The more I reflect on my life, stories I hear from others, and stories I read from the bible, the more I acknowledge that the most extraordinary people, life-events, and relationships evolve in a manner we least expect.
Our carpenter was able to get the 2nd floor framing completed before he went on a holiday vacation. This gives us some time to catch up on picking plumbing fixtures and other items needed prior to rough-in on 2nd floor.
We are using the flooring from the original bathroom as replacement boards since this will soon become an outside deck. The old stairs which once came up from the 1st floor kitchen were also removed during demo.
More demo on the house happened since we weren’t able to re-use the old chimneys (they used coal prior) and the openings where one would place a normal firebox for logs did not exisit. You can see how narrow the old brick was while the wall/storage built-in on either side made it appear larger.
I can make this in record time. So can you!
Recipe Yields 2-4 Servings
1 lb. Angel Hair, Spaghetti, or Linguini
15-20 Large Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined
1 Stick of Butter
1 Clove of Garlic, chopped
1 Tsp. Salt.
1 Tsp. Pepper
1 Cup White Wine
1/2 Lemon (squeezed)
1/4 Cup Pecorino Romano
* Melt butter in a Saucepan over medium-high flame.
* Add chopped garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.
* Add shrimp, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium flame for 3-5 minutes, until pink.
* Remove Shrimp to a bowl.
* Add wine and lemon juice. Simmer for a few minutes.
* Stir in grated cheese
* Place shrimp back in pan. Sprinkle with more grated cheese and lemon juice.
* Add cooked pasta to the pan and serve with fresh parsley.
* 2 Dozen Chicken Wings
* 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
* 1/4 Cup Flour
* Salt, Pepper, Cayenne, and Garlic Powder
* 2 Cups Wing Sauce (Franks® is recommended)
* 1/4 C. Brown Sugar
* 4 Tbs. Butter
* Preheat Oven to 400°.
* Heat oil in a large skillet over a medium-high flame.
* Mix flour with salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder.
* Coat Wings in flour mixture and fry on both sides until golden brown. (Approx. 2 minutes)
* Transfer Wings to oven (non-greased baking pan), and bake for 20-25 minutes.
* Meanwhile melt butter in a small saucepan over a medium flame.
* Add Wing Sauce.
* Stir in Brown Sugar. Simmer on low until wings are fully cooked.
* Transfer wings to a large bowl and pour wing sauce on top to saturate.
* Serve with Celery and Blue Cheese!
I’m fairly convinced that you can throw just about anything into a soup or stew! (Ok, maybe not everything…) But, at least there are fewer rules to follow (have I mentioned how much I prefer to color outside of the lines!) All that to say, I love to make-up my own soups or stews based upon whatever I can find in my fridge and cupboard. If I had ground beef, pork, and/or veal on hand, I would have thrown some mini-meatballs in here! I’ll reserve that for a different post.
Serves MANY bowls of soup…and freezes wonderfully, too!
1 Small Whole Chicken, or 2 Chicken Breasts
64oz. Chicken Broth
2 Cups Water
1 Tbs. each Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Onion Powder
2 14.5oz Cans Diced Tomatoes
2 Tbs. Tomato Paste
2 Cups Each of Chopped Carrots, Celery, and Onion
1/2 lb. of Acini Di Pepe OR Ditalini Pasta
2 lbs. Fresh Spinach
1 Can Corn
Pecorino romano cheese
*Fill Large Post with Chicken Broth, 2 Cups Water, Diced Tomatoes, and seasonings.
*Stir in Tomato Paste (which will gradually blend into soup consistency).
*Cook over Medium-high flame for about 1 hour (until chicken is cooked), stirring and straining chicken fat from the top, intermittently.
*Remove Chicken. (It chicken has skin and/or bones, wait until cooled and separate from meat and dice.)
*Add Carrots, Celery, and Onion.
*Cook over Medium-high flame for 45 minutes.
*Bring water to a boil. Add Pasta. Stir Constantly and cook according to pasta directions on box.
*Reduce heat to low. Add cooked chicken, fresh spinach, and drained corn.
*Simmer for 5-10 minutes (spinach will wilt down).
*Serve hot with grated pecorino romano cheese and Sriracha Sauce for a kick!
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|
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.
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
- 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)
- 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.
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 – 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 – 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.|
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.
|Dining & Living Room ACCENT ONLY Colors (Taupe, Cinnamon, Browns, Navy)|
|Spare Bedroom – The BLUE ROOM|
|Spare Bedroom – The ROSE ROOM|
|Sun-Room Kitchen Eating Area|