April 2016 – In My Kitchen

I missed everyone last month, March was a crazy time spent packing and moving as we were getting ready for the remodel to begin on our “retirement” home up on the northern California coast. Much of the last month was spent choosing paint colors, meeting with cabinet makers, the painter, and our contractor. In truth, not much cooking has been happening in the kitchen, but there are a few new things and some old.

Fort Bragg kitchen remodel

Fort Bragg kitchen remodel

From this picture the contractor sent you can see that there isn’t any kitchen left in the house after demolition. Thank goodness we are not living there during the process.

In my intact kitchen are paint boards.

Hale Navy, Sweatshirt Grey, Ballet White

Hale Navy, Sweatshirt Grey, Ballet White

The new kitchen cabinets were delivered to the painter today so it is too late for any changes. I know paint colors don’t come through well on line and they will look different to each of you depending on your screen. The picture will just give you an idea. The kitchen island will be Hale Navy, the opposite wall of cabinets will be Sweatshirt Grey, and the walls Ballet White.

In my kitchen (and out of storage in the back of a closet) are two platters I inherited from my mother, I am pretty sure she inherited them from my grandmother. I wish I had asked her about them, they hung on her kitchen walls for as long as I can remember. I intend to hang them on the wall in my new kitchen, I’ve always loved the blue willow style of dinnerware and I think these are quite old.



They go well with the paint colors (again, I know this doesn’t come through very well).


In my kitchen is a lovely orchid that was a gift from a good friend who was a houseguest.


It is the most beautiful shade of pinky-apricot, the underside of the petals a green-yellow.

In my kitchen is a new blender. I have lusted after a new one for years but the old one still worked (although it could not make any of the fancy smoothies so popular right now). This one is a “reconditioned” commercial grade blendtec but it comes with an 8 year guarantee and was much less expensive than a new one. I don’t think I could tell the difference.



I’m looking forward to trying out some of the recipes.

It is definitely spring and we are eating the first of the spring lettuces out of the garden. Because of the drought I haven’t had much of a garden the past year. I managed to plant a couple of rows of lettuce in hopes the winter rains would encourage their growth. It is so wonderful to go into the garden, pick some leaves for a salad, and eat them the same day. IMG_4243

And lastly, in my kitchen are a couple of new spices. I’m never empty handed after a visit to the Oaktown Spice Shop.

Ground Vanilla Beans and Honey Powder

Ground Vanilla Beans and Honey Powder

I’ve already used the honey powder in a dry rub. It gave the flavor and sweetness of honey without any liquid, a definite advantage. I haven’t used the ground vanilla yet, any ideas?

What is happening in your kitchen this month? This post is part of the ongoing monthly series, “In My Kitchen”. To learn what is happening in other kitchens around the world follow the link to our wonderful host Maureen the Orgasmic Chef.  You never know what new things you will learn!



34 thoughts on “April 2016 – In My Kitchen

  1. Please let me know when the kitchen is completed! It is HIGH time I visited you , as I can see Florida will not be one of your destinations in the ear future!! MISS YOU LOTS!

  2. The new kitchen makes me a bit envious. 🙂 I love the colors and those plates are beautiful.

  3. What beautiful platters and you must be loving getting the new place set up. Yes, its lucky you aren’t living there while the process is happening, I can attest to that 🙂

  4. The echo of the Willow Pattern in your kitchen colors looks really beautiful.

    I have used powdered vanilla in cakes — it leaves little specs similar to vanilla bean and it’s nice. Maybe it would also be good in your smoothies, though I’ve never made smoothies.

    Good luck with your new place!

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  5. Small world Liz! Just arrived in Novato, CA to visit my sister. I was surprised with the arrival of my niece and family who’d enjoyed a weekend in Fort Bragg =) Definitely taking note of the Oaktown Spice Shop: the pure ground vanilla bean and honey powder look to be phenomenal assistants in the kitchen =) Lovely blue and white plates, too. Love family history heirlooms.

  6. Congratulations on the kitchen renovation! It is the stuff of dreams for me as I’ve had to accept a kitchen renovation won’t be happening around here any time soon (we would have to move out given the nature of the job, which isn’t easy with kids and indoor cats)! I love my Blendtec though it does annoy me a little for things like frozen fruit icecream (I have to keep stopping-starting to scrape down the sides every ten seconds). It’s great being able to make my own flours. Your platters are beautiful!

    • It isn’t easy and I don’t recommend it. We moved out when we did a major remodel on our first home about 14 years ago. Two adults, one child, one dog, one cat, and a hermit crab all in a tiny apartment with two cramped bedrooms and one bath in an iffy section of town. It was the only affordable place we could find that would take pets. Horrible! I would never do it again and in hindsight we should have just moved. But, we love the house now.

      Thanks for the tip on the Blendtec, I never would have even attempted a fruit ice cream with my old blender. Hmm, make my own flours. I will try it.

  7. i have a vanilla bean grinder. it has small pieces of vanilla and then you grind a bit and out comes a sprinkle of fresh beans. i love it. I love your pretty blue willow plates. blue and white are my fave colour combo. i bought a new blender recently but it isnt as good as i had hoped. it does do smoothies but not very well. one of these days i will get a spiffing one!

  8. Wonderful to meet you Liz! I am new to IMK (just my second post!) so I am still in the process of meeting everyone and getting acquainted with kitchens and recipes! I have a similar set of crockery to the blue willow that I bought the year before my husband and I got married. I treasure it, it’s an absolute favourite and I love that your paint colours are matching! Congrats on your kitchen renovation. Love the new blender, too. I think that a good blender or food processor is worth its weight in gold! 🙂 -Laura

    • Welcome to IMK, it’s my favorite of the groups and certainly the most interesting and entertaining. I’m with you on the blender and food processor, essential tools. My processor is quite old, one of the first but it has a powerful motor and works just fine.

      The blue willow is such a classic pattern. I don’t have much, a few platters, 6 bread and butter plates, and the bottom (no top) of a soup tureen. I’ll have to look on ebay and see if there are any dinner plates for sale.

  9. Those plates are just beautiful and I bet they will look wonderful in your new kitchen – how exciting for you. I’m afraid I’m holding onto all my old electrical appliances until they break down so I can’t make smooth smoothies – I didn’t realise you could buy good as new reconditioned ones.

  10. How exciting to be working on a new kitchen and your mom/grandmothers plates are beautiful. How lovely you will be hanging them in your new kitchen too. I’ve never seen honey powder before.
    Have a wonderful and happy week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  11. I also have a blendtec and love it. Great for smoothies, nut butters, soups and so much more. My lettuce is coming up now and I’m looking forward to salads soon enough. Your plates look lovely as well.

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