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FOOD & HOME

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Framing Has Begun!

The House on High Street

Last week, a carpenter was hired to do several framing projects.  So far, the Master Bath and Master Closet were framed out.  In addition, three upstairs doorways were repositioned to help make room for the second story Laundry Room and Jack & Jill Bathroom.

Master Sitting Area & Master Bath

 

Demo Between Spare Bedrooms for Laundry and J&J Bath

 

Spare Bedrooms Opened Up
Framing Master Walk-in Closet with Window

 

Doors Positioned for Spare Bedrooms & Laundry Room

 

Master Bath & Sitting Area

Farewell Pizza Oven!

The House on High Street

Ok, I am a little heartbroken.  Within the past few weeks, we made the decision to “ixnay” the pizza oven (in the kitchen…per se’), as it was becoming a little “too much” if ya know what I mean.  Too much weight (like 2000 pounds).  Too much space (at least 4’x5′).   And a little too much from our budget!  Just the venting alone for this extraordinary fire-operated cooking appliance, which required the installation of specialized pipe along the outside of the house…and up THREE stories, was ridiculous.

Compromise = Pizza Stove outside + In the near future

Scott gets an A+ for actually allowing me to come to this conclusion on my own.   I admit, I was rather hell-bent on my pizza oven for a long time.

Anyway, we are still determined to include special touches to our kitchen to create the look and personality that we want.

Our kitchen style?  Traditional.  Semi-Rustic.  Romantic.  Charming.  Warm.

A few ideas we have…cobblestone backsplash, authentic candle sconces, semi-worn rustic wood floors,   furniture-styled cabinets, dark with light colored contrasts, hanging pot-rack fixtures, 18th Century chandeliers, and interior window shutters…to name a few.

I never realized how much time I would spend in designing a kitchen.   I always figured I would know exactly what I wanted and have no problem in putting it all together.  (HGTV makes it look so easy!)  However, it is a lot trickier than I thought.  There are so many things to work around.

In the end, the best part is that it will be portray our personalities.  Both Scott and I are traditional, warm, and a little…authentically rustic.  I guess that’s why we had a vision with this home the very first time we walked inside.

 

Rachel Maria's Extraordinary Holiday Cookies

Rachel Maria's Recipes

Ok, here is why these cookies are extraordinary. (Secret, revealed.)

I use an already-made pie crust. Of course you can use a homemade pie crust if you prefer. But, my theory is, why do something that’s already done for you? These cookies are quick, easy, BEAUTIFUL, and oh so good.

They take about 10 minutes to assemble, and the kids love to help roll them up. I’ve been making these, in a pinch, for years. An easy crowd pleaser. Enjoy!

Rachel Maria’s Extraordinary Holiday Cookies 

Ingredients

  • 1 Pkg. (of 2) Pillsbury or Store-brand Pie Crusts
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips (Miniatures work best)
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon (for top of cookies)

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Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350º F.
  • Combine Walnuts, Chips, and Brown Sugar in a bowl.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll pie crust dough just enough to stretch and thin out the dough a bit.
  • Using a Pizza Cutter, cut 12 mini pizza-like slices. First cut in quarters, then slice each quarter into 3 skinny triangular pieces. (You can also cut into 16 slices to create smaller versions. They take the same amount of time to bake!)
  • Sprinkle the walnuts, chips, and sugar mixture along the edge of the pie crust in a circle.
  • Starting from the outside, roll each slice towards the center.
  • Assemble on an un-greased cookie sheet.
  • Sprinkle with Cinnamon.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes. (Or when pie crust appears flaky on the ends.)
  • After cooling, garnish a plate with the cookies, powdered sugar, and Hershey Kisses.

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More DEMO for Master Bath, Jack & Jill Bath, Laundry Room, and Kitchen

The House on High Street

Last week, more demolition was completed to open up a few walls and prepare for a Master Bath & Master Sitting Area with Walk-out; Jack & Jill Bath; 2nd Story Laundry Room; and enlarged Kitchen area (for a beverage-bar, utility closet, and wall oven).

The following pictures show Plaster and Lath removal.  It was a difficult job, as all the debris needed to be hauled down a steep flight of steps to the dumpster.  But, it was a success.

There is still more to do!

Master Bedroom -BEFORE – Bye-bye Wall!

 

Master Bedroom – Removing Plaster & Lathe to open up for Sitting Area
Kitchen Wall – Before – This is where the Beverage Bar, Utility Closet, Pantry, and Wall Ovens will go.

 

Plaster & Lath Removed.  See the stairway in there?  We don’t know when nor how this was used.
Master Bath – Before – Pretty, huh?
Master Bath – This actually looks better than PRE-Demo
This wall will be bumped out to enlarge Master Bath Space
4th Bedroom – Before – Soon to be Sitting Area in Master with Walk-out
During Demo – Future Master Bath & Sitting Area

 

Future Sitting Room and Walk-out
Walls opened – Here you see the Master Bath attached to the Hall.

 

EXTRA Ordinarily Yours

Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!

The House on High Street

Wood Stain Color? Kitchen Tile or Hardwood? Granite counter top design? Colors?

I am not afraid of color. Scott tends to stick to neutral colors. This house looks big, but when you are in one of the room you realize that they are not big…just high ceilings and windows! Color will add warmth and a cozy feel…which is very important to us, both.

We are getting better at compromising! We even have a great system going. (I was never expecting my husband to be so opinionated with picking out colors, furniture,curtains…you name it! But,I am learning to appreciate this and work with it.) The best news is that we always end up making home decisions that we never regret.

We have reached consensus with the lay-out of the kitchen. No matter how much Scott thinks he knows about kitchens,I have been cooking in kitchens since I was a nanny in college and catered Rachel Maria’s Delicacies. So, I know how to design a space that will flow, make me happy, AND allow guests to feel comfortable.  This is why we will have a Beverage Bar (away from my cooking space).  I am even considering those rope-offs so I will not be tripping over people (my family and husband can be a little helicopter-ish!) when I am serving a meal.

My theory is, I like my space and I respect yours, too.  If you say you’re going to do something, I will leave you alone and trust that you’ll ask for help if needed.  So, I am hoping that the kitchen design will give me the space I need to do what I do best.

Here are the other areas we have reached consensus: White Cabinets. Dark Espresso-colored Island. A Not-too-red & Not-too-brown wood stain on hard-wood floors. (We are looking at mahogany colors.) The Master Bath will be light & bright. The Powder Bath will be a darker-rustic (slate tile & cinnamon/browns/taupe colors).

I’m also narrowing down interior decorating/color palettes. When it comes to decorating, I’ll give Scott a few options to give it a Yay or Nay. When it comes to landscaping, man-cave, contractor-decisions, etc.  Scott will do the homework, narrow choices, and then run then by me. This way, we are both doing what we do best but still working together!

Here are a few of my Favorite Interior Color Palettes. Waiting on Scott’s OK.

Master Bedroom

 

Dining & Living Room ACCENT ONLY Colors (Taupe, Cinnamon, Browns, Navy)

 

Spare Bedroom – The BLUE ROOM

 

Spare Bedroom – The ROSE ROOM

 

FAMILY ROOM

 

FAMILY ROOM

 

Sun-Room Kitchen Eating Area

EXTRA Ordinarily Yours

Shed Demo

The House on High Street

We weren’t planning on taking on any outdoor projects quite yet, but the insurance company insisted that the dilapidated portion of the (back in the day) ice-house was a risk they weren’t interested in insuring.

Before and After

The dilapidated portion of the Ice House. Before removal.
After it was removed.
Before. I know. It looks like a bunch of termites holding hands. : /=
Do you see the potential of that beautiful stone beneath the cement? We did. : )
We’ll miss you. Dilapidated portion.
Bye-bye. No more dilapidated portion. LOL

 

Learning to Sew

The House on High Street
Ok, it’s official. I finally purchased my Birthday Gift from Mom and Dad…a sewing machine. After months of research, reading, email dialogues, visiting manufacturers, etc…

I decided upon the Brother Innov’is 1250D. This machine sews, quilts, and performs embroidery. Yes, Disney embroidery. So, my goal is to be making quilts, window treatments, clothes, and adding uniquely embroidered designs to my creations. I am more than excited!

For those of you who know me, you understand that I have a tendency to advance rather quickly in the domestic department. A gift I shall attribute to God. I’m thankful because it will certainly come in handy now that I am making more things by hand.

Sewing has been on my bucket list for many, many years. I have always wanted to design clothes. I have always felt a bit disgruntled whenever I purchased an item that was merely the closest I could find to the idea and quality I would have preferred. I’m not trying to discredit my favorite retailers and brands. There are some really good ones out there! But, it seems like more often than not, I am settling.

So, here I am…at 41. Not sure if I’m taking on this hobby a little too late…or a little too soon??

Last night, my brother-in-law called me “old lady” when I mentioned how excited I was to get a sewing machine. Don’t worry, seamstresses. I put him in his place. And, I promised myself that I WILL create a beautiful velvet dress for his daughter next year. My brother-in-law HATES velvet.  It makes him cringe. LOL

Also, I know my husband will be critically looking over my shoulder for the next several months keeping me accountable to produce quality garments, window treatments, etc. that will justify the cost of this piece of merchandise.

Hey, it’s my birthday money! I could have used it to buy clothes or jewelry. At least I invested in a gift that will keep on giving!

Ok, wish me luck. I know I have my work cut out for me. It all begins with opening this ever-so -intimidating, over-sized box glaring at me on our kitchen table. Well, I shouldn’t say “glaring”…I mean, Mickey looks fairly harmless and somewhat inviting.

Here goes nothing…

Rachel Maria's Oh So Tender Short-Braised Ribs

Rachel Maria's Recipes

Recipe Yields 2-4 Servings

Ingredients

*3 lbs. (4-6) Beef Short Ribs (Cut 2″ thick)
* 2-3 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* Kosher Salt
* Ground Black Pepper
* 1 Medium Yellow Onion – Chopped
* 2-3 Carrots – Chopped
* 3 Cloves Garlic – Chopped
* 2 Tbs. Tomato Paste
* 1 Cup Dry Red Wine (Cabernet Sauvignon)
* 16 oz. Beef Stock
* 1 Sprig Fresh Thyme
* 2 Bay Leaves

Recipe

* Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
* Season Ribs on both sides with Salt and Pepper.
* Add Olive Oil to coat bottom of a Dutch Oven over a Medium High Flame.
* Sear Ribs on for approximately 5-8 minutes on each side.
* Remove with tongs and set aside until all ribs are seared.
* Add more oil to the pan.  Saute’ Onion and Carrot for 3-5 minutes over Medium High Flame.  Continue stirring and gently scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to pick up brownings and flavor from the meat.
* Add Garlic (chopped in smaller pieces) and continue stirring for 1-2 minutes.
* Add Tomato Paste. Continue to gently scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
* After a few minutes add wine and stir together on Medium flame. Cook a few more minutes.
* Gently arrange ribs back into the Dutch Oven.
* Pour Beef Stock over the ribs.
* Add Thyme Sprig and Bay Leaf.
* Transfer to your oven & Cook for 2-3 hours.
* Remove the ribs (they may be falling apart, off the bone) and set aside.
* Use liquid as is, strain it, or add a little corn starch mixed with hot water and heat over a medium flame (stirring) until reduced.
* Serve over mashed potatoes topped with your preferred style of gravy.

*I use a Dutch Oven. However, a Crock Pot works just as well. Simply transfer the meat and liquid (created by sauteing vegetables, adding tomato paste, wine, stock and seasonings) – to a crock pot and cook on Low for 5-6 hours or High for about 3 hours. You will know when these ribs are ready as they are falling off the bone! Enjoy.  

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Flat Roof Coating

The House on High Street

Oct 27 Decisions… re-coat, re-roof on top of old, tear off and re-roof new, change roof pitch, or add new type of roofing material. With a slew of other projects that required funds, Scott and I decided to re-coat the roof, since the current roof was in OK condition. (Per 2 roofing companies’ opinions and that of our home inspector.)

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