Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Countertops are Installed ---- Hooray

Hooray, our countertops are in place.  It makes a huge difference in a kitchen when the countertops are down. The window frame on our main window is a wider than most frames. In order to incorporate that modern look we removed the top slab front on the kitchen sink cabinet so the installers could secure the undermount sink properly.  As you can tell the dish washer still has to be installed.

The countertops look beautiful. The high polish of the Avenza quartz is offset perfectly with the muted look of the leathered steel gray granite.  I'm happy.

It took four men to carry the granite up to the 2nd floor.  It is a heavy stone.  I heard the last guy say, "Faster, Go faster."  They did not want to drop this stone.  Thank you,  Cosmos Marble and Granite Company for doing such an awesome job.  

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Points of Distinction - Measuring For Countertops

LT-2D3D Laser Templator

Last year I picked out the countertop materials for the condo kitchen. I chose gray steel granite in a leathered finish for the island and Avenza polished pental quartz for the perimeter areas. As you all know, it's been a crazy Covid 19 year, so things haven't progressed as they usually do. Last week, George from Cosmos Marble and Granite  came to measure and brought the laser equipment with him. Made my day.

One of the most fascinating tools for measuring countertops is the LT-2D3D Laser Templator.  If I was in the business of tile and stone installations, I would have this tool. It may be pricey, but it's very efficient and accurate - just follow the red dot that marks the digital data point. I jest, it is more complicated than that. However, once you master navigating the software, it is a superb tool.

For those who know me, you know I love tools. As a child I worked with my Dad repairing furniture for the neighbors and with my Mom in a commercial kitchen, both fields have lots of tools.  Later, as a computer programmer I spent 30 years coding applications and as a kitchen designer I love the 2D and 3D aspect of designing on a computer.  So, I was intently watching the functionality of this tool at work.

In the short time George was here, I realized you can draw on different planes with the tool, you can use different colors for different objects so you cut down on confusion, you can aim the laser at the center of the sink cutout and it will calculate the correct cutout, if measuring a wall you can center the laser on the screw of the electrical outlet to get the correct outlet into the drawing. If I was having a backsplash done, he could have used the tool to measure up the wall as well. Yep, it's a great time saver. And once the data is collected you have it on file in a computer format that you can email if requested.  I think he must have been using the tool for awhile because it didn't take him that long to measure.

Next post you'll see the countertops in place.  I can't wait. Stay tune.

Ready for the plotter

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy 4th of July

Image result for Free 4th of July

To all my friends and clients as we stay in our homes and dream of next year's celebration:

Happy 4th of July.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Foodie Friday Smoothie

Good morning, my friends.  Although this quarantine is a out of the norm, it does offer you moments to reconnect to your former self or to reinvent a new self.  I vacillate between those two elements.

I've reconnected with my interest in nutrition.  I was always into the ideas imbedded in clean living and healthy environments. I was one of those teenagers who tried making her own perfume because of all the chemicals in those on the market. I smelled terrible and never mastered the art. Eventually, I gave up just wearing perfume and makeup all together.  I was a funny kid.  I'm sure my Mom got a lot of laughs out of my endeavors.

I've been starting my mornings off with smoothies.  There are plenty of internet sites that have good smoothie recipes, Yummly, Sunset,, for examples. I naturally stay away from added salt and sugar, so I tend to minus out a lot of the items from the Sunset recipes.

I'm a slow mover in the morning. I have at least one cup of coffee before doing anything. Just black coffee - no cream, no sugar and definitely none of the foo-foo flavored stuff.  After that first cup I think about what's next.

I like having fruit in the mornings. I also love cucumbers, especially in salads and dips, so  I often combine them when I make a smoothie.

This morning's smoothie is basically water (I used coconut water), cucumber, orange, mint or basil from my plants and spinach.  I'm a spinach freak. I love the stuff.  It's brain food because of the folate and the B-vitamins. Cucumbers are also good for you. They help keep the body hydrated, stabilize blood pressure because of nutrients like potassium. It's better to eat them unpeeled since many nutrients are in the skin.

What I tend to do is have one glass of the smoothie without the spinach, then blend in the spinach and have the rest.  So good.       
I'm enjoying my smoothie mornings but to me breakfast should contain protein. That being said, I usually add an hardboiled egg, oatmeal or at least whole grain toast and sometimes I use Greek yogurt instead of water in the smoothie.  No sugar on the oatmeal, please. It's better if you use homemade applesauce and/or a variety of berries. When the kids were young I didn't think about putting applesauce on their oatmeal, so they'd have to eat it without the sweetening. My son was the oldest, so he remembers. Lucky for me, he's the forgiving and kind person that he is.

Enjoy your day folks.


Friday, May 15, 2020

Foodie Friday - Cod Cake Heaven

Like many of you we have been on staycation for about 7 weeks and going crazy. I'm happy that I've been talking to my friends, clients and family members on Zoom, but Happy Hours via Zoom leave much to be desired.

Since I'm in the house so much, I've been doing a lot of cooking.  Being from a big family I spent most of my early life in the kitchen when I wasn't babysitting for my various nieces and nephews - I have about 20.  I fine myself thinking about those day and I've even been making some of my old recipes, like - my cod cakes. I haven't made these in years.

From about age 10 to 15, I was the only one home with my Dad during the summer.  My Mom was the director and head cook at a large Catholic high school and my sisters were all working, so it was me and Dad.  There wasn't anything like going out for lunch or going to Starbucks, so I would make lunch for us and get dinner started just before Mom would get home. One of the things my Dad really liked was my cod cakes. My Mom made good fish cakes but she used our leftover mashed potatoes when we had some - which was rare. My cod cakes were different because I used a drier potato. A few weeks ago I made a batch and they went over well. Al raved about them just like my Dad did, so I'm at it again. There's not a lot of ingredients and usually I have it all on hand as long as I have cod or haddock.

For the Cakes:
1. Potato - 10-12 ounces
2. 2 TBL butter - salted or unsalted
3. minced scallions or  onion if you don't have a scallion
4. minced garlic - to me a must
5. table salt and pepper
6. 1 tsp thyme or a little more if you like.
7. One pound of Cod - cut into pieces
8. Large egg
9. Panko or bread crumbs
10. Oil for frying.

 As I said, I like a dry potato for this.  As a kid I would just boil the potato and dice it up instead of mashing it.  This time I microwaved a russet potato and riced it.  I think that works a lot better. I never microwave potatoes, but in this case it's appropriate because the potato is really dry.  The starch from the potato will mute the fish flavor so don't over do it with the potato. Let the potato cool before you rice it.

Add the butter to the skillet and melt over medium heat.  Add the mined scallion, garlic, table salt, pepper and thyme and cook for a few minutes. Add the cod and cook for about 5 min on each side, flipping it halfway.

Combine the riced potato and cod mixture into a bowl.  Add large egg and stir to combine.  At this point you can use your hands to create the round cakes or you can use a small measuring cup sprayed with oil.  I use the 1/2 cup for the cakes if I want large one but I used the 1/3 cup for this batch.  It's best if you can do this in the morning so the cakes can sit in the fridge but if not you can wrap the plate and let it sit for at least an hour in the fridge or use the last option of placing the rounds in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

When ready spread out the panko or bread crumbs and coat each round before placing them into the hot oil in the skillet.  Cook around 4 or 5 min each side.

Serve with a salad on a heated plate.
Buon Appetito

If you don't have any tartar sauce you can make a substitute using about a cup of Mayo, some cornichons, a Tbl of capers minced and a shallot and scallion.  It takes at least 20 min for all this to blend so make it early and refrigerate it.