A Look Back

TimeHop is an app that alerts you daily and pulls your pictures and posts from that date in previous years. Over the last couple of days mine has pulled pictures of when I was knee-deep in broken tiles and drywall during my bathroom remodel.

Originally, the bottom four feet of the bathroom walls were covered in tile. Yes, ALL the walls. Since the gold flecked white tiles were more fab 50s than I wanted they needed to go.

I’m pretty handy around the house and have the store map to Lowe’s burned into my brain. But this project was by far the most challenging I have ever attempted. I think simply because I only have one shower and if anything went wrong I would be stuck in a big way.

The demolition was both challenging and cathartic. I didn’t care for the clean up every night. After each destruction session I would have to completely remove all of the tiles, drywall bits, and dust that managed to get everywhere. I put up painters tarps over the torn up walls so that the shower would still be functional to some degree.

Once everything was ready I realized I needed more hands to put up the new drywall and plastic surround walls. I’m lucky enough that my parents live fairly close so they came out and helped with this part.

Once the shower walls were up I attacked the rest of the walls which meant learning how to mud over all the bad spots where the 60 year old tiles didn’t want to release easily. Smooth the mud over the walls, wait for it to dry, sand, sand, sand, and repeat until the walls were back to normal. Not my favorite part since it really challenged my OCD nature. I added some paint (walls and ceiling) and that part was done.

Next up… Learning how to tile a backsplash. This was my favorite part! It was tough on my back but still so much fun!

I’m almost ashamed to say how proud I am about how the bathroom turned out. I walked away from this project having learned so many new things. I am confident that I will use these lessons again in the future.

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Very Much Alive

Hemingway once said, “When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead.” I can’t help but agree with him and after all the fun we had this weekend during our anniversary trip I think we may just live forever.

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Table Rock Lake is a huge lake in SW Missouri. Branson (The elderly Vegas of the Midwest) is a part of the 800 miles of shoreline for those that are familiar. With over 43,000 acres of water to explore we had a blast fishing and tubing but the best part was getting two full days away together. The weather has been unseasonably cool so it was completely perfect camping weather. Goldilocks would have even announced it as just right.

We’ve had such a good year together and I can’t wait to share so many more.

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Hot Comfort

Chicken Stew

Chicken Stew

It’s the middle of July in the Midwest and usually that means temperatures in the mid nineties.  With this latest polar vortex (at least that’s what the news is calling it) we’re comfortably in the mid-seventies.  It’s crazy how much this feels like autumn.  Which explains why my tummy has been craving comfort food.  I made chili last week before the weather change and I felt a little silly but it was too tasty to care.  So today I decided that my soup pot needed to be fed something my family calls chicken stew.  It’s a hearty chicken soup made with flavorful dark meat and a creamy broth.  Like all really good soups it takes a little time but very little effort.  You could add noodles to this (I like Reames) but the chicken is so hearty just how it is I think the extra noodles are too much.  But I’ve done it and it’s still really good but more of a winter soup that way.


Chicken Stew


 

  • 6-8 chicken thighs- bone in and skin on
  • 8-10 cups water
  • 4 carrots diced
  • 2 large sweet onions diced
  • 1 whole jalapeño 
  • 1/2 pint mushrooms diced
  • 2-3 mini-cups of Knorr Chicken Stock gels
  • Salt/Pepper/Poultry Seasoning/Paprika/ cilantro- to taste
  • 1 block of cream cheese cubed
  1. Over medium high heat place chicken, skin-side down, in a large soup pot.
  2. Cook until chicken is about half done
  3. Add water, carrots, onions, and jalapeño 
  4. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer for about an hour
  5. Remove chicken pieces and set aside to cool
  6. Remove jalapeño and discard
  7. Skim any excess fat from the top of the soup and discard
  8. Add mushrooms
  9. Once chicken is cooled, remove and discard skins and bones, and break chicken into medium pieces before returning them to the pot
  10. Season with the chicken stock gels making sure to dissolve each one in the soup before tasting and adding any more gels
  11. Season with the poultry spices, salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
  12. Remove about two cups of the liquid and add to the cubed cream cheese (I like to microwave this to help melt the cheese) mixing until smooth
  13. Add the cheese mixture back to the soup
  14. Add cilantro to taste
  15. Serve hot (I like to have mine with a little bit of hot sauce added)

Makes 10-12 servings

Summer Harvest Salsa

It’s no secret that I play in the kitchen when I’m bored or stressed. I’m recovering from a really nicely sprained ankle so I was home this weekend and not out playing at the lake watching fire works like so many other people. Absolutely ok since I got to try my hand at making fresh salsa. I have no idea why it’s taken me this long to attempt this sort of thing.

Looking around the kitchen I took quick stock of what I had to make salsa. I received some nice roma tomatoes and onions in my CSA basket last week. I had a few serrano peppers left over from some chili I made a few days earlier. And like any good home cook I’ve always got some garlic and cilantro on hand. Oh and cherries are in season and, more importantly, they’re on sale so I had some of those as well.

This salsa is seriously simple to make with my kick-ass blender. Toss everything in, turn it on, done. Not too hot… but it has a kind of back-of-the-palate growing heat thing going on that I happen to like.  The cherries give it a nice change of pace and just a touch of sweetness.

Ingredients (makes about 3-4 cups)

  • 3-5 tomatoes- I used Roma
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 serrano peppers, stems removed
  • 1/4 – 1/2 pound of pitted sweet cherries (frozen can be used if you can’t find these fresh)
  • handful of cilantro
  • juice from a whole lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes and onion into blender manageable size
  2. Add all of the ingredients to the blender
  3. Blend until desired texture is reached

You can chop all of the ingredients by hand but in this instance I liked the idea of something a little smoother than normal.

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Abso-freakin-crave This!

Lap band patients are supposed to focus on our protein intake. I’ve been slacking heavily lately so I’ve looked for inspiration all over the place. A classmate told me about something called the Dukan Diet. Essentially it’s 90% lean protein and 10% veggies once you get past the initial five days of only protein.

At first an all protein diet sounds dull and tasteless. But when I started looking around at recipes I found something that stood up and grabbed my attention immediately. Sauces! I adore sauces and since texture is such a factor for me and my lap band, sauces help good things stay down.

The first recipe I made was a Korean diced steak. A very tasty start but not the recipe I was the most excited about.

Enter Asian Sticky Chicken (originally found here but I adjusted it a bit for what I had on hand). I used chicken drummettes since it’s easier for me to find the right portion for my tiny tummy. The sauce is four ingredients… FOUR! I’ve never made wings before and this recipe makes me wonder why I haven’t tried them sooner.

Asian Sticky Chicken Wings

Ingredients
8-10 chicken drummettes
3 T balsamic vinegar
3 T low sodium soy sauce
2 T Brown Sugar Blend Splenda
2 t chili paste (I used Gochujang)

Method
•In a medium skillet lightly coated with cooking spray, brown both sides of the chicken (about 4 minutes per side).
•While that is browning, combine the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, or until it thickens a bit.
•After your chicken has browned, add the sauce to the skillet and cook for another 5 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Be sure the sauce doesn’t get too thick or it might burn.

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