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup toasted pecan halves
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)
Top with chicken, strawberries, avocado, cucumbers, onion, pecans and goat cheese.
Pour the poppy seed dressing on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
I am a diehard vinaigrette dressing lover. Preferably, balsamic vinegar. But after one taste of this mayonnaise based poppy seed dressing - I was hooked. I'm not sure I've ever licked the spoon that I used to stir salad dressing before. 🤣 It's that good. Trust me.
Although there's not much to report on the kitchen remodel lately - I have been trying to prepare myself mentally for what is about to happen. 🤣 Just curious, how does one go about adequately preparing themselves for literal walls to be torn down? 😬 I'm more than ready to say goodbye to my overfilled cabinets that no longer close or function properly but quite honestly, I'm not sure how I'm going to cope without a workable kitchen. Lord, help me find my calm within the storm. 🙏🏻
This month while I've been focusing on preparing myself mentally for this impending kitchen demolition, I've also been preparing my freezer. Stocking my freezer with meals that I can defrost and reheat in the microwave next month, which may or may not be plugged into an outlet in our bedroom. 😬🤷🏻♀️ Casseroles, taco meat, crock pot ready meals, pasta dishes and lasagnas will be our survival meals during our kitchen-less period.
I may or may not have gone a little overboard on the lasagna prep. I made a turkey lasagna, an eggplant lasagna and this new butternut squash lasagna. Don't judge me - I crave carbs - what can I say? 😅 This was a great two for one meal. I made one whole recipe and divided into 2 small containers. We ate one tonight and I froze the second.
Blogging a lasagna recipe is no joke. There are just soooo many steps and pictures to document that it can be overwhelming for both of us. A lengthy list of ingredients and directions for you to navigate through and a ridiculous amount of pictures for me to take and post. 😂A lasagna recipe with a homemade sauce is even more of a challenge to blog so I don't post a lot of lasagna recipes. That should tell you how much I adore this Butternut Squash Lasagna. It is worth all of the effort - trust me on this one.
Butternut Squash Lasagna
1 butternut squash
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sliced mushrooms
1 shallot, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
15 ounces ricotta
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3-6 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
no boil lasagna noodles
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
salt and pepper
1/2 cup mozzarella
2 Tablespoons parmesan
Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes at 375.
Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes longer.
The pictures of this one don't really do it justice. We gobbled this up in record time and I'm already thinking about how soon I'm going to be pulling the second one out of the freezer. 😋
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