Friday, August 4, 2017

Basic Pesto





Hello! I wanted to share this very basic pesto recipe with you all.

One of my favorite parts about our new house thus far is the covered back patio. It gets some sunlight during the day too. (I'll have to share once our backyard project is nears an end. It's been such a long project!) One of the first things we did when we moved in was we made a little herb garden potter. I've always wanted a little vegetable garden, but I started with a simple potter full of herbs. Sidebar: I definitely do NOT have the time for a vegetable garden right now with our little ones and all of the new needs and projects that come along with our house. I'll get to that in a few more years perhaps if we find a space (and time) for it.

I made the most basic herb potter with basil, rosemary and parsley. Those seem to be the herbs we use the most when we cook and what better to have fresh grown herbs in the convenience of your own home? The basil started growing so fast that I decided it was time to put it to use for dinner. We made a pesto pasta with feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and grilled chicken. I had never made pesto before, but I was surprised at how simple the task was and how few ingredients were needed.

Here is the recipe I followed from New York Times Cooking:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 large cloves garlic (or minced garlic)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Preparation: 
  1. Combine basil leaves, pine nuts and garlic in food processor and finely mince
  2. Add olive oil and run at a slow pace until smooth
  3. Add parmesan cheese and run processor very briefly
  4. Refrigerate, freeze or use in dish 

Enjoy!









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Thursday, June 8, 2017

First Home Tour






























































(Photo Credit: Cici Riley)

It's been a pretty incredible journey the last few months. We had a beautiful baby girl in January (!!) and then two days after her arrival we put our house on the market. It feels like, just when we had finished decorating, renovating and completing almost every item we could possibly think of on our to-do list for our last home pictured above, we went ahead and put it on the market. We hadn't even lived in our brand new kitchen that I talk about here and here for more than a year! Why you ask?! Well, there are so many reasons... To start all over again in a new home and make our lives crazy with a toddler, newborn and two dogs in tow? Sure!! That's one of them (I'm joking). But the real reason is because in the past few years, our lives have completely changed and so have our needs. While our last home would have been perfect for raising two children, we were ready for the next step in our lives. [At least - we thought we were. I'm not going to lie, getting our home ready for sale ("decluttering," i.e., packing up the entire contents gathered in the basement (how does one collect so much 'stuff'?) and any un-needed items in all of our bedrooms) while 37 weeks pregnant and while balancing a family tragedy and the events involved with that was probably the single most reason I went into labor 2.5 weeks early. But we have conquered a LOT in the past few months. We have successfully staged our home at least 20 weekends/weekdays while having a toddler un-do all of it and all while taking care of a newborn simultaneously (which for me, means a completely spotless house, not a single item out of place (aka 2.5 hours of cleaning in the morning every weekend)), we have successfully loaded up two children under two and two dogs and left our home almost every weekend while our house was on the market AND went grocery shopping and ran our needed errands non-the-less, we have successfully packed up our home of 6.5 years and moved out of it.. and moved in to a rental home.. and settled and unpacked in our rental home babies and all! Are you out of breath reading this yet?! But, yes we still are ready for the next step. Which, for us includes building our new home and picking out and organizing all of the details for it while also doing all of the above. End rant]. While, we may have been through a lot lately, it actually doesn't seem to be anything out of the normal for us. We have gotten used to our lives being so busy and crazy and we know how to balance this by setting aside time for our family and ourselves, which is the most important thing. And we appreciate everyone who has helped us get here and through this and, most importantly, those that understand how hard it can actually be do this all at once!

I cannot believe we move in to our new home in a few short weeks. I imagine it will take us the rest of the summer, or actually much longer, to complete the many projects still needed when we get there and to get settled. But we are so excited to be in our new space and to have our new house to make our home. I plan to re-use as many as the items as I can from our last home, but we do have what feels like an endless list of items we still need to purchase when we get there. Has anyone else felt like this moving into a new build or new home? I would write a list for you all, but it's so overwhelming I had better not! I plan to share some of the projects along the way and fill you all in! I hope you follow along. Thanks to all of my supporters and followers! Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Our Kitchen Renovation

It's been a while since I've posted and I wanted to share our kitchen renovation. I have had so many people ask about it and the renovation we did and I never shared the results, as promised.

Before I say why I love what we did, I have to say that we had a functioning kitchen previously, but the space wasn't laid out well and the space wasn't being utilized appropriately. Fortunately, we were able to do a gut job on it and complete the kitchen that I had been dreaming about for years.

We had the best time picking out every last detail, from the custom-made soft close cabinets with the arched valance and arched vent hood, to the Carrara marble countertops and backsplash, the FARM SINK (I love and adore it so much) and so much more!

My favorite part may be that we have a little kitchenette off to the side that allows us to keep the kitchen appliance clutter out of the kitchen and it's complete with a wine fridge. Our kitchen renovation was completed just in time for me to not be able to enjoy this perk, however, with the arrival of our upcoming baby girl! We took the Carrara marble tile to the ceiling here and it's such a sweet little nook to make a cup of morning coffee and provides extra storage as well!

There are a few big updates to our new kitchen. One being that we moved our stove top. It used to be between the fridge and a wall (see pictures below). While it worked, it was closed off and didn't allow for much room to cook and did not have any countertop space. We added a kitchenaid double wall convection oven/microwave combination where the old stovetop/oven used to be and we added a cooktop in an area that was not being adequately used before. This created a much better flow to the kitchen and a much prettier centerpiece item to see from the open-concept family room view! The second big change, is that we took the cabinets to the ceiling. Before, the cabinets didn't allow for items like even a coffee maker to sit on the countertop. Taking the cabinets to the ceiling added so much more height to place things under the cabinets on the countertops and also more storage as well. Not to mention, it also added a "grand-ness" to the kitchen carrying your eyes to the ceiling. We added crown molding to complete the look. The third biggest change was the kitchenette addition that did not previously exist.

I also love that we now have a place to sit and eat at our expanded kitchen island. My favorite part of the island is the 2.5 inch marble edges! I love how it defines the island and draws your attention to the center of the room. While I also, of course, love the additional storage within the island, being able to pull out a stool and sit in your kitchen is one of the best and most functional changes!

The farm sink - where to start! Our kitchen sink is now huge! It allows for so much more prep room and I love the chrome fixtures we picked with it. The farm sink also has a custom fit grate, which keeps dishes off of the sink. This grate is amazing - you can use it as a drying area if needed, but the best part about it is that it keeps yucky water, when rinsing items, off of other items in the sink.

Lastly, part of this renovation was also replacing the kitchen floors with wide plank wood panels. We went darker in the kitchen to compliment the white cabinetry and then also refinished our back hall and family room floors to match.

I'm so happy with how it turned out overall and we have loved using this kitchen everyday!

I would love to hear what you think! Enjoy these photos :)


















Old Kitchen: