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Archive for the ‘kitchen’ Category

I am not much of a sweet tooth in the morning as I like a real meal to start the day of right. After all, for breakfast your should eat like an emperor. I generally like eggs in the morning with veggies and sometimes meat. This is a bit more fancy version of my morning breakfast. It’s quick and easy to make. It is almost as good at the omelettes at a local, very small and intimate breakfast place. I crave their omelettes more than we can afford to go there, so I just get busy in the kitchen myself.

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Onion, mushroom, roasted read pepper and feta omelette

The recipe for 1 omelette:

1/4 onion, sliced

1/2 roasted, red pepper, sliced in thin strips

4-5 mushrooms, sliced

2 slices of feta cheese

2 eggs

butter for the pan

Fry onions in butter until they start browning, add mushrooms and continue frying until mushrooms are done to your preference. Remove onions and mushrooms from pan, add a little bit more butter, mix eggs with fork and add to pan, allow egg to flow all over pan, cook covered until eggs are done. Turn of heat, add onions, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and feta cheese to one half of the omelette, fold over other side, cover and let sit for a minute or so. Serve and enjoy.

You can make this omelet with 3 eggs or just egg whites if you like. Cooking on well seasoned cast iron is best but other pans will work as well.

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It’s strawberry season and we have a nice little crop from our garden. This morning in my usual Saturday morning tradition I made a batch of my oatmeal pancakes and served them with strawberries and cream.

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Yummy cakes. Pottery by Upham Street Pottery

The recipe for the pancakes is very easy and forgiving to experimentation:

Oatmeal Pancakes
1 1/4 cup of buttermilk, plain kefir, drinkable yogurt or milk
1cup rolled oats (avoid quick oats)
A handful of ground walnuts
2 eggs
2 tbl canola or other flavorless oil
1/8 to 1/4 cup spelt flour or other light whole grain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Oil for the pan

Mix oats with milk/ yogurt/ kefir and let stand for at least 5 minutes. Add nuts and other ingredients. Use wisk or spoon for mixing. Ladle onto hot griddle or pan, cook until golden brown. Serve with strawberries and cream.

I often add frozen and lightly thawed raspberries right into the batter and just serve the cakes with syrup. This is really our staple version.

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Unfortunately, the not so exciting structural projects are not done at Little Eastside Bungalow and we are currently in the process of sistering the floor joists of the first floor. Now, you might say that this project should have been done first and you are right. But like many new homeowners the path isn’t always so clear and we really needed a new roof first. Over the past few month we have been slowly working on simplifying the mechanicals and electric underneath the kitchen to make room for the sisters. This also allowed us the move all our electric into the new service panel and get the subpanel for the garage and finish the garage electricity. A. also noticed that the flooring nails stick out below the subfloor about 1/2 inch or so. Since we are planning on installing radiant heat from below with aluminum heat transfer plates and PEx, the nails need to be cut flush with the floor.

Flooring nails below the subfloor

This is just another one of those nasty projects: working overhead with the sparking angle grinder and the smell of burned wood. A. worked really hard this weekend and got about 5 joist cavities done.

Nail end ground off.

We had worked on installing the blocking last weekend and were able to get two new joists up this weekend.

Two sisters and you can see that there is a lot of stuff in the way.

Double joist hanger installed on the beam.

In our house, the joists are hung onto the beam by being notched and set onto a ledger. This leads to cracks in the wood over time right at the corner of that notch. I don’t think new growth wood would even survive this type of construction for a year. The old joists have held up OK but we can see evidence of cracks developing. The floor already feels a lot stiffer were the new joists are installed.

Even though this project isn’t necessarily pressing from a structural sense, we need to get these sisters in before we can install the radiant heat. But we can’t get this all done unless we rip out the duct work from the furnace. With temperatures in the teens (-8°C) over the last few nights, the idea of abandoning the furnace anytime soon seems impossible. And once that is done, it is another race against time, since we only have about 5 months in the non-heating season. So, it may look like we are not going to get a lot of exterior work done on the house this year.

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My husband and I are of the kind of people that care about quality but don’t want to spend a lot of money for it. Sometimes, getting good quality for a fair price is possible, sometimes it is not. Here are a few experiences that I have made over the past year and a half.

The kitchen remodel:

  • Pulling out 2000 staples took a lot of time and finger strength but yielded a high quality birch floor that would cost quite a bit. Check that for the rest of the house minus the staples but plus glue. Paying someone else to sand and refinish the floors was the best money we spent. Go with the local small companies and ask if they have a cash discount. We got 10% off. Heard about it from our neighbors so ask your neighbors.

    Birch floors in kitchen after removing 3 layers of flooring and 2000 1" staples.

    Birch floors in kitchen after removing 3 layers of flooring and 2000 1" staples.

  • Kitchen cabinets: Go to your local ReStore. At certain times of the year they get over loaded with cabinets. We got ours on sale for 250 dollars. They were not cheap cabinets in their youth. Plywood construction instead of particle board and solid doors. New knobs and handles from Restoration Hardware make them look like very good cabinets.
  • Kitchen Sink: wanted an apron front sink with two basins, because we will not have a dish washer. Could have spent 1500 dollars on something like that but opted for the 300 dollar Domsjo model from Ikea plus the faucet for 70 dollars. (Prices have gone up a bit since we bought it) Built our own base because we didn’t want bad particle board ikea cabinet. As of today, that sink has seen some use and gotten scratched a bit. If I spend any more that 300 dollars on it, I would be very unhappy about these scratches but I can accept them as a sign of a well used sink.P1020480
  • Countertops: Again Ikea birch countertops 169.- for an 89″ length. Our floors are birch so it fits very nicely. Countertop has to be maintained but so does any butchertop countertop. It has taken on  a nice patina and shows that we do live in our kitchen.
  • Stove: 150.- plus 25.- delivery. It is a 1950’s Kenmore gas stove with a integrated griddle or big burner for canning pot. Probably cost less in the 1950’s but sure cheaper than a new stove that size. Cooks food well and even has a child lock for the knobs.

    1950's Kenmore stove. Burners fully hide for extra counter space.

    1950's Kenmore stove. Burners fully hide for extra counter space.

  • Fridge: we bought the fridge brand new because we wanted an energy efficient model. Buy a small fridge and keep it full, instead of a big fridge that is empty. It saves you money over time. Plus you eat fresher foods since you don’t have enough room to store them forever.

So we spent about 1700 dollars on these above items. In my book, that’s not bad, especially since I didn’t get cheap, badly constructed items, have diverted things from the landfill, have restored the orginal beauty of my home and don’t feel bad about a scratch or stain.

Also:

  • Bought “light” prairie style futon off of craigslist for 80.-, bought upholstery fabric from an outlet store (SR Harris) and made my own cover in the color that I wanted. 40.- so 120.- for a nice looking couch that fits our small house
  • Light fixture in dining room. $2.50 on 50% off light fixture sale at ReStore. We were only on our bikes that day because we were on a bike tour vacation. Since we knew we would be through the town on our way back with our car, we paid for it and they stored it for us for free.
  • Buying things on ebay. Check out the Buy it Now Only section. Then you know your price and you don’t have to put yourself through the anxienty of bidding. But sometimes bidding is fun, too.
  • Shop the curb: we “bought” both our cat trees on the curb. That type is usually expensive with real tree limbs and nice carpet. The cats don’t care.
  • Salvage things for your own home. Don’t just dumbster things you are tearing out. A lot of time you can reuse that 2×4 or that sheet of plywood. We salvaged the picture moulding, stripped and refinished it and put it back on the walls a bit differently. If you don’t want something, but it is in good shape, give it to someone that can use it. I gave away the doors and trim from our upstairs because they weren’t original to the house.
  • And if possible, you can try to recycle building materials that can’t be reused. You local dumpster company can probably give you some info on that.

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After we tore out all the walls and cleaned out the hundreds of pounds of plaster, we decided to rip up the floor next. We started peaking under the layers of linoleum and plywood at the door to the dining room and saw what might be hardwood. The first layers of linoleum came up easy, it was just glued down around the edges. Underneath that was a layer of 1/4 inch plywood. That was a bit of another story but once I could get up one corner and had enough leverage, I could rip of larger sheets. The staples that secured the plywood ripped right through it and held on tightly to what was underneath.

 

The different layers of flooring

The different layers of flooring

Great. Then there was a layer of old linoleum tile ontop of what looked like really old jute backed linoleum and then felt paper.

 

Hardwood floors in the kitchen

Hardwood floors in the kitchen

But the layers of flooring weren’t the problem at all, it was the stables. They were holding onto the floor underneath for their life and weren’t coaxed out by a simple staple puller or plyers.

 

 

Staples

Staples

A. developed a technique of grabbing the top of the stable with plyers and then putting a prybar underneath to lift it out. That mostly worked but still many of them broke and some just wouldn’t come out, so we set them instead. There must have been close to 2000 staples and A. worked on them while I tried to remove the flooring in between the staples. I think it ended up taking us like 3 weeks or so of night time staple pulling to get them all out. A. of course saved them all, just as a reminder. Whoever put down that last layer of flooring must have just gotten a new stable gun and just loved it so much that he put in a stable about every 2-4 inches. Thanks dude. The felt paper stuck to the floor well and we gave up trying to get that off. We figured a sander would make quick work of that so why bother. At least it wasn’t sticky like the glue underneath all the pretty gray carpet.

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