This Week’s Bits & Bites

BM Grey Owl (walls) | BM White Dove (cabinets) | TBD gray subway tile (maybe) (backsplash) | Honed White Spring granite (countertops)

So … um … I lied.

Remember how, last year, I said we were starting our kitchen renovation, we were going to do most of it ourselves, and we were going to do it for less than $5000?

Yeah, well. Oops.

We did take care of a couple of things. We swapped out the garden window above the sink for a regular window, and we relocated the pantry.

But then, for various reasons, we pretty much fizzled out. Mostly because we had another project we had also decided to DIY – extending our deck – and that ate up much of our money and most of our time. If only every DIY home project happened in, like, one weekend, like it happens HGTV. We keep learning that lesson.

So here we are, a year later, and a new plan. Last year, I had resigned myself to leaving the wall between the kitchen and dining room in place. I hemmed and hawed over the course of the year, and finally, a couple of months ago, I turned and said to my guy, we’ve GOT to remove that wall. He’s (mostly) on board, we have a contractor lined up, and – if everything goes as planned – work on the kitchen will start later this summer. Starting with knocking that wall out.

Of course, removing said wall – a load-bearing wall – costs moolah. And that means we need new countertops, which costs moolah. $5000 budget? Blown. Awesome kitchen? Hopefully happening soon!

This week we finally zeroed in on our countertop material. I have been going back and forth on everything from Corian to marble to quartz to granite and now know so much more than I ever thought possible about kitchen countertop materials. Ultimately, we have decided to go with a light granite that looks, to me, a lot like marble, but with more personality. Don’t get me wrong – marble, looks-wise and timeless-wise, is my first choice. But it is pretty cost-prohibitive and I’m messy as h-e-double-hockeysticks in the kitchen. I had a marble sample and put it through my stain test and it wasn’t pretty.

So then we moved on to quartz. I mean, maintenance-free and pretty to boot? We’re in. But we have been hearing conflicting stories on whether or not it is truly maintenance-free (sounds like it’s not). And the price of quartz these days? Whoa Nelly!

So here we are with some pretty granite all picked out. We are thinking of going with a honed (not glossy) finish because it looks SO COOL and would be perfect for food photography (no sheen)! However, honed does require a bit more sealing because it’s apparently more susceptible to stains than polished. And I am wondering how clean I’ll be able to get it with those subtle nooks and crannies. (But it is so pretty!)

Ugh, the decisions, man.

So that’s our life. Oh, and we went on a road trip last weekend to the Farm Chicks fair. So fun! Well, for me. The kid and husband had less fun. Next year I’m thinking girlfriend’s trip. Who’s in?

And now, a few things I’m loving.

Simple Turmeric Rice Bowls with Quick Pickled Onions & Chickpeas from The Full Helping. That rice! So pretty. It would totally stain my kitchen counters, wouldn’t it?

A Taco Bar for Father’s Day! So smart and perfect for a mixed-diet group. From How Sweet It Is.

Paleo Lemon Bars from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen. I dare you to watch the video and not drool!

And shoot, I have to go! More links next time, promise. Have a great weekend!

Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.