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Monday, March 19, 2012

Recipe Rave: Cucumber Avocado Summer Rolls

Okay, I'm obsessed with these. Came across this
William Sonoma recipe via Pinterest and knew I had to give them a try. So so so worth it. So fresh and yummy tasting.  Oh, and working with the rice paper was way easier than I anticipated, so don't be scuuurrrred.

ps-kudos to my local stop & shop for carrying the rice paper wraps. very international of them.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

DIY Lemon Sugar Scrub

I found this recipe for DIY moisturizing lemon sugar scrub on Good Life Eats and we love it. While she calls it a kitchen scrub, I've found it most useful left in the upstairs bathroom so we can use it right before going to bed and let the olive oil do its moisturizing overnight.

Monday, March 12, 2012

On My Radar

My MIL, knowing that I have a thing for lavender, got me Lavender Laundry Soap from Glendarragh Lavender Farm in Maine. I can't wait to wash my sheets in it! (Fresh clean sheets are already The Best, aren't they? This is going to take it to a new level.)

And here are some other random things on my mind:

...Houzz.com, a new source of home improvement inspiration pics

...the dirty dozen & clean fifteen of produce

...have you heard about the nastiness of imported shrimp? we are now making a concerted effort to buy domestic shrimp only.

...i think this piggy bank is awesome!

...Pinterest, i love you.

...one of my favorite food blogs, Annie's Eats. (imagine my surprise when, after following her blog for about 6 months, I discover that she's also had Hodgkin's Lymphoma and has been in remission for 7 years...)

...a friend just introduced me to Doodle.com. genius!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

DIY Furniture Makeover: Changing Table

When we were working on setting up the nursery, we knew that we wanted to refinish a dresser ourselves to use as a changing table. We kept looking and looking on Craigslist, and also hit a few estate sales with absolutely no luck.

Then I saw THIS post on Censational Girl and realized that we had almost the same exact Chippendale-style dresser in the house, sitting unused. We just needed to see an example to see its potential. Not only was it awesome to be able to repurpose something we already had, but the bonus was that it is a quality piece...solid cherry with dovetailed drawers.

I didn't get around to taking a "Before" shot, but as I mentioned, it was nearly identical to CG's, so here's her "Before":

We sanded, primed, and painted it a soft grey color called Cumulus Cloud. We also swapped out the original pulls for some polished nickel bin pulls from Van Dyke's. As a final touch, Steven stenciled on some playful circles in white & 2 shades of green that complement the wall color.
The circles (I think of them as "bubbles" for some reason...) are also on the top and sides, in addition to the front drawers.

We're really pleased with the final product and definitely make use of the extra storage!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Flour Bakery's Intense Chocolate Brownies

For Christmas, Steven gave me the cookbook from one of my favorite places to eat in Cambridge: Flour Bakery + Cafe.

Their roast chicken, avocado and jicama sandwich singlehandedly torpedoed my efforts to save money by bringing lunch from home...but in my defense, it was one of the few lunch foods that appealed to me during the first trimester of my pregnancy.

So we'll just refer to that as a medical expense. Fair's fair.

Anyways, I have my heart set on working my way through the cookbook and I decided to start with another nail in my bring-lunch-from-home coffin, their intense chocolate brownies. These are definitely worth the effort and I'll certainly be making them again. I've decided that I should pull them out of the oven a couple minutes earlier, though, to ensure that I've got the perfect brownie. Flour's owner, Joanne Chang, shares her thoughts on the perfect brownie in the cookbook, indicating that if she wants fudge, she'll eat fudge. And if she wants chocolate cake, she'll eat chocolate cake. The perfect brownie needs to live somewhere in between.

I wholeheartedly agree.

P.S.-You can get the Flour Cookbook HERE.
P.P.S.-While linking to Flour's website I discovered that there is a 2nd cookbook, called Flour Power, in the works! Looks like a broader set of recipes--soups, sandwiches, etc. Can't wait to give it a gander...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Inspiration: Kitchen

As I mentioned in my last post, we are planning a major overhaul of the kitchen starting this May. MAJOR overhaul...down to the studs, new wiring, structural changes, the works. It's daunting and it will probably take us a couple years to complete, but it's also really really really exciting.

Here are some of my favorite inspiration pics...

While I like elements of all of these kitchens, I think the 5th picture down is closest to what we're planning. White cabinets, dark countertops, big window centered on the back wall...

Oh, and although we refer to it as "the kitchen renovation", the project also includes the adjoining sunroom. We're thinking that the new version will include a casual dining area, probably featuring built in banquette seating...

and hopefully some accommodations for plants...

as well as a little "entryway" station to keep things organized...

That's the plan, anyway!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Baked Oatmeal a la Liberty Hill Farm

*dry ingredients*

One of my favorite activities these days is to fantasize about what I'm going to do when I am done with chemo and *hopefully hopefully hopefully* cancer free. (It almost makes me nervous to say that, like I'm going to jinx it or something. But that is the goal of all these treatments, right?)

Anyways, we've already planned a chemo-is-over!-time-to-catch-your-breath weekend getaway HERE in March; and we've decided that, come hell or high water, we are starting Phase I of a daunting and exciting kitchen renovation this May. But the "when I'm healthy" fantasies can be much more mundane...go for a hike, take Alena to the aquarium, have a picnic on the beach.

*sigh* I cannot WAIT for those days.

While daydreaming and surfing (do people still say that?) the interweb for all things fabulous & fantastical, I came across the Liberty Hill Farm in Vermont. It looks like a great place for a rejuvenating weekend in the country and I love that they fully embrace the farm-to-table/agritourism thing.

I got so caught up in reading about (drooling over) their hearty country fare that I had to make this month's featured recipe, Baked Oatmeal. It made the house smell wonderful and is exactly the kind of breakfast one wants during a New England winter. Even a mild one like we've been having. Super YUM.

*right before going into the oven*

*and right out of the oven*

I did not manage to get any shots of it plated up...ummm...because we ate it too fast.

Both times I made it.


Anyways, here is the LINK to their "meals" page, but just in case the oatmeal recipe gets replaced by a new recipe, I've copied it here:

Beth's Baked Oatmeal

1 1/3 cups oats (must use old-fashioned, steel cut, never use quick oats)
1/4 cup brown sugar or maple sugar
1 apple peeled and diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups milk ---- for best flavor and nutrition use whole milk!! ;-)

Stir together in oven proof bowl, Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Serve in bowls with milk.

P.S.-Just had to do a little woot! woot! regarding the great deal we got on our Maine getaway. I'd been eyeballing the York Harbor Inn as a potential destination, and then it popped up on Groupon...so we got a luxury room for 60% off! And then, around Christmas I received an email from the inn, promoting a 20% off sale on gift certificates...so we're saving on dinner, too! And don't think I haven't already done some serious menu stalking...Yorkshire Lobster Supreme, I've got my eye on you...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fighting The Good Fight

Those of you who know me in real life (is anyone else reading?), know that life threw me a bit of a curve ball this past summer...being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma shortly after having our first baby was not exactly the post-partum experience I had envisioned. However, I am over half way through my chemo treatments and was overjoyed to have a completely clean checkup PET scan last month.

While I'm trying to stay focused on the chemo count down--5 more treatments to go!--I feel like these next couple of months might be the most challenging. My severely impaired immune system, not to mention the less than hospitable weather, has rendered me a virtual shut-in. So in an effort to stay focused...or distracted?...I'll be posting on 5 Crown Kabinky again.

Same general topics--home, garden, kitchen. Maybe a health update here and there, and a peek or two at our little cherub:
Happy New Year!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blackberry Peach Crostata

Loosely based on this Barefoot Contessa recipe and featuring blackberries I found growing behind our garden shed!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DIY Skim Coat: The Magic Trowel

*Steven rolling on the joint compound in the master bedroom*

As I mentioned previously, Steven did the skim coating of the master bedroom and nursery walls himself. Just like in the downstairs rooms that we renovated last year, these 2 rooms had rough, unfinished horse hair plaster under the wallpaper...but unlike the downstairs, we decided to save money and try to DIY. If it came out less than perfect, so be it.

We did, however, have our plasterer redo the ceilings in the 2 bedrooms--new blue board & plaster--as they were probably going to collapse on our heads within the next couple of years. Signed, Chicken Little

So anyways, Steven did his usual exhaustive research and came across a specialty tool called The Magic Trowel. Despite its rather infomercial-y vibe, the reviews were promising, so we decided to give it a try.

And it works! You basically use a paint roller to apply thinned out joint compound to the wall, then come along with the Magic Trowel and smooth it out. Of course there are some tricks here and there...getting the joint compound to the right consistency and keeping the applied compound & trowel nice and moist, for example...but all in all it's a great tool and Steven did a great job!
*See how smooth the just-troweled section to the right is?*

The 18" trowel costs about 25 bucks, and a 5 gallon bucket of all purpose joint compound is only about $14 at the home improvement stores, so we saved a serious chunk of change (hundreds) by going this route. Not too shabby!
*Freshly skimmed and primed*