Of all the luck.

I’m not sure if I wrote a post about this or not, but apparently our household is cursed by the water gods. Every time I turn around, something is either leaking, bursting, or ruining my house…and it all involves water! First, the pipe burst in the ceiling in the basement…so then our ceiling collapsed and the walls fell down from water damage (just the drywall, not the studs or anything). Ok…that’s bad. But fixable…just breathe and move on.

Then, it was the dishwasher. Our heating element had gone out about a month back, and we needed a new dishwasher. J had bought one, but it took some time to get delivered, and then once it was delivered, we realized we didn’t have a long enough hose. Ok…order more hose. No big deal. Got the hose…hooked it all up, and we were totally in business. Except now, because the hose wasn’t hooked up correctly and water leaked, and ran down the ceiling…yet again to the basement. But, luckily, it was only a tiny bit of water…so we mopped it up with a towel and moved on.

But hey! Third time’s a charm, right? HA! Whoever said that was an asshole. The third water drama was yet again the dishwasher. Apparently, the same hose ALSO had a hole in it that we didn’t realize. So, when we ran the dishwasher again (ok, two more times, but who’s counting), it flooded out the floor under the island without us realizing it (we run our dishwasher at night, right before we go to bed). So, we woke up Sunday morning with more water in the basement, and a ton of water under the island in the kitchen (the island is where our dishwasher and sinks are located). I’m pretty sure at this point, J was at his wit’s end. He started removing trim board because the drywall around the island was soaking up the water. Then he wasn’t sure if the drywall under the trim had started to mold or if it was rust from the nails when they built it. So then, the power saw came out to play. Next thing I knew, J had all the trim off, had cut holes into my island, and was telling me, “Well…maybe we ought to just redo the kitchen too while we’re doing the bathroom remodel.” You know, because we don’t have ANYTHING else going on!

So, that’s where we are. The master bathroom is completely gutted. J’s brother-in-law was over last night, and will come over again tonight, to help remove some walls and reroute duct work and plumbing. The basement is clean, but not repaired after the Niagara Falls that showed up in my basement a few weeks ago. And now…well, apparently now I’m getting a new kitchen. Which…awesome! Who doesn’t love a new kitchen?! But good lord…can we at least finish one project before starting another.

I’m sure I’ll be reporting back on the progress in the next week. I actually think we’re nearing where we can actually start putting stuff back together in the bathroom, as opposed to tearing it apart. The basement we’ll hire out, and then we can focus on the kitchen. Pictures will be provided, don’t you worry. Wish me luck, and pray for my sanity…I think I might need it.

Much love,
K.

Recipe Monday! Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Goat Cheese Pizza

Another week has passed.  Which means it’s, once again, time for a recipe!  Lately, I’ve been craving pizza.  There’s something about pizza that just seems so “cheat meal” to me…which is probably what makes me crave it all the more.  Saturday evening, I finally made my favorite pizza, a roasted brussel sprouts with goat cheese pizza.  Now…don’t knock it until you try it, because I’m sure it probably sounds weird to some of you.  Brussel sprouts on a pizza, you ask?  Yeah…it’s amazing.  I had a version of this pizza a few years ago, from a gourmet pizza place I visited with a friend.  This pizza place has an Italian wood burning stove where they cook their pizzas, and the crust comes out crisp, and slightly burnt in places, and absolutely PERFECT!  Sadly, I can’t recreate the crust because my oven just doesn’t do the whole “wood burning” bit…but hey…maybe one day I can build a wood burning stove in my backyard for summer pizza parties!  Wouldn’t that be nice?

But yes…back to the pizza.  I’ll admit, I went lazy with this one.  I bought the Pillsbury “in a can” dough and just rolled it out.  It’s not the best, it’s not the worst, but when I’m tired and don’t want to make my own dough, it’ll work.  So…I’ll leave the crust up to you guys.  This pizza is a bit more in-depth than your normal, run of the mill toss some pepperoni on it, pizza.

The very first thing you do, because it takes the longest, is prep the brussel spouts and put them in the oven to roast!  Cut off the nubby ends that look all dirty and peel off the first layer or so of “leaves” from the sprout.  Rinse them off and give them a quick pat dry.  Then put them on a baking sheets with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast those bad boys in the oven for 35 minutes or so at 400 degrees F.  (You’ll thank me later).

The second thing you do, because it takes nearly as long as the brussel sprouts, is caramelize some onions.  Take a sweet onion, slice it up, toss it in a skillet with some butter and olive oil, and cook them over a low heat.  Seriously…LOW HEAT, folks.  Don’t screw this up now!  If you crank up the heat to cook them faster, they’ll only burn and be gross.  Low and slow is the way to go on this one.  Give them a stir every once in a while, and by the time your brussel sprouts are finished, your onions will be too.  You’re looking for a nice caramel color on the onions (hence, caramelized onions).  It’ll bring out the natural sugars in the onions and make them taste sweet and delicious.

The next thing is the sauce.  The pizza starts with a Mornay sauce…which is this delicious white, cheesy sauce that resembles alfredo.  I use a recipe from Food Network, and it’s always turned out delicious.  It’s thick and hearty, so if you’re only making one pizza, you can surely cut his recipe in half (because it makes a lot).  If you find that you’re in love with it…make the entire batch, and save half for pasta alfredo the next time!  See!!  See how good I am to all of you…I give you TWO meals!  It doesn’t take too long to make, and you can leave it on a cool burner once you’re finished with it, because it’ll rewarm in the oven when your pizza cooks.

Now…I told you guys this pizza was a labor of love.  My last component (aside from the cheese) is sliced potatoes.  I love potatoes on my pizza.  They’re hearty and add a bit more fill to what would normally be a veggie pizza (albeit, not your normal veggies, but still).  So…if you’re down for this bit, take a russet potato, give it a peel, and then thinly slice it up.  Next, cook the slices in some boiling water for around 5 minutes…just to soften them up a bit.  You don’t want them mushy, more with a slight bite.  They’ll finish cooking in the oven.

At last, you’re ready to assemble!  Take your pizza crust, and top it with your sauce.  Then, place your potatoes down in a single layer, making sure to cover the pizza with their starchy deliciousness.  After that, top with the caramelized onions and brussel sprouts.  At this point, the world is your oyster.  Add cheese, and go nuts!  I always add goat cheese crumbles to this pizza…I absolutely love the salty kick of goat cheese.  But, for some additional melty goodness that holds it all together, I also use a mozzarella cheese blend.  But pretty much, do whatever you feel comfortable with.  Some people hate goat cheese…if that’s you, you can use a nice feta as a replacement, or just leave it off altogether.  It’ll still be good with just mozzarella, I promise.

And there you have it, my gourmet Brussel Sprout and Goat Cheese pizza!  I really hope you give it a try and enjoy it!  It’s a personal favorite of mine, and I love to share it with others.

Much love,
K.

 

Dating

After nearly six years of marriage, sometimes it’s hard for me to remember what it was like when J and I were dating.  I remember the feelings of butterflies in my stomach that would show up before he was due to arrive at my place, or the excitement that I felt just talking to him on the phone.  Our first week of getting to know each other, we spent hours just talking on the phone, learning everything we could about each other.  Those hours spent on the phone made our first date seem like it was meeting an old friend, as opposed to a stranger.   Whenever I think back on those days, I get a really big smile on my face, and I fall in love with J a little bit more (if that is even possible).

Tonight, J and I are going on a date.  A real “dinner and a movie” date.  It’s been a while for us since we’ve done this.  In the NL, we tried to go out every few weeks or so, but it didn’t always work out (though, to be fair, more often than not it did).  Work and life gets in the way.  Responsibilities that we didn’t have 8 years ago seem to crop up and take precedence over plans quickly jotted down in a planner.  Our careers have expanded and duties with work have more than doubled, and being a homeowner (as opposed to a renter) always gives you more things to do than you have time for.  But, for tonight…that’s all going by the wayside.  Because, tonight, is a date.  And tonight, we’re not going to talk about work.  We’re not going to talk about the remodel or the basement flood at home.  Tonight, we’ll go out to dinner and hold hands, talk about our plans for the future and where we want to travel this year.  And after, we’ll go to an action flick (we’re both action junkies) and I’ll cuddle into him, and we’ll spend the next two hours shoulder to shoulder, escaping reality.  Then, after, some ice cream…because that’s how we roll.  We’ll joke and laugh, and not once reach for our phones.  Because this is how date night works.

On date night…technology doesn’t exist (at least, nothing that’s distracting).  The cell phones are turned off, no one checks their email.  Stressful subjects are avoided like the plague.  It’s our time to sit back, laugh with one another, relax and reconnect.  And while our relationship is pretty damn good most of the time, on date nights…well…its spectacular.  And having the opportunity to really unplug and just BE with each other is what matters most to us.  We always says it’s not the quantity of time spent together, it’s quality.  Because I would pick an hour spent together with nothing in our way, over spending 24/7 with each other in the same room, with eyes glued to our laptops.  It means more to us…it’s the quality, hands down.

And even now, while I’m writing this, I have a secret little smile on my face.  I’m gearing up for a night out with my husband, and it’s weird to get excited to go out on a date with a man I’ve been married to for over five years.  But I am excited.  And the butterflies…they’re back.

Much love,
K.

Soup

It’s that time of year (at least in the Midwest) where all I want to do is sit on my couch with a steaming hot bowl of soup.  It’s warm, and filling, and makes your tummy happy on frigid cold days (hello Polar Vortex…I missed you).  I love soups…warm soups, hot soups, cold soups, dessert soups…you name it, I like it.  For me, soup is one of those year-round type of meals, where you can make it with just about anything and it’ll taste fabulous.

Last night, I got a massive craving for some hearty soup.  I wanted something with pasta in it, and mushrooms are one of my staple “go to” vegetables that can substitute meat, so I thought that would work well.  I came across an old favorite (from Skinnytaste) in my recipe book that I used to make when we lived in the NL.  Three Cheese Tortellini and Mushroom Soup.  Doesn’t it just sound amazing?

The best part about soups, normally, is that they require very little effort.  Chop up some stuff, sauté it in some butter, add more stuff, let simmer, eat.  Really simple, makes a ton, and usually very budget friendly (depending on the soup).  This recipe is no different.  Start with some butter in a big pot.  Melt that up, add some veg (onion, carrots and celery…the holy trinity of soups), and let that sauté for a while.  Then add your liquids.  Vegetable broth (or chicken stock if you’re not a veggie like me) and some water.  Add your mushrooms and seasonings and simmer that for a while to let the mushrooms cook.  Once the mushrooms are soft, add your pasta (I prefer cheesy tortellini), and cook that to the directions on the package.  I always use fresh pasta, mainly because I’m lazy and it cooks SO much faster than dried.  Plus, there are a lot of really good fresh pastas out there that aren’t super expensive.  If you want to be REALLY amazing, you can make your own fresh pasta.  Again, please see the fact that I am lazy, therefore I do not do this.

Once the pasta has cooked, your soup is ready to go!  Bowl it up and top it with some parmesan cheese if you want.  I never turn down cheese, so this step is of the utmost importance for me.  Last night, I was super lucky, because I still had a fair amount of my homemade wheat bread that I could pair with the soup for a really hearty meal!  (Because, really, carbs are amazing).

And with that, what post about food is completely without a photo!  Please excuse the poor quality, my iPhone was being temperamental last night.

Soup

Hope you enjoyed!

Much love,
K.

Clean!

After all the hustle and bustle around “The Great Basement Flood of 2014” I can finally say that the basement is at least clean!  Nine days of industrial sized dehumidifiers running has dried it out, and all that was left was for us to finish cleaning up the place (and obviously repair the damages…but one step at a time).  This past Sunday was declared “The Day of Clean,” so we rolled up our sleeves and tackled it.  It was rough, I won’t lie, but it felt good to be finished!

J had bought a Shark Sonic Duo mop for the house (we have wood floors upstairs and tile downstairs), which we thought would be a huge help. I’ll be honest…that thing is crap.  Save your money if you’re considering one.  And, obviously, this was a bigger job than we expected the Shark to handle, but we used it on our wood floors upstairs and some tile upstairs as well, and it just did an all around crappy job.  So…there’s my plug of a user review…don’t do it.

So, in lieu of the Shark being a POS, I went out and did what my mom would do.  I drove myself to Target, where I bought a mop and a bucket, and some cleaning solution.  Guess what…it works great!  Sure, it takes some more elbow grease and effort to get things clean, but at least it actually DOES get them clean!  I spent a few hours really mopping down the basement area, and was able to absolutely scrub clean the grout lines (which the Shark mop didn’t even touch), so now the basement is all nice and pretty again.  And by “nice and pretty” again, I mean that the rooms are clean enough to allow the cats back down there.  The repairs have yet to even begin, which is a whole other story in its entirety.

So…the basement is clean, the beast and mini-beasts have been unleashed, and hopefully we’ll be able to move on with the remodeling sometime soon.  I’m just glad it’s useable again…it was such a crap time keeping the whole downstairs closed off!  Meanwhile, here are some photos for your viewing enjoyment!

 Before!

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After!!

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What do you think? Still needs some work, but we’re on our way!

Much love,
K.

Recipe Monday!

Another week, another recipe!  And right about this time is when I really start to crave the summer.  I’ve never been a big fan of super hot temperatures, but I miss the fresh produce that summer brings.  The feeling that you can walk outside to your garden, pick something off the plant, and stuff it in your mouth.  And it’s delicious because a) it’s fresh, and b) you planted it yourself.  And it always tastes better with a healthy dose of ownership!

This recipe is one of those “it’s so easy, I hate to call it a recipe” recipes.  It’s basically a Greek salad, minus the lettuce.  So, in reality, it’s all the yummy goodness that would go into a Greek salad, without the salad vehicle…and really, lettuce is really just roughage for your intestines anyways.  Skip it.  This salad is my go-to dinner whenever J isn’t around…mainly because he doesn’t like it.  Something about cucumbers tasting like dirty water…whatever.  I think it’s divine, which means when I make it, I have enough for 2-4 meals!  Happy veggie, garlicky, heaven.

So…what is this salad, you ask?  Basically…think what goes in a Greek salad.  For me, that’s cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, and…of course…the feta.  Because my mantra in life is “feta makes it bett-eh.”  And it’s true…it does.  So…I take all those things, chop them all up, and mix them with some salt, extra virgin olive oil, and red wine vinegar!  See!  I told you it’s so easy it shouldn’t be called a recipe.  But, if you’re needing a bit more direction, you can find the recipe here.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Much love,
K.

New Direction for the Basement!

After nine days of having industrial sized dehumidifiers running, the basement has been declared DRIED! Serve-Pro (emergency water extraction company) came by today to check on the basement, and decided that their work there was finished. Frankly, the house sounds downright dead right now…it’s so quiet without the constant drone of the dehumidifiers running constantly. Now that those are out of there, we can finish up removing the drywall that needs to be taken down. There isn’t much left…most of the stuff we already took down during the flood, but there is some left that we’ve decided to ditch.

We’ve been talking about how we’re going to put it all back together, since it’s our primary place of entertaining. Whenever we have people over, we usually do have dinner and then hang out. Normally, I’m finishing up dinner when people get there, so they go downstairs to have a drink (we have a full bar down there) or play a round of pool while I’m finishing up. Then, after dinner, we always head back downstairs to hang out before people go home. J and I joke that the main floor of the house is where we do our living, but the downstairs is where we have fun!

We were surprised to find that the wall with the drywall damage actually had brick stamped cement behind it. So…it actually looks like a brick wall back there (now it has studs over the “brick” so that they had something to adhere the drywall to, but those aren’t needed for any structural support). We’re talking about leaving that wall exposed now, because we both really like the look of exposed brick! Plus, we’ve decided not to re-do the ceiling. Instead, we’re going to leave it how the rest of the basement ceiling is currently, which is completely open and painted black. So all the studs and support beams, as well as the ductwork and piping, are painted black. It’s very industrial looking, which we both really like. Plus, it leaves a lot of access to any wiring, piping and ductwork that we might need access to again, should something like this happen in the future.

I’ve been looking for painted exposed brick walls, and have found a few options that I really like. We do plan to mount the TV on the wall, and have our gaming systems located down there, so some of the wall will be overtaken by the TV, but I also think that will help break up the painted brick look. I really like the look of whitewashed brick…sort of like this photo:

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I think the white walls will look nice against any furniture we put down there, plus the pool table that’s already in the room. In addition, the other walls will still be drywalled and painted, so that will give us some more options for color choices. What do you guys think? Any ideas for exposed brick?

Much love,
K.