Wednesday, August 31, 2011

MORE progress

Knobs are on!

And (most) of the appliances are in- the stove/oven and microwave- so i was able to cook our 1st MEAL IN OUR NEW KITCHEN!

I made:

Smokey paprika shrimp and polenta AND Southwestern Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms


Had a great 1st meal!!!

Now- we still need our:


-lighting put in

-pantry closet built

-backsplash (!)

I start nightfloat on Sept 18th. I already have told them that if they are STILL working then, they will be working at NIGHT when i am working and not during the day when i am SLEEPING!!!!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Progress people- we have counter tops!

The estimate of a 2 week renovation is gone- haha- i was stupid to believe my beautiful kitchen would be done in 2 weeks (10 actual working days).

I should have realized it would be about double that. My mom told me to double their estimate of when it would be done. I had friends have MONTHS of work done on their kitchen. And of course there were the days last week when nothing was being done in the kitchen...... I would wonder "why aren't they here working?" And now i know- the 2 week estimate was just a myth. The truth is that it will be at least another week.....or two.

But we do have progress- yes, and that is a good thing. We have counter tops. Beautiful granite counter tops. And don't be fooled when i say granite- we went with the least expensive kind!

But here they are!

There is still A LOT of work to be done. But the counter tops are in- which means the sink is in, which means i can wash dishes in the sink now.....instead of my bathtub! LOL!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New cabinets!

As you know our kitchen is being remodeled- which has made our house a DISASTER ZONE.

Last week they took everything it is time to put everything in.

Here are our cabinets- in their boxes.

And here are the cabinets put up!

We of course don't have:

-the counter-tops

-our appliances (microwave, oven/stove, fridge, dishwasher)

-the knobs to the cabinets

-the sink isn't installed

-the backsplash (which we FINALLY picked out) hasn't been put in place

-the lighting isn't done

-AND eat-in kitchen bar isn't done either

BLAH! This is taking forever! And i am getting tired of our grill!!!

And it starts.....

It is all anyone can talk about- on the news, internet, all social media outlets- Hurricane Irene.

The big, bad, hurricane- a Category 2- is taking aim right for the south carolina/north carolina coast and is predicted to make landfall saturday somewhere between charleston and myrtle beach. All eyes are on the weather channels- waiting too see if it will turn ever so slightly and have the government pull the trigger and call for an evacuation.

And only 22 years ago (almost to the date), Hurricane Hugo slammed into Charleston and the lowcountry, forever changing the way the way people viewed hurricane preparedness.

I was living in Charlottesville (and was 10 years old) when Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston. The only reason why i remember it at all is that we had the day off from school "just in case." And we didn't even get a drop of rain. It was great- for us. Not so great for Charleston which was devastated.

This is a picture of Lockwood Blvd- about 1/10 th of a mile from the hospital. It was under water for a was the 1st floor of MUSC. And the story that gets passed around Medical School is that Baruch Auditorium, where our 1st year classes are held, had fish swimming around in it for weeks!

Well, i have to admit, my eyes are on the news too......not really interested in surviving a hurricane without a kitchen!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tips for surviving a kitchen remodeling- adapted for our family

I "stole" these tips from and adapted them for my family.

They have been really helpful and wanted to share them with y'all so you can see what we are going through. :)

1. Set up a makeshift kitchen in your home. Move your refrigerator, microwave, and table to this area. Keep paper plates, napkins, paper towels, utensils, cutlery, and cups on hand.

For us, our dinning room is now our kitchen- with our fridge and microwave handy.

2. Keep meals simple. Stock your refrigerator with sandwich and salad fixings, milk for cereal, fresh fruit, and foods you can grill or microwave.

Salads? Ewww. Grill or microwave please!

We have made "foil packet chicken," kabobs, and hamburgers. Taylor said our meals have been "great."

3. Stock your freezer. Plan ahead and make meals that can be frozen and reheated later. Soups, stews, lasagna, enchiladas, and casseroles all freeze well.

Oops. Didn't do that.

4. Borrow a kitchen. Offer to cook dinner for your friends or family. I am sure they would love to let you use their kitchen if you are providing the meal.

Didn't do that either.....

5. Dine out. Dining out can be expensive and sometimes the options aren’t that healthy. Look for coupons, split meals, or bring home a doggy bag to reheat for another meal.

Dining out can be can kitchen remodeling. I would rather save money and cook at home than eat out and spend $ we don't have.

6. Move your fridge and microwave to this temporary kitchen zone along with a table. An electric hot plate along with at least one pot is a good idea as well.

Check. No hot plate though- too dangerous! I already worry about our house burning down with the whole kitchen being gutted. So no additional dangers will be added to our house!

7. Stock the table with basic supplies: microwave-safe dishes, utensils, paper or plastic plates and cups, cutlery, paper towels, napkins, baggies, plastic wrap and garbage bags. Remember a can opener!

The only bad thing is that plastic knives and forks break easily! With my "foil packet chicken" i think i ate a few plastic fork prongs. Bleh!

8. Don’t forget coffee! Set up a coffee station: coffee maker, coffee, sugar.

No thanks! I don't do coffee!

Don't forget the diet mt dew!!!

9. Have a supply of dry foods in boxes under the table like: cereal, granola bars, bread, Kraft Dinner, microwave popcorn, tuna and soups.


10. Stock your fridge with BBQ foods like chicken, steak, hamburgers, sausage and hot dogs. The barbeque will become your new best friend during a kitchen remodel.

Double check. The grill is a life saver!

Well folks, these past three days make me feel like i am camping- although i get to sleep in my own bed each night. I am surviving but am really hoping our contractor was correct in saying the kitchen will be done in 2 weeks (by the 26th). I am READY for my fabulous kitchen!!!



Monday, August 15, 2011



BIG progress for one day!


Goodbye Kitchen!

Goodbye kitchen.

Built in the 1960’s.

With no counter space.

With few cabinets.

With little lighting.

Welcome Southeastern Kitchen to our home.

Thank you for working with my (limited) budget. I can’t wait to have my new kitchen with LOTS of counter space so I can cook. With LOTS of cabinets for food, dishes, and anything else I can think of!

This is the granite for the countertops.

And these are the plans (sorry for how dark they are).

Today starts the demolition of our kitchen. Can’t you tell I am excited!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Girl's weekend- FINALLY

Three weeks ago today my friend Kelly and I had left our homes in Charleston and drove to Asheville via Charlotte for girl’s weekend. We were going to Charlotte first to pick up Jen and Karen and then the four of us would head to Asheville for a weekend full of shopping, wine, “girl talk” and maybe a spa treatment or two.

I have been meaning to write about this sooner because it was a much needed vacation and it allowed me to see three very dear friends who I don’t get to see hardly at all. However, something I have fondly started calling “stupid boards” has gotten in the way of my blogging ability.

Now, “girls’ weekend” hasn’t been a tradition for very long. Not like the weekend my dad spends each August with his buddies from high school up at Flat Top Lake, West Virginia. That is a weekend of eating, sports, and boating. They have been doing it for >20 years. Hopefully our weekends will be legendary like his. Anywhoo, when the four of us girls lived in Charleston, we were able to see each other a lot and didn’t have to plan plane rides and hotel accomidations for us to hang out. That has changed as people have finished schools and have gotten jobs. Karen moved to Boston in June 08 with her husband Amol (both Duke grads like me) and Jen moved to Detroit in June 2010 with her husband Glenn. Not to point fingers, but because of these two ladies leaving the lovely city of Charleston, we now have to plan weekends to meet up.

Our first one was in January 2011. Karen flew down to Hilton Head, South Carolina where I picked her up. Kelly joined us the next day and Jen wasn’t able to make it. It was a fun weekend full of massages from men, wine tasting, and failed attempt at finding an “adult store” so we had to resort to a computer to buy things….kinda sketchy.

Fast forward 6 months and July was the month of another girl’s weekend. And when it came around this time, I really needed it! I needed a break from work. I needed a break from studying. I needed my girls!!! And this time all four of us could make it (thank goodness). Karen and Jen flew in to Charlotte and Kelly and I were there to pick them up.

That morning/afternoon we drove through the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, hitting two wineries.

Owl’s Eye

And Baker's Buffalo Creek

After tastings and purchasing some of the wines, we high tailed it to Asheville, making it to our downtown loft by 3 pm. And yes, I did say downtown loft. Little did we know, there were quite a few things going on in Asheville that weekend, including a crafts fair and a south eastern pediatric meeting. Because of this, hotels were limited. AND since I wanted something close to downtown so we didn’t have to drive a ton, I started looking on VRBO for places. I luckily found a loft in the heart of downtown, with two large beds, a kitchen, large bathroom, and overall, it looked perfect. And the price was perfect, so all in all, it was a great deal.

After we got settled, we went shopping, Karen bought approximately 10 dresses and found a dog she liked, and then we had a sushi dinner. It wasn’t a crazy evening. I think we were all exhausted from the traveling of the day.

Saturday morning we ate a delish breakfast at Early Girl restaurant and then did some more shopping around town. Then got our toes done and did more shopping in the Biltmore area. And had more snacks/wine. And then did more shopping. (Notice a theme??) We also drove to Grove Park Inn and checked in out. Didn’t have spa time (long story) but the Grove Park Inn is beautiful.

That evening we had our “fun dinner. We went to Zambra (, a tapas and wine bar, which was AMAZING. Unfortunately it was crowded and our server forgot about Kelly’s dinner and I didn’t like the sangria (too spicy). But the food was AMAZING so that made up for it. I do have to say, that even though I have never been a waitress, I am VERY particular about service and expect a lot…..and I was not too pleased with our server. He ruined my evening.

Afterwards, I was exhausted and headed back to our loft. Kelly, Jen and Karen went to some dancing street thing….and then came back. I made them watch “Ghost Hunters” on SyFy, which freaked me out (and I think Karen and Kelly too) and off to bed.

Sunday began early with all of us having to pack up. Have you ever had 4 girls shower, get dressed, and pack after a weekend of shopping? It isn’t pretty. But somehow we got our stuff together and went downtown to take a peak at the Craft Fair that was going on (aka Heaven for Kelly). Next we had brunch at Tupelo Honey ( with Karen’s inlaws. It wasn’t Karen’s hell but I did think there was going to be a fight over who was going to pick up the check! LOL.

After brunch and a quick stop at Chocolate Fetish (, it was off to the Charlotte Airport L We had only been there three days before. Seemed like the weekend flew by and now we had to say goodbye. Karen and Jen departed from the car- yes, I think there were some tears- and Kelly and I were off -back to Charleston.

I do have to say, seeing the Cooper River Bridge in the distance was a warm welcome back after an amazing weekend.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The story behind the picture

I was asked to baby-sit my niece Ava not once but twice last week- which is really exciting because she is such a cute kid and it makes me think that Paul and Erika actually trust me (as long as I wash my hands).

The first time, I was solo. It was me, the pups, and the 3 (almost 4) month old. Just hanging out for a few hours while Erika had a fun evening of bridal showering. Ava’s a good baby and I know she has scared her parents with the reflux issue, but she really is a “go with the flow happy baby.”

MY babies (Tiberius and Ellie) are not “go with the flow.” For Ellie, one thing that is abnormal gets her all freaked out and she becomes a nervous wreck. And for Tiberius, any new smell makes him go into sensory overload. So you can imagine what new smells he found with Ava!

The first night, it was really all about feeding/changing Ava and getting her to bed. Oh- and trying to keep Tiberius away from her because he was OBSESSED. All he wanted to do was smell her. And kiss her. And lick her toes. For example: I had brought Ava upstairs to change her and had laid her on my bed and had turned my attention away from her to set up her crib. That is when I heard her giggling and cooing. I turn back around and Tiberius had jumped up onto the bed and was giving her kisses! And she loved it!

The second night I had some more help. Taylor was home and so was B. We were able to tag team the whole night. Someone holds her while someone else makes the bottle, cooks dinner, etc. It is a bit easier with more than two hands available to help out.

Now- to get to the whole point of the blog today. The picture.

We had finished prepping dinner and put the pizza in the oven (spinach, ricotta, and oyster mushroom pizza). I had sat down to feed Ava and Taylor was straightening the kitchen. That is when the smoke detector went off- which is does often because it is so close to the oven. Well, that noise freaked Tiberius out and he climbed onto the couch and crawled over the back, up to me, as close as possible! He really is a big baby and is terrified by the noise the smoke detector makes! Which reminds me, the Friends episode where Phoebe’s smoke detector goes haywire is one of the funniest episodes ever. The best part is when it first starts beeping and wakes her up and as she is walking into the living room she goes “please don’t be a spaceship, please don’t be a spaceship.” LOL.

Watch it here:

Anyway. Thank goodness Taylor was able to grab the camera- this was something I never wanted to forget. Me with two big babies! What a fun day!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rue La La. Ideeli. Zulily. Oh my!

It all started out so innocently.

Signing up for, a online shopping community with pretty decent deals. Then Karen told me about a Judith March sale at and i was hooked an another website. THEN there is which is a infant/child online shopping website. I didn't think i would ever buy anything there...especially since my infant/child is now 14...almost 15.

But i was wrong.

After babysitting for my niece Ava last night, i decided that i needed a sling. NOW. And even if Paul and Erika had one, i NEEDED one. Myself. I realized through the fact that Ava likes to be held ALL THE TIME- that i needed both hands free. One had to feed the dogs and one hand to hold my sweet tea mt dew.....errr....water.

So just my luck, had them on sale today. And i bought not one, but two.

A black one that is practical.

And a fun colored one!

YEA! I hate the fact that i bought them but i love it that i did!

And then Karen asked me if i was pregnant. Bahahahahaha. Nope. Not pregnant. Just trying to be proactive.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wake up. Eat. Study. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

With 6 days to go, I realized my life looks EXACTLY the same everyday. I wake up. Eat breakfast with the pups. The go to work and study for 6-8 hours. Then come home. Make dinner. Eat dinner. And go to bed. (there is of course family time scattered in there so don’t worry, I am not completely ignoring them!).

It isn’t so bad considering this is almost over, my family isn’t ready to kill me, and I have been making some pretty excellent meals. When you don’t get much joy out of what you are doing during the day (and really, who likes 100 questions of Medicine facts), you take joy in the little things.
For me, it is cooking. Cooking great meals. Cooking great food to share with family and co-workers. Everyone benefits from my monotonous life!

Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca, Prosciutto wrapped asparagus, and Ricotta stuffed tomatoes

Steak (grilled by B), Greek pasta with tomatoes, and Roasted Fennel with olive tapenade and feta cheese

Here is a close up of the fennel. It was AMAZING!

Pineapple, Banana, Coconut, and white chocolate chip bread

Or what Darren and Casey in the UC said "Is this a take everything you have leftover in the kitchen and bake it into bread? What's next, meatball, spinach, and pasta bread?"

Ha! Next time my co-workers won't be so lucky in partaking in my delicious bread!

PS- Every recipe i made here is from the blog "For the love of Cooking."

Check it out. AMAZING stuff!