Saturday, March 30, 2013

Highlights from Foodie Friday and the Rattlebridge Renovation

 I hope everyone is having a peaceful Saturday.
Are you still looking for recipes?  Or do you just want to relax for a few minutes?
Come on in, and I'll show you what's been going on this week.
We'll start with highlights from the home renovation
and end with a sampling of Foodie Friday links.

Here's a peek at our new window.
It's so much bigger than the small laundry room window. Bandwith is coming up with some solutions.
I can't wait to dig in the herb garden!

I love the wider opening between the kitchen and family room.

I haven't shown the upstairs bedrooms in a while.
This is a guest room. Love the color, so I won't be repainting. However, the ceiling fixture will probably get an update.

Bandwidth's room has been repainted.
His room faces the pond.
(We're not sure who made the bed--but thanks!)

Bandy, who loves to blow out walls, thinks this
is the solution for two tiny bedrooms. So, we'd
end up with one large room (or a Bandy Room).

We finalized the kitchen layout with Jimmy, my
wonderful cabinet maker.

As you can see, the footprint is a bit tight, and
it can't be changed. The old stove hood wasn't aligned with the new beams (the vent itself was aligned, though). To create symmetry with the beams and vent, we were going to move the range several inches to the left. But we decided this
would make this wall seem lopsided.
How to balance this wall?
A 48" inch cooktop would fit perfectly.
No matter what, we agreed that the cabinet on the left needs to go, along with the microwave and wall oven. A drawer microwave will be installed below the counter.
Also, we'll have room for two pull-out spice drawers on either side of the cooktop (or range). Jimmy made drawers for my present kitchen, and I just love them. Use them every single day.
A look at the opposite wall.
A 48" refrigerator will go here.
(You may remember that the right wall was removed?)

I'd love to have two wall ovens.
So Jimmy and Mike (our contractor)
came up with an idea to place the ovens on the staircase wall (we'll lose one pantry door).
I was a bit worried about function. I tried to imagine myself opening an oven door, my squishy self backed up against the wall. I
asked Bandwidth to try it. He thought it felt tight, too. But a kitchen counter will replace the present "oven wall," and I could imagine taking a pan from the oven and placing it on the new counter. 
Mike said we'll be losing a bit of the cabinet wall.
It will be pushed back to the beam.
The ovens can be set back into the pantry wall, too.
Mike whipped out his tape measure, and then Bandy and I pretended to open the door.
Yes, this will work.

Dr. Will said, "What's going on this wall?" (see below). We'll have to brainstorm.

I wanted to show you part of the garage.
It has a wonderfully functional area--the sink is perfect for washing up after gardening. Around the corner are coat hooks and an intercom box.

I would love to bring my garden cabinet to Rattlebridge. Jimmy designed and made it for me in 2005.

If you've followed the renovation diary,
you know about the master bath makeover.
I'm going for a quasi-Renovation Hardware look,
but I didn't want to replace the cabinets.
The wall color is SW Macadamia, so we went a few shades deeper,
Thatch Brown.
It was almost in the "Goldilocks Zone."
Glaze wouldn't be dark enough, and the next color on the paint strip,
Umber, could be too dark.
I tried a small sample of Umber.

One thin coat gave an "antiqued" effect.

I'm ready for Easter food.
How about you? 

Let's take a look at some Foodie Friday links.
Butteryum showed us how to color Easter eggs the natural way.
Don't you love this pretty color?

The Lady Behind the Curtain made French Toast Cupcakes with bananas and nuts.

Sweet Nothings made an Easter arrangement (and she's in the process of moving!) by shopping her house. She offers a step-by-step for creating a compote. I love her cupcakes, too!

Susannah's Kitchen has so many goodies, it's
hard to pick a favorite. I love the bright colors
of these cake pops.
Annie's Noms made Cadbury Creme Egg cupcakes. They look delicious!
Don't forget to look at the
Home Is Where the Boat Is  made carrot soup,
garnished with pansies ...
And just look at this pretty table.
Mountain Breaths made lemon brownies. Don't they look delicious?
I love visiting Yvonne at Stone Gable. You'll love her herbed chicken salad in puff pastry cups.  
Happy Easter!

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Foodie Friday--Easter Edition


Are you excited?
I am.
Because it's Foodie Friday, and I get to
visit with you.

I'm also excited because this week's party will be packed with ideas for the upcoming holiday. For even more recipes, check out the previous 

I've been busy writing, working on the house, and cooking.
 I made Hot Cross Buns in the bread machine.
We love Baked Tacos all the time,
but they are perfect for a post-holiday meal, when you crave 
non-traditional fare.

I also "made" a 5-Minute Coconut Pound Cake 
(the easy way, of course).

Dr. Will brought home some beautiful flowers 
and Easter candy. 

The chocolate bunnies inspired me to make a little vignette beside the front door, an "Easter Welcoming Committee." 

I poked around in cabinets and closets and found bunnies, glass compotes,
and various doo-dads. Everything went on a small table.

Are you ready for Foodie Friday's linky party? To add your recipe, locate the blue Inlinkz frog (below, left) and click on the icon. Follow Inlinks's directions. Include your permalink, not the main link to your blog, then select an image. It may take a few seconds for the entry to process. The red "X" will allow you to delete your entry if you made an error. The Foodie Friday badge is located on the right-hand sidebar if you wish to add it to your FF post. If this is your first time to participate in Foodie Friday, a tutorial is available.

"Pinners" please go to the source blog to pin and credit the bloggers/photographers for their work.
Thank you for stopping by! Have a great, food-filled week.

I love to hear all about your holiday food adventures.
What's on your menu? Does your family have an heirloom dish? Trying something new? Eating out?
Foodie minds want to know!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Coconut Pound Cake in 5 Minutes

Here's a quick Easter dessert for exhausted girls.
5 Minute Coconut Pound Cake.

 I saw a television commercial about Cool Whip icing, and I thought I'd hallucinated. But then I saw it in Publix's freezer section: buttercream and cream cheese, high up on the shelf. 
Just about sold out, too. Bandwidth had to reach up to grab the last two buttercream cartons.
They passed his taste test, 
which is saying a lot. Will gave it a big
thumb's up, too, but he loves coconut cake.

The Tired Person's 
5-Minute Coconut Pound Cake
Cut a store-bought pound cake in half, ice it with Cool Whip's butter cream icing, then sprinkle with Mound's coconut flakes. My mother used dental floss to cut her cakes into layers, but I hacked it with a bread knife because, well, I'm me.

See you tomorrow night at Foodie Friday.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Baked Tacos

If you're preparing for an Easter feast, you 
might feel a bit frayed, even exhausted. A mile long "to-do" list sits on your desk. You're gathering flatware, dishes, goblets, napkins. Spring-like recipes fill your head. 

But what's for dinner tonight?
Surely not baked tacos.

This is my go-to dish before the holidays. It feeds the multitudes, even those picky eaters, and gives you extra time to plan menus and centerpieces. 

                                                 Yields: 20 tacos

What You Need:
2- 3 pounds ground round
2 boxes Old El Paso Taco Dinner Kit: "Stand 'n Stuff"
8 oz Publix brand "Four-cheese" shredded Mexican blend(mixture of Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Asadero, and Quesadilla cheeses) 
2 chopped tomatoes
2 chopped avocados
5 chopped green onions
shredded lettuce
flat-leaf parsley (garnish)
sour cream
(add any toppings--or fillings--that you love.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Brown and drain the meat. Add taco seasoning (follow directions on package). 
Place empty taco shells in 2 - 9 x 12 baking pans. The "stand 'n stuff" shells will stand up nicely, making them easy to fill. If you use regular shells, fit them tightly together into the pan. Spoon meat into each shell. Add shredded cheese. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until
cheese has melted. Meanwhile, chop tomatoes, green onions, and avocados. 
Remove tacos from oven. 
Garnish. Add taco sauce, if desired.

You can assemble the toppings in bowls, so
friends and family can add what they like (we're skipping sour cream to save a few calories). I prefer the "kits" because everything is included, even the sauce and seasoning packets. If time allows,  homemade is even better.

Baked tacos get me in the mood for traditional fare, such as baked ham and scalloped potatoes. It's a great recipe after the feast, too, when you are tired of leftovers and need to clear your palate. 

What's your favorite "after the holiday" recipe?

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