Kitchen Renovation

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook then you already know that we are in the process of renovating our kitchen.  Although quite  project we are doing all of the renovations on our own DIY style. Thankfully my husband is a licensed contractor and does amazing work.

So here’s the story… we moved into our home 13 years ago. When we moved in the kitchen was original to when the house was built in the 50’s.  We made cosmetic upgrades to get us by but the original cabinetry (handmade plywood) and chipped Formica counters stayed.

As much as I would like to go crazy and design and build my dream kitchen, this is not our forever home, and so we’re sticking to a $5000 budget. That’s $5000 to do EVERYTHING! Cabinets, Counter tops, Floors, Backsplash, Lighting… EVERYTHING! It’s kind of daunting to fit everything in that budget!

So Here is the plan…

BEFORE

Kitchen Before

We have already removed the upper cabinets, and the trim you see at the ceiling has now also been removed. We are keeping some of our appliances and since they are stainless steel this works out perfectly. We will invest in a new Microwave hood vent for over the stove.

We are making the risky decision not to re-install upper cabinets. This is a cost savings, and I feel like it’s kind of a trendy design choice. I also had a mini heart attack at the thought of losing all of that storage, but I think we came up with a way to resolve that and stay on budget… We’re incorporating some open shelving near the sink for glass ware and a few other dishes that we use a lot.

We are installing a stock cream colored cabinet from Lowe’s from the Caspian Collection… They look like this…

caspian-lower-cabinet.jpg

I like the fact that they aren’t super white… I was really afraid to go too stark white as this is a LARGE room. Once lowers are installed we found a stock black Formica counter top, stainless steel sink, beautiful stone back splash, and vinyl plank flooring. We’re installing a new soffit with can lighting, and pendants over the counter top. The finished project should look very similar to this… although this is a crude cut and paste rendering that I did myself lol!!

Kitchen After Rendering

I’m ready to see the finished project already, but we have a long way to go… it will be interesting to see how close we get to my conceptualized drawings! Wish us luck!!

Let me know your thoughts on our idea to eliminate uppers! I’m still nervous! Thanks for reading!

 

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Apple Cider Cookies-Fall Cookie Series

Another fabulous fall flavor, apple cider! There’s always a little nostalgia with cider, visiting the orchards in he fall, warm cider on a cold day…so good!

These cookies can be made a few different ways. I tried several versions before adapting my own. I found that incorporating cider itself into the dough didn’t transfer enough of that yummy apple flavor, and even when boiled down it made the cookie dough loose and the cookies would spread too much. So I thought long and hard and came up with using instant spiced cider! It worked like a charm great flavor and texture!

Here’s what you’ll need!

1c softened butter

1/2c granulated sugar

2 Tbsp spiced cider mix

1 tsp vanilla

1/4tsp salt

2 c all purpose flour

2-3tbsp sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350F. Blend together butter, sugar, cider mix and vanilla. Add salt and Flour mix well. Roll into balls, roll that in sugar and flatten onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10minites or until edges are browned.

While the cookies bake make the glaze.

1Tbsp cider mix

1c. Powdered sugar

1-2tbsp milk

Mix until thin glaze consistency. Pour into cookies after you remove them from the oven.

Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Spice No- Bake Cookies~ Fall Cookie Series

I can’t think of a more marketed fall flavor than pumpkin spice! That being the case I couldn’t possibly go through the Fall Cookie Series without including a pumpkin spice cookie of some sort. So, after a little research, and a few trials I came up with a pumpkin spice no bake cookie that is a lot like eating pumpkin pie in cookie form, it’s seriously so yummy.

Pumpkin Spice No Bake

No Bake Cookies also known as Preacher cookies have been made for many years, They are fast, easy, and don’t require the use of an oven. They often use simple ingredients that anyone may have on hand, and named Preacher cookies because a housewife who saw the preacher coming on horseback round the mountains could have a batch whipped up and cooling before he reached her doorstep. A cookie meant for ultimate levels of hospitality. I love it!

Here is what you need for next level Fall Cookie baking! The Pumpkin Spice No Bake Cookie!

1/2 c. butter

2 c. Sugar

1/2 c. half and half

1/4 c canned pumpkin pie filling

2 Tbsp. Pumpkin pie Spice

1/8 tsp or pinch of salt

1/4 c prepared vanilla or butterscotch pudding (make it a little on the thick side)

1 tsp. vanilla

3-4c. quick oats

On medium-high heat cook butter, sugar, half and half, and pumpkin pie filling allow to boil for 1-2 minutes remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Drop by the spoonful on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and allow to cool! You could also try pressing the mixture into a pan allow to cool and cut into bars. That’s it!

 

 

 

German Chocolate Cake Cookies- Fall Cookie Series

My next featured cookie is pretty fantastic. The recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from Trim Health Mama’s or THM. This sweet soft cookie is lower in carbs and sugar great to satisfy that sweet tooth with out all the added processed sugar!

The texture is a lot like a coconut macaroon, but the flavor is just like homemade German chocolate cake!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Caramel topping

4tbsp butter

4 tbsp zylitol

2tbsp heavy whipping cream

Cookie

1c. Unsweetened condensed milk

1c. Unsweetened coconut

1c. Crushed pecans

4Tbsp coconut flour

1 c. Sugar free chocolate chips

Chocolate drizzle

1 bar bitter sweet chocolate melted

For the caramel topping melt the butter and add the zylitol cook on med-high heat until golden add the heavy whipping cream and allow to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl combine all of the cookie ingredients and stir together until well combined. Using a small scoop drop cookies onto a greased cookie sheet. Wet your fingers and flatten and shape the cookies. Bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown at the edges. Drizzle with caramel and melted chocolate! Enjoy!

Labor Day at the Last Minute

This past weekend was Labor Day weekend and although I had to work on Saturday, we still managed to fit in a brief get away.  My husband and I love to travel and frequently do quick weekend trips to some of our favorite hangouts. We seem to gravitate toward the water here in Michigan (maybe because there’s water everywhere lol) but this time we decided to try a new… or newer destination. We had both been here before but not in a very long time. I think I was in high school!! We visited none other that Frankenmuth MI.

Welkommen

Frankenmuth is a couple hours north east of us, and seemed like a good fit for a quick stop vacation. We however didn’t take into account that this was after all a holiday weekend in a tourist town. We didn’t make reservations ahead and upon arriving found that all of the hotels were fully booked except the Frankemuth Motel. Now, I’m not usually a fan of Motel’s but this was a surprise, a little dated but clean, spacious, and the staff was very friendly. It was a quick walk from there to the Main st. action.

Frankenmuth_Motel.jpg

Once checked in we traveled over to main street to see what was happening there are a tons of little shops and specialty stores.  We walked and walked, stopped by the Historical Museum, listened to the Glockenspiel, walked the historic covered bridge, and took in the sites…Did I mention that this place is literally coated in tons and tons and tons of gorgeous flowers!!

Frankenmuthflowers1

They had flowers everywhere lining the streets, hanging from the light poles, across all the building fronts, it was beautiful! In the evening we visited “the Tavern” a local hangout bar, it was OK. traveled from there to Tiffany’s there we had a couple of drinks and appetizers, and shared a dessert. It was a nice quiet laid back evening.

The next day we had lunch at Zehnder’s. They are famous for the chicken dinner served family style with all the delicious sides you can eat. We opted out of an all you can eat menu and order individual meals.

Zehnders-0a32c127

Now I usually order a pretty healthy entree’ I’m not overly picky but I don’t like a lot of heavy food especially early in the day.  So I thought I’ll play it safe and order a hot chicken sandwich… This was not an ordinary chicken  sandwich…

What I thought I was getting… Chicken on sandwich bread or bun with lettuce, tomato, etc… something like this…

Chicken sandwhich

What I actually got was a monotone plate covered in gravy! It was like drowning in gravy lol. Everything gravy…gravy…gravy…gravy…

Zehnders chick sand

Although not what I was expecting I ate it and it was delicious and I was super sleepy the rest of the day lol.

We let our food settle after that on the Bavarian Belle Riverboat tour, this is a nice relaxing tour of the river and the surrounding hotels and establishments there is an entertaining tour guide telling you about the boat, the covered bridge, and many of the area attractions that can be viewed from the river.

bavarian-belle-riverboat

We ended our quick visit to Frankenmuth with a trip to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, a huge holiday store with everything you could possibly think of that is holiday related. I remember it as a kid and it’s still that awesome.

Bronner's

So all in all a nice trip away and something a little different that our usual get away. If you’ve never visited Frankenmuth I highly recommend a visit. It has a lot of beautiful sites, shopping, attractions, and a little old world German/ Bavarian flare. Thanks for reading!

 

Oatmeal Cream Pies with a twist!

It’s week two of the Fall cookie series and I found a super simple delicious recipe that anyone can make and look like a cookie pro!

Oatmeal cream pies are a soft cookie with sweet cream filling. I’m pretty sure everyone has eaten the little Debbie version of this treat.

Here’s what you’ll need:

3/4c. Butter

2 LG eggs

1 box of spice cake mix

1 c. Quick cook oats

1 container of prepared frosting, this what I used…

1tsp cinnamon

1tsp pumpkin pie spice

Blend together the butter and eggs, add the cake mix and oats stir together well. Refrigerate mix for 1-2 hours. Meanwhile put frosting in a bowl and add spices stir and refrigerate. Preheat oven to 350F. Use a small scoop to scoop cookies onto greased cookie sheet, wet your hands and press cookies flat. Bake 12-15min. Cool and add filling. Enjoy!