Another Kitchen Catastrophe

My problems in the kitchen always seem to start when I say to myself ย “I can totally do this, how hard can it be?”. Without fail things will start to head downhill from there. Take tonight for example. Chris wanted me to make Chicken Enchiladas for dinner. I’ve made them tons of times and while they always manage to come out differently, they’re usually pretty good. Tonight? They’re questionable at best.

So, for your reading pleasure (Meredith, no aspirating pretzels, please and thank you!) I will begin to recount: “Another Katy Kitchen Catastrophe”. Before you go any further I would like to put it out there that no kitchen appliances were injured in the making. ๐Ÿ™‚

Back to these Enchiladas. I used to have a recipe for them that Mom had given me. They are the one thing that I’m pretty comfortable making and that I know won’t poison anyone who eats them. They’re made with onions, chicken (obviously), sour cream, picante sauce, cheese and tortillas. 6 ingredients, not so scary.

I started by chopping the onion. I got a lovely Pampered Chef cutting board for Christmas from Chris’ family. It’s one of the ones with the measuring cups at the end of the cutting board so you can just scoop what you chopped into the measuring cup and off you go.

It’s great! In fact I’d put it right up there with the damp(en)er for my cabinet doors!

Anyway, I chopped the onion and threw it into the skillet to start sautรฉing it. While I was working on that I made Chris cut the chicken. Yes, I know. I’m a nurse and I see far grosser things than raw chicken. I don’t know what it is but something about the raw chicken gets me every single time. It’s a weird mental block to have, but thats me for ya!

Once the chicken was cut (and there was quite a mountain of it!!) things went awry. I was feeling super confident and then, well then I added the picante sauce. I’m not sure what the deal is. We haven’t changed brands, I’m not forgetting an ingredient (I really hope I’m not since I adamantly told Chris that I could NOT have forgotten to add something) I just don’t get it.

I knew almost right away that it was going to be way too watery. It’s usually a thicker sauce (if you will) and this just looked runny. Ugh. I decided to stay optomistic and added the sour cream. Not much better. I crossed my fingers and added the cheese. No such luck. I brought it to a boil thinking I could boil some of the extra water out. Nope, still watery. Then I let it sit FOREVER to thicken. No dice. Chris finally came in with a grumbling stomach to ask me what the hold up was. I told him and he said “Well why don’t you find the recipe and see what you did wrong?” .

Ok, so time out. No, I didn’t use a recipe. I haven’t used one to make these in over a year. While this could be my problem, why hasn’t it affected me in the past?

Time in:

“If I knew where the recipe was we wouldn’t be in this situation”

So he turns on the oven, takes another sip of his beer and goes back to ESPN. ย Smart guy. Leave the grumpy girl with the boiling picante sauce/water alone.

I could blame myself for this problem. Willow Smith and I were whipping our hair back and forth, but I prefer to say that Pace Picante Sauce is much more watery than it used to be.

Fast forward a little: Chris and I started assembling the Enchiladas which entails me spooning the chicken+sauce into the tortillas and Chris telling me there isn’t enough chicken in them. Its tradition. I normally roll them up and flip them over so the seam is on the bottom and they look pretty. Chris decided tonight, however, that he wanted them to look different. He did this fancy little maneuver with the top of the tortilla that involved some weird folding technique I’ve never seen before. Finally he stood back, proudly looked at his work and said “Hey look, I could be Mexican!” (insert gigantic eye-roll here), so I left Pedro to finish the rest of the enchilada folding.

Then we added the salsa and cheese to the top and put them in the oven.

Finally the enchiladas were ready. We took them out of the oven and sat down to eat them. Chris took a bite, leaned over, kissed me on the forehead and told me they were great. (Have I mentioned that I love him??)

In the end, I guess it wasn’t such a catastrophe after all. They definitely didn’t make my top 10 enchiladas ever, but they were good enough to have left over!

I hope you all have a great night, and once I either find, or perfect, the enchilada recipe I’ll post it up here. Thanks for stopping by!

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Cabinets! (Part III)

So here we are at the end of this saga. The cabinets are up on the walls, the shelves are in place, and we are starting to figure out where the heck we want things to go in them. I have to give 99% of the credit for today’s work to Chris. He dropped me off at work and when I got home 5+ hours later, all of the cabinets were up on the walls and half the shelves were in (what a great guy, he left a few shelves for me to do so that I could say I helped!). Not only did he put the shelves up, he even remembered to take pictures as he went along! He doesn’t want to admit it, but he loves reading the blog posts more than anyone else!

Moving on to those pictures I mentioned!

Chris started out by making a nice level line on the wall.

He even took a picture to prove how level it was ๐Ÿ™‚

Then he put the thingy on the wall:

Then he bolted the cabinets in place. (mind you, I’m getting this description from him, not from me. I wasn’t there, and he’s less than descriptive. Sorry!)

I guess he had to take the doors off in order to do this easily, so the next step logically was for him to put the doors back on.

Don’t those doorknobs look great??

He did the same thing on the other side, and then ta-da! cabinets were hung on the wall.

Then he put the shelves in on one side and waited for me to come home from work. He let me put the shelves in on the second set of cabinets so that I could say I had helped with this adventure in some way. Afterward we started putting the plates in their new home.

The we put the glasses and mugs in their new homes:

And then we sat down and ate dinner. Almost immediately I started harassing Chris about building me the countertop he promised me. I was told I had to wait for a while because he was tired. I pointed out that I’m not working on Saturday and that we could have another bonding experience by building the counters.

Then Chris went temporarily deaf.

Thanks to everyone who has followed this adventure. It’s been great and has really made a huge difference in how the whole kitchen looks. Maybe once I get those countertops (hint hint) I’ll start having people over for dinner!

Cabinets! (Part II)

Alright, the laundry is switched and ready to go for another 40-50 minutes. I’ll type fast!

So once we got all of the cabinets assembled and placed in the kitchen, Chris decided it was time to put the knobs on the doors. We had picked out the knobs while we were at Ikea and after hours and hours of trying to decide (these were the cheapest ones that we both liked. Took about 1 minute to pick them) we finally decided on these ones.

We were planning on putting the door knobs here:

Chris made all the necessary measurements and then placed painters tape on the door so that he wouldn’t wreck the front of the doors.

In the midst of this great measuring adventure, Chris’ dad texted him to make fun of the Pats who had a horrific showing in the game against the Jets today. Leave it to the New Yorker. Hmph.

After the text (that was clearly aimed at my ego) Chris started to drill the holes for the doors. Unlike the building of the cabinets I didn’t help even remotely with this part. I was writing the last blog post and taking pictures. Besides, it was a one person kind of job.

Then he peeled off the painters tape and revealed the location of the new door knobs:

Next he screwed the doorknobs into place

Beautiful isn’t it?

So here’s Chris finishing the rest of the process. The green plaid is an interesting look, huh?

I made fun of him for a while about that, just so you’re all clear.

After a lot of work trying to fix a doorknob that was broken (something about messed up threads?) Chris was all done with the door knobs, and they looked lovely!

So the goal for tomorrow is to get these bad boys up on the wall. Ok, let me clarify, MY goal for tomorrow is to get them up on the wall. Chris might not agree with me, we’ll have to see how this goes. Just as a reminder, this is how the kitchen walls look now:

And this is the thingy we’re gonna use to attach the cabinets to the wall.

Hopefully we’ll be able to get this whole project done by tomorrow night and I’ll be writing part 3 of this blog post ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you all have a great night and a good 3 day weekend!

Cabinets! (Part I)

Our kitchen is getting a much needed makeover! For weeks I have been harassing Chris to get cabinets. We currently house all of our dishes and glasses in an old China cabinet. This lovely antique piece has doors that don’t close or open, drawers that don’t open or close, and it really drives me crazy.

Today I was able to drag Chris to Ikea. We bought our cabinets and brought them home in the teeeeny tiny little corolla. After a genius packing job and a smooth ride home, we got the fun of carrying all the boxes upstairs. (Sometimes I curse the stairs, all 3 flights of them)

Once in the kitchen I convinced Chris that it would be a great idea to start putting together the cabinets immediately, win! We opened up the first box (“always the smallest first in case we screw up!” to quote Chris) and took a look at the very well worded and highly descriptive directions from Ikea.

To be honest, I’m impressed Chris could get beyond the picture of the sad looking blob that is on the phone with Ikea.

So the step by step cabinet building process (and yes, I was quite helpful. I built 2 by myself, and helped with 2 others out of the 6 total) began with the side pieces which looked like this:

We attached the brackets that went on the back and will eventually hold the cabinet on the wall. (I like when things are attached to the wall and not crashing to the floor. This was clearly a critical step.) Next we attached the top and bottom of the cabinets.

There were quite a few small pieces involved in this adventure. They looked like this:

Using all these small parts we attached the top and bottom and made a box:

(The above picture is out of order, but it is a representation of the step.) ๐Ÿ™‚

As always, the smallest helper was available to oversee the job and point out any mistakes we made.

Next we attached the back of the cabinet which involved a hammer and minimal amounts of swearing.

The next part was my favorite. We snapped these funny looking parts (which I’m sure have a name, I just didn’t ask what it was) into place and then attached the dampener (damper? Chris and I can’t decide what it’s called). By far the best part of these cabinets is the damp(en)er!! I can slam the cabinet doors all I want and they will never make a sound ๐Ÿ™‚

We unfortunately discovered that it doesn’t work when the cabinet is lying on the floor. Oops! It really is the greatest invention though. Right up there with the thing that keeps the toilet seat from slamming closed, or the kitchen drawers from slamming closed. Amazing..

Moving on… We attached the door, and then Chris held the cabinet in place so that I could see what our wall will look like when it’s all finished.

We took a break to go visit Grandma, and then came back in time to put together three of the manliest things you can imagine. Beer, football and power tools. It was a great afternoon for Chris!

We moved our “workroom” into the livingroom and continued on our quest to build the cabinets. After struggling through the first one, the rest were *almost* a breeze. With the exception of a small mistake that occurred while I was hammering the back of a nail in place the whole event went off without a hitch!

It felt like quite the accomplishment for one afternoon, especially when we lined them all up in the kitchen.

The nest step in this adventure is the knobs that need to go on the doors. Chris is working on that now, so I’m going to go switch the laundry and then come back from blog post #2 of the night! ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy part 1 of 3!

Sludge

So I’m finally back! I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday Season, and is off to a good start in 2011. After my 4 month hiatus from this blog, I have a new adventure to report on. I also have a bunch of projects up my sleeve for the new year so *hopefully* I’ll be posting a little more regularly than before.

On to today’s adventure….

****Disclaimer: This post is disgusting. Really. So if you don’t want to be totally grossed out, I suggest not reading this. It might be a good decision on your part. There was a lot of “EWWWW!” and “Oh thats just gross” during this process. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!****

Ok, So you’ve decided not to listen to my careful warning, and you really want to know what this “sludge” is all about. Well here it goes!

For the past month or so our sink and bathtub have not been draining. The sink wasn’t really a new problem (click here for the full details of that adventure!), however the bathtub was an unpleasant surprise. It started before Christmas. One day I went to take a shower before work, turned on the water and let it heat up as always. When I went to step into the tub however, I was up to my ankles in water. Not so fun! I think that shower might go on record for my fastest shower ever. It took about 10 minutes for the shower to finally drain after I got out. I was really worried that another pipe had disintegrated so I ran downstairs hoping that I wouldn’t find a puddle in the kitchen. Luckily there was no puddle so Chris and I ignored the problem and got really good at taking a quick showers while pretending we weren’t up to our calves in water.

So here we were, a full week into the New Year, and still no fix to the problem. I’ve been working a crazy schedule, and am terrible at returning phone calls, so even though I had a great plumber who could come to the house, I never made it work.

Enter Uncle Bill. If you recall from the other sink adventure he saved the day with some crafty little plumbing skills I didn’t know he had. He had heard on Christmas about the lack of draining that was going on and told me he’d come over, rip up the bathroom floor (Thank god!) and just “take a look”. I figured it couldn’t hurt, I really hate that floor anyway.

At 9:00 this morning he was here with his saw. He and Chris marked out a square on the floor and started cutting. Like everything else in this house there were multiple layers. Chris and Uncle Bill just started laughing so I went into the bathroom with my camera. And I thought the current floor was bad! Prepare yourself:

I mean really?? Here’s the close-up of this beauty!


(Note: If you double click on the pictures they’ll get bigger)

I’m really hoping that this floor wasn’t down at the same time as the hideous wallpaper! That would just be too much.

Anyway, they ripped up the second floor, and the sub floor, and we had a hole in the bathroom floor.

Then came the fun part- trying to figure out where the leak (if there even was one) was. After some impressive contortionist-like moves, it was determined that there was in fact, no leak. Weird. (I’m really glad Uncle Bill has taken up yoga. I told him all that was missing from this next picture was a few Oms.)

Chris wasn’t quite as flexible:

So Uncle Bill took over again –

(Beth- you should be proud!!)

So there was no leak. What the heck was the problem then?? I made the mistake of walking away for a few minutes and then I heard “oh my god!”. Of course I ran back with my camera, and promptly almost dropped it. The pipe leading from the sink and the tub to the big drain pipe was totally full of sludge. I mean, we’re literally talking 100+years of sludge buildup. No wonder we couldn’t get the drains to work!! (Ok- here’s the real warning, these pictures are nasty)

See all that sludge?? No? well then here’s a better shot:

Yummm..

So clearly that was our problem. If you enlarge the picture you can see a teeeeeny tiny little area thats not quite so sludgy that the water was going through.

Well now the really gross part began. They had to clean it out. Please notice I said “they” because there is no way in hell that I was going to be involved with that!

Let me start this part of the story with “We threw out the spoon after” just so that there are no questions in your mind. I should also clarify that this pipe is in no way connected to the toilet, so don’t think it was *that* gross.

Using a spoon we were planning on getting rid of anyway, Uncle Bill went to work.

Then they snaked the pipe to finish the clean up job.

Once the pipe was cleaned out they headed over to Home Depot for a bunch of supplies. While they were gone I complained to myself. I had just spent all this time on Wednesday vacuuming the house with my new vacuum (details to follow!). At this point there was a good amount of sawdust everywhere!

Oh well, the price you pay to shower like a normal person!

When they got back they put a new elbow where the gap was and then a temporary fix was done and, as Chris says, you can barely even tell! (if you’re half blind??)

New elbow!

I’ve already called in re-inforcements for this next part of the project. Hopefully soon the rest of this green disaster will be ripped up and some lovely new tile we’ve had sitting in the kitchen FOR-EV-ER will be put down. I’m not going to hold my breath though. It could be a while!

Well I think thats it for now. We have plans to put cabinets in the kitchen and I have a few decorating projects I want to do. I also have a spiffy new camera so there will be plenty more pictures in these posts! (and you can check out my latest pictures here!)