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Kitchen Mission: an Update

kitchen reno oct 5 3

There’s a very good reason I haven’t updated you on the kitchen situation in a very long time: it’s moving at glacial speed. It’s mostly my fault – every time an obstacle pops up, shooting gallery-style, I employ my ignore it and it will go away tactic, and it hardly ever does. Sometimes, these obstacles cause the process to actually move backwards, like that time I took a random handful of paint chips in various shades of white down to my oven, which is still in the showroom, to match the colour, and picked the one that was closest, which it turns out was not remotely the same, and so when they sprayed the cabinet drawers and installed them, they were a shade of beige silly putty.

Who knew there were so many shades of white? I mean I thought I knew, but I didn’t really. And even when you do manage to choose a shade of polar bear/snowstorm/mashed potato that suits, once we get it into our kitchen it becomes obvious how reflections and sunlight and time of day can make it look different from one end of the room to the next, from one hour to the next, depending also on what paint colour happens to be beside it. Interior designers – I get it now.

kitchen renos oct 5 2

And so after much looking and agonizing and wondering if it was really that bad (it was) we got our cabinet maker to take them all off again, I got my mom to do a proper paint match (which took an entire day with its own frustrating ridiculousness) and because the aforementioned ridiculousness brought us to a Friday afternoon, the paint guys couldn’t mix the paint before our builder left for the west coast to go fishing for ten days.

Kitchen reno Oct 5

So the cupboards are once again bare. We painted the floor though, in a shade of blue-green-grey that seems to also chameleon depending on the time of day and year it is and what colour shoes you’re wearing. It seems to have worked out though – more people than not told us that there was no possible way we could paint a hardwood kitchen floor, but we found a type of paint that’s ultra-durable and contains some sort of glue compound that binds with the wood, and yet there was no skull and crossbones on the can. And so we steamed and scrubbed and sanded the floor and painted a coat (so that the colour will go under the bottom cabinet kicks) and will put on another when (if?) everything goes in. I kind of want to add a big stripe down one side. We’ll see.

kitchen reno collage oct 5

And the countertops have finally been templated! This is a good example of one hiccup causing a domino effect of delays: in this case the process was further put off by the kitchen sink I chose wound up being half an inch too big for the cabinet, which was built as we were discovering this fact, thus limiting our sink options to those without an apron front. Which isn’t really a big deal I realize, but having had a thick, white, farmhouse-style kitchen sink for so long, I couldn’t envision anything else, and so after failing to find anything resembling what was in my head that didn’t have an apron front, I retreated to a state of denial characterized by procrastination. And when Mike did force me out the door to look at plumbing galleries (not my idea of a good time) all the stainless ones were too utilitarian. And when I did find one I liked, it was $1900. For a kitchen sink. And all this time my mom suggested I get one custom made like she did by some metal guys she knows, which I thought was ridiculous considering how many thousands of kitchen sinks there are in showrooms and Home Depots and catalogs out there, but in the end I was wooed by the idea that I could give them exact specs, tell them just what I was looking for, and they’d build it for half what that other sink cost. Fortunately, my mom knows how to do technical drawings of this sort, and so she did, and the sink is beautiful. I’d take a picture, but the guy who came to do the templating took it with him – presumably to make sure the whole they cut in the Caesarstone was exactly the right size.

Speaking of the countertop: the new shade of white paint and the blue floor and white walls meant the original white countertop I chose one day on a whim when I didn’t fully understand the difference in kitchen whites no longer worked – so we picked the Caesarstone in cinder, which looks kind of like cement – neutral, but different. We’re now wondering what to do about a backsplash – more Caesarstone behind the sink? It might be too thick, and difficult to cut holes for the two plugins the electrician insisted had to be installed there according to electrical regulations (which seems weird to me, to put electric sockets right behind the sink, where the backsplash would be? clearly they’re in the splash zone…), and something for behind the oven, which by the way has an old reclaimed window we don’t want to get rid of (see the photo up top!), which means getting an overhead fan custom made – next on the to-do list. (Along with: NEW WEBSITE. Another story altogether.)

I had thought the kitchen would be done by Thanksgiving – now aiming for Christmas. Or maybe Halloween? In the meantime, we’re actually getting used to doing dishes in the bathtub…

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October 05 2014 | leftovers | 18 Comments »

Homemade Dog Treats

TV Dinner Treats-small

Those of you who have been hanging around awhile may remember when we acquired a weeks-old black dog with white socks and a star on his chest – Lou, who we adore, even when he gets skunked and even though he hasn’t always been a good dog. (Fortunately he has outgrown puppyhood.)


(Cuteness in puppies must be a means of self-preservation.) These days, Lou likes to wait until we’re asleep, then climb up into bed and stretch out the length of the bed, nestled into the pillow with his paws up over his head. Or sneak into my side of the bed when we go out, leaving fur and muddy evidence on my pillow. Living with him + the squirrel in the tree in our back yard is like living with Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. This spring, Lou was hard at work testing recipes for In the Dog Kitchen, which just arrived from the printer! (!!!) It’s so pretty. It’s making its way into stores now.

leftover dog treats

Since Thanksgiving is coming up (I know, sorry), I thought a new use for turkey dinner leftovers (or ham, lamb, roast beef…) might come in handy for those with four-legged members of the family. These don’t smell anywhere near as disgusting as the sardine squirrels or liver brownies, but not quite as delicious as the peanut butter and bacon biscotti, which more than one visitor has mistaken as intended for human consumption.

Really, all you do is blitz leftover bits of meat, cooked veg, boiled potato, and an egg and some chickpea flour (or barley, oat or whole wheat flour) to bind it all together. Make the dough stiffer to roll and cut, or shape into balls and press down with a fork or bamboo skewer or your thumb.

Dogs aren’t concerned with aesthetics – and you can buy their love with cookies. (Mine too.)

P.S. Lou joined Twitter!

P.P.S. and started a blog! Typing is awkward.

TV Dinner Dog Treats

From In the Dog Kitchen!

1 cup chopped or shredded roast beef, pork, lamb or chicken, chopped
1 cup boiled or roasted carrots, broccoli, cauliflower or other veggies
1 boiled potato
1 large egg
1 cup chickpea flour, or enough barley, oat, or whole wheat flour to make a soft dough

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the meat, veggies, potato and egg until well blended and pasty. Add the flour and pulse until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball.

Roll the dough into marble or walnut-sized balls and place on a parchment-lined sheet; press down with a fork or crisscrossed with a bamboo skewer. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until pale golden and firm. If you like, turn the oven off but leave them inside to harden as they cool.

Makes 2-4 dozen treats.

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September 23 2014 | leftovers | 8 Comments »

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