Kitchen Remodel Report, part 1:


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.

Peach, Tomato, and Burrata Caprese

This has been a very hot summer here in Southern California.  I made this for dinner one night when I really didn’t want to cook and I just craved something refreshing. Peaches this time of year are usually pretty spot on, so I took advantage of the delicious peach season and made this yummy salad for myself.

Note: this served one as a main course. You can double it and make two salads. Serve with a glass of wine and you’ve got a really light dinner. Or you can leave it as is and it can be a side dish.

½ of a big heirloom tomato, sliced in half moons

½ to 1 whole peach, depending on size, sliced in half moons

4-5 pieces of prosciutto

1 ball buratta

Balsamic glaze for drizzling

Fresh basil, minced, for topping

You can really just chop everything up and eat it like that, but I liked the look of the circle.

Just alternate the tomato, peach, and prosciutto around a plate until the circle is complete. Place the burrata in the middle and drizzle the balsamic glaze and sprinkle the fresh basil over the top.

Eat the fruits with the buratta and feel like you are in heaven for a few moments.

When a Foodie has Foodied Too Much…

Like most people, it seems, I have spent the better part of my life struggling with weight and body issues. Of course, looking back at old pictures, back when I thought I was a whale, I was in fact, not. I wish I could have that body again. I would actually appreciate it now! 
Alas, now I am pushing 32. I have two kids. My metabolism is just not what it used to be. I figured as long as I could still fit into my jeans, I should be fine, right? Even if that means tugging and prodding and practically begging the gods of denim to button. I also have a problem seeing my weight gain because of the way I gain, I think. My legs and arms are still good, but all my weight shows up around my middle (if I’m being honest, my arms are starting to get little jiggly). I seriously look pregnant ALL THE TIME! It’s the worst. You know those “last few pounds” that everyone talks about? The middle section that is last to go away when you start working out? Yeah, that’s where ALL my fat settled in and decided to declare their home.

My weight problems, real or imagined, have always nagged at me. Walking by a mirror made me cringe. Seeing pictures made me want to cry. I had to do something. If not now, when? I never really developed the habit of working out. It was never a priority for me and before it didn’t matter, but now I’m paying the price. Also, the food. Oh my gosh, the food. I am such a foodie and I love to eat. Stressed? Eat. Upset? Eat. Celebrating? Eat. Even though I try to eat healthy as much as I can and practice portion control, it just isn’t enough. There’s always a craving that needs to be satisfied and some sort of justification for it. The problem is, when I’m not working out and not really dieting, it all adds up.

I finally decided that something, anything, needed to be done. My husband found himself in the same boat and agreed with me, so we pulled the plug on the one thing we thought could actually work for us (after researching many options). We started Nutrisystem*.

I know, I know. I never thought I would do anything like Nutrisystem, but the truth is, it works for a lot of people. I obviously can’t depend on my own will power because that hasn’t gotten me anywhere. This is not a viable long-term plan for us, and I don’t think it should be. We are going to Hawaii in August, so that was our goal date. We are planning on doing this for 3 months and hopefully shedding 35 pounds. I honestly never thought I’d be in a place where I’d need to lose 35 pounds, but here I am. I’m just glad my hubby and I are doing this together. I’m going to need all the support I can get! 

My hope with this plan is that the Nutrisystem will reset our systems, so to speak. It will train us to eat smaller portions more often (you seriously have to eat something every 2-3 hours on this plan). Train us to incorporate more healthy choices into our everyday diet (veggies, smart carbs, protein). They provide you with guides on eating out and transitioning away from Nutrisystem once your goals are met. They allow for “Flex Meals” for lunch and dinner once a week, so you can cook for yourself and pretty much teach yourself how to make better-for-you food.

We just got our first shipment of food yesterday and so we are starting today. I’ve cleared out our fridge and cupboards (except for the kids’ stuff because they are still young and can eat whatever they want…). Since you have to wait for the shipment, I have been working out everyday, so I’ve been doing well with that, which is a start at least. 

I know this is supposed to be a food blog, but I’m hoping by chronicling my journey here I can have some accountability. I will try to talk about the food I am eating because I am a little nervous about it (will it taste good? Will it be enough? Will I just be in a constant state of HANGER??) and hopefully, when I do post recipes from now on, they will be with a healthier twist. With some goodies thrown in here and there, because come on, I’m only human here, people!

Here’s hoping to being bikini ready by August! (or sooner!) Wish me luck!!

*Note: I am NOT being paid by Nutrisystem for anything I say. I really just want to lose the weight and be healthy and if my story can help someone else, then great. My opinions are my own and I will be brutally honest, because I know no other way. Although, on the off-chance someone at Nutrisystem sees this and wants to throw some $$ my way, I won’t say no.

Something a little different: Liebster Award

So Katie over at nominated me for a Liebster award. I’ve seen this award on other blogs and I really am so flattered that she liked my little blog enough to nominate me for one! Her blog is pretty great, so I’d suggest checking it out.

I’m still pretty new to the blogging world, so I am just going to copy Katie’s description of the Liebster award (I hope that’s OK!):

This is a blogging award given to newer bloggers by other bloggers to promote and welcome up-and-coming blogs. I have read several Liebster award posts, and enjoy the different questions and answers, as well as browsing the blogs nominated. It’s a great way to find new blogs, and to get to know the bloggers.

There are slight variations on the rules from blogger to blogger, but here’s basically how it works. (Note that accepting the award is optional.) If you are nominated, you can accept by writing a post that includes the following:

. Link back to the person who nominated you
. Include the instructions in your post
. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the nominator
. Display the Liebster award logo in your post
. Nominate up to 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers
. Create 11 questions for the nominees
. Notify all nominees via social media/blog

I nominated a couple blogs I’ve been enjoying lately. I don’t know if these bloggers have less than 200 followers because I don’t know how to get that info. These are just blogs I enjoy reading who I don’t think have recieved this award already. Please don’t feel like you have to answer all the questions or anything, but I just wanted you to know how much I’ve enjoyed your blogs!

Kristin @ Tastefully Gluten Free. I love this blog and I’ve even included one of her recipes on my own. I’m not gluten free at all, but with her recipes, you don’t even notice that they are geared towards a special diet. They are just delicious and that’s what matters. I mean, c’mon. She has gluten free recipes with NUTELLA. Can’t hate that! Her photos are also beautiful!

Sonal @ Food Bound. I haven’t made any of her recipes yet, but her photos are beyond GORGEOUS (see? Simple pita bread never looked so beautiful) and I can’t wait to try some!

That’s it for now. I really like other blogs too, but I noticed they already have the award, so I didn’t want to double up :0)

Here are your questions:

1. What is your favorite book?.
2. What motivates you when you need it most?
3. If you had to be trapped inside a TV show for a month as a new character, which show would it be? (past or present)
4. Who was your favorite fictional character as a child?
5. If you could take any vacation at all, money is no object, what would you do/where would you go?
6. If you could only eat one thing for a year, what would it be?
7. Game night! What do you want to play?
8. “I never leave the house without my…”
9. What is a song you play on repeat?
10. If you were keeping a secret, what is the one thing someone would have to do to get you to spill the beans?
11. You are up for a major award. Which one is it and for what category? (Oscar? Tony? Emmy? Grammy? Teen Choice?!)

Here are the answers to the questions I was given by Katie:

1. How did your blogging journey begin? (And why have you continued?)

I’ve always loved writing, and I actually started with a different blog about 5 years ago after my son was born. I just wrote about everyday things, things that interested me, an occasional soap box moment, etc. Pretty much “my blog, my rules.” I struggle with self-confidence and would often scrap blog post ideas because “who cares?” I also struggle with having photos of my kids up too much on the blog. I’m sure it’s fine, but you never know. I think I needed something that was still personal to me, but not so intimate, thus was born this blog! I love food and I love cooking and I love how it universally binds us together. I can tell personal stories and share recipes. Going through other culture’s cuisines, I can also learn a thing or two and hopefully pass all that on to whoever stops by.

2. What is your favorite kind of weather?

I live in Southern California, so this is a bit of a trick question because we only have two kinds of weather! I love when it is sunny with blue skies, but about 75 degrees. Not too hot, not too cold. But on the rare times we do get legitimate AUTUMN weather, I am a happy girl! I love my boots and scarves!! Also, nothing beats sitting in your warm house, curled up with a bowl of soup while listening to the rain fall outside.

3. What is your favorite flavor combination in a dessert?

Chocolate & Peanut Butter

4. What is one thing you hope to accomplish or do in your lifetime?
Raise my children to be strong, smart, successful, kind, and generous. And LOTS of traveling to LOTS of places!

5. What is your favorite genre of music?

I am a country girl from way back. But a lot of this new stuff is bumming me out (except for Miranda Lambert. I adore Miranda Lambert!). I like stuff from the 90s and early 2000s. I also like 90s pop, and throwing it way back to Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack pals.

6. What is your creative outlet?

Cooking/baking or catching up on scrapbooking. But only scrapbooking when I can get my kids distracted with their own art projects for extended periods of time. As you may guess, I’m way behind on those projects!

7. What is your favorite smell or combination of smells?

Roses. And newborn babies. And onions and garlic sautéing in butter :0)

8. What is one of your favorite words and why?

Lackadaisical. I know it means “careless and lazy” but it is really an aesthetically pretty word, right? It should mean something else more happy and bright.

9. What is one of your favorite quotes and why?
I’m pretty sure this one speaks for itself. It is about not worrying about other people so much and just be true to yourself. We live in a broken world; that much is true. But that doesn’t mean you have to contribute to the brokenness. It sort of goes hand-in-hand with another quote I like: “It’s not our job to toughen up our children to face a cruel & heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” Just imagine what this world would be like if everyone loved and respected each other. If everyone were kind to one another.

10. You have a whole day to yourself. how do you spend it?

I’m a bit of TV junkie, so probably watching whatever I want without lots of background noise. I can work on some sewing project while watching. I’d eat something really bad for me. I’d take a TV break to read for a while. Maybe head to the mall to do some window shopping, which would inevitably lead to finding something I just have to have.

11. What is your favorite memory from this summer?

Our family has had such a great summer. We just got back from Big Bear, so that is fresh in my mind and it was definitely a great memory I will always keep with me.