Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Date Night--December 17, 2014

The kitchen remodel hasn't killed date night.  Just the blogging about them.  But here I am, ready to share tonight's menu.

Let's start at the beginning.

Cocktails and Appetizers

We love our Manhattans.  They were the signature drink at our wedding.  They are the signature drink in our home as well.  Really, we do have a "House" Manhattan.  Traditionally a Manhattan is made with Rye Whisky, Sweet Vermouth, a dash or so of bitters an garnished with a cherry.  You will find them widely made with Bourbon instead.

What do we do at the Saxes?  We go half and half.  The specific "brands" if you will vary and the results vary as well.  The current mix we have is really, I mean REALLY good.

Larceny small batch bourbon, ang High West rye.

Along with our cocktails, we'll be having the absolute easiest appetizer in the world.  It's  good thing, because dinner was kind of taxing.  Mentally mostly, but we'll get there in a minute.  Are you ready for it?

Chicken salad stuffed into Tostotos  Scoops.

I told you, this was easy-peasy.  It's Marriano's rotisserie chicken salad stuffed into Tostitos Scoops. Yum!


It's not finished, so I can't post any pictures.  Josh requested Beef Stroganoff.  I've never eaten it and certainly have never made it.  And I am still trying to do Weight Watchers so a creamy, beefy dish seemed to be pushing it.  Plus he's working so far away that I've gotten into a crock pot kind of a place for date night so we're not eating at 9:00.  A

I found a Weight Watchers, crock pot, beef stroganoff recipe.

I know!

Pinterest is a wonderful think.

I did do a little more research online, and doctored the recipe a little, and plugged it all into the WW recipe builder and came up with a recipe.  If it meets Josh's approval, maybe I'll post the recipe later.


This is a real winner.  I found a recipe for lemon cupcakes.  Easy recipe.  Box of lemon cake mix, tub of Greek lemon yoghurt, and a cup of water.

I can't leave well enough alone, can I?  I amped up the lemon flavor.  I added the zest of a lemon to the cake mix and its juice to the water.  (I kept the liquid to 1 cup.)

To top the cupcakes, I candied some Meyer lemon slices. Josh never gets anything frosted these days.

Aren't they cute.

That covers date night this week. 

happy cooking

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Old vs New

So, I found the pictures of the kitchen from the weeks before the reno began.  I took new ones this morning doing the best I could to mirror the old pictures.

Much better use of space, don't you think?

Again, better use of space and I don't have to sacrifice counter space to a microwave!!

I have twice the counter space...and this is just one side of the cooktop!

Friday, November 14, 2014

My New Kitchen

Have I mentioned how much I love it?

I really, really do.  I love everything about it (okay, maybe not that it's taken so long and it's still not completely finished).

I love my wall color.  The light through the windows plays lovely games with and I love all its many moods.

For goodness sake, I even love to clean it!

And to clean in it.  I have copious space to stack washed pots and pans.  And believe me, I have has a couple "freezer" cooking days where that has happened.  Stacked from the sink to the fridge and almost as high as the cabinets.

The floors are very "forgiving."  It's difficult to see the dirt. :-)

The granite is easy-peasy.   Mostly just wipe it with a soapy dish rag and dry it with a dish towel.

I'm getting the hang of keeping the stainless steel appliances smudge free...Pledge and Windex both have a line that is good on stainless.

The most important thing that I love about my new kitchen is COOKING in it.  I have on multiple occasions had things in the oven and bub-bub-bubbling away on multiple burners on my stove.

I love, Love, LOVE my new kitchen!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kitchen Remodel--Almost Done

Moldings and trimwork and hinge clips.

It's been long time for these poor carpenters.  They thought they were done and hour ago, but fixing my oven cabinet was bigger deal than they expected.  The oven was never completely installed.

It is now.  I love these new contractors!!!

Here are the pictures...

Do you see that strip of stainless steel below the oven door?  That was never installed.  It is now!  Yay!

These two pictures are to show the scribe molding.  This is not actually exciting.  Except that our walls are far from plumb so we needed the extra trim to hide that.

You can also see that the base board has been reattached.

What's left, you'd like to know?

The contractor is coming on  Monday to finish the duct work for my vent.  I hope he brings an electrician to finish hooking the vent up.

And there is painting that still needs to be done.

Woohoo and Yippee and Yay!!!!

Kitchen Remodel---Coming Down the Home Stretch

I've stopped counting the days, but I think this week should be the end.  Maybe next week, but I'm hoping this week will do it.  Really hoping.  It's been 4 months!!!!

Yesterday was a big day.  It was a good day.  I mean a really good day.

My back-splash was installed.  I'm very happy with the results.  Check it out...

I'm very happy with the results.  I think I said that already, but it bears repeating.  I think it's very pretty.

Have I mentioned in all my posts, how much I love my kitchen?  I do.  A lot.  My husband rocks for making this happen.  And my parents for helping me with design.  I really, really love it.  Thank you!

Everybody who sees it and remembers my old kitchen says the same thing, "It's so much bigger!" The reality is that it's a more efficient use of the space.  It didn't literally get any larger.

Today the carpenters are here doing some finish work.  Moldings and hinges and baseboards.  Oh my.

I'll post pictures later.  At the very end, when it's all really done I'll post some before and after pics.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Date Night--October 8, 2014

Happy Anniversary to Us!!!

Okay, technically it's not until Friday, but we have to be up and out of the house early on Saturday, so a fancy meal on Friday night didn't seem wise.  And Josh has to conduct a "technical interview" with some folks in India at 10:00 at night on Thursday, so drink wasn't in a good choice for Thursday either.  Really, Date Night is on Wednesday so this made it the most obvious choice.

I've been planning this meal for weeks now.  I had actually planned two different meals, but this is the one that won out in the end.  I'm glad this was the choice I made...Josh called it the "best meal he's or some time."  He called it restaurant worthy.  I made some of his favorite things, and he said they were exactly what they were supposed to be.  He orders these things out with great frequency, so I think he's qualified to make these judgments.

So you want to know what this meal was, right?

Cocktails and Appetizer

Not my photo...I forgot to take one.  This is what the drink looked like.

This cocktail is called the Boulevardier.  It is described as "bastard child of a Manhattan and a Negroni."  That went well with my whole menu plan.  It contains 2 oz of bourbon or rye whiskey (I did 1 oz of each), 1 oz of Campari, and 1 oz of sweet vermouth.  It as a tasty little concoction.

With the cocktails, I made this
Baby tomato, pesto & prosciutto tart
Again, I forgot to take to a picture.  This looks better than mine anyway.  :-)
Maybe I needed to let the puff pastry thaw a little more. My tart was kind of gummy in the center adn never got that beautiful golden crust.


My husband loves, I mean LOVES Caesar salad.  Me?  I'm not too fond of it.  Raw egg and anchovies aren't my thing.  But I can find and follow recipes.  So did.

Ingredients for the dressing and salad.
Josh's Caesar salad.  This picture was taken before I dressed it and add the 4 anchovy filets.

My Panzanella.  Italian "bread salad".  It was yummy, but I couldn't finish it.

Did you notice the croutons in the salads?  You should. I made them. Easy  peasy and super delicious.I did not use the fresh parsley in the recipe, but subbed some Italian seasoning blend.

It's a good thing I made the  croutons.  It made a great vehicle to taste....

Main Course

my tomato sauce!  Have you figured out that Italian was the theme of this week's Date Night.

Now this was not a Spaghetti and Meatballs kind of Italian.  This was Chicken Parmesan.  The only alteration that I made to the recipe was to use olive oil instead of vegetable and I added a Tbs of butter.  It was really good.

Chicken before adding sauce and cheeses.
Okay, I kinda forgot to take a picture of the main course after it was plated.  It kinda looked like this,.

I did not have garlic bread.  I did have the spaghetti though.


Ahhh dessert. For this I have many pictures.

I made Panna Cotta.   This is basically an eggless custard.  But I didn't want to make just chocolate panna cotta or just vanilla panna cotta. No.  That would have been too easy.  I wanted to do both.  I wanted this

This is actually MY dessert.  I took the picture and everything.
See the layesr?
 Wondering how I got that.  I was cooking all day long.  Did I mention that? ALL DAY LONG!  It started with the chocolate Panna Cotta.

I poured the custard from the saucepan to a measuring cup and then from the measuring cup to my stemless cocktail glasses nestled in a loaf pan. Into the fridge and then wait.

They were chilling in the fridge by 9.

At 12 I added the vanilla.

At 3:30 or so I added the raspberrries.

As I said at the start, I've been planning this meal for weeks.  After all, you only have 1 10th anniversary.  I used pinterest to do my searching.  I loved it.  I could pin and compare recipes very easily and pull them up on my i-pad in the kitchen for cooking.

This bring this installment of Date Night to a close.

happy cooking

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Date Night--October 1, 2014

Quick kitchen update--it's not done.  It won't be done by our anniversary.  Lowe's has brought it a new contractor.  This one seems competent.

Now on to the reason you're hear  DATE NIGHT!!!!

In my kitchen renovation, I have moved all of the china out of the china/liquor cabinet making it a dedicated BAR cabinet!

Josh worked really, really hard at setting this up the way he really, really wanted.  Now this is a really, really old piece of furniture.  And the lock on the left door is wonky--really, really wonky.  That is the portion of the cabinet that houses the cocktail shaker and the cocktail glasses.  

We had been leaving that door ajar.  Until this morning when I was cleaning up my kitchen.  I accidentally locked the shaker in the cabinet.  Josh has the magic touch and he will free it and then he will make martinis. I'm sad that I can't open it and make the cocktails myself.

With the cocktails we will be having fruit (honeycrisp apple and grapes) with cheddar cheese and yummy crackers.

Dinner is Crispy Cheddar Chicken from LaaLoosh.

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

I will be accompanying it with roasted garlic broccoli.

Recipe: Skinny Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread | Skinny Mom | Where Moms Get the Skinny on Healthy Living

I did not actually grate my zucchini.  I shredded it.  Which means you can tell that it's there.  I've had the tiniest of tastes and you can't really taste the zucchini.  But you can see it.  I recommend grating it.  Easier to fool the chocoholic veggie phobic husband in the house.

That's all the news from here.  I think I'll go wrestle with the bar cabinet door once more.

happy cooking

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Date Night--September 17, 2014

I bet you thought I'd forgotten how to post a Date Night post.  Well, I didn't.  And I think I did a pretty good, (not great, mind you, but pretty good) job of documenting it.

Appetizers and Cocktails

Quesadikllas.  And Josh made Martinis  From his new Bar Cabinet.  They were good. I didn't take a picture.  Probably because it wasn't "new" in the kitchen.  He's been doing that all along.  Granted, he's more than thrilled to not be doing it in the bathroom. :-)


Chicken Cordon Bleu.  This was a little splurge-y at 8 points.  But it was  good.

I also made a Knorr rice/pasta side.  Not worth the points, but the man seemed to like.  And also green beans.  I cooked the beans to Josh's liking (I prefer them a shade under done...I mean a little crunchy, not mushy at all.)

Plate photographed in the kitchen. On the granite.  Isn't it pretty?

Dessert was a canolli for Josh and a Fiber One Oatmeal cookie for me.  I may have some apple sauce, too.

That concludes this Date Night post.

Next week, Josh is working.  Date Night will be all me.  And maybe a touch fancier as we will be celebrating new employment.

kristen out

happy cooking

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kitchen Remodel--Days 47-49

I know, I've been lax about posting.  I have a really good reason though...I've been COOKING!!!  In my new kitchen.  Rather than dream about what I'll have or complain about the slowness of this project, I was actually using my kitchen.

Cool, right?

Anyway, here are the pictures...
First meal I ate on real dishes in 2.5 months.  I have a dishwasher!!!!!

Making breakfast for my man and myself on my new cook top!!!!!

You can see my new faucet and evidence that it works well in the pile of clean pots and pans drying.  For the things that don't get washed by hand, my new dishwasher handles that!

You can see my ovens lurking in the background and my new cook top in the middle.

These last two pics I took mostly to show off my new handles.  Aren't they pretty. Here's a more detailed picture.  I think they look like they belong in my kitchen.

Now having these cabinets that reach the ceiling is great.  I have lots of room to store seldom used items. Like my good china.

Now moving the china out of the liquor/china cabinet has freed up enough space to make that piece of furniture a dedicated liquor cabinet.  A BAR cabinet if you will.

The morning light casts a halo on the cabinet.  We really don't revere our spirits quite that much. :-)
So this brings you up to speed on the kitchen to date.  Still to come...shelves and wine rack installed.  That should happen this week as the giver of those items is coming to dinner on Saturday.  Hopefully next week, the correct hood will arrive and be installed.  After that comes finish trim work, the back splash and the inspection.

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Kitchen Remodel--Day 45


Moving my utensils to their forever home/

Coffee Maker in its new home.

New stainless steel sink. Notice how pink it looks in the corner?  That's the stone, not just a reflection of the walls.
Because I was able to move my coffee maker to the kitchen,  I was able to reclaim my Hall Bath.

Day 46 should be connecting all of the appliances and plumbing.  I hope a little more happens....