"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away?"

Author: Unknown

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Slow but Sure In The Kitchen

  Work is still coming along in the kitchen remodel. Right now we are taking care of little things. Hubby has to finish piecing in some areas of the wood floor. Yesterday, in attempt to save some money, we saved all our antique gold hinges and re-use them. However I wanted a nickle color. This old discolored gold wasnt going to get it. So we strung all 20-30 hinges on a line and spray painted them. The screws I pushed into an old box a window cam in so they stood on end and he sprayed the tops of them. Then yesterday after they dried. We hung some doors. Now its starting to look like a kitchen again.

 It's coming along. I will so be glad when its done.
Oh, I forgot to mention hubby has started building the extra cabinets we need. ALL SOLID OAK.  So much better than the particle board stuff in the store. He is doing a fantastic job. This is his first time building fine cabinets. Wont be his last. Lol.

look how much better they look.
We used a special spray paint by Rustoelum.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Still Painting......

    This shellac is some tough stuff. I have to go buy some denatured alcohol. I couldnt get it off. One of these days I may learn to wear gloves. Especially

Monday, August 31, 2015

19 Down...23 more to go..AGGGGHHHH!

    I HATE to paint! I just didnt realize how much ,lol. I would never make a professional house painter. I would be ready to bury my brush after the first side. I counted up I have 42 cabinet doors and drawers to paint, not counting the frames. But hold your horses...that only counts the cabinets we have so far. The originals and the 4 cabinets we have bought. I still have to buy 7 more cabinets.  I worked several hours today and go most of the frames  of the current cabinets primed. Out of the 42 doors and drawers, We have completed 23. ONLY 23! Never again will I agree with my husband about how nice this paint is flowing out the brush strokes. Don't even need to spray them.We can just finish them with a brush and roller.

                 Boy did I get conned into that one,lol. Just like the friends of Tom Sawyer.
                                         He's good! Luckily he has helped me some.

We are priming with Sherwin Williams shellac primer. It does have some odor but nothing overwhelming. Unless you have your head inside a very deep cabinet priming the inside. Then it tends to build up and fill your nose. But it is tough stuff when it dries.  I dont want to be doing this again. I have contacted other bloggers who have used this alkyd paint on their cabinets up to four years ago. All were thrilled with the performance and durability. So thats a good thing.

             Last night we bought some trim to bulk up the bottom of the cabinets. we already had crown molding on the top, but after seeing cabinets done like this in Lowe's and Home Depot, we decided we wanted it too. The thing is, they use special molding. Its not the standard stuff you find on the shelf. so just like when we did the fancy chair rail in our hallway. we went to the store and played around stacking pieces of trim. Like playing with lego blocks in the middle of the aisle.  Finally we decided on a couple of pieces that looked very nice together. The "L" shaped piece underneath, you dont see, but it helps to give you something to fasten the molding to, and something to nail to your cabinet.
Be warned. There are lots of mitered corners to create.
This shows how the two pieces are layered. He glued and nailed the pieces together before cutting miters.
Ta Da! This is how it looks when your done. before painting.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

My Kitchen Is Destroyed!!

   It's true. It's almost completely demolished. My dining room too. Several months ago we had renovated our living room and refinished the solid oak hardwood floors. All of them were needing refinished, but one step at a time. We have wood floors throughout except the bathrooms. We have been putting off the ones in the kitchen and dining room simply because we wanted to update them but just wasnt sure how far we wanted to take it. We had thought about just removing wallpaper in both and just painting for now, but the words of our 33 yr old son kept ringing in my ears since thr last time we renovated the kitchen many years ago. We had a seperate kitchen and dining when we renovated before. And I had always missed my island that we had before. So now we decided to go for it and break down walls.
      We knocked down the two walls dividing these rooms. Removed my kitchen booth, removed wallpaper, and we now have one large room about 20ft x 28ft.

This was our kitchen and dining room before. Nice. I liked the booth. But it needed updated. We are more traditional than country.

This is my handy husband removing the walls. Where the old air conditioner is will soon be a new window to help bring in more natural light.
This is most of the debris.
We are also going to paint our old cabinets a fresh white. And the new cabinets needed will also be painted. After much research, we decided to use Sherwin Williams ProClassic Alkyd paint, and their shellac primer. We are very impressed so far with both. He started out trying to spray the shellac. NOT a good idea. This stuff dries fast and HARD! It started plugging the guns knozzle and the shellac was a bear to get off the gun. As for the paint, I tried it on a small area of a hidden part of my pantry cabinet. When dried for few days  I smeared on some ketchup,grape jelly, and kool-aid to test out its cleanability. I let it dry on for several hours then tried to scrub it. I figured, new paint, I need to be delicate. I soon found out that was false. Now this cabinet had no prep work. No cleaning, sanding or priming yet. This was just a test of your emergency broadcast system. Ooops, sorry. I got sidetracked. Any, I scrubbed with a wet rag and Dawn. It needed some scrubbing to get the dried stuff off, but off it came. It did not damage the paint but I was left with some staining. Now remember this was only one coat smeared on with my finger. So then I took a rag wet it, and added some bleach. The stains wiped right off. More importantly the paint was still not damaged. So it looks like all is a go.
This is how it looks after two coats of primer, sanded,then two coats of paint.

This is how the oak wood grain shows through after two coats of primer.  Its a big difference when you start adding the nice thick paint.
We started out spraying the shelac primer. It worked for a little while then quickly started plugging the gun.
After scrubbing with TSP and a sponge with scotch brite pad on the other side, sanding with power sander, rubbing on a deglosser,and rinsing off, the painting began. After the fiasco with spraying the shellac, we decided to paint everything on with a good roller and foam applicator to get into crevices. So far,so good. Most if the marks from the roller are flowing out as it dries. I am impressed.
   As I started trying to prep the pantry after playing with it, I tried sanding the previous area. It will be hidden, but hubs wanted it all painted anywhere. I tried sanding with a worn piece of 120 sandpaper. And then switched to the scotch brite pad. Nothing happened. No paint came off even tho no prep work was done and it was literally finger painted. Great! I let it go and worked on the rest of the cabinet. This is a 7 ft tall x 22" wide cabinet. The frame is now all primed and we are awaiting lining up more doors to get them started. 
      He also had to patch the wood floor and sheetrock walls and ceilings after removing the old walls. The ceiling got its new coat of paint last night.
Here is our projected floor plan. Notice a nice large island in the center. However, we have decided to turn it parallel with the stove. It will be 40" x 8ft. Also hubby is going to construct a large wood range hood for over the stove. One of these days we will replace the white stove with a stainless steel one. Now we need to decide on a white enameled cast iron sink or a stainless steel one.
More to come on this major renovation so stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Whole Food Plant Based Diet

      I commented in my post Vegan For Life, that I had gone vegan and was losing weight. I also noted my weight had been at a standstill for a time. It has now been about 3 months.
BUT in the last few days the weight loss has kicked in again. I have lost about 3 more lbs. a pound and a half yesterday. No changes in my eating, and I have been exercising less due to some fatigue. I have fibromyalgia so that is nothing new. I have read that when these stalls happen early on, that are ody is doing some much needed healing from past abuse. That may be the case. I dont know.
      I also recently read a very good book which helped solidify what I have been reading on this new way of eating.  It is  "Eat To Live" , by Dr. Fuhrman.
                                                   I am NEVER  "dieting" again.

This eating plan means eating plant based whole foods. Eliminating, as much as you can, all processed foods, meat, dairy, refined sugar and refined white grains .  I know...I will now hear......
                                              " But what CAN I Eat?" 
That's an easy one. You can eat a whole variety of dishes made from healthy , wholesome plants from nature. Not whats made in a lab. You can have all kinds of dishes your imagination can dream up. What about a hoagie with marinated mushrooms in place of meat? Smoothies loaded with fruits and veggies. Salads, desserts, many sweetened naturally with dates. We have chocolate milk occasionally, but non dairy Silk Cashew Milk. I make home made non dairy butter, which I seldom use. My husband is still kind of on the fence with a few things. Veggie wraps, soups, and more. No more deprivation, or starving. Eat when you are hungry and eat till you are full. Once you are off the processed junk foods, etc, your body will no longer crave the crap, and reward you with health and vitality.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Vegan For LIFE !

       The end of January I began my vegetarian life again with juicing. During the following month I lost about 23 lbs. Also during the following month I adjusted my diet to Vegan and plant based. After that first month of juicing, I have noticed several changes. Except my weight. It seems it kinda stalled for me right now, so I will probably increase my juicing again. I have been drinking a fresh squeezed juice every morning of two red grapefruit and a large orange. after drinking this, I can no longer drink store bought chemical crap. I have eliminated almost all processed foods, most refined sugar, almost all oils,all meat, and dairy.
       Another plus, my husband also began this journey with me. Although he is only vegan at home, but its a huge start.
      For many yrs, 35 yrs to be exact,I suffered with constant heartburn. It began with my first pregnancy. From then on I kept a bottle of Tums by my bed for the 2-3 episodes at night, Tums in my purse, and Tums in my kitchen. Over the past few yrs, it had gotten worse. I began to also have reflux so bad I would suddenly inhale at times which allowed the acid to get sucked into my lungs a couple of times. This is not pleasant! I suddenly choked up and couldn't breath.  As a nurse I know that all this can lead to erosion of the esophagus and possible cancer later on.
    I realized a couple weeks ago, that I have had NO HEARTBURN OR REFUX since changing my diet back in January. None.....NADA!
While juicing, my husband noticed I was no longer turning sideways, and holding onto the wall while easing myself down the two steps of my living room. I was taking this two steps like a normal person...head on... with almost no knee pain now. While strictly juicing, I had NO PAIN!
      I have also taken medicine for my blood pressure for years. At one point a few yrs ago I was even prescribed another one on top of the two tabs I was taking. My B\P was taking spells of shooting up, sometimes as high as 180\100. even while on the two pills. But for side effects reasons, I went off the third pill. After changing my diet, I eliminated one of the other pills. I was now down to one tab a day. My blood pressure was staying around 115/70. Fantastic! I then tried for about a week to get rid of the final one, but my B\P started easing up, so I will wait a little longer on it. I am almost there tho.
    I am also eating what I want. No longer starving to just keep from gaining weight. Even though I have hit this little plateau  for weight loss. These are some major changes for such a short period of time. I have had to adapt my way I cooking. I was a traditional country cook. Meat and potatoes kind of cook.  I still make homemade bread occasionally, but I now also make homemade non dairy butter.  I also make and freeze my own veggie burgers.  I make hoagies using marinated mushrooms in place of the steak, vegan chili, a fantastic chickpea salad, wonderful pizza loaded with veggies,homemade banana raisin granola for cereal and snacking, and so much more. I also developed a recipe for chocolate date balls that taste so much better than the lara bars.
      We were discussing the price of hamburger yesterday with family. I said it was about $6 for a 2.5 lb pack. Someone else quickly corrected me and said it was about $6 a lb now! I was in shock. I only quit buying it in January. It had gone up about double in just that 4 months.  We also discovered we Loovve Silk Brand chocolate cashew milk.  It is so thick and rich.
      These changes all began after watching Fat Sick and Nearly Dead on Netflix, Forks Over Knives, and  The China Study. Check them out for yourself. You will be amazed at the healing that is taking place, and what the FDA allows to be put in our foods, and the research that has been done but ignored.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Homemade Non Dairy Butter and Newly Vegetarian/ Plant Based Vegan Wannabe

      For the past month I have been vegetarian, but hoping to eventually be more plant based vegan. I was a vegetarian in middle school  for two years as well. I am doing this for several reasons. One of them is for health. I truly believe with everything I have been reading that Plant Based is the way to go.
     With this new way of eating, it also involves learning a new way of cooking and preparing meals. I have actually made seitan, and seitan based bacon. Today I made homemade non dairy butter. We usually used Country crock and loved it. Recently with our diet change I bought Earth Balance Non Dairy Butter. It actually surprised me how good it was. I could not tell any difference between it and country crock except it was much harder. This butter recipe I got from Becky at Glue and Glitter. The link is HERE. She changed the recipe from HERE to suit her needs and pantry. Becky didnt use lecithin, or the xanthan gum. I already had liquid sunflower lecithin that I had recently ordered anticipating trying to make butter, however I had not gotten the xanthan gum yet. I was very anxious to give it a try and when I read she left it out and had no adverse affect. I decided to go for it. I used the measurements from Mattie's recipe for spreadable olive oil butter on Vegan Baking site HERE. Except I used vegetable oil for olive oil, 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar, and no xanthan gum. I love the taste. it taste just like earth balance and country crock but was more easily spreadable than earth balance. So easy and probably only cost pennies to make. I spread it on a slice of homemade bread and also had Vegetarian vegetable soup with homemade croutons on top. Delicious!