Small Changes, Big Results

Every day I came home last week, I eagerly opened my garage door to see what changes came about in my kitchen during the day.  The first two days it was very obvious what they did considering when we left our kitchen it was in tact and when we got home it was…well…not.  Before is on the left, after is on the right (obviously):


The first two days, we saw the cabinets come down, the wall disappear, and the floor vanish.  Day three the only thing we really noticed was different was more of the floor was missing.  Day four brought a new little turn of events to us.  Black mold.mold

When they removed the floor by our patio door, we saw the dreaded black stuff.  We also noticed how corroded the wall and floor were.  You can actually feel the wind coming in from the outside, which makes sense why it was always so much colder when we were eating dinner!

Our contractor, Tom, asked us if we had considered replacing the door which, oddly enough, we had been talking about.  We were going to wait to do that until the kitchen was done since we were making so many changes at once, but now it looks like we might need to proceed with that change sooner rather than later.

The other thing they did on Thursday was fix our half wall.

Originally, we had a “beam” going from our cabinets to our half wall but, when we removed the beam, we just had a wall sort of hovering in mid air.  (You can kind of see what I’m talking about in the left picture.)  We wanted to fix the wall and take it all the way up to the ceiling so it looked like it was built in, which they completed.  Other than those changes, we didn’t notice a whole ton.  I’m sure they did more “behind the scenes” work that we don’t really notice though.  We also received a note saying the electrician had been sick but would be back to work on things the next day.

cement-floorFriday came and, much like the last few days, it was tough to see what all they did.  I have a feeling until we start seeing cabinets and floors being installed, I won’t really notice as much as I expect to.  We did notice they put down “cement board” on our floors in preparation for the tile to be installed!  I’m really excited to see that part.  You can only imagine so much when you pick items out in a showroom.  They also removed the plumbing from where the sink and dishwasher used to be and cut the carpet so it was straight across.

They are supposed to work on the floors as well as the laundry room this week.  I had to turn in our paint color last week, so I’m thinking they will be painting sometime this week too!  They say it should only take 4 weeks and we are 1 week in already.  It will be interesting to see if they are really able to deliver on their timeline!

To pass the weekend, I headed to Kentucky for my best friend’s bachelorette party.  I was in charge of the weekend and spent most of Thursday night making “survival” bags for the bridesmaids.  I even used my Photoshop skills to make custom champagne bottle labels!  I have to say I’m pretty proud of those bags!

We had a great time.  We started the day with a painting class, headed to Seviche (an upscale restaurant) for dinner, and then ended the night at a club!  We even convinced our limo driver to stop for Starbucks!  It was a great night but I sure was ready to get home to my guys.

parkIt was such a nice weekend we went to the park for hot dogs and smores!  Who’s ready for summer?  I know we are…


Bacon Ranch Mac & Cheese

Baked Mac & Cheese 3

My mouth is still watering thinking about that amazing sammich from Tuesday’s blog post.  I haven’t made it back to City BBQ to satisfy my craving yet.  Maybe this weekend…

Moving on.  What goes better with a BBQ sammich than mac and cheese?  Not much, in my opinion.  Well, friends, I have a fabulous recipe for you today just in time for all those Super Bowl parties.  It’s creamy, it’s delicious, it’s got bacon.  Yep, the perfect dish for a little football watchin’.  Just add some beer and you’ve got yourself a par-tay.

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Bacon Ranch Mac & Cheese

8 oz cooked elbow macaroni
6 slices thick cut bacon (I’m partial to Dorothy Lane Market’s applewood smoked bacon)
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream of mushroom soup
3 ounces shredded Italian blend cheese (or mozzarella)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chopped fresh dill
1/2 tsp salt
2 ounces shredded Colby Jack cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 450*.  In a large skillet over medium heat, cook your bacon until it is crispy.  Remove bacon and drain off all but 1 tbsp of oil.  Add the flour and whisk for 1-2 minutes or until you’ve cooked the “raw” flavor out of the flour.

Add your milk and soup, whisking to combine.  Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes or until thick.  Turn the heat off and add the Italian blend cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, dill, and salt, stirring to combine.  I switch to a rubber spatula at this point because the cheese tends to get stuck in the whisk.  Once the cheese is melted, stir in the cooked pasta and bacon.

Pour the macaroni into a greased 8×8 casserole dish.  Top with Colby Jack cheese.  Combine bread crumbs and olive oil and sprinkle on top.

Put dish in the oven until bread crumbs are golden brown (6-8 minutes).

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