Diet and nutrition, Kitchen renovation, Kitchen renovation

No kitchen, eight children and trying to eat healthy. 

What do you do when your kitchen is demolished and awaiting renovation, you have eight children who need to eat, your Mum is staying with you and you still want to eat healthily… You change up your menu planning and cheat just a little bit! 

As you all know I love to eat healthily and having a limited, very limited kitchen does not mean I want to eat out all the time, I’m useless when we dine out, I always feel it’s like a treat and eat the worst foods, I can’t justify a salad as I could easily make that myself at home and sometimes I wonder if salads are as full of calories as some of the other dishes… I love me some dressing.

So that’s when my menu plan idea struck me, why not cheat a little… And Costco is the best place for that, they make great ready cooked meals that I could add a simple healthy side to.  So with my limited cooking aids I set about a healthy’ish menu plan for this week…

Today… Chicken curry, jasmine rice and naan bread

Costco have a great chicken curry dish, I add a little more rotisserie chicken breast and some frozen organic veggies into the slow cooker to heat through slowly, I can then warm the naan breads on the grill and serve with a simple green salad of spring mix and cucumber sticks.

Monday… Chicken and cheese quesadilla with healthy hemp and sweet potato chips, guacamole and organic fresh salsa

Costco’s are now selling a pack of fresh rotisserie chicken breast, it’s not organic but it’s fresh, lean and moist chicken breast that is easy to use in many dishes, we will chop up the chicken, add ready shredded Mexican cheese blends, again from Costco, place into warm flour and corn tortillas for the gluten free people in my house, I will then add the fresh organic salsa and warm on the grill until the cheese is nice and melted.  This will be served with ready made guacamole and my new favorite from Costco sweet potato and hemp chips, also add a bowl of salsa into the mix too.

Tuesday… Chicken, kale and mozzarella burgers, green salad and salsa

Costco has a good choice of fresh burgers, these are new, organic and gluten free, these go on the grill, served with a green salad, cucumber sticks and fresh salsa… So easy.

Wednesday… Chicken kebabs and salad

This one is quite possibly the easiest meal of the week, ready cooked chicken kebabs, again Costco’s finest, served with a green salad, more chips and salsa… Easy Peasy and very healthy.

Thursday… Turkey burgers served in rolls with grilled corn on the Cobb.

Costco sells a pretty good frozen turkey patty, cooked on the grill together with cheese and salad, and also some grilled corn on the Cobb… Lean, delicious and healthy.

Friday… Meatball subs and salad

Have you tried Costco’s fresh organic chicken, basil meatballs, if you haven’t you should, they are yummy and make delicious sub sandwiches, just heat and add your favorite jarred marinara sauce, warm your rolls on the grill… Then add saucy meatballs,top with shredded cheese and serve with a fresh green salad and some salsa… A favorite in my house!

Saturday… Tortellini and fresh pesto with grilled chicken

I always like to keep a jar of Costco fresh pesto in my refrigerator, it tastes so fresh, it’s a lovely bright green color and adds flavor to so many dishes and sandwiches, I have bought fresh tortellini from Costco, and for those of us that are GF, plain pasta is a good alternative with the pesto and grilled ready cooked chicken, throw in some organic peas and top with a little shredded cheese… Another healthy easy dish.

I have to add I hate disposable plates and cutlery, but needs must when you don’t have a sink in your kitchen and washing up space is at a minimum, it makes life so much easier, so I have relented and bought disposable everything.  

Living through a kitchen renovation is never easy, especially when you have a large family who all need feeding but I feel my foolproof plan for continuing to eat healthily is working, it may be difficult on the days we have the floors refinished and the cabinets go in, but for now it’s working, we are still healthy and it’s making me happy 😍

Kitchen renovation, Uncategorized

Repurposing old things…

Most of our house is in need of a little TLC, well a major renovation really, I think when we purchased it 7 years ago it was a bad flip, it’s been a nightmare constantly.  We have redecorated two of the rooms at the front of the house, they are bright and airy now, an off white color on the walls, fresh new pictures cover the once stark dark paintwork and a reorganization of the furniture and they look like new again, it’s a slow job, but I think we have made a little headway.

With our kitchen renovation started I decided to get the whole front of the house in better shape, so when you walk in you have a pleasant experience before you enter the chaos that is the family room and kitchen right now. We will be redecorating our entryway soon, I have never liked the yellow color on the walls … But for now a reorganization and distribution of furniture, rugs and a few new accessories will have to do.  

I have taken a very old chest of drawers, when we bought it about 18 years ago from an antique shop near to where we lived, it was old and now many, many years later it’s very old and was looking a tad sad and unloved… It had numerous stains on the top, the wood looked very dry, but with the magic of some orange oil polish, some chalk paint and a stencil, it has come back to life again… I am very pleased with the results. 

I have an old fabric ottoman that belonged to my grandmother, it’s been recovered a few times through the years to cover the horrible gold colored vinyl it once had, I really liked the green gingham on the bottom I had used several years ago, but I needed to update the top… I’m loving burlap, it’s cheap and rustic making it perfect to update this family heirloom of mine, so of course it was the perfect option and I think it looks perfect now.

I have renovated an old dark antique chair we bought in Lewes, England many years ago for the bargain price of £35, it’s one of those items of furniture that has moved from room to room never really fitting in, well now it has new purpose, it’s been painted a vintage duck egg blue and distressed, I took off the fabric and have re-upholstered it with a bright red check fabric.  

Last but not least I moved my kitchen table rug into the hallway to add some color, I added a few plants and accessories on the wall, both old and new and even though the wall really are in need of some fresh paint the whole area looks a lot better.


All in all our budget friendly makeover of the entryway looks brighter, cleaner and fresher… I am loving the chalk paint and finishes you can buy to go with it, I have re-found my love of renovating old pieces of furniture again, it’s very satisfying to take a sad unloved item and make it new again.  

Kitchen renovation, Uncategorized

IKEA kitchen… Part 2


Well the hundreds of boxes have finally arrived, I say finally because this is the third time they were meant to be delivered… I guess three times really is lucky.

I began with IKEA itself being very impressive organizing my kitchen plan service as I live outside of the area they cover for this service, I have nothing but praise for the people who organized me being allowed to use this service.  The planning company are extremely efficient and I was very impressed with the level of in home service they provided, but I’m afraid that is where my praise has to end, I contacted my allocated planner several times after he left my house with minor changes to my plan, at first he was quick to respond back but misread a couple of my changes and got it wrong, which was fine, but then when I contacted him again to correct the mistakes he took longer to reply, the final time I contacted him he didn’t reply at all until IKEA itself got involved, in the end I gave up and went direct to the IKEA kitchen department in the store to order my kitchen, I was on a time crunch due to the 15% off offer IKEA had been offering, I had 30 days to order the kitchen from the day the planner came into my home.

Make no mistake ordering a kitchen in IKEA is very time consuming, I allowed 2 hours, but in reality it took 5 hours in total, I had taken Florrie and Tate with me, which was a big mistake, I was totally bored and they were bouncing off the walls in the end… The guys in the kitchen department were extremely nice but there was a bit of conflicting information that caused me some confusion in the end, but it was sorted out and the 252 boxes were ordered, or so I thought as I headed towards the exit door and the home delivery department.  Almost but not quite out of the door, I hit another obstacle as I entered into home delivery to merge my two orders for delivery.  There was a line of two people waiting, not bad I thought to myself, but I was wrong, there was no one serving, the IKEA employee was no where to be seen for at least 15 minutes, when she did appear she was rude and had a ‘don’t care’ attitude, after another 15 minutes it was discovered that I had missed paying for a couple of items and the delivery charge… Which for some reason she seemed to think was my fault…  What, how could 5 hours in the kitchen department mean that they had missed this even after I checked that all charges were on the order… $285 later I was finally free to leave, the sun had come out, there was a slight breeze and we were going to be stuck in traffic at 5pm on a Friday trying to get home, without traffic IKEA is a 50 minute drive from our home… Fun, two tired children and traffic… Get that wine ready for when I get home.
The delivery date was set for May 21st, we cleared our garage ready for the boxes to arrive… I went to the dentist and when I got home Paul took me to the garage to show me my kitchen… Well five small drawer front boxes sat in the middle of the garage, that was all that came… Whilst trying to contact the delivery company, I got another call from dispatch telling me the kitchen was not delivered as some boxes were damaged, she informed me she would contact IKEA and call me later in the day with a new delivery day… Four days later, no return phone call, no new delivery date, I call them back to be told I need to call IKEA myself and tell them about the boxes being damaged… 1 hour later I finally speak to someone in kitchen after sales department, she has no idea the kitchen was not delivered, she doesn’t know about the damaged boxes, but assures me she will get this sorted out, and in fairness she did call me back later in the day, she tells me part of my order is being sent to a different town as the home delivery girl in IKEA got my address wrong, she tells me everything has been changed and delivery is set for the coming Saturday and that I should expect a call from the delivery company on Friday confirming a time.  Fast forward to Friday, no phone call comes through, so first thing Saturday I contact the delivery company… Yes you guessed it, I’m not on the delivery schedule for that day… Really!  30 minutes later I finally manage to leave a message at the kitchen after sales department, four hours later they call me back, telling me the kitchen was not ready for delivery that day, so maybe I imagined the conversation I had had with Ruby earlier in the week, anyway a new day was set for delivery, Memorial Day between 10am and 2pm and guess what… This time it arrived, but before they delivered the boxes I got a phone call confirming my address as they couldn’t get the GPS to recognize my address, it turns out they were trying to deliver to the address the home delivery girl got completely wrong, someone almost got a nice new kitchen in Clifton… Paul said the delivery guys were really nice, they organized the boxes ready for installation, let’s hope they are all here.

Demo day arrived finally, something I’ve been waiting for for two years. ..we demo’d our own kitchen so of course it went very smoothly… Ha, ha! We had a gas leak from an old dodgy gas cable at the back of the stove, the water pipe valves were so old and rusty we couldn’t shut off the water without shutting off the main water in the house, a night with no hot water, our regular plumber on vacation, 3 non returned new plumber phone calls later,  $300 later we have our water up and running again, but there are water pipes running through a wall in the pantry that is meant to be being demolished… All in all a good start to this kitchen renovation, I’m already feeling the stress… LOL!