Archive for September, 2012

Kitchen renovation: Lighting

The kitchen renovations have begun! If you recall from last week, my Mad Men kitchen is undergoing a serious makeover. First step: lighting.

Lighting can be a relatively easy tweak to your kitchen that makes a big difference–if you know how to swap out lighting. Changing light fixtures is simple and you can learn how it’s done through online guides and videos. The most important advice: make sure to switch the electricity to the room off before you get started.

Here’s what we did:

•Moved the black-iron light fixture over our kitchen table into the dining room and took out the gold chandelier (I’m just not a chandelier person).

•Put in a simple, brushed nickel overhead light with clean lines from Home Depot ($29.88).

•Took out the florescent lighting near the refrigerator with track lighting from IKEA ($49.99).

Hitches:

•We discovered that the lighting wasn’t in the middle of the kitchen so we couldn’t center our lighting either. Solution: the movable track lighting looks intentional placed farther away from the sink. On my list: putty the extra hole with sheetrock compound and repaint the ceiling.

•Originally, we forked over a little extra money to buy vintage light bulbs. Even though we loved the look, the light bulb just didn’t give enough light–even the 60-watt bulb. Solution: We returned the light bulb and we’re sticking with regular bulbs (hey, they’re less pricey anyway).

Your turn: Have you ever changed the lighting in your kitchen? What inexpensive fixes have made a big difference in your kitchen?

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Breakfast burgers

When Mr. Squid mentioned he wanted to make breakfast burgers I wasn’t immediately on board. See, we tried out breakfast pizzas once on a whim and the results were, well, not good.

But sausage patties are perfect for the grill. We buy ours from a local farmer’s market that makes fresh pork and turkey varieties. Top your grilled patty with the works like bacon, cheese, and a fried egg. Or keep it simple–I like just a turkey sausage patty topped with thick-sliced tomato.

Recipe

Prep time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

4 sausage patties (1 pound)

4 whole wheat kaiser buns

4 slices bacon, if desired

4 slices cheddar cheese, if desired

4 eggs

Directions

  1. Form the sausage into 4 thin patties.
  2. Heat the grill to high, then place the sausage patties on the grill.
  3. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
  4. Take the patties off the grill. While they cool prepare a fried egg for each.
  5. Place the patty on the bun followed by the bacon, cheese, and fried egg. (Alternatively, top the sausage patty with a slice of tomato.)
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My Mad Men kitchen

Welcome to the 1960s mixed in with a little 1990s or what I like to call, my kitchen. Who knew that my new home would have a Betty Draper- style plaid kitchen courtesy of Mad Men?

Well, the plaid wallpaper’s gotta go. Along with the dinosaur of a double oven, the evergreen laminate countertops, and the overhead microwave that makes the cooktop feel like a cave.

Just one problem. See the other day when I was eating my breakfast, the ceiling dripped into my bran flakes. And with those drips went a few of our kitchen renovation plans. They’re now in the fix-the-leak-in-the-bathroom-that-isn’t-covered-by-the-home-warranty plan. So if you’ve wondered why I haven’t posted in awhile, I’ve traded my paintbrush for a spatula. (But I’ve got to eat sometime, so our grill and smoker have replaced my oven.)

Our plans now are to re-purpose as much of our current kitchen as we can.

Here’s what’s on the list:

Anyone need a trash compactor?

  • Paint the kitchen cabinets white (bring on the oil-based primer)
  • Paint the cabinet hinges in brushed nickel
  • Paint the laminate countertops gray (Rustoleum is on my shopping list)
  • Take down the wallpaper
  • Remove the trash compactor (done;)
  • Replace the double oven and stovetop with a range (opens up the space and it’s less expensive)
  • Decide on a backsplash
  • Nix the over-the-stove microwave–where can you hide a microwave?
  • Swap out the lighting

    Plans posted in the kitchen for inspiration

  • Refinish the wood floors

I’m looking forward to making the kitchen my own. And here’s the best part–when I need a break from remodeling, here’s where I head. The backyard.

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