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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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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Before, During, and After

One of the spare rooms in my house was previously home to a sticker-happy little girl.  There were stickers everywhere.  Little. Flower. Stickers.  They were on the walls, above the closet, on the blade of the ceiling fan.  I have no idea how a little girl could even get to some of these places.

Before- Bright crayon ORANGE

Before- Bright crayon ORANGE

Kilz is the only thing I could come up with that even had a chance of covering this crazy color.  You can’t go wrong with something called Hide-All.  Worth a shot anyway.  I’d say that it did a pretty good job.  This is after just two coats of primer.  I’m impressed with it.

During- Two coats of Kilz primer covers almost all of the orange nightmare

During- Two coats of Kilz primer covers almost all of the orange nightmare

I attempted to paint over the already poorly painted trim but it didn’t go well and I ended up stripping the whole room.  Not really fun… even for a picker like me.  But I like how it turned out and I’m glad that I decided against pulling the carpet.  Now, onto the next project.

After- A nice work space that won't blind the senses

After- A nice work space that won’t blind the senses

Tasty Inspiration

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Today’s breakfast was inspired by a single new ingredient to my household.  I’ve used it for years but never purchased it until yesterday (I’ve had a few hookups keeping me supplied).  It is gochujang or Korean hot/red pepper paste.  I initially saw it used on a couple of cooking shows and got curious about it a while ago.  I was lucky enough at the time to have a Korean coworker who supplied me with my first taste.  I used it mostly as a background flavor for soup or marinades but however I used it I was hooked.  I’ve been getting more and more adventurous with spicy foods over the last year or so but having even a half a kilo (just over a pound) of this spicy paste in my fridge intimidated me.  Not the case any more.  I just had to decide what to make with it for my first real attempt at showcasing this delicious paste.

I remember seeing a recipe that caught my eye a while ago for shakshuka.  It is simply poached eggs in a spiced up tomato sauce that originates from the middle east, Tunisia to be exact.  Since I really love poached eggs I made a mental note to try this recipe but hadn’t done so until today.  I felt that with the cold rain that we have today I needed something a bit more comforting to add to the meal.  A toasted tortilla sounded great.  Then the picture of huevos rancheros popped into view.  Why not merge these two meals?  It should be mentioned that I’ve never actually eaten huevos rancheros let alone made them but they’ve always sounded tasty and simple.  

So here’s my translation of this blend of recipes.  I’m calling it shakshuka rancheros with a Korean kick.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 Tbsp gochujang (you could use Sriracha or something similar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tortilla 

1- Puree gochujang with the can of tomatoes with chilies until most of the chunks are gone but not totally smooth

2- Add puree to a hot skillet and cook until the sauce cooks down just a bit.  Don’t want this to be like soup. Keep at a simmer.

3- Carefully drop cracked eggs into the simmering pan of sauce.  Lower temperature and cover for about 3-4 minutes or until eggs are set to your liking.

4- Toast tortilla in a dry skillet or over the gas flame of your stove.

5- Plate.  Place eggs and sauce over the top of the tortilla and serve hot.

This is just a start of what you could do with this recipe.  I found the heat just right but you could always change up the kind of tomatoes you use or add more gochujang.  Cheese and beans could be added as toppings or even sour cream if you want to go that way with it.  It’s simple, cheap, and very tasty.