Category Archives: Musings

Renovations: Part 1

Kitchen: Before

Kitchen: Before

Living in Vancouver with a dog, child and another one on the way, we knew that renting a bigger space would be a challenge. The rental vacancies are extremely competitive and even if you secure a place there’s a chance that you might lose it with your landlord cashing in on the hot real estate market. It was time to settle down and create some roots here.

A lot of people say that when you buy a house you’ll just know “it’s the one”. That wasn’t really the case with this house. Everything about it was old. The carpets were stained at the house and a weird funk to it. I spent about 10 minutes in there before I had to leave. My impression of the house? “It has potential.” Even in its fixer upper state, we still had to deal with 8 other people bidding on the house, but we finally lucked out.

I knew this was going to be a big job. Nothing had been updated since it was built, including appliances. There wasn’t a room that wouldn’t involve some sort of work. Asbestos was abated, carpets were immediately ripped out and replaced with wood flooring and we were waiting on permits to tear down the walls. We love the open concept look and the kitchen layout wasn’t functional with its small space and my (ahem) large collection of kitchen wares.

One thing I learned about this process is that it’s a very slow one. We’re still undergoing renos and won’t be completely done until next year (at least I hope). Finding a contractor was difficult with many of them booked months in advance.

This was our set up for awhile: No stove, no sink on the main floor (later we got a temporary laundry tub put in and it made a world of difference), no microwave. Easiest thing to live without? Microwave. Even after the kitchen was complete we didn’t get one for another few months. Hardest thing to live without? Kitchen sink. I’d have to wash all the dishes upstairs, pregnant.

To get our open concept kitchen we needed a permit to bring down walls and that took 4 weeks. Without the permit, no major work could be done. Even the flooring on the main level couldn’t be done because the wall had to come down first. Looking back, I’m amazed how we lived through this. During this time the most valuable assets were the toaster oven (roast chicken!) and the grill.

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Hello, world (again)

It’s been a long silence on my end. I have 45 posts in draft mode and a number of them are cookbook reviews started in 2014. To be honest, life got in the way and more importantly I felt I was unable to live up to the expectations that I felt a food blog should have.

So I’m going to dial it back and do what I can. I still get excited when I get a cookbook and there are a ton that I’m looking forward to getting this fall.

In the mean time, this has happened:

We bought a house that was a fixer upper. This was the kitchen complete with appliances from the year it was built, 1980:

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We’re still living in renovation mode, but the worst is over with. Walls were torn down and my dream kitchen was built.

And then this guy came along:

Baby A

Image by Cradled Creations

He’s almost 2 months old and it’s a completely different ballgame when you also have an almost 3 year old. All the time consuming recipes that I could spend hours in the kitchen? Not so much. Meal kit deliveries so we don’t end up eating cereal at night? Yes, please.

Hoping to share with you guys more frequently this time around.

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An announcement

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I feel like this is old news if you haven’t been following me on Twitter or Instagram, but I thought I’d make it official on this blog.

How does a baker tell their family that they’re expecting? With cookies of course. This explains the long gap of silence. It’s hard to have a food blog when food wasn’t a top priority.

I’m back at it in the kitchen for the most part. I’ve got a few favourite cookbooks that I’ll hopefully share soon.

It’ll be interesting to see how my life changes with a new teeny tiny human. I think the days where I spent hours in the kitchen making complicated meals will become scarce. I’ll now be looking for quick, easy and nutritious meals to feed my family.

I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to juggle a blog and a baby, but I guess I’ll be finding out soon enough!

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Links: Healthy meals to keep you on track

Black cod with swiss chard
Black cod with swiss chard from Bon Appetit cleanse

It’s almost the end of January, how is everyone doing on their resolutions? One of my goals is to eat healthier and cook dinner more often. The down side of eating better? My grocery bill has significantly gone up with all the fresh fruit and veggies I’ve been buying. It’s given me a better perspective on how some people just can’t afford to eat healthy.

I’m hoping this healthier eating doesn’t fizzle out so I’ve dug up some links to help me (and you) stay on track:

Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse: There’s no juice fasting with this cleanse, it’s for people who like to eat. Basically, it’s 14 days of eating the way you should be eating: no processed foods, less sweets, minimal booze. Even though they tell you not to have dairy, there were a few dishes that had yogurt and goat cheese. I’d like to see less of that in the next version. I didn’t do the full program because R doesn’t eat red meat and I’m pretty weak when it comes to resisting sweets. The menu is great for ideas and I enjoyed how it’s all planned out. The Black Cod (Sablefish) with Swiss Chard, lemons and olives earned a place on the fancy meals list. The breakfast recipes were easy to prepare and for the most part filling. However, 3 rye crackers with smoked salmon and avocado did not cut it for me as a breakfast. The Salted, seedy chocolate bark helped curb sugar cravings and so easy to make. Just melted chocolate (done in the microwave) and you sprinkle the toasted seeds on top. I want this chocolate in my fridge at all times.

Whole Living Action Plan: Another better eating action plan. This one is 21 days long with breakfast, lunch and dinner planned out. Recipes for me to try Blueberry Mint Smoothie and Baked Salmon with Coconut Broth.

Lightened Up Protein Power Goddess Bowl: A friend recommended this recipe from Oh She Glows. It’s a variation on a recipe from one of her favourite vegan restaurants in Calgary, The Coup.

Weekend Glow Kale Salad: I’ve only had kale chips which I love, but I’ve never had kale in a salad. I don’t like bitter greens, so I never wanted to try it. The recipe says this is for kale skeptics so it sounds like a recipe for me.

Chickpea, quinoa and roasted yam salad: I fell in love with this salad when I was recipe testing from the Whitewater Cooks with Friends cookbook.

Pear and Arugula Smoothie With Ginger and Walnuts: I’ve been using my juicer and my blender more lately. This NY Times recipe sounds like an interesting combo of flavours.

DIY Energy Bars: I’ve been looking for an energy bar recipe and The Kitchn has rounded up several. The DIY Power Bars looks especially good!

Raw Brownie: I haven’t made any raw recipes yet, but this looks pretty tempting.

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Looking back on 2012

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It’s a new year and I’m feeling a bit like a walking cliché: over-indulged during the holiday season and now I’m going through my healthy cookbooks and removing that thick layer of dust that’s on my juicer.

I did pretty poor on my resolutions in 2012, so I won’t make any new ones next year except try to bake more. I’d also like to make a real effort in getting more meals to the table and relying less on lunches from the cafeteria. I’ve only made a few freezable meals so I’m on the lookout for recipes. If you have any good ones, please send them my way.

Things that happened in 2012

When I made this blog, it was just my little outlet that I was too shy to tell others about. It’s been 5 years since I’ve been blogging and I’m thankful for all the opportunities I’ve received and for everyone that visits.

Here’s hoping to a fantastic 2013!

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