Friday, February 19, 2010

Spring Goodies and Raspberry Cookie Bars

Happy Friday, friends!   I don’t know about some of you, but I’m tired of all of this snow that we’ve been getting!!  A couple of weeks ago, our local weatherman pointed out that, as of that day, we had only 34” inches of snow fall compared to last year’s total of 70”.  Well . . . I think we more than made up for the deficit!  I don’t know what the exact total is, but I’m sure we went well over the mark with all of this snow we’ve been getting.  The only good thing about this kind of weather is that my hubby is home a lot.  He has his own concrete business and so this is a slow time in the year for him, which is also the time of year when most of our inside projects get done.

For a long time, we’ve wanted to replace our kitchen cupboards.  I have a very small galley kitchen with minimal storage space so we figured we could gain more space by replacing the standard 30” high wall cupboards with 42” to-the-ceiling cupboards.  We went to Home Depot and Lowes and got prices ranging between $5,000-$6,000!!   What?!!!  Cupboards are that much for my tiny little kitchen?!!!   We were kind of figuring $2,000-$3,000 and I wasn’t even really happy with any of the styles that they had.  I wanted inset doors without any overlay, but all of the styles had an overlay.  We then went to a local independent cabinet company.  Chuck figured that they would have better prices since there wasn’t any “middle man” to go through.  By then I had already decided that I wanted to paint the cupboards a charcoal grayish color – picking out one of the colors from my slate floor tile (which isn’t as brightly colored as shown in the pic- it’s much more subdued).  They had a couple of styles like what I was looking for, so we got prices for unfinished and finished cupboards.  Okay are you ready for this?!!  Unfinished were a little over $7,000 and finished were over $8,000!!  Whoa!!!  A little too much for me!  So we decided to make them ourselves.  And let me tell you, it’s been a very long, time consuming process!!



After Chuck cut and sanded all of the pieces for the base of the wall cabinets, I had the fun of staining each of the inside pieces and then applied 2 coats of polyurethane with sanding in between coats before he assembled them.  I figured it would be a lot easier doing them that way than trying to get in the corners after they were put together.  My Rec room was wall-to-wall with cupboard pieces!

I chose a color by Ralph Lauren called “Cottage Hill” (which Home Depot has since discontinued).  It’s kind of hard to describe. . .depending on the lighting sometimes it looks gray, sometimes an olive green, and sometimes a brownish color.  I haven’t had a chance to take a picture of it yet, but I’ll try to post one later. I don’t know if you’ll be able to get the true color or not.

I had made many sample boards before I finally came up with a finish that I liked.  I’ve decided to just lightly sand around the edges.  I don’t want them “too prim”, just simple. . . no stain, no heavy sanding, just simple.  So far, I’ve given everything two coats of paint and today I’m going to apply a sealer which will reduce the amount of scratching to the paint when I lightly sand the edges.  The final step will be to apply plain paste wax and then they should be ready to install.

Unfortunately, that won’t happen until after we remove all of the brick on the one side of the kitchen and replace the drywall, which Chuck is starting on that today.  I love the look of the brick, but the color doesn’t match my color scheme.  Eventually, we’ll install new brick.  But, for now, it’s just going to be primed and painted.  The kitchen will get painted the same color as the Living room and Dining room that I had painted right before Thanksgiving.


It’ll be a long, slow process to finish the kitchen.  Our countertops are concrete, which are also going to be replaced.  They’ll still be concrete, which I absolutely love, but our base cabinets are about 3” longer than the wall cabinets near the refrigerator.  We’ll eventually replace all of the appliances with stainless steel and want to get a side-by-side refrigerator.  The one we have now is only 23 cubic feet due to the base cabinets being too long.  We need to have the sides finished in stainless steel since that is what you see most of when you look into the kitchen.  Our options for a fridge in that size with those requirements are much slimmer than those for a 25 cubic foot one, so we’re reconfiguring the cabinets from the dishwasher down to the refrigerator to accommodate for a larger fridge.

As you can tell from the pictures, the lighting is horrible, so we’re installing under-the-cabinet lighting.  Yayyy!!  We’re also replacing the recessed light over the sink with this new tin-punched one that was just delivered Wednesday.  It’s kind of funny…I  found this light online from a place called “Rustic Log Lighting”.  It was only $87.00 with shipping included.  The company is based in Montana and when I called to place the order, the gentleman said that the light would be shipped from a company in Pennsylvania.  When it came, the return address was “Irvin’s Country Tinware”.   I was so excited!  I love Irvin’s, but some of their things are a little pricey.   I’m thinking, “Great!  I could have just ordered from them in the first place and saved a couple of bucks”.  But, I looked up the light in their catalog and they were asking $79.99 and an additional $13.99 for shipping and handling.  That totals $93.98.  I only paid $87.00, so I saved $6.98!!  Can’t beat that!!


This kitchen remodel is snowballing into another project.  The cabinets that we are taking out are going to be installed down stairs in the kitchenette area of our Rec room.   After Chuck is done removing the brick and replacing the drywall in the kitchen today, he’s going to tear out the downstairs cupboards and the drywall there, which also needs to be replaced.  He figures if he’s mudding walls, he may as well do them both at the same time.  Needless to say, I’m going to have a huge mess in my home for the next couple of days!!

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In between waiting for stain and varnish to dry, I was able to get a couple of spring craft projects done this past week.  I actually had sewn these bunnies last year, but never did anything more with them.  I just stuffed and tea-dyed them and stitched their eyes and noses.


I made this guy  by adapting a pattern that I had bought from Pattermart for a snowman that I absolutely love!  I just made a new head pattern and added ears.  Click here if you’d like to purchase the snowman pattern.  I also made the carrot and stuffed it with Sweet Annie.


I’m also working on a horse from a pattern by T.F.C.  Folkart.   All I have left to do is apply the flax for his mane and tail, which just came in the mail yesterday, but I haven’t had a chance to finish it yet.

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A couple of weeks ago, Chuck and I stopped in at Goodwill. . . I don’t know why - I never find anything great like a lot of you do. . .but every once in a while, I figure “what the heck” and stop in.  Chuck found this dresser and wants me to “work my magic” on it.  lol  He wants to replace the one in our room that he uses for his clothes with this larger one.  (I claimed all of the stepback cupboard for myself!)  I haven’t started on it yet. . .it’s still sitting in my Rec room waiting to be made over.  Someday . . . .


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In participating in Colleen’s (And Baby Makes Five) Kitchen Weekly Recipe swap, I wanted to share this awesome recipe for Raspberry Cookie Bars.  I found this recipe on the back of the box of the graham cracker crumbs when I made the disappointing Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake.   At least one good thing came from that fiasco!  lol   I made these for my family for Valentines and were a huge hit!  They are so easy to make!!


Magic Raspberry Cookie Bars

2 c. graham cracker crumbs

1/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. margarine or butter, melted

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

1 1/4 c. seedless red raspberry preserves

1 1/3 c. flaked coconut

1 c. chopped walnuts or pecans

In a small bowl, combine crumbs and sugar.  Add margarine or butter.  Toss until combined.  Press into bottom of 13x9 inch baking pan.

Evenly drizzle sweetened condense milk over crumbs.  Refrigerate for 10 minutes.  Spoon preserves over top.

Sprinkle with coconut and nuts.  Bake a 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown.

Cool completely.  Cut into bars.  Store, loosely covered, at room temperature.

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If you would like to participate or see who else is participating in Colleen’s Kitchen Weekly Recipe Swap click on the picture below to take you to her blog.


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I meant to share this picture with you in my last post but somehow it got left out.  I took this a day before we got hammered with mountains of snow!   Spring  IS around the corner!!  These are some of my daffodils popping up!  Yayyy!!!


Until Next Time . . . .Kris 


Friday, February 5, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies And More

Tuesday was my daughter, Brittney’s, 24th birthday and we took her out for dinner to the restaurant of her choice. She chose to go to a place called Steak On A Stone. We had never been there before but a couple of people have told us how wonderful it was. Their specialty is having you cook your own meat on a stone that’s heated to 750°. You can choose steak, chicken, shrimp, scallops, duck, lamb chops, pork tenderloin and lobster tail and when the waiter brings it out to you, it’s already browned on one side and he does a demonstration on how you cook your food. He flips the meat over to brown the other side and then tells you to slice off and cook each individual piece to your preference of wellness. It was pretty neat!! Chuck and Justin got steak, Brittney got Shrimp and Kory and I opted to have a meal already cooked – she got a cheeseburger and I got Lake Perch. Sorry, but one of the reasons why I like dining out is because I don’t have to cook! lol I didn’t want to have to work at making my meal!!

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Instead of cake, Brittney found a recipe in the “Taste of Home/Healthy Living” magazine for Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake. It looked delicious and the recipe was revamped to reduce calories and grams of fat by using fat-free and reduced-fat cream cheese. Now you’re talking!!! A decadent dessert without the guilt!! It smelled like heaven while it was baking and looked even more scrumptious after it was completely done!

Now let me ask you this.. . . doesn’t this look sinful?

peanut butter cup cheesecake

We eagerly awaited until it was time to sing “Happy Birthday” and cut into that yummy confection! With the anticipation of tasting the gooey peanut butter and the rich chocolaty goodness, we took a bite and we all pretty much had the same look on our faces – disappointment!! It had NO flavor!!! I couldn’t believe it! What a bummer!!

If you’d like to try it anyways, just click on the picture to take you to the web page with the recipe.

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I’m hoping to continue to participate in Colleen’s Kitchen Weekly Recipe Swap, although I can’t promise that I will be consistently posting each week, but I’ll post when I can. I think it is a fun way to share recipes and I’ve gotten quite a few good ones already! Thank you, Colleen!!

So this week, I would like to share with you a fabulous cookie recipe. Growing up, there was a woman in our small town that was a phenomenal baker and she posted several of her favorite recipes in our church cookbook. This is a basic peanut butter cookie recipe which is outstanding by itself, but I like to add chocolate and peanut butter chips. ( A girl can’t get enough chocolate!!) They have become a favorite in our household and especially with my kids’ friends! Whenever they have a get-together, my cookies are a definite request!

Peanut Butter Cookies w/Chocolate and

Peanut Butter Chips

1c. brown sugar

1 c. sugar

1 c. margarine

1 c. peanut butter

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

3 c. flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking soda

1 12 oz. bag chocolate chip

5 oz. (half of bag) Reese’s peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cream margarine and peanut butter together. Blend in sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and baking soda. Add chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes or until nicely browned.

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If you would like to participate or see who else is participating in Colleen’s (And Baby Makes Five) Kitchen Weekly Recipe Swap, click on the photo below and it will take you to her blog.


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Thank you for all the concern and “get well” wishes for my hubby. He went this past Monday and had his catheter removed. And let me tell you, what a world of difference that has made in his attitude!! I don’t want you to think he was crabby or anything, because he wasn’t! If anything, I was the one that was probably crabby! lol He got a clean bill of health and has no more weight restrictions but shouldn’t try to lift anything extremely heavy for a couple more weeks. He can go back to his usual activities and has been knocking himself out doing things around the house! The man has become a little busy body! lol

I think I mentioned before in an earlier post that we wanted to make new kitchen cupboards, but with the holidays and then his surgery, we just didn’t have time to make them. Well. . . . .since he’s feeling so energetic (lol), I just “kind of” mentioned something about them and he jumped right on the bandwagon with me and we’ve begun making them!! Yayy!! It’s going to get done in stages. We’re starting with the wall cabinets, for now, which will make the biggest difference. I have a “galley” kitchen and so my cupboard space is limited. Instead of the standard 30” high cupboards, like we already have now, we’re going to make them to go all the way up to the ceiling, which will give me a lot more cupboard space!! We have concrete countertops (surprise, surprise, since that’s what Chuck’s business is) which I absolutely love!! We’ll have to make new ones due to the fact that there’ll be a slight adjustment in the width of the base cabinets (I’ll explain that later) but it’s a little too cold out to mixing up concrete outside., so those will have to wait until warmer weather. I’ll post pics of the progress.

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Well, this post has become a little lengthy!! (Sorry, I have much to make up for!) And I need to bake some more cookies. Justin is having friends over, again, Saturday night after their Sweethearts Dance at the high school. We’re suppose to get a major snow storm tonight into tomorrow morning with a lot of snow accumulation. So I don’t now how big of a turn out he’ll have. The southern part of the state is expecting 6-8 inches while the farther north you go, the snow accumulation will be less. The amount of snow we’re suppose to get keeps changing - it’ll be anywhere from 2-6 inches. So I guess we’ll just have wait and see what we get by morning!

Until Next Time. . . . Kris


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