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Dining Room Update

It's absolutely true what is said about the snowball effect of home upgrades.  A little paint here turns into new paint everywhere.  Fix a broken tile here and soon whole floors need changing.  Well, that's what has been happening in my "Just One Donna" home.  Spring brought us a brand new kitchen and that kitchen makes everything else feel old and worn out. Not one to throw it all out with the bath water, so to speak, I have been working hard to find ways to update on a budget.  Freshening up doesn't mean you have to break your budget.   One room of focus has been the dining room which is adjacent to the kitchen.  It's a work in progress, but I've made a few changes to get some momentum going.  First, let's take a look at the before dining room.  You can see it is a very traditional dining room.  I love the traditional feel but wanted to add some more modern accents. Three things have changed.  The first and most impactful change was replaci

Kitchen Renovation-The Plan

Three Steps to Creating a Kitchen Renovation Plan This post is the third in a series detailing my experience with my kitchen renovation.  Previously I wrote about accepting that a renovation is needed and the five questions to answer before starting a kitchen renovation project.  Once I had some clarity about what I wanted my new kitchen to look like, and I had established an overall target budget for the project, I needed to determine how to go from the "idea" to an actually finished kitchen. That meant I needed a "PLAN". 1. Sketch Your Dream Layout The first step of my plan was to complete a drawing of the layout I wanted for my kitchen.  This was easy for me because I didn't want to change very much about my existing layout.  I had lived with, and loved, my existing kitchen layout for many years.  That may be a reason I had resisted a kitchen renovation for so long.  The existing kitchen was working pretty well as it was. Kitchen Layout Sketch

Five Questions to Answer When Planning A Kitchen Renovation

According to my astrological sign, I am a homebody and get comfort from my home.  Perhaps that is why whenever I think about tearing my home apart in a renovation I get a panic attack.  The thought of the impending disruption is certainly a reason to put those renovation thoughts on the back burner.  It's one thing to know that you want your kitchen renovated, but it's another to actually take the steps to get the work done. You mustn't delay updates to your home forever.  Short of moving there is no other way to address the wear and tear a family of four leaves on a home over time.  Let's face it, the kitchen takes a lot of abuse from the daily life of a family.  My experience with a family room addition several years ago left me greatly resistant to repeating those trials and tribulations. In that project, the three-month family room addition turned into six months of disruption, of which about four weeks were spent with the backside of our home completely open and

Grilled Peaches with Caramel Ice Cream

Grilled Peaches with Caramel Ice Cream One of the things I love about the end of summer in Rhode Island is that local peaches are abundantly available.  I actually have a love/hate relationship with peaches.  I love the juicy deliciousness of a ripe peach, preferably picked straight from the tree, but I hate the fuzzy skin.  I usually cut the skin off the fresh peach because the fuzz makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  I know, it's weird. Recently, when out to dinner, I ordered a salad special that was a grilled peach with balsamic vinegar and Gorgonzola cheese.  It was so delicious that I've had grilled peaches on the brain ever since that dinner.  When I saw the beautiful, local peaches at the store this week I had to buy some.  I decided to grill my peaches for dessert.  This grilled peaches dessert was so quick and easy that I wanted to share it with you in time for your Labor Day barbecues. Grilled Peaches-The Simple Ingredients Grilled Peaches wi

Time for A Kitchen Renovation

When is it the right time for a kitchen renovation?  We'd been thinking about a kitchen renovation for a long time.  The kitchen in my house was original to the home, built in 1981.  It was a beautiful kitchen when built, with custom cherry cabinets and well thought out use of space. We made some changes in the past by installing double ovens in a mysterious closet space, and an electric cooktop, with a cabinet with sliding drawers, where there once was a range. These updates made the kitchen very serviceable and a pleasant space for cooking and entertaining.  As my sons grew we made daily use of our kitchen table, especially enjoying the morning sunshine while eating breakfast. You can see in the picture above that I added a mobile kitchen cart to the end of my island as a way to test whether or not I would want the length of the island extended.  I found the additional 24" of length to be very useful, especially when taking hot dishes from the double oven

Tomato and Corn Quiche

Today is August 1st and it is hot.  It's the kind of hot, summer day that makes you want to sit under the shadiest tree you can find and sip iced tea or lemonade.  It's not a day for cooking and certainly not a day for turning on the oven, but what do I do?  I decide a tomato and corn quiche would be perfect for dinner tonight.  There's no way around it, a quiche requires the oven and once I get something in my head I'm not easily dissuaded. Use Fresh Tomatoes in a Delicious Summer Quiche I love quiche.  To me, quiche is the perfect any time of day meal.  It works for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It is also perfect because it is a "dump" recipe.  Just "dump" the ingredients into a crust and you are halfway there. Forty-five or so minutes of oven time later, you have a meal.  A quiche is a perfect meal to use up whatever you may have in your refrigerator. (This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. The compensation I receive wh

An Easy Way to Peel Garlic

If, like me, you love to cook with fresh garlic you will love this handy tip for how to peel multiple cloves in a few short seconds.  Lately, I've been buying the pre-peeled garlic being sold in produce departments that is packaged in sealed pouches containing six to eight garlic cloves.  I find it very handy to be able to reach into the refrigerator for a couple of peeled cloves to mince up quickly for a recipe.  Peeling garlic is not my favorite thing to do. The other day I went to buy one of those packages of peeled garlic loves at my local grocery store only to find that they were out of them.  "They are on the next shipment," I was told.  Hmpf, I've been told that before.  I had a couple of bulbs of garlic at home in the pantry, so home I went.  I needed some garlic for a slow cooker recipe I was making.  As I began to pull the cloves of garlic from the bulb I remembered a garlic peeling tip I had heard some time ago, but never tried. All you need in addition