Kitchen chaos and a yummy treat

Our kitchen remodel is underway. There’s no turning back now. To catch you up: old cabinets have been demoed, the ceiling repaired and resurfaced, woodwork paint burned off…

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Fresh new paint has been applied to all woodwork, the ceiling, and walls.

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I look forward to sitting in this little nook with coffee and a hot scone.

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Behind the scenes, in a shop across town, cabinets are being made, and scheduled to arrive here, ready to install, beginning Monday morning.

We’ve set up camp in the dining room, and although it’s not really that fun washing the dishes in the bathtub, eating at home is not as challenging as you might think. The slow cooker, rice cooker and microwave have served well. But the $30 electric skillet I picked up at Target has been a godsend! Last night I made spaghetti and meat sauce, in that handy appliance. If you’ve never made pasta in a skillet, I can assure you, it’s very efficient. The water boiled quickly, and having the noodles laying flat made for quick, even cooking.

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Beyond the obvious inconveniences and disruption to our everyday lives, the most challenging part of this project, is the number of details…

Paint: what colors? what sheens? I’ve learned more about sheens in the past few weeks than I ever thought possible.

Cabinet hardware: what style? what finish? Who knew the finishes on oil-bronzed hardware could be so different?

Granite: which slab? where should it be placed? should it have a 4″ backsplash? should it go behind the stove? around the sides of the stove? what should the edges look like?

In my opinion, it’s these small details that are most important in the final focus and look of the room. As much as I love poking around stores like Rejuvenation, my over-stimulation issues surface, and make seemingly easy decisions painful for everyone around me. Yesterday, after we spent five hours shopping for cabinet hardware, my often not-so-patient husband told me he actually admires my detail neurosis! Yay! After nearly 19 years of marriage, he gets me!

Unfortunately, this remodel has kept me from baking… that is until I discovered individual chocolate chips cookies microwaved in a jar!

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Moist, gooey, delicious!

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With or without ice cream…

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Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar
Serves 1

Ingredients
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
3 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
In a microwave safe jar, mug or ramekin place 1 Tablespoon of butter. Melt it in the microwave for 15 seconds at 70% power. Add sugars, vanilla and salt. Stir well. Add the egg yolk and stir well. Add the flour and mix well. It will be the consistency of cookie dough. Add the chocolate chips and stir just to distribute. Microwave for 30-40 at 70% power. Continue to microwave 10 seconds at a time at 70% power until the dough begins to puff up a bit. It will look like it’s not done, but it will be cakey in the center. The cook time depends on your microwave. Do not overcook, check at 50 seconds. It may not need any more than that.

Calling in the experts

Have you ever survived a kitchen remodel? No? Me either. But I’m hoping to.

Several weeks ago, we decided to replace our kitchen counters. A slab of granite was chosen. Estimates were gathered. The date for templating (that’s what the stonecutters call the time when everything is measured and there are no changes allowed to the existing area from that point on) was scheduled.

Removal of the counters brought to our attention the extremely poor quality of our existing cabinets. Placing granite on these cabinets would not make sense.

Change of plans!

Templating was cancelled. New appliances chosen. A new sink and a new faucet purchased. Plans for new cabinets drawn. Paint samples are being mulled over. Oh, and a new slab of granite has been placed on hold.

Now, two weeks before Thanksgiving, we’re in full remodel mode, phase one.

Here’s what our kitchen looked like before demolition started…

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I have to admit, it is pretty fun to plan a new kitchen. I’ve spent many hours on Houzz bookmarking many fabulous ideas. If you haven’t checked out this site, you must!

Here’s the basic color scheme I’ve narrowed down.

Kitchen planning

Keeping the walls, cabinets, appliances and counters neutral, would then allow me to throw in a splash of color. Like this yummy ‘spring grass’ green…

Kitchen planning

Working in the our kitchen in its current state is a little like cooking at a campsite… most of our supplies are in boxes around the perimeter of the kitchen. Our makeshift countertops now consist of plywood. The sink is propped up on a couple additional pieces of wood, and the old faucet is still in place, so at least we’re not washing dishes in the bathtub… yet.

Did you know Thanksgiving is only two weeks away? Did I mention this already? Fortunately, I will not be hosting this year. I will, however be making the pies.

In my search for ideas, I found these tasty looking pastries…

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French Pear & Almond Tart by David Lebovitz

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Pear and Almond Tart from Bon Appetit, February 2005

I’ve also had the urge to make a sweet potato pie.

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Sweet Potato Pie (from Martha Stewart, channeling Danny Glover)

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Sweet Potato Pie (from Joy the Baker’s Dad)

I could skip my traditional pumpkin pie for one slice of sweet potato.

Tell me, what’s your favorite, must-have Thanksgiving Day pie?