Mud Room Design

Saturday, 26 April 2014

So today was a rare Saturday where we didn't have a ton planned so we decided to go check out tile for our mud room. We ended up picking a great 12x24 tile that is a graphite color. 
When we moved in and started the initial demolition I convinced my husband to rip out a small closet in the mud room/laundry room (laundry has moved to the basement). This mud room connects our front drive garage to the rest of our house. Now we have a blank canvas to work with and can do whatever we please. With the same thought process as our kitchen I started browsing the ikea website to see what we could do with the standard cabinets that they provide. I came up with the following design. 
 Wall A:

The high cabinet on the right will be for shoe storage and the short cabinet on the left will be made into a bench similar to what Little House Blog accomplished. I will sew a small cushion for this area and that is something we can change out depending on how I feel. Above the bench will be hooks for hanging coats and jackets. The upper cabinet above the hooks is only 12 7/8" deep so it won't intrude into the room too much.
Wall B:

 This wall is a little more complicated because we didn't want full depth cabinets, they would stick too far into the room and there wouldn't be much of a walkway. Ikea high cabinets do come in 12 7/8" deep cabinets but only 80" high. The solution to this problem is simple, make a custom shelf like our above-the-fridge cookbook shelf. The cabinets on the right will have a counter top and so that will become a cellphone charging zone and a general "drop zone" for my husbands things and keys.

The color of the cabinets will be the same as our kitchen, which makes me so happy because I love continuity!  As you can see on the floor plan drawing there is another little niche on the other side of the jut out from Wall B. For now the niche will stay empty and if we need more storage we can always add shelving. Perpendicular to the niche I will put a full length mirror so you can check yourself out before leaving the house. 

Sun-Dried Tomato, Spinach Beef

Friday, 25 April 2014

This is one of those recipes I had little hope for but it turned out delicious! I wanted to make a slow cooker dish so that I would have lots of time to get started on painting the mudroom (which I did) I like adding spinach to things because it wilts and so doesn't take up a lot of space in a dish but is packed with health.
I prepared a lot of this meal the night before. I chopped the onion and carrots and sliced the sun-dried tomatoes. I put all those ingredients in the slow cooker ceramic and put it in the fridge.
 
Sun-Dried Tomato, Spinach Beef
adapted from Companys Coming Slow Cooker Dinners
Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. all purpose flour (I used Gluten-Free)
  • 1 lb. beef stew meat (2 packages of stewing beef)
  • 2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3-4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared chicken broth
  • 1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
  • 2 tbsp. liquid honey
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 bag of spinach
Directions

  1. Measure flour into large resealable freezer bag. Add beef . Seal bag. Toss until coated. Put beef into 3- 4 qt. slow cooker. Sprinkle in remaining flour.
  2. Add next 6 ingredients. Stir well. Cover. Cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on  High for 4 to 5 hours. Skim and discard any fat from the surface of liquid in slow cooker.
  3. Stir in spinach, the heat from the beef mixture should cause it to wilt. Serves 4  

50 Salad Dressings (My Favorite 3)

Thursday, 24 April 2014

I love a simple salad of some kind of lettuce (romaine, arugula, spinach) with a fruit (strawberry, mango, grape), cheese (feta or goat) and onion (green or red soaked in water). What makes the salad for me is the type of dressing, you can really spruce up a salad with a fancy dressing.
 
A while back I recieved an insert in a magazine that had 50 Salad Dressing recipes and I've kept it and I use it every week (the little booklet is looking worse for wear at this point).
 
You can check out all 50 recipes on the Food Network website but I decided to share my favorite three.
 Lemon Balsamic: Whisk 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper to taste. Gradually whisk in ½ cup olive oil
 
Truffle: Whisk 2 tablespoon each Dijon mustard and champagne vinegar, 1 minced shallot, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper to taste. Gradually whisk in 1/3 cup truffle oil and ¼ cup olive oil
Classic Vinaigrette: Whisk 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper to taste. Gradually whisk in 1/3 to ½ cup olive oil
I know these recipes don't seem like the most adventureous but they are easy and delicious. There are many more I want to try like Green Goddess, Asian Sesame and Creamy Blue Cheese.
 
I tend to whip up the full recipe and store them in a mason jar in the fridge and use them all week. 

Goat Cheese + Guacamole Toast

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

photo c/o Love & Olive Oil 
We are back from our much needed and greatly derserved mini-vacation to Scottsdale Arizona. Scottsdale has to be our go-to place as my parents have a second home there so it is a very inexpensive vacation for us.
Needless to say we had an absolute blast! My sister and her husband made the trek from Vancouver as well and we celebrated Easter all together (though my brother wasn't able to make it...Arizona is kind of far from Korea especially for the weekend).
(here is our beautiful Easter brunch set up)
On vacation things seem to become more and more simple and therefore what you eat has fewer ingreidents (also we take less and less photos, hence no original photo of my creation). This post isn't really a recipe it was something delicious I put in my mouth and I wanted to share it. I follow Love & Olive Oil and so this gem popped up on my bloglovin' feed while I was relaxing by the pool. I am obssessed with goat cheese as I mentioned in my post about a goat cheese frittata, but I am on vacation, I didn't have time to even read the recipe so I thought to myself what could I make that would be equally delicous.... guacamole and goat cheese? I think so!
Spread the guacamole on toast and crumble goat cheese over that...viola! I now have a weekend (or vacation) breakfast treat. 

Snappy Pineapple Chicken

Thursday, 17 April 2014


One of my favorite things is a slow cooker meal. Usually around 3 o'clock I'll think "What I am making for dinner?" and if I've done a slow cooker meal it is such a moment of relief that I don't actually have to do anything when I get home. This one is almost a stew but lighter. It's not something to serve to the queen but its definitely an easy week night meal.

I usually serve this over rice. Sweet, savory and easy!

Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 or 4 chicken breast, each cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tbsp. chili sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 large red pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 (14oz.) can of pineapple tidbits, drained and juice reserved 
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch 
Directions

Put onion and carrots into a 4 to 5 qt. slow cooker. 
Combine next 4 ingredients in large re-sealable freezer bag. Add chicken breast pieces. Seal bag. Toss until coated. Arrange chicken on top of carrots.
Combine next 6 ingredients in 2 cup liquid measure. Pour over chicken. Do not stir. Cover. Cook on Low for 8 to 9 hours or on High for 4 to 4 1/2 hours.
Add red pepper and pineapple. Stir. 
Stir water into cornstarch in small cup until smooth. Add to chicken mixture. Stir well. Cover. Cook on High for about 20 minutes until red pepper is tender crisp and sauce is slightly thickened.
Serves 4. 

Above The Fridge Cookbook Shelf

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

As most people these days I found a lot of inspiration for our renovation online. When my parents started the renovation on their house in Scottsdale they used Houzz. This was the first I'd heard of it and it was definitely useful to help us get ideas. When looking through kitchen ideas I came across this photo.
 I immediately fell in love with the idea of a cookbook shelf over the fridge.
Because we did an Ikea kitchen we were limited in what we could do with premade cabinets. I looked through what ikea had available and nothing seemed like it would be appropriate for what we were after. My husband being a carpenter by trade was definitely capable of making something custom.
I began to plan (something I really like to do). Our fridge needed an 1 7/8" of space on either side and 2" above for air ciculation and to prevent it from over heating. We ended up with 1" either side which ,according to my husband, is sufficient for air circulations (just wait in a few years time I'll be writing a post about how our fridge overheated). That meant we needed a box that was 37 3/4" wide. I hadn't put too much thought into how high it should be an honestly I can't remember off the top of my head how tall we made it. What I do remember is once the box was made I realized it was WAY to tall and we needed a shelf in there (which is removeable). That is where the concept of a wine rack was born (the dividers are also removeable, made it easier on the painters). Another thing we did was add a false back to the shelf so it wasn't the full depth of the fridge. This meant things wouldn't get lost in the back of the shelf.



After it was constructed and installed we had it sprayed like the rest of the "custom" elements of our kitchen. In order to make our kitchen look non-ikea-esk we add custom valences and crown moulding.

His and Hers Bedside Tables

Sunday, 13 April 2014


Today we are having a photographer over to take some portraits of my husband and I in our house. There wouldn't be many opportunities for us to have pictures of us together in the house and I wanted some photos to remember the renovation and all our hard work. So just like how you get more cleaning done the hour before someone comes over we got a lot more decorating done the day before the photographer was to come over. 
I liked the idea of matching bedside tables with matching lamps and then a different look for the actual "stuff" on top. So I went with a feminine - masculine feel for each bedside table.

I stumbled upon this image: 
and blog post from Abode Love and fell in love with the idea of a large frame with an oversized mat. 
I was doing a breeze through at HomeSense and found these great frames. I haven't had the time to get new mats or paint new pictures but they are up and definitely make the feel room more finished. 
A work in progress but we are definitely making progress.

Highlight Wedding Video

Thursday, 10 April 2014

I am so happy to share our wedding highlight video! We have been patiently waiting to see this and it was definitely worth the wait. Thank you so much SNAP Weddings for capturing our special day in such an amazing way.
 

Now on BlogLovin!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Canada Food Guide "Diet"

Wednesday, 9 April 2014


Everyone has a different weight loss journey and this is just my story, I am definitely not an expert. I was never particularly overweight growing up but I wasn’t the skinniest girl. Like most young women I had body issues but nothing substantial that would have resulted in an eating disorder. I was happy with the way I looked when I graduated from high school but then I went off to University...

The first semester of University the cafeteria that was part of my residence was being renovated so we had to eat all our meals in a tent with a warped and muddy plywood floor. The food was luke warm at best and terrible quality. I found myself going to the grocery store off campus and buying pita bread, hummus and oatmeal. I ate those three things for the majority of first semester and I went home at Christmas skinner than when I left. I managed through the rest of first year and the summer in between first and second year without more than a couple extra pounds. No freshmen 15 for me.
Second year…I lived in a house with three other girls, turn 19 (the legal drinking age in BC) and discovered parmesan cheese and angel hair pasta. Things started to escalate. The summer in between second and third year I moved into an apartment that was located above a McDonald’s...  That summer was the wildest summer of my life, I also happened to meet my future husband. Fast forward to November of that year, I went to Arizona with a friend, he is a photographer, he took a photo of me and showed me, that is when it hit me…I’m fat. Over the course of second year and that summer I had gained 20 pounds, this was 2009.
Here is where my weight loss journey began. Like I mentioned in my first post, I like to make goals. And I did, to lose 5 pounds by Christmas and 15 pounds by the next reading break. I got a personal trainer, and I worked out 5 days a week. When the 5 pounds didn’t happen by Christmas I got discouraged. I continued to work out consistently and still nothing happened. I tried restricting my food but I always had the excuse of if I work out I can eat whatever I want. I had bad days, good weeks and bad months. I joined a boot camp, I cut carbs etc. This went on until the summer of 2012 with absolutely zero results, I weighed the exact same if not more. My husband and I moved to Calgary, I had started a new job and we were recently engaged.
I now had a real reason to lose weight…a wedding. When we moved to Calgary we joined a collaborative healthcare. With that we had access to a dietician, kinesiologist, psychologist, nurse, doctor and massage therapist. Meeting that dietician changed my life. For those of you who don’t know there is a huge difference between a dietician and nutritionist. A dietician has a degree, certification and their philosophies are based on science. I am an engineer so someone who could speak the language of science was right up my alley.
I explained to her my goal of wanting to lose 10 pounds by my wedding, a year away. She began explaining to me how your body works and what it needs to do to lose weight and after that first meeting I came away with these four things:
  1. DON’T starve yourself, your body will hoard more calories and you won’t lose weight (she did a calculation based on my age, gender and activity level to find out how many calories I should be eating and the first few months that was 1700)
  2. PORTION CONTROL, follow the Canada Food Guide for serving sizes
  3. Drink 2L of water a day, it will help with your metabolism and prevent you from over eating
  4. Stop drinking wine, not forever but for a while
She gave me many tips and tricks and I learned a lot about the science behind food. For example don’t use olive oil for cooking, it isn’t meant for high heat and it breaks down quicker or if you have a glass of milk or cup of yogurt before a meal you feel fuller faster.
For that first month, I measured and weighed everything. ½ cup of rice, 75g cooked meat, 1 cup of milk etc. I made sure I had 7-8 servings of fruit and vegetables, 4-5 servings of grains (because I was in weight loss mode this was less), 3 servings of milk and alternatives, 3 servings of meat and alternatives (because I was exercising). Meal planning became a full time job, I recorded everything that went into my mouth. I also begain using the Canadian Nutrient File, it is the best place to find nutritional information about food.
I didn’t weigh myself except for at the doctor’s office, I went in a month later for a check-up and I had lost 8 pounds.
The dietician and I met once a month and revamped my plan. In October my weight loss began to taper off so we changed my calorie in-take to be less. I also stopped working out because I was so focused on eating and I wanted to only do one thing at a time.
September – 8 pounds
October – 6 pounds
November – 8 pounds
December – 6 pounds
By Christmas I had surpassed my goal by 18 pounds. All in all I had lost 28 pounds and 3 sizes. I weighed less than I did in high school. I could not have done it without the dietician. It was amazing! I had spent so many years trying to lose weight and I had managed to accomplish my goal in the span of 4 months. I went from 160 pounds and a size 10 to 132 and a size 4. The phrase you lose weight in the kitchen and get fit in the gym couldn't be more true!!!! After Christmas I entered maintenance mode, I could increase my calories, bring back the wine and relax with the measuring. It has been almost two years since I met the dietician and I can happily say I still weigh 132 pounds.
One thing that doesn't leave you is the knowledge about portion control, it becomes a habit. I still find it difficult to put more than 1/2 cup of grains on my plate.

Thai Chicken Rice Bowls

Monday, 7 April 2014

I always love a good bowl recipe, anything asian inspired and anything colorful. Peanut sauce is quite rich so use it sparingly and don't forget to cook the rice ahead of time (this always gets me with the bowl recipes).
 
Thai Chicken Rice (or Quinoa) Bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice 
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil, divided
  • 2 medium chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cup coleslaw mix
  • 1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped and divided

For the Thai Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoon water
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce 

Directions 

  1. Cook rice
  2. Combine all sauce ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl then microwave for 20 seconds. STir until smooth then set aside. Whisk together egg and sesame oil in a small bowl and then set aside.
  3. Heat 1 teaspoon of peanut oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper then add to skillet and stir fry until no longer pink. Remove to a plate then set aside.
  4. Heat remaining teaspoon peanut oil in skillet then add coleslaw mix, frozen edamame, and green onions. Stir fry until tender, 2-3 minutes, then push to outsides of skillet, creating a clear space in the centre. Add egg whisked with sesame oil to center of skillet then stir fry until soft scrambled.
  5. Add cooked chicken, rice, sauce, and half the chopped peanuts to skillet then toss to combine. Serve with remaining chopped peanuts. 




Instant Hot Water System

Thursday, 3 April 2014

There is definitely something to be said about the perfect cup of tea. After our honeymoon in Ireland (where a lot of the day revolves around tea) I developed a great appreciate for the delicious hot beverage. My parents renovated their kitchen when I was in first year university and the put in a reverse osmosis system and instant hot. It was always a luxury when I came home at breaks to use their instant hot. Needless to say when we were designing our own kitchen this was something I really wanted to make sure we had. 
We ordered all our plumbing through a good friend who happens to work for EMCO Waterworks. When I let him know I wanted an instant hot system he told me about Hot1 by InSinkErator. Most instant hot systems also come with a cold water filtration system but we didn't need that because we had one built into our fridge. 

Like all things there were some initial problems. When it was first installed it it began sputtering water and steam. We read the instruction manual it said that if it was doing that it meant it was too hot and the system was boiling. So we unplugged it ran all the hot water out of the system and turned the heat down a little plugged it back in and waited. It began sputtering again so we repeat the process, turning it down little by little until we hit the "sweet" spot and we had hot water and the system wasn't boiling. And as I type this I am enjoying a delicious perfectly brewed cup of tea. 

Potato, Leek, Goat Cheese Frittata

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


There are a few things that my husband really doesn't like and one of them is goat cheese. So when he is not home for dinner for whatever reason I like to take that opportunity to make dishes that he wouldn't necessarily like but I love! One of those dishes is this:

Potato, Leek, Goat Cheese Frittata

Ingredients 
  • 1 tablespoons butter/margarine
  • 2 leeks, white and light green part only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives 
  • 1 large red potato, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces 
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 8 eggs
Directions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450F on broil setting
  2. Place potato in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through
  3. Melt butter in a 12-inch oven proof frying pan over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until leeks are soft
  4. Push leeks to the side of the pan and add potatoes, browning them for 2-3 minutes. Then stir the potatoes and leeks together
  5. Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk eggs together and add chopped chives, pour over leek and potato mixture and gently stir to combine
  6. Crumble goat cheese on top and use spatula to press into egg, leek, potato mixture 
  7. Once the frittata has set up around the outside and there is a just a little bit of jiggle in the centre, transfer to the oven and broil for 3-5 minutes or until the frittata is completely cooked through. 


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