Kitchen Tour: Righty and Lefty

Back when the kitchen design started, the ECF and I were wandering around Ikea looking for inspiration.  Remember when I posted the picture of my dream kitchen inspiration?

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Well one of the things that kitchen had (the display kitchen at Ikea) that always stuck with me as an idea, was two dishwashers.

Wait.  What?

Yes.  I said it.  I also did it.  The one thing that makes me craziest around here, is a pile of dishes in or next to (or both usually) the sink.  Hate.  Hate hate hate.  It’s like the little monsters are saying, “oh here KK, wash these”.  Even though I know they aren’t thinking that because a magic elf does the dishes while they’re all asleep.  But never mind about that.  I actually LIKE doing the dishes because then I know they are clean ;)

But dishwashers are awesome.  They do the dishes for you AND you know the dishes are clean to your standards.  The problem with the dishwasher is that it is either full of clean dishes and needs to be emptied, or it’s full of dirty dishes but hasn’t been run yet.  In either scenario, the dishwasher is relatively useless.  Dishwasher, singular.  With dishwashers, plural, you don’t have that problem.  One is always full of clean dishes, and the other is always mid-load (I know, the logic is weak here, but just stay with me as long as you can).

With two dishwashers, you can still be loading, even when one is full.  Then you run it, and you keep filling the other one.  It’s funny but, the unloading of the dishwasher isn’t really the big deal except when there’s a pile of dirty dishes right next to it ready to be loaded.  When there are no dirty dishes waiting to get in there, unloading the dishwasher is actually kind of…nice.  Yeah, I just said that.

I even named them.  Lefty and Righty.

Meet Lefty:

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Meet Righty:

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When we first moved back home I was scared of the two-dishwasher system.  At first, I thought, oh no, what did we do.  This is a mistake.  How will I ever get the boys to load the right one, how will I know which one is clean, which one is dirty…I’ll constantly be opening and closing them trying to figure it all out.  What have I done!  But after a couple of days, we got the hang of it, thanks to a trusty “clean” and “dirty” system.

The “dirty” dishwasher is always indicated like this:

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And that’s how we all know which one we are in the process of filling.

The “clean” dishwasher…

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is the one that needs to be emptied next time someone (ok, me) is standing around the kitchen waiting for the coffeemaker to finish, the toast to pop, the commercials to be over, whatever.  And sure enough, when the dirty one is full, it gets turned on, the signs get switched, and the process begins again.

I never have dirty dishes on my counter anymore.  It is liberating.  Every contractor, design person, friend, who knew I was doing this asked me if we did a lot of entertaining.  We don’t really, we’re just a busy family with two boys (boys that take a fresh glass every time they need a sip of milk, if you’ve been following along) and a stepmonster who hates dirty dishes next to the sink.  It is by far my favourite thing (two favourite things) about the Super Kitchen.  FREEDOM!

Kitchen Tour: The Fridge

If you read other blogs about food like I do, and particularly ones where the blogger gives you an “insider” peek into their real kitchen (not the one they’ve tszujed up for the purposes of blogtography), do you ever find yourself, you know, judging?  I don’t.  Ok, I totally do.  And I know you do too.  I want to know why I spend so much time wiping, swiping, cleaning, and primping the kitchen when it looks like everyone else in the blogverse always has these super clean organized spaces.  And the fridges!  Always so neat and tidy when mine is so…sticky and fingerprint-covered.  Well this post isn’t necessarily about that – but it is about the Story of My Fridge.

In kitchen 1.0, pre-renovation to TCP, we had a fridge we hated.  It was nice enough, stainless steel, 18 c.u. feet, and it came with the house.  It appeared to be brand new when I moved in (lots of things appeared to be brand new but weren’t).  It looked just like the fridge I had in my old condo, which I loved.  But really wasn’t loveable like that one was.  This one turned out to be a horrible bottomless food-spoiling monster that was a disaster to keep organized.   I was determined not to have CTP fridge 2.0 have the same problems we always had with the food-spoiler and so I spent a lot of time researching different sizes, layouts, and features to make sure we made the right choice.

Things that sucked about the old fridge

The big dent on the freezer door (presumably from someone kicking it shut)

The big scratch on the fridge door (no idea how that happened)

The broken crisper drawers.  Plural.

The narrow opening, and deep shelves – meaning many many things lost.  Many things.  Mostly things that get mouldy.

The mouldy things.

The impossible-to-clean shelves.

The bottomless pit of a bottom-freezer (love bottom freezers, but it’s all about the pullouts, which this one didn’t have).

I don’t even have a picture of the old fridge (ok, it’s our new basement fridge, but I don’t want a picture of it, ok?).

Things that don’t suck about fridge 2.0

Two words: ice maker.  Ice!  Maker!

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Water dispenser (I was prepared to hate this, but I LOVE it).  Water.  Cold. When ever!

Moveable shelf for when you have tall stuff.  Right?

Non-bottomless pit freezer.  Pull outs!

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It’s big.  Real big.  So big…that I have to tell you my story…

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CTP 2.0 – The Fridge Story

The planning around CTP 2.0 started 2 years ago and involved 3 key elements: bigger kitchen (a super-kitchen, if you will), separate bedrooms for the boys, and an office space that fit both me and the ECF (I hate sharing a desk).  We coordinated with an architect and a builder.  Everything was on track.  The kitchen design was going to be my own.  I set to work figuring out cabinets, dimensions, appliances, colours, you name it.  I even had drawer inserts picked out.  Kitchen 1.0 was a galley kitchen, and so it wasn’t going to be difficult to make the new one better than that.  I worked from the architect’s dimensions, and designed a larger (much larger), L-shaped kitchen, designed around 2 things – a cool 6’x4′ island with seating, and the super-fridge.  I had been dreaming about this fridge for a long time.  And, as luck would have it, the Leon’s flyer that very week, the week I was doing most of the designing, had the dream fridge, on sale for a really great price.  That very Saturday, the ECF and I headed over to see the salesman at Leon’s and order ourselves that very fridge.

Please keep in mind that this was a year and a half ago.  At the time, the reno was upon us, and we were starting as soon as the builder was available.  The fridge was ordered that same Saturday and we were told it would take a couple months to come in, which suited our timeline just fine.  The following Monday (2 days later), Leon’s called to ask when they could deliver the fridge.  Wait.  What?  Apparently the fridge had been available all along, no wait.  So I asked Leon’s if they could hang on to it.  And then I fielded calls from Leon’s every month for the next 18 months – trying to put off the delivery.  You see, the reno didn’t start when I thought it would, which was fine, but I really felt bad for the Leon’s people.  I mean, they aren’t offering some kind of storage service.

All of this was complicated by the dimensions I was working from when I designed the layout of the super-kitchen.  They were incorrect.  The cupboards arrived to the house and they builder started putting them together when I got the call.  “You need to sit down,” they said.  The dimensions I used were wrong.  I had 4 inches too much cabinet for the walls that were available.  Not a lot you can do for a work-around on that.  It had to be redesigned.  From scratch.  This was not going to break me.  No.  I just sucked it up and got it done.  The Super Kitchen became the Even Superer Kitchen.

Slight delays.  But this was not going to break me.

When we finally had the flooring down and there was a spot to put the fridge in the living room temporarily during the construction, I called up Leon’s to have the delivery done.  I took an afternoon off work, to wait for the truck during the delivery time-frame, and it showed up nice and early, which was great, only to be told that they weren’t comfortable carrying the heavy fridge up the temporary steps in the front of the house.  No big deal, I am all about safety.   The fridge stayed on the truck, in it’s packaging, and the delivery guys left.  I felt bad.  I tipped them.

When we finally had overcome the obstacles you normally don’t have to overcome when you buy a fridge (no front steps, no floor in kitchen, no electricity, etc. etc.), I called up Leon’s (finally!) to get this mother fridger delivered.  And so they came.  I had to take an afternoon off of work to be at the construction site, during Leon’s 4-hour delivery window.  The delivery guys were great.  They came, took the fridge off the truck, out of the packing, measured everything, and had almost started taking the doors off (necessary to get this monstrosity through our front door) when I saw them.  Huge dents and scratches all over the front and side.  The super fridge was a super dud.  The fridge went back on the truck, and the delivery guys left.  I felt bad.  I tipped them.

They had to order me another one.  One that hadn’t been sitting in the warehouse for 18 months.  I’m pretty lucky the model wasn’t discontinued.  A few weeks later the second one arrived.  Another afternoon off work to sit at the house and wait during the delivery window.  These delivery drivers weren’t so nice.  They got the thing off the truck, out of the packing, I checked for dents and scratches (none, yay!), they took the doors off, and then they measured.   This measuring tape must have been different than the ones the other guys used, because these delivery drivers weren’t prepared to try to get this fridge through the door.  Oh. Come. On.  Oh, and, no tip this time.  But this was not going to break me.

Ok, in case you have lost count, that’s 3 fridges.

So far.

I’m a little bit superstitious.  This fridge is cursed.  I couldn’t do it.  Even after the builder told us he would happily remove our front window and get his guys to lift the fridge through.   No.  This wasn’t meant to be.    Even if they delivered the fridge, and the builder got it in, it was destiny that the thing would break down inside of a year.  I couldn’t do it.  We took ourselves back to Leon’s and got our money back.  It was like an 18 month savings plan. This was not going to break me.

Fridge 4.

Needed a different brand.   The builder recommended we hit Sears.  So we did.  A lot of measuring (we weren’t going through this again) and a lot of door-opening, drawer trying, weighing of pros and cons, and we found our second choice.  It was smaller.  It didn’t have the same bells and whistles as the cursed fridge, but I needed to get it done, and with move-in day now looming after 18 months, I only had a couple of days to find something, so I was desperate.

Another afternoon off.  Another 4-hour delivery window.  Another set of delivery guys slightly cranky about removing the doors and packaging and smushing the thing through a tiny little door frame.  These guys measured and looked, and measured again, and as I watched from the front window and saw the looks on their faces – I knew… I just knew…this was going to be a problem.  Again.  Fridge 4.  I was broken.  The whole reno process was nearly done and I was able to keep myself together this whole time and it was going to be the friggin fridge that breaks me?  Yes.  Big racking sobs.  A couple of dry heaves in the backyard so the guys working in the house wouldn’t see me.

The Sears guys left the fridge on the front porch to sit overnight until my builder could show up to do the front window trick he promised me.

Was I worried someone would steal it?  Sure.  It was a brand new 24 c.u. foot fridge sitting unattended on the porch of a vacant house.  But the good news is, and what allowed me to drive away from the house that night, was that I would be able to find the thief pretty quickly.  All I’d have to do is drive around the neighbourhood to see who had a fridge on their front porch.

In the end, the fridge was brought in by our builder without incident.  It’s a great fridge, we are so happy with it.  It isn’t as big as the original super fridge, but it has all the bells and whistles.

 

Pink: Eat Cake for Breakfast

CTP’s renos have meant we’ve had an unusually high volume of visitors since we’ve moved back home.

Never expected but always appreciated of course, are the housewarming treasures that friends and family bring.  Ok, just friends, family visiting is gift enough, n’est pas?

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My very good work friend, the Ice Queen (sorry, but she knows who she is), brought me my new favourite thing.

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What’s great about this gift is that the renos to the office (where all of this blog magic happens), included adding a window and that means – cross breeze.  So a paper weight is a much needed accessory so my grocery lists and loose recipes don’t go flying all over the place.  Love love love.

Channel 416

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Channel 416 is “spa music”.

It is about the only thing preventing me from going all “hell hath no fury” on the Blond and the Brunette.

Today we had a SodaStreamtastrophe.  I was in the bedroom, they asked if they could make some, I said sure.  Next thing I know I hear “OH NO!” and then frantic whispering and the sound of paper towels being torn furiously from the roll.  All of those things in combination can only mean one thing: KK’s gonna be mad.

But I didn’t say anything.

I just stayed quietly in the bedroom listening to their (horribly loud, by the way) whispered conversation and thinking, “this ought to be good”.

And it was.

I didn’t think carbonated Dr. P could travel such great distances.  I didn’t think any liquid could transcend physical barriers, like cupboard doors and drawers.  I didn’t think it could turn corners getting in behind every nook and cranny of the Super Kitchen.  But it did.  Oh it did.

They were already downstairs playing with their friend again when I finally snuck out to see the damage.

They thought they’d gotten one past me.  That I would “never know”.

But I always know.

And so, having finished cleaning up the damage, now I am sitting here quietly, and listening to channel 416.  Don’t worry, I won’t let this one slide, that would just be bad stepmonstering.

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Sweet Potato in Disguise

I needed to buy sweet potato on two separate occasions this week.  Weird, I know.  I think I can go months and months without ever needing a sweet potato, but here I was at Galen’s for the second time in seven days, grabbing one.  I still haven’t used the last one I bought, but it was spoken for at home for a puree I was making tonight, so I needed a second.

When I got home from visiting Galen, I put the ECF to work peeling the first one, for the puree.  It wasn’t a minute before he hollered out, “hey, what did you buy?”  What do you mean, what did I buy – I bought a sweet potato, duh.  No, no you couldn’t have, it’s white.  White?  I swear I grabbed it from the bin clearly indicated with the sign that said “Sweet Potatoes”.  And, to be fair, it looked like a sweet potato.

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Am I right?

But it’s white?  So, I suggested I would google it.  The ECF was all over that with: “Oh, right, are you going to google looks like a sweet potato but it’s white?  Yeah, I guess I am, smart guy.  Well, joke was on him, because I started to type in, “looks like a swee—” and google actually suggested “Looks like a sweet potato but is white”.  I guess I’m not the only person with potato problems. And speaking of potato problems, checkout the inappropriately sized knife the ECF was using to chop.

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Well we learned something.

Sweet potatoes come in a  variety of colours.

Wikipedia tells us that:

The plant is a herbaceous perennial vine, bearing alternate heart-shaped or palmately lobed leaves and medium-sizedsympetalous flowers. The edible tuberous root is long and tapered, with a smooth skin whose color ranges between yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige. Its flesh ranges from beige through white, red, pink, violet, yellow, orange, and purple. Sweet potato varieties with white or pale yellow flesh are less sweet and moist than those with red, pink or orange flesh.[5]

Take that, ECF.

While I was checking out sweet potato facts, I made note that sweet potatoes are basically full of good stuff – they are nutritionally a really great vegetable.  So we used it – and it worked great in the puree we were making (it has a milder flavour than it’s orange version).  I can’t wait to spiralize it into some noodles for the boys this week.  Wait til I tell you about that!

Oh We Are So Sneaky

I’ve blogged before about the Sneaky Chef.  It’s a system we follow here at Casa Tickled Pink because PICKY EATERS.  That’s why.

Well, we had all of our puree ingredients ready to go after the animals were in bed this weekend, and we realized that we had no containers.  The key to sneaky puree is to have little containers ready to go for, you know, the purees to hide in, until you need them.  Well, there’s nowhere to snag little puree vessels in the middle of the night so the ECF came up with a great idea (ok, I didn’t think it was great at first, but keep reading, there’s still time for me to come around) – what if we used the ice cube trays?

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Let me take a step back here.  We recently underwent some major renovations here at CTP, including building the super-kitchen.  One of the coolest things about the super-kitchen is the super-fridge (which in and of itself is a post for another time) and the super-freezer don’t need no stinkin’ ice cube trays.  I have a super-duper ice cube maker thingee now.  So I dug out the old ice-cube trays that were marked for goodwill, and we up-cycled them.

Check out what happened next.

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uhhh, never mind the stovetop (we can blame the ECF for that)…

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But, wait for it…!

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Look at those veg-sicles!  So now, when we need to veg it up – I just need to pop a couple cubes into the recipe.  Green cubes, by the way, hide really nicely in tomato sauce.  If you’re wondering what’s in there, I’ve got spinach, broccoli, zucchini, and peas (and a little bit of unflavoured protein powder).  White (which we make with cauliflower and zucchini and I re-use some of the water I cooked the green’s broccoli in) goes well in (believe it or not) yogurt, sour cream, salad dressing, anything with cheese, like pizza or lasagna.  Orange (sweet potato and carrot) is good in just about everything – tomato soup, chef boyardee anything, kraft dinner…

I know I know, I’m a jerk.  But they’re healthier for it.  ;)

xo

Bianca Amor I Amor You

Two words:

Liquidation SuperCentre

I was on my way home from the Bulk Barns today (spice project, will tell you about it another time) and happened upon something doing at the old Cabela’s location.  The sign now reads: “Bianca Amor’s Liquidation SuperCentre”.  Ummm, yeah!  Pulling in, I didn’t know what to expect.  I have to admit, I was heading home because it was stinking hot out, and I had to go to the bathroom, and I was hungry.  So had I known what was beyond Bianca’s front doors, I would have been more prepared.  With limited time and bladder patience, I walked into what can only be described as WALL TO WALL DEALS, PEOPLE.

I want props for that comma, by the way.  It could have been “deals people” which would have been wrong… oh never mind.

They have a little bit of absolutely everything.  Rugs, electronics, housewares, clothing, furniture, junk, good stuff, you name it it was in there.

I didn’t last long, I was overwhelmed (and like I said, I had to get to a bathroom), so I found one thing and got out of there.  I will be back though, for sure.

They seemed to be clearing out quite a bit of Chicago Metallic bakeware and equipment.  I really like Chicago Metallic – they make good stuff.  So I picked up one of these:

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What’s that, you say?  A chocolate dipping station?  The thing about Bianca Amor’s is, and @Cookie_Steph put it so perfectly: Bianca Amor has so many things I didn’t even know I needed.  Like a chocolate dipping station.  Am I right or am I right?  And for the low low blowout price of:

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I mean COME ON!  How could you pass up the deal of the century like that?  Ok, so I googled it when I got home, and they typically retail for about $20 so I didn’t get that good of a deal, BUT, it’s a cool thing to add to my arsenal, and I hate melting chocolate.  It can be such a pain, and temperamental, especially when you just need a little bit for dipping.  It’s a really nice quality tool, actually. Very much like a crock pot, but pink.

So…

I dug around in the pantry for some of that leftover brick chocolate I always seem to have lying around.

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And I popped it in.

What’s my plan for it?  Well I’m glad you asked.  You see, I’ve become addicted to this absolutely horrible invention called “snacking chocolate”.  Seriously, who thinks of this stuff?  Sadists.  These sadists called “Ripple” invented something called “Bark Thins” and you can check out their website if you’re into that sort of thing.  My favourite flavour is the sea salt and pumpkin seed.  WHO THINKS OF THIS STUFF.

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I like it so much, I’m going to try to recreate it for myself (which the ripple people probably won’t like, but they have basically ruined my life with their highly addictive product so too bad for them).  I only have milk chocolate on hand, but I also have sea salt and pumpkin seeds, so… we’re going to freestyle this.

I melted the chocolate.

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I stirred in the pumpkin seeds and spread it out in a layer.

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I sprinkled the whole thing with sea salt.

And voila!

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It was horrible.  Well, not horrible, but really the milk chocolate was not doing the pumpkin seeds any favours.  Or the sea salt, for that matter.  I think the bitterness of the dark chocolate really does something with the sea salt and pumpkin seeds.  You’re welcome Ripple Brands Collective, you’re welcome.   I’ve managed to save you gazillions of sales.  I’m just another pusher in your network of of underground sales people.

I’m off to the Costcos to get me some more of that stuff.

k