Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Slice of extraordinary chocolate cream pie

This is the last slice of Dylan's birthday pie. Dylan had requested chocolate cream pie for his birthday dinner. Not wanting just the ordinary instant pudding and cool whip pie, I did some surfing. I found a recipe for Emeril's Chocolate Cream pie. At www.allrecipes.com I found lots of recipes with good reviews for chocolate cream pie. The recipe called "Rich Chocolate Truffle pie" caught my eye and made my taste buds water. Since the Truffle pie had fewer ingredients and better fit the time I had, that's the one I made. It was a good choice - a very very good choice. It will be repeated for special ocassions.

I do want to make Emeril's chocolate cream pie and another recipe that caught my attention which called for chocolate candy bars, marshmallows and cool whip. Need to have a taste test - though the truffle pie will be hard to beat. When's the next special ocassion?

I couldn't bring myself to pay for a prepared chocolate graham cracker crust nor enough Oreos to make 2 pie crusts so I created my own recipe.

Chocolate Graham Cracker pie crust
1 ¼ C graham cracker crumbs
¼ - ½ C cocoa
½ C sugar
½ C melted butter

Mix ingredients together. Press into 9” pie pan. Bake 7 minutes at 350. Cool.
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A Wonderful Sight if....

I will be one of the first to admit this light switch is really rather an eyesore if you haven't had to walk past a single switch into a dark room for the last 27 years and wonder why in the world there weren't two switches here. Soon both switches will be white and behind a white outlet plate.

But it was no easy task for Richard to literally crawl into the hot attic (even when starting at 6:30 AM) and rewire the light fixtures. This one he could do in the attic.

This is the switch that FORMERLY controlled both the kitchen and breakfast area lights. Now it only controls the breakfast area which is on it's way to being the baking area. This one was so close to the edge of the house he had to go through the sheetrock from inside the kitchen to move the switch around the corner. Shortly a cabinet will be covering the old switch location

The unwelcome task of getting into the attic also including replacing the duct work for the hood over the cooktop. You can see the silver tube hanging down from the ceiling. Very basic light fixtures, saved from the landfill at some point in our history, were connected to the fixtures to verify they were now wired properly and to provide working light in the kitchen. (These too WILL be replaced!)

Notice that the soffit areas on both sides of the kitchen now have sheetroock in place.

Not pictured but part of the progress is the 240 watt line moved by an electrician to the new oven area. The electrician will, as part of his fee, come back and connect the ovens.

Next steps - tape and float the ceiling, move some of the electrical outlets and install others, finish preparing the ceiling for texturing, , texture the ceiling - and then start on the floor.
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010


This is not a mess (although it is that too!). This is progress. On the east side the wall and soffit are removed. The replacement sheet rock has been screwed into the ceiling studs. The electric box for a light fixture has been installed (the blue circle in the new sheet rock. The sheet rock over the dishwasher counter area has been removed because the outlet had to be moved and the builders had stapled the wire to the original outlet to the stud (one of those "delightful" surprises).

All the cabinets, soffit and wainscotting on the west wall have been removed. Water supply for the refrigerator has been moved. Now a plumber and electrician need to connect to the gas pipe for the supply for the gas stove and move the 240 outlet for the ovens. While waiting for them Richard is figuring out how (and whether he wants to do it or have the electrician do it) to put individual switches for each of the three lights in the kitchen area. Also need to install a few more outlets - homes built in the 60s and 70s (unless Daddy was building them) don't have enough outlets in the kitchen.

The white cabinets (which have served as the pantry) have been temporarily moved to the dining room and will end up in my project room and the garage. Janet will get the range to replace hers which is dying - though it is hard for her to give up her two ovens. I am packing things up - trying to stay ahead of Richard. Kitchen is done except under the sink which can wait until after the ceiling is done. Right now the priority is to get surface things in the family room packed up so furniture can be covered prepartory to refinishing the family room and kitchen ceiling.

Our breakfasts and lunches are things that can be prepared with disposable plates and utensils. Gratefully Janet lives close to us and we have dinner together at her house.
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Our IKEA Kitchen

This is the current state of our IKEA kitchen - all 219 pieces. Delivery weight was around 3,000 pounds. The only thing missing is our oven which they had to order. Surprisingly EVERYTHING else was in stock!

All told there will be 20 cabinets to assemble and I haven't stopped to figure out how many drawers. Rumor has it that after the first couple of cabinets they go together fairly quickly. I hope so. At 30 minutes per cabinet, that's 10 hours of assembly.
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The Adventure Has Begun

Richard's project for the summer is remodeling our kitchen. It is only about 20 years over due.

We have spent many hours using IKEA's kitchen planner to come up with a solution for our rather small and awkard kitchen. Our goal was more counterspace, more storage, more convenient pantry, better appliance placement, more room to work and better lighting/wiring. The kitchen itself was about 9' by 7' and the breakfast area was about 8' x 7'. The east wall of the kitchen backed up to the living room (and 4') and the family room (5') [That's the part of the wall with contact paper for a backsplash (we'd removed the bar/clutter collector and replaced it with a wall and never got a backsplash put up)].

This is our kitchen just before we started destroying it. (It's amazing the amount of clutter we overlook in daily living!)
The west wall looking north.

The west wall from the family room.

The south and west wall from the family room. (This is the only soffit that is staying as it camouflages the sloping roof.)

The east wall looking north.

The plan we came up with combines the two areas and converts a galley kitchen into a L-shaped kitchen with a peninsula. (Unfortunately I haven't figured out how to post the floor plan on the blog though I do have it in a Word file if anyone is interested.)

Instead of a range we are installing a gas cooktop and a 30" double wall oven (Boy am I excited about the ovens!) The counters on either side of the cooktop will be 18" rather than 15"they have been. Over the cooktop we are planning a hood with no cupboards. The refrigerator moves to the other side of the cook top and the ovens are approximately where the fridge was located but moved down 15" for a wall to ceiling storage cabinet with drawers. There will be another 24" floor to ceiling pantry between the dishwasher and the dining room and living room walls. The family room wall comes down with 12" deep cabinets on the other side. The counter will cover both cabinets and extend to create a bar for working, eating and/or visiting. There will be a cupboard with a microwave shelf next to the fridge and over the baking area. The soffits on the east and west sides of the kitchen will no longer exist and we will install 39" wall cabinets or floor to ceiling cabinets. There will be no cabinets over the peninsula - just lighting. Almost all the base cabinets have drawers rather than shelves. We are scrapping off the popcorn texture on the ceiling and doing the same faux suede texture we did in the living room in the kitchen and family room. The vinyl floor (I can hardly wait to see it gone) will be replaced with the ceramic tile we used in the family room. The family room colors will extend into the kitchen. We haven't decided on a countertop yet.

The demo has begun.
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