I'm finding the beauty in the chaos today. There are boxes and cabinets, ladders, saws and tools - everywhere. The garage, the kitchen and the living room are all littered with pieces and parts of the new kitchen, just waiting for their turn to be installed in the new space. It looks like Christmas morning without the wrapping paper. 😂 🎄 My emotions today are fluctuating between nervous excitement and eager anticipation. 😬
By the time I post my next blog - we will surely have some pictures of our new cabinets ... installed. Eeeek! While I "patiently" wait for the installers to finish their job, I won't have access to my oven or the microwave. My plan was to cook dinner on the grill tonight but ... it's been pouring down rain for the last 3 days and I don't feel like standing in a downpour while I wait for our salmon to cook. ⛈
It looks like it's take out for us, for the next couple of days. We actually haven't eaten out nearly as much as I thought that we would during our kitchen remodel so it's not really a big deal. I don't mind ordering our dinners out - what I miss most are the fun desserts that we would make to celebrate all of the ordinary and extraordinary events in our lives.
A couple of weeks ago - I made this Caramel Apple Charcuterie Board to kick off the start of the Fall season. (Like I said - we celebrate it all in our house. 😅) I LOVE caramel apples but it's a struggle for me to eat a giant apple in one sitting. And let's face it - there's no good way to wrap and store a half eaten caramel apple. Not to mention the fact that my entire face ends up sticky, no matter how carefully I try and eat it. The solution to my caramel apple conundrum - caramel apple charcuterie.
There's no specific recipe for this dessert charcuterie board. I think the pictures speak for themselves though. I simply sliced apples, dipped them in sprite to keep them from browning and then put a skewer in each one. Next was the fun part - the bowls of toppings. We went with:
Mini chocolate chips
Health Bar bits
My thought was that I would eat LESS of these since I wasn't committed to eating a whole apple but the truth is that I ate so many apple skewers that I think I are more than just one apple. 😬 Ooops. I just wanted to try every combination of toppings. 😂 The caramel, the chocolate and the marshmallow made great "glue" for the rest of the goodies. Maybe it's a good thing that I can't make this again right now because apparently - I can't limit myself when it comes to caramel apple skewers. 😂
Well, I'm officially a mobile baker. Tonight I gathered up groceries and supplies and stacked on my dining room table - ready for transport. You didn't think that not having a kitchen was going to stop me from baking, did you? Tomorrow afternoon I'm packing up all my supplies and heading to a friends house to get my baking on. 😅
It's been a full week since my kitchen remodel began and I'm already itching to get baking again. 👩🏻🍳 Thank goodness for sweet friends who generously offered to let me use their kitchen while mine is down. Clearly, they haven't seen the mess I can make while I bake. 😜 I'm definitely not going to be making buttercream because honestly - I'm not quite sure how to explain greasy ceilings. 😅
Even though I won't be whipping up any buttercream tomorrow, I do have all of the ingredients gathered up for vegetarian chili, chocolate cake, chocolate crackle cookies and pumpkin spice muffins. That should satisfy my need to bake for at least a few more days. 🤣
I made these muffins for the first time, a couple of weeks ago. The recipe is simple and straightforward. The texture is light and fluffy and the flavor is nothing short of perfect. These buttery, cinnamon sugar coated, pumpkin spiced muffins are the most delicious Fall treat. October is pumpkin spice season and let's just say - I prefer to sink my teeth into something made with actual pumpkin than to drink something pumpkin flavored.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
¼ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup butter , melted
Dip each muffin top into butter and then into cinnamon sugar topping.
If you happen to have a jar of pumpkin pie spice on hand - you can replace the individual spices in the recipe with 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice. Enjoy!
Projects. Everyone wanted to know what in the world I was going to do without a kitchen and the answer is simple - projects. Until my kitchen remodel is complete and I have a functional space to cook again, I'm occupying my time by crossing all sorts of tasks off of my to-do list. This week I pressure washed the front porch and sidewalk, sanded and stained the porch swing, transplanted some shrubs, planted some flowers and vegetables and cleared out my email inbox. 😂Intentional procrastination is what I'm calling it. Purposely not doing something in anticipation of having extra time in the future in which to complete the task. 😅 (I'm pretty sure that's not really a thing but oh well. 🤷🏻♀️)
As it turns out, I may have "intentionally procrastinated" way more projects than I'll actually be able to finish in the amount of time that it takes to complete my kitchen renovation. 😬 Do you think it's unrealistic to have all of my Christmas shopping done, my closets completely cleaned out and reorganized, make nine holiday t-shirts and get my yard horticulture digest worthy in the next 3 weeks? 🤣
The truth is that as much as I love to bake - I'm kind of enjoying this time that I have to work on other things. I think it's probably good for me to take a break from baking for a little while and explore some of my other hobbies - even if it IS a forced break. I forgot how therapeutic it was to take long morning walks past the cows and horses while listening to my favorite tunes. 🐮🐴
News of our kitchen remodel evokes a similar response in most people. The first question everyone wants to know is always "What are you going to DO?" which inevitably is followed up with "What are you going to EAT?" 😅 Now that you know what I'm DOING during our remodel phase, I guess I should let you in on what we're EATING.
We've actually been able to use our oven, stovetop and microwave throughout this first week of reno. Not having countertops or water presents a challenge but we've managed to fix some pretty great meals in our makeshift kitchen this week. We had shrimp and steak on the grill, tacos and even made fried eggs for breakfast. We have definitely NOT been deprived of yummy food.
I also made a small stockpile of goodies and tucked them away in my freezer for just this occasion. I had actually forgotten that I had made this Cinnamon Coffee Cake so when I ran across it in the freezer this week, it was like finding unexpected cash in my jeans. 💵 I probably shouldn't mention that I'd just made this cake 2 weeks ago and yet somehow, I had completely forgotten about it. 🤦🏻♀️ Anyhoo... I took it out of the freezer, defrosted it overnight and then shared it with the remodeling crew this week.
Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Filling and Streusel
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
12 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Let cool in pan 30 minutes. Remove from pan.
Cut into squares and serve warm.
This breakfast cake reminds me of one that my grandmother used to make. I never got her coffee cake recipe but I feel like the taste and texture of this cake very closely resembles what she used to feed me as a child. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.
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. 😂
This is what my kitchen looked like at 8:00 AM this morning.
And this is what my kitchen looked like at 3:00 this afternoon...
and I couldn't be happier about it. This means that our long awaited kitchen remodel if finally underway!!! 😃 Yup, I'll just be over here doing my happy dance now! 😅
Obviously there'll be minimal cooking during the deconstruction phase of the remodel so we'll be relying on freezer meals ... AND the generosity of my neighbors who have graciously offered to let me borrow their ovens to warm our dinners. 😂
This chicken bacon ranch casserole is one of the meals that I had prepped and frozen in anticipation of demo day. I'm not normally a big casserole fan but this pasta and chicken creation with turkey bacon really peaked my interest. It was delicious and I think you're going to like it too. I recommend doubling the recipe - make one to savor now and one to tuck away in your freezer for another day. ✌🏻
Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole
4 slices bacon, diced (or turkey bacon)
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix
8 ounces rotini
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Sprinkle bacon over casserole.
Cover and freeze OR bake 20 minutes at 375.
Tomorrow we're going to get even more space added to our kitchen with the addition of a new pantry. I feel like a kid at Christmas - I can hardly wait. Not to worry - I'll be taking all of you along for this remodel ride along with us. Look for another kitchen update soon.
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