Kitchen Remodel Report, part 2:

NOVEMBER: 

After doing a ton of demo ourselves and finding way too many things that were above our paygrade, we decided to talk to my husband’s friend who is a contractor.  Our conversation with him initially started with just the cabinets because it was determined that with what we were looking to do, pre-built was not going to work and we needed custom.  That all turned into him and his guys coming in and taking the whole thing down to the studs.

Oh boy. We thought we were finding bad stuff before! There was old termite damage (yay for California living!) in the subfloors and some of the studs in the walls. They came in and completely replaced the subfloor and fixed the studs in the walls.

Next, we had an electrician come and check it all out. Initially, my husband was going to do the electrical, but we need a whole new electrical panel (not surprised) and it’s just way more than we were expecting. It’ll be nice though because before, we could make toast or brew coffee, but not at the same time. Also, we had three light switches that all turned on different lights in the room. And there wasn’t even that much light in the room.  This will be better. And we are getting under cabinet lights, which I always thought was pretty cool. 

Stay tuned for more, which will include, but is not limited to—because this is all full of surprises—plumbing, new floors, appliance installation, actual walls, and hopefully an end in sight.

No Kitchen Dinner: Microwave Pasta

So, they make microwavable pastas and they are really good. Bird’s Eye has these veggie pastas that are really good. Perfect to keep on hand for a quick healthy meal.

I did discover though, that you can make any pasta in the microwave.  The texture wasn’t my favorite, but maybe I tried to make too much? I don’t know, but it worked and it’s worth having a new trick in your cooking arsenal.

Put your pasta in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with water. Make sure the water is higher than the pasta by about an inch. Cover with a plate and put a plate underneath in case of spillage. Add 3-4 minutes to the suggested cooking time and microwave. Check for desired doneness.  I would suggest cooking by the serving. I did the whole package and it took forever. I think there was just too much pasta.

Then add whatever sauce you want. I love this Autumn Harvest sauce from Trader Joe’s.

No Kitchen Dinner: Rotisserie Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

Grocery stores have such great options for when you can’t cook! This one almost made me feel like I wasn’t drowning in clutter around my house and things were back to normal.

Chicken: Grocery story rotisserie chickens are my jam, whether I have a kitchen or not. They are so insanely versatile, I buy them all the time. My favorite is when Pavilions has their $5 Friday specials, otherwise, the ones at Costco are my go-to because they are much bigger than the other ones. 

Sweet Potatoes: Trader Joe’s to the rescue again! Seriously, if you don’t have a TJs near you, you should move to where there is one and live happily ever after. I found these in the frozen section. They are little gems of mashed sweet potatoes that you cook in the microwave. You just take out however many discs you need (12 discs is 2 servings) and heat ‘em up for a few minutes.  I then add a little ghee and a touch of maple syrup. Perfection. I’ll buy these to keep on hand anyway!

Brussels Sprouts: I’ve been using my Instant Pot a lot as a substitute for my skillet, which has been met with mixed reviews. The saute function on the IP isn’t really meant for long-term cooking; more so for browning or thickening up a sauce at the end. I’ve made it work, but it isn’t ideal because you can’t control the heat. I made my usual brussels sprouts by sauteing bacon in a little bit of olive oil and adding chopped leeks and a little minced garlic. Add the brussels sprouts and cook until softened and browned to your liking.

No Kitchen Dinner: Microwave Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Bolognase

While perusing the aisles at Trader Joe’s, I came across these two items and I immediately grabbed them. They must be new-ish because I hadn’t seen them before and they are perfect for cooking without a stove/oven.

You just microwave the Spaghetti Squash in the bag and shred it, per the package instructions. I added some garlic salt and a little ghee to give it more flavor.  Then you microwave the Turkey Bolognase and top the spaghetti squash.

Done.  A healthy and delicious dinner ready in minutes.

Kitchen Remodel Report, part 1:

SEPTEMBER:

I just realized how long it’s been since I’ve updated here! We actually started our kitchen remodel, so I haven’t been able to get as creative in the kitchen as I’d like, but I do have some recipes I keep meaning to share. Life has just been so crazy busy, you know!?

Let’s start at the beginning.  Our kitchen has need a remodel since we first bought the house. It was always in the plans, it was just more of a long-term project.  Well, the day finally came and we just tore the place apart. We were going to try to do it piece-meal, but Lord knows that’s not how it was actually going to go. The kitchen is almost gutted (trying to keep the sink as long as possible) and has been quite the treasure hunt.

The walls and ceiling were covered in wood paneling. We took that down and discovered why. There are holes and cracks galore. I would suggest investing in a company that makes spackle, because we have a LOT of mudding in our future. And I am in no way exaggerating. 

Also, the paneling was put on with approximately 2.657 million nails AND industrial strength wood glue.

I have spent way too many hours scraping glue. I found this industrial adhesive remover which has helped tremendously, but it is still been a serious chore. 

I’ve never been one for feng shui, but my house is such a disaster area right now and it has my anxiety on high alert.  I’m cooking almost exclusively in my Instant Pot and microwave which are located in the living room and on the floor by the front door, respectively. It’s not ideal, but you know what? We are making it work somehow. We are in the “what were we thinking? This will never be done. Is this just our life now?” phase, but I know it will get done and we will be so happy with it.

I just wish we had done it in the summer and not during my favorite cooking/baking time of year!  Oh well.  Lesson learned.