A tale of a bathroom reno: the master

This was a major undertaking – the renovation of the master bathroom.  Our master bath was very dated – 1990’s light oak, jetted tub (that we never used), the one-sink vanity that had seen better days, and there was this really random shelf and wasted space at the foot of the tub.  Rue figured out how to get the door on the tub open and took it upon herself to explore the mechanics of the jetted tub, so we {and by we I mean I} duck-taped it closed with some classy mustache tape.  {Kevin probably would have preferred Rue having access to the underbelly of the tub than look at that mustache tape day in and day out!}  All that to say, we were really excited to update the bathroom.

We have a contractor guy who works with his son on projects such as these so we got a quote and some ideas from them and started buying the stuff.  So much stuff.  Kevin is really good at piecing these projects together and he pays attention to the details.  I’m more big picture.  I know what I like, I know what I don’t like, but I can’t really articulate that until I see it in a photo or something.  I sometimes get a little impatient because he is so deliberate and doesn’t rush decisions.  Basically if we ever built a house from the ground up, he would just have to make all the decisions and tell me when to move in because I get so bored with the details!

Anyway, Kirk and Scott set to work on June 5 and finished on June 21.  A bigger company probably would have done it faster – for a price – but we really like knowing and trusting the people working in our house.  And they do great work, so it was definitely a great decision.

Here are the photos, by phase!

And some final photos with the paint touched up and our stuff moved in…

We worked with a local company to get the vanity and shelves custom built.  The place does granite work, which is why we looked there to begin with – the granite top of the vanity is also from them.  We already can’t wait to have that company gives us an estimate to replace our kitchen countertops!  From one project to the next.

And a tale for another day – the next chapter in the adventures of Ruester. She took it upon herself to explore the space between the first floor and the second floor. That cat – she’s a pistol.

Do you like the idea of building a house from the ground up, with all the little decisions that entails?  Any big projects on the horizon for your space?

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Capsule recipe box: beef.

Beef…it’s what’s for dinner.  Probably once a week or so at our house.  My parents own cattle so we know exactly where our beef comes from and what goes into it, which is really a great thing.

Here are a few of our favorite beef recipes.  {For our “capsule recipe box” of chicken recipes, click here.}

SLOW COOKER BEEF GYROS

I’ve posted this one in a past monthly recap post (here).  It’s really easy and customizable in terms of toppings.

BEEF STROGANOFF

Ava loves this stroganoff and so do Kevin and I.  We always keep a stash of the McCormick Stroganoff seasoning packs on hand and it’s a really quick go-to recipe on a week night.  We follow the instructions on the seasoning packet and add some red pepper flakes for a bit of a kick.  We have used both stew meat and ground beef and both are good, but Ava prefers the ground beef and we keep more ground beef than stew meat in the freezer, so we’ll default to that.  This is best served over egg noodles, but we’ve been really trying to watch our pasta intake so more often than not we’ll serve it over rice.  Still delicious!

MELT IN YOUR MOUTH POT ROAST

This one needs a little time to really reach peak flavor so we’ve really only made it on weekends.  Perfect for a chilly day!

SPAGHETTI WITH MEAT SAUCE

We’ll usually brown some ground beef and mix in Newman’s Sockarooni spaghetti sauce, but sometimes I love to make my own simple spaghetti sauce like the one my mom made when I was growing up.  That’s just cans of tomato sauce, cans of whole or stewed tomatoes, dried seasonings like basil and oregano, salt, pepper, and lots of simmering time.  I love that there is no added sugar and just simple ingredients.  Our favorite pasta to serve any sauce over is De Boles Organic Spinach Fettucine.  I’ve also recently really been into zoodles.  I don’t have a fancy spiralizer and just use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons which I then sauté very lightly in olive oil or butter, if I’m feeling decadent.

EASY SHEPHERD’S PIE

Technically this is cottage pie if you use beef (lamb = shepherd), but it really is easy and it really is delicious.  The recipe can be found here.

STEAK ON THE GRILL

Kevin is the official grillmaster at our house.  This is the marinade we most often use on steaks.  It is so, so delicious.  I like my steak medium rare, but I’ll eat it less rare when pregnant.  My sister doesn’t have a grill so she cooks her steak in the cast iron skillet and raves about that method as well.

BEEF STEW

Another one that is great for a chilly weekend day as it takes a little time to prepare and cook.  But it is worth every ounce of effort and it will leave your house smelling so, so good.  Here’s the recipe we love best when we have a hankering for beef stew.

TACOS

We brown up the ground beef and mix in some taco seasoning packet (probably McCormick?).  We use the hard corn shells that stand up by themselves.  Load them up with meat, sprinkle cheddar cheese on top, and place in the broiler until the cheese is melted.  So good and easy.

What are your favorite beef recipes?  How do you like your steak?

 

A random assortment of random.

Thanks for all the sweet comments and emails and texts and phone calls after my last post.  I so appreciate it.  While I am striving to think of this chapter as an adventure, I’d be lying if I said that’s easy.  There are minutes – hours – days when what we’re facing feels completely overwhelming and I am in complete denial (or hysterics, depending on the severity of the moment) that it’ll be our reality for a bit.  Anyway.  Thanks again.

Ava’s surgery was originally scheduled for today – June 19, but because the OR wasn’t available for long enough that day, it had to be postponed to next week.  At first I was upset about the delay because I was anxious to get on with it.  An earlier surgery meant the cast should have been coming off ten days earlier than it now will be, which is ten days further out from my due date with baby boy.  Waiting ten days for surgery means ten more days of the anxiety sprinkled unknown.  But overall it has worked out for the best because we had our master bath renovation start on June 5 and they were supposed to be done by June 16, but alas – are still going and probably won’t finish until June 21.  It’s nice to not have a newly body casted toddler in a house with the noise and stress of renovation projects.  Also, we got hit with a quick turnaround (5 days) audit at work, and while my boss could have handled that fine on her own, I’m glad I’m at work this week and able to help get all ready by Thursday.

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I think the surgery being today would have put a nervous damper on Kevin’s Father’s Day yesterday too, so it was nice that it was pushed back for that reason too.  We had a great Father’s Day celebrating our favorite guy.  Kiki and Rue got him a card and Ava and I got him a card.  We also gave him a book about dynamite dad’s and a photo to replace the one that was in a frame in his office at work.  I picked up Bocadillo’s breakfast burritos for breakfast and we just played in the park and at home and hung out during the morning.  Ava didn’t want to stop celebrating her dad long enough to nap in the morning, but she did take one in the afternoon when Kevin went to meet his dad for coffee.  Kevin’s parents came over for dinner and poor Kevin had to grill his own Father’s Day dinner.  The burgers and bell peppers were so delicious.  He also made his awesome guacamole.  Seriously – poor guy can’t get a break all year.  :)  I slaved over the stove to bake a box of store bought Thin Mint brownies, which were amazing with the vanilla Haagen-Dazs Sue brought.  Ava enjoyed her little burger with guacamole.  She’s hesitant to try new foods recently and at first she turned down some ice cream.  Kevin started questioning paternity.  Fortunately I convinced Ava to try a bite with the promise that it was “like a popsicle” (of which she’s only ever had healthy homemade versions) and she loved the ice cream.  :)  We also had her show off her ability to say her brother’s name and she told my step-dad via FaceTime, my mom and sister via recorded video, and Kevin’s parents in person.  I think they all approve of the name or are at least pretending to. :)  It was a great day and I hope that Kevin felt even half as special as we think he is because that would be a whole, whole lot.

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One morning at about 7:40, the doorbell rang.  We were expecting Sue soon after that time to watch Ava, so I thought I would see her when I opened the door.  Nope.  It was a police officer.  He had a serious look on his face and asked if everything was okay.  I said, “Umm, yes,” with what I imagine was a perplexed look on my face.

“Your panic alarm was set off.”

Oh.

Oops.

We have alarm fobs that include a button that automatically dispatches the police when it is pressed.  Ava likes playing with our keys and when she has the keys, we are quick to take that one away from her so that this very thing doesn’t happen.  But…earlier that morning, as we were getting ready, she started playing with the contents of my purse and when I noticed her toddling around with the keys, I asked Kevin to remove the fob.  Too late, we found.

I explained what had happened, he called off the two other officers that were patrolling our side yard, I apologized profusely, he only looked mildly annoyed, and that was that.  The city charges $25 a year as a “False Alarm Ordinance Fee” and I guess Ava just wanted to be sure it wasn’t for nothing this year.  We did get a sternly worded letter from the city police a few days later telling us that they operate on a ‘three strikes, you’re fined’ system, so we’ll try to keep our false alarm count under three.

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One riveting piece of trivia a la Amy is that my favorite place to tweeze my eyebrows is in my car, using the rearview mirror.  For some reason all my blonde little hard-to-see stray hairs become glaringly obvious in that rearview.

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We’ve been enjoying some good TV recently.

Homeland ended several weeks (maybe even a couple of months?) ago.  My absolute favorite character on the show died (I won’t give more of a spoiler than that), which I’m still sad about.  {But NOT the level of sad I was when my favorite character in Breaking Bad died.  Immediately following that scene, Kevin made the mistake of trying to tickle me and I snapped at him.  “I am NOT in the mood to be tickled.  Mike just died.”  That line has become a standing joke for us.}  But about Homeland.  The season (was it season 6?) got better as it progressed but didn’t draw us in like the first few seasons did.

A Showtime show that got it RIGHT this year was Billions (season 2).  I really, really like that show.  We were really impressed with it.  I’ll be very interested to see where it goes next year.  When I grow up I want to be like Wendy.  She’s my favorite.

Silicon Valley is one episode away from wrapping up the current season and we’ve enjoyed what they’ve done.  I like that Jian-Yang has more of a role this season.  He and Erlich’s interactions are really funny.

Better Call Saul season finale is tonight and I am really on the edge of my seat to see what happens.  I have a feeling it’s going to be big.  Will Nacho die?  I’m worried about him.  Will Hector have the stroke or whatever happens that lands him in the wheelchair with a bell we know and love from Breaking Bad?  It has been a good season.  Jimmy is really starting to develop into Saul.  I loved the re-introduction of Gus this season.  And any time Mike gets on the screen is good time by me.

Big Bang Theory!  Who saw the final scene of the final episode of the season that just wrapped up coming??  Super sweet.  It was hard to get into BBT this year because the schedule was so sporadic.  Show airs on Monday!  No, wait, Thursday!  It’s on every week for a month.  Now it’s not on for two weeks.  Blah.  But overall, good ending for the season.

We exercised remarkable self-restraint and did not binge-watched House of Cards this season.  Mostly timing of the release, but also I thought it started out slow.  I think Frank is getting too philosophical and spending too much time talking to the viewers. We did finish the season over the weekend and I’m just apparently never happy because I thought the beginning of the season was too slow and the end was too fast.  There was so much happening!  It got hard for me to track all the pieces.  It did end with a high note of anticipation for next season.

I’m on season three of Grace and Frankie on Netflix and am enjoying it, although I don’t know that it’s as good as the first two seasons thus far.  That show is just so perfectly cast.  I love Jane Fonda as Grace.

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Are you watching any good shows? 

That’s a wrap {May}.

 

Links to Love:

  1. I’ve been doing a lot of internal audits at work and really have enjoyed listening to YouTube videos simultaneously.  I’m not super into makeup or hair really, but I’ve been loving Tati’s channel.  She’s just entertaining and because I’m not really in it to pick up makeup application tips or anything, it’s fine to have on in the background and not have my eyes on the video.
  2. Whack-a-meow is adorable.
  3. It’s vacation season.  I won’t be going to a beach this year, but a few of these look really nice.

Making Memories:

  1. We did a lot of prep for our master bath renovation.  The reno is scheduled for June, so we ordered the vanity, tub, tile, shelving, shower door, etc. in May.  Basically we spent A LOT of money.
  2. Mother’s Day was lovely.  We went to breakfast at Weck’s, which is our two-year-running Mother’s Day tradition.  Then we did our grocery shopping.  As a gift from Ava, Kevin gave me an adorable picture plaque with four of my favorite photos of Ava.  He also chooses the best cards and I always treasure the card itself, but most importantly his sweet, heartfelt message.  We had his parents over for dinner and he grilled up some delicious steak and bell peppers.  Ava took a 2 hour nap which means mama and dad took naps of their own!  It was a good day.
  3. We had a site re-credentialing audit at work and passed with flying colors.  Audits are always a lot of work and stressful, but our director of QA is great at getting us prepared, with a little help from her assistant (me :)).
  4. A few years ago, in prenatal yoga, I met a woman who owns a spa and beauty retreat here (Broadway Skin & Beauty Retreat).  My skin had been acting really wonky (pregnancy + a cold + weird variations in the weather patterns + …) so I decided to go get a facial with Devon.  It was really relaxing and fantastic.  Quite a treat!
  5. Kevin and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary!  Since it fell on a Wednesday this year, we decided to celebrate on the following Saturday by going to Indigo Crow, our favorite restaurant.  Lobster ravioli and ceasar salads all around.  Wine for the gentleman.  We sat on the outdoor patio and it was a perfect night.  We even stayed out until almost 9:00 and had Kevin’s parents put Ava to bed for the first time ever.  It went really well!  She has been such a champ at bedtime recently (knock wood a million times).

Bookish:

  1. I’m still currently reading Team of Rivals and re-reading the fourth Harry Potter.
  2. The only book I finished in May was Sense and Sensibility.  I gave it three stars, cringed, and changed my rating to four stars.  It seemed like a sin to give Jane Austen three stars.
  3. Kevin is reading American Lion:  Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham and he’s listening to Good to Great by Jim Collins.
  4. We still have a lot to listen to in David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day.  It’s really funny.  :)
  5. Ava’s favorite book to read is Old McDonald’s Woodshop.  She is obsessed with that book – calls it “zztt zztt zztt” because that’s the sound the saw makes.  She isn’t especially interested in reading Baby Beluga but she carries it around like a security blanket, even taking it into the crib with her at night.

Challenges:

  1. I had a really bad sore throat that became a head cold in early May.  It was the worst head cold I’ve had in years.  I feel like this pregnancy has really affected my immune system more than my pregnancy with Ava did.
  2. We learned something on June 1 that will present a Challenge with a capital C, and it really is overshadowing anything that may have seemed challenging in May.  Since I’m writing this after the fact (too OCD to not finish out the year with these monthly update posts – even if it means they may be late sometimes :)), our June and beyond challenge is really impeding my ability to backtrack and think of anything else to share about May challenges.  And I will share more on this mysterious new challenge in a future post.

Sustenance:

  1. We made this slow cooker melt-in-your-mouth pot roast, which was very delicious.
  2. These barbeque chicken sweet potatoes were hearty and tasty.  I wish we would have tried them in the winter – great cozy, cold weather food.
  3. The dinner of the month was definitely our lobster ravioli at Indigo Crow.  Always the best.

How was your May?

A day in the life – April 2017.

Carrying on my tradition of posting a day-in-the-life play-by-play (so. many. hyphens) every six months!  Past posts:  October 2015April 2016October 2016 

These days, Ava is sleeping like a champ and wakes up between 6:30 and 7:30 each morning.  I know that seems like a wide range of time, and maybe it is.  As such, I wake up at around the same time because I will likely never be one to get up before my child(ren).  It’s just not who I am.  Kevin, on the other hand, wakes up at around 5:15 or 5:30.  He goes downstairs, has some coffee, reads the paper, watches Mike & Mike, and sometimes goes to the gym. If he doesn’t go to the gym, he’ll go upstairs when Ava wakes up and they start their morning by turning off the sound machine, opening the blinds, and changing a diaper.  They usually find me getting out of bed and we’ll all go downstairs together.  Unless I need to stop off to throw up (or not – it’s such a pointless exercise:  nausea and the urge to puke but empty stomach, so nothing happens), which is happening less, but still trips up the morning every few days.

We do breakfast.  Ava usually has yogurt and fruit; Kevin and I usually have an English muffin with peanut butter or almond butter.  Then we just hang out downstairs until around 8:00 when it’s time to go upstairs and start getting ready.  Ava is obsessed with my makeup these days and loves “makeup time”.  She’ll haul around the brushes and containers and scatter them about as I chase after her, collecting what I need as I need it.

If it’s a morning that I work, Kevin and I will head to work at a little before 9:00 or when Sue arrives to watch Ava.  Ava has been loving Grandma (Pa-ma, she calls her) these days so there aren’t any tears when we leave.  “See ya, folks,” is more her motto.  I’ll work through the morning (audits, audits, audits – that’s the name of the game recently) and Kevin and I will usually both go home for lunch at 1:00, if he doesn’t have a meeting or something.

We’ll hear about Ava’s morning – she has been taking 1 hour to 2 hour crib naps recently (party emoji!) and will usually be eating lunch when we get home.  We’ll eat with her (leftovers, egg and avocado burrito for me, lunchmeat sandwich for Kevin – those are common) and then Kevin goes back to work.

Ava and I play and go for a walk if it’s not too windy.  We’ll stop off at the park and she’ll play there for a bit.  She loves the slides and the swing and pointing at the sand (“HOT!”) and the little ant hills and the leaves and so forth.

Once home again we’ll have a snack, then play or read or watch Raffi.  She’s obsessed with Raffi, and I don’t mind letting the DVD babysit for awhile as I rush around, cleaning up, prepping dinner, etc.  Or cuddling her on the couch and marveling at the eighties style clothes and hair of the kids and adults jamming to man in concert.

Sometimes we’ll go out in the backyard and play there for a bit.  We have a little sandbox for her and her favorite thing is climbing in and out and in and out and so on and so forth.

One day a neighborhood cat was on the back wall/fence and Ava spotted it and said, “Cat!”  The cat jumped down into another yard and ever since then Ava will point to that corner of the yard and say, “Again!” because she wants me to magically conjure up another cat.  Cats are hard to conjure.  That’s a tough pill for a one year old to swallow and I can tell that she does NOT understand why the cat isn’t on the wall.  She’s very patient through my rational explanations of cat independence, but I can tell with each “Again!” that she really just wants me to FIND A CAT.

Kevin comes home around 5:30 and if I’m on it, I’ll have started dinner.  Unless we’re grilling in which case, maybe I’ve prepped stuff, but I don’t turn on the grill (he’s shown me how no fewer than eight times and I just can’t seem to retain the information), so we wait for the grillmaster.  Dinner is served around 6:10 and we’ll eat together.  At the table, like adults!  This still shocks me because BA (Before Ava) we were committed couch and TV dinner people.  If we get done early enough and don’t need to do a bath (baths are approximately every other night or as needed, such as when peanut butter covered hands get raked through golden locks), we occasionally meet up with some families who live one street over from us.  There are five families and we call ourselves “the Five Families,” always in a Godfather-esque tone.  By we, I mean Kevin and me.  We’re too cool to actually do that in front of these people who can really just be considered acquaintances at this point.  But anyway, it’s nice to have other kids nearby and the ages range from 11 months old (well, in utero if you count the baby I’m growing!) to 6 years old – hopefully they’ll all be able to play together for many years to come.

Beginning at around 7:00, we put Ava in her pajamas and read three books with her.  We’ve been alternating nights on who puts her to bed, so one of us will say goodnight and tell her we love her and the other will pick her up, turn on the sound machine, and walk around her room, singing to her for about 5 minutes.  (Quick note on singing – she has strong opinions about which song she wants us to sing to her and will shake her head and say, “No,” until we settle on one she approves.)  When she’s getting drowsy (or sometimes not – she’s getting heavy and my back starts to hurt!), we’ll put her in the crib, finish the song we’re singing, and tell her goodnight and that Mama and Daddy love her.  Then we leave the room and – knock wood, please – she has been quiet as a little mouse, settling herself to sleep when she’s ready for the past two weeks or so.  It’s amazing.  We’re so proud of her.

Kevin and I will read or watch TV.  We commonly watch Chopped and Fixer Upper as re-runs, and our current “new” shows are Billions and Better Call Saul and Big Bang Theory, so if there is a new one for any of those, we’ll watch it.  We usually go upstairs between 9 and 9:30 and get ready for bed.  And that’s the day.  I love every moment with my little family.  I’m excited to do a post like this in October and see how things have changed.  We will have a newborn in the house!

What’s the typical day like in your life right now? 

Capsule recipe box: chicken.

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There are a few recipes we do really well in our house and these dinners are in regular rotation.  A capsule wardrobe of recipes, if you will.  While sometimes it feels like a rut, it’s a tasty rut.  I decided to share some of our favorite chicken recipes today and hope that you’ll link to some of your favorites in the comments so I can expand my repertoire.  Four of the recipes I’m sharing today just kind of evolved organically in our own kitchen, so I’m typing out the details on what we do to make it come together.  I hesitate to even call them “recipes” because they’re so basic!  The other recipes are things I found through Pinterest, usually, and I’ve linked to the original posts.

CHICKEN FAJITAS

There are a million and one fajita seasoning packets that you can get at the grocery store, or recipes for seasoning mixes that can be found online.  We do not use any of those.  We keep our fajitas really simple!  Here is the process we follow.

Ingredients:
Chicken breasts, sliced into strips
Bell peppers, sliced into strips
Onion, sliced into half-rings
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Sometimes we’ll add a little turmeric or paprika to add a little something special.
Tortillas
Cheddar cheese, grated

Tools:
Cutting board
Knife
Skillet
Tongs or fork
Plates

Process:

  1. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet and season the chicken breast strips with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and any other seasonings you want to include
  2. Cook the chicken breast strips through.  Remove from pan and place on a plate.
  3. Using the same skillet (add a little more olive oil if needed, but we usually don’t find it’s necessary), cook the onion for a few minutes until it starts to soften.  Then add the bell peppers to the skillet and cook the veggies through.  Add a little salt and pepper to season them! (Side note:  if we’re in a hurry, we’ll often sauté the onions and bell peppers simultaneously in another skillet as the chicken is cooking.  Dirties an extra skillet, but does practically cut the cook time in half.)
  4. Add the chicken back into the skillet and mix the meat and veggies together.  Turn the burner down and let it all simmer together for a few minutes while you prep the tortillas.
  5. You can heat tortillas on the stove top but we always just put the tortilla on a plate, spread cheddar cheese on the tortilla, and stick it in the microwave for thirty seconds.
  6. Load the tortilla up with fajita mix and dive in.  :)

PAN-SEARED CHICKEN WITH BALSAMIC CREAM SAUCE

This is one of our FAVORITE, go-to meals.  Kevin and I especially love to make it on a weekend when we can prepare it together because we each play our roles so well in putting it together (I prep and clean as he actually stands over the stove doing the cooking).  You can access the recipe we use here.  We serve the chicken and the oh-so-delicious sauce with egg noodles.

MUM’S GARLIC LEMON CHICKEN

This is another favorite.  It’s from The Londoner and it’s so easy and delicious.  I definitely recommend serving it with the salad that she details in the post.  We love the pairing and the salad dressing recipe she includes is amazingly good.  You can get all the deets here.

ROASTED CHICKEN WITH SWEET POTATOES

This is one is so simple and so, so good.  Kevin and Ava love it too and we’ve been eating it at least once every few weeks recently.

Ingredients:
Chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
Sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Oregano
Turmeric
Any other seasonings you’d like!
Olive oil

Tools:
Baking sheet with side (not a flat cookie sheet style pan)
Aluminum foil (optional)
Clean hands!

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spread a piece of aluminum foil over the baking sheet, covering the sides of the sheet.  This is optional but really helps make clean up a cinch.
  3. Place chicken thighs on baking sheet, skin side up.
  4. Arrange sweet potato chunks around chicken thighs.
  5. Season liberally with chosen seasonings.  Drizzle olive oil over it all.
  6. Use hands to mix things about and get the seasonings and oils spread around.
  7. Bake for around 45-50 minutes or until chicken thighs are cooked through.  Broil for 2 minutes to get the skin crispy.

GREEN CHILE SAUCE CHICKEN BURRITOS

This is a favorite because it’s so easy (slow cooker!) and really tasty.  We use a local green chile sauce – 505 Green Chile Sauce.  You can use any green chile sauce your grocery store carries.

Ingredients:
Green chile sauce – 1 jar
Chicken breasts – we usually do three or four, sometimes more if we want a lot of leftovers for lunches
Tortillas
Cheddar cheese, grated

Tools:
Slow cooker
Slow cooker liner (optional)

Process:

  1. If using the slow cooker liner, place it in the slow cooker.
  2. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker and pour the green chile sauce over the top.
  3. Lid on, slow cooker on, and cook!  Times vary – you know your slow cooker better than anyone else.  Ours is pretty fast we can usually do three chicken breasts on low for around four hours and be fine.
  4. When the chicken breasts are done, use two forks to shred the meat.
  5. We usually just spread some cheddar cheese on a tortilla and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds, then load up the tortilla with the shredded meat.  Fold like a burrito and enjoy this easy-peasy dinner.  You could get fancy and have sour cream, avocado, onions, tomatoes, other toppings, available too!

HONEY SESAME CHICKEN

This is a slow cooker meal that we serve over rice.  It’s really delicious and easy.  Here is the link to the recipe.

 

Do any of these sound like something you would like?  Share your favorite chicken recipe with me please!

A tale of a bathroom reno.

The title of this post makes it sound like it will be a much more dramatic story than it actually is.  Perhaps I should have gone with Veni vidi vici:  bathroom edition, but that sounds like it could be an entirely different kind of story, and well, let’s not go there.

Anyway.

We recently had our guest bathroom reno’ed and we are so. so. happy with the outcome.  Previously, the bathroom was dated; the house was built in the early nineties, and the bathroom reflected that.  More importantly – it had some issues.  With every flush, the toilet sounded like it was dying an agonizing death.  When bath water was released from the tub, it would flood the pipes and leak through the ceiling into the downstairs bathroom just below.  No bueno, si?

The befores:

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We – um, mostly Kevin (he’s so much better at this stuff than I am – he has vision) – picked out our new tub, toilet, tile for floor, tile for shower, vanity, and mirror, and a jack-of-all-trades handyman and his son did the work for us.  The entire project took a week and it was a week – and money – well spent.

Demo day results:

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^ A tribute swatch of the aquarium blue paint color that covered all the walls in the bathroom when we first bought the house. ^

New tub and new tile, in progress:

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And the after photos (taken on different days at different times, hence the different lighting)!

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The tub doesn’t leak, the toilet flushes discreetly, and it has a more classic, timeless look overall.

We have done so much to our house since buying it in the summer of 2013.

{Talkin ’bout my reno-va-tion.}

{Hello, Goodbye.}

The previous owners wouldn’t recognize it!  Our final major project is our master bathroom and we’ll probably tackle that in the spring/summer this year.  I’m also intrigued by the idea of replacing our kitchen counters.  They’re fine but so dark.  I’d like to lighten it up a bit.

Have you done any home improvement projects recently?  Any project you’d like to take on this year?