Category Archives: house

hi there!

I know, I know… I’ve gotten really bad about posting and writing.  I could blame it on the fact that our kitchen is completely non-functional and kind of gutted (yay for remodeling), but it started before that.  What’s sad is that I had made a couple of really tasty dishes and wanted to write about them, but I just didn’t have the time to sit down and put it all together.  One was this Spinach and Rice Casserole, that I tweaked by sometimes adding chopped water chestnuts.  I also just use frozen spinach, since we have that more often that fresh spinach.  It’s really tasty and the brown rice makes it a little chewier.

There’s also the lentil, sweet potato, and walnut dish I threw together based on this recipe and also the one on Epicurious.  We had leftover sweet potatoes (I rarely have butternut squash in the house) and I was craving something easy, tasty, and vegetarian.  I also kept forgetting there were walnuts in there and I’d be chewing, wondering what that nutty, yummy, bite was.  I would probably try mixing in yogurt or sour cream next time, to give it a little more moisture and something of a sauce, since I found the whole thing a little dry.

So, this kitchen thing.  It started as a bathroom quasi-remodel.  I just wanted my awful purple bathroom to be gone.  Or at least not purple.

so purple!

so purple!

Btw, those are not my knick knacks… that picture was from my walkthrough before we bought the house.

We tore it all out, and by “we” I mean, of course, “T”, because there is no way I could pull those cabinets off by myself.  That was kind of a project in itself, since pulling cabinets and the vanity off meant some pain came with it.  I started peeling the paint off along the edges, but it just kept coming off in large pieces.  I guess at some point the paint decided to stop adhering to the paint beneath it and was just peeling off in sheets.  Practically the entire ceiling came off and most of the wall.  We bought a new vanity and cabinets from Ikea, but we ended up there during their kitchen sale PLUS their “no sales tax” sale and, as you know, San Diego’s sales tax went up a percentage point.  So, this big sale was, like, almost 20% off.  To make a long store short, we ended up buying the kitchen cabinets while we were there and then started taking the kitchen apart.

I suppose I knew this going in, but I didn’t really understand how limited you are when you have no kitchen.  More importantly, when you have no kitchen sink.  I can actually figure out how to cook a lot things on the grill and with the side burner on the grill, but I can’t use pots or pans that can’t be washed in the bathroom sink!  I did do a flap steak with Bertolli ravioli (in a small pot) on the grill, and that was a pretty fine meal, but that’s probably the last thing I cooked since the kitchen was gutted.

But, the cabinets are in the garage and I’m putting them together.  The cabinets will be installed in a couple of weeks and once the counters are in I’ll be back in business!

same ol’, same ol’

I went to the orthodontist this week for the first time in, oh, a long time. I had braces as a kid, then had a removable retainer for my top teeth and a permanent one for my bottom teeth. I think by the time I got to college I had started not wearing the removable one very much. The permanent one was, well, permanently in there. I probably hadn’t been to the orthodontist for two reasons. One, I wasn’t having any problems so I didn’t feel an urgent need to add yet another appointment to my life and two, my dental insurance didn’t really cover orthodontic procedures. Or even visits, I’m guessing. So, since my teeth seemed to be fine and not becoming crooked and since the permanent retainer remained permanent and didn’t get loose or anything, I just kind of let it all go. None of my dentists ever strongly urged me to get a check up (although, sometimes they would ask if I had been seeing an orthodontist and I probably lied and said I was) until recently when my new dentist (at the dental practice that makes me wait an hour every single time I have an appointment) gave me some sort of guilt trip about still having a permanent retainer. Like she was appalled at the medieval dental device in my mouth and that caused her to chastise me and tell me that there was new technology that could be used. Never mind the fact that she talked to me like I was 12. Then, this lady comes in and tells me I can visit their orthodontic practice for a consult and just see what they recommend, at no charge. Since I’m tired of all this fuss anyway, I agree but am already thinking that it’s going to cost way more money than I’m willing to spend on something that is working just fine.

To make a long story short, getting a retainer removed and being fit for a lower removable one is not nearly as expensive as I thought. Plus, just the fact that I have dental insurance at all brings the cost down, even if insurance doesn’t cover any of it. They removed the permanent brackets and wire (and the assistant commented that it was really well-done and fitted perfectly and there was no decay on my teeth) and now my teeth feel eerily non-bracketed while I’m waiting for the retainer to be made. One more visit for a fitting (and a fitting check of the upper one) and I’m done with that entire office. Which is kind of a shame, because the orthodontist is really nice, but even there I was left waiting for 40 minutes.

So, I’m looking for a new dentist. One that doesn’t make me wait 30 minutes after my appointment time and one that doesn’t talk to me like I should have a parent or guardian present. I really miss my old dentist who sold his practice.

Our friends have moved into their new-old house. I’m a little jealous that they get to decorate with a blank slate (and before fully unpacking) because once your home is furnished and lived in it gets a little harder to paint the walls and such. But it makes me want to freshen up my house, so I’m trying to convince T to completely redo the master bathroom. Nothing like knocking down walls or anything, just ripping out the built in cabinets, the sink, the flooring, and the toilet and putting new stuff in. Maybe rewiring a couple of switches. I think if we can pull that off ourselves, he might be more willing to tackle the kitchen. I already have it all laid out and priced according to the Ikea cabinet catalog. I think it’ll take about $1,000 for the bathroom, which sounds like a lot (when you consider how small the bathroom is), but I think it’ll be worth it. The kitchen will be quite a bit more, so it may make sense to wait on that, anyway.

I also made cabbage rolls this week, mainly because I had three heads of cabbage sitting the fridge. They came out pretty good, considering I just threw things together and then mixed it up. One pound ground turkey, an egg, some cooked brown rice, a handful of pinenuts, another handful of dried cranberries, and then it all got rolled up in parboiled cabbage leaves. Into the crockpot, topped with a couple of boxes of Trader Joe’s starter sauce, and dinner was ready by the time I got home! That’s how I’ve been cooking lately – no recipes and hoping for the best.