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Ikea Kitchen Planning

2014 March 27

I’ve been gone far too long.  Let’s see…it was around Thanksgiving-ish.  I’ll try to do better. I have lots of recipes worth sharing. Yada yada.


Much has been going on in our lives.  Most of that can be found at  Including 2 new bathrooms.  One has marble hexagon tile involved and the other was a big transformation.  We’re going on to the kitchen which is where this post comes in.

I could use your advice and opinions about Ikea kitchens.  In the blog world this seems to be a huge, often touchy subject.  Let me know what you think.

Here’s the post I wrote yesterday for that other blog of mine.  (For any confused souls out there…we’re renovating our house-pretty much the entire thing-by ourselves before putting it on the market and moving to Seattle…we’re in Minnesota right now…the goal is to now have it finished this summer.)

We went to Ikea Friday. 40 minutes from our home. Smack-dab in the middle of their kitchen sale.

Greg and I planned on being there for hours of kitchen design hell help after reading experiences from other bloggers.  The truth is that it is much easier than I thought.

I’m not going into why we chose Ikea cabinets because there are plenty of others who have written about their decision regarding the quality and such. The facts are that we’re renovating our home for resale, are on a tight budget, a lot of designers choose Ikea then make custom choices in other areas of the kitchen-moulding, hardware, built-ins, etc..

And that’s exactly what we’re doing. Only using Ikea cabinets and adding different moulding, hardware, appliances (the ones already here), and fixtures. We went over the numbers and it looks like we’ll be able to renovate the kitchen for about $5000 ($2600 in cabinetry). Everything but the flooring.

What we’re working with currently…that is a rare photo with me in it…enjoy

The original 1952 kitchen is still intact with pink paint inside the cabinets, poorly constructed “shelves”, weird residue that will not come off, sticking drawers, a weird plaid liner in some of the cabinets, and the hardware keeps falling off because parts are rusting away and we can’t fix them completely without replacing them. It’s past time for an update.

Using the Ikea kitchen planner is easy-ish. Sometimes it’s rather frustrating trying to place items and it takes some finagling. (Right now I can’t log in to it, but that’s because our computer is being ridic since updating to Maverick…issues, Apple.) You aren’t supposed to rely fully on the planner when it comes to having the exact parts (plinth/toe kick/panels/legs,etc.)-that’s why going to Ikea and meeting with an employee is necessary. They will make those adjustments and recommendations.

Not from Ikea-our own rendering 

Go with all of your measurements-room dimensions, windows, appliances, etc., know the cabinets you want (we’re doing Adel off-white…the famous shaker-style), have your plan as exact as you can get on your own with their online planner and bring your questions.

Once at Ikea, you will be seated at a computer where you log in to your online design. You will have to do most of it on your own if you haven’t already-employees are there to help.  There are some affordable options if you want to hire that part out.  Some specifically design Ikea kitchens.

Back to our trip. It was one of those moments where we swooped in, were helped to a computer immediately and everything just went smoothly. We were out before the arguing couples next to us had even decided on the size of one of the base cabinets. We high-fived (yes we still do that) and were on our merry way to the housewares section where I got a step stool for the newly finished bathroom. Bing bang boom.

We’ll see about the ease of our self-installation though.

New layout…kind of (it’s missing some components)

Delivery seems to be one of the tricky parts.  It is affordable.  I believe they said ours would be $99 and they hire delivery out.  You then assemble all the parts yourself from lots and lots of boxes.

However, I am hesitant after reading some nightmare delivery situations. It takes a long time to mark all of the boxes to be sure you have everything. If they don’t have something you’ve ordered and you miss it, you might have to purchase it again. That’s what I’ve read anyway. Same goes if you order your kitchen and load your own truck at the store and miss something. Pressure making sure all of the parts are there in hundreds of boxes does not appeal to me nor does having to purchase something again. Keeping a delivery truck at your house long enough to get a good count of your materials sounds nightmare enough. The type of drivers we’ve had here didn’t even want to wait just to let me see if a single cast iron sink arrived without damage. I can’t imagine the shipping companies giving someone an hour to check their items. By the way, if you don’t open the boxes, you can return most things to Ikea. There are mixed tales of Ikea taking something back or letting you have a part that was missing without paying again. I’m not 100% on their customer service in this area. Contact Ikea for this.

We’re hoping to avoid that by picking up the items during a few trips ourselves. Greg going by after work helps a ton too since he works close to the store. We’re lucky like that in this case and it helps our budget. We can break it into parts. I can store it in the other bedroom.

Greg and I are also somewhat lucky our kitchen isn’t very big and that the design looked a lot better without upper cabinets on one side (besides the one above the fridge).

We designed, re-designed and re-re-designed with Ikea’s online kitchen planner at home. I took a few afternoons over a few weeks dedicated to going over our layout options then we took an entire Sunday to go over it with one another to get the final design.

The MLS pic of part of our kitchen…aka the dopes of the kitchen

We do not want to keep the kitchen layout as-is with new cabinets. Oh no, we’re adding a tall pantry cabinet, bringing in the doorway a smidge to accommodate a built-in for our standard fridge (that could be the hardest part because this will be a custom job with plenty of its own plans), getting rid of the upper cabinets by the stove because we’re putting in a wall range hood, and best of all, we’re adding base cabinets on either side of the stove so the stove and fridge aren’t just sitting out in the open like dopes. I can’t stand when there’s no counter space or storage and the fridge and stove just stand by each other in the open. I believe this will revolutionize this kitchen. Revolutionize, ha.

To recap: super easy in terms of going to the store (mid kitchen sale even at the Twin Cities store), logging in to our online plan, having an employee look quickly over it and answer all of our questions in literally one minute, then she quickly turned to print the entire thing out (took the longest). She then revised it since you can’t rely fully on the planner then gave us a comprehensive list of our kitchen where she said everything at this point was in the warehouse. Again, mid-kitchen sale…which we didn’t even qualify for because our Ikea kitchen total is about $2600 and it took $3500 to save 10%.  No complaints there.

They DO NOT have financing like some will tell you. We were told the company they worked with-GE Capital from my research-wanted to boost the interest rate to 35% so Ikea told them where to stick it.

Anyone have an experience or two to share using Ikea cabinets?

Apple Cider Cream Pie and Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

2013 November 13

I’m just going to casually slip in. Hoping it goes unnoticed that I have again been absent for over a month (nearing two). How’s life? How’s the fam? How’s the weather?  Stressful, good, turning cold/about to snow here

Today I found myself wandering away from finding a cheap alternative to self-leveling floor compound for the basement (there apparently isn’t one) and a cast iron self-rimming sink (changing my plans from an undermount to a rimmed version…story behind that I won’t go into) under $250 with 2 holes for our impending kitchen update to pinning numerous recipes.

You know how it goes. I found a recipe on someone’s Pinterest board which lead to looking through the whole board then I found a number of other boards on other Pinterest user boards (fact: Pinterest is a gateway drug) who had pinned the very same recipe as me which obviously means they have the same taste in recipes as I do so, you just can’t pass it up, ya know? Especially when you’re pretty much void of new recipes. My collection dwindling in the folder. My attention has been focused elsewhere.

The old Instagram account is being used on a more regular basis these days (after removing the private option) and might give the impression I am laden with recipes. Lies. All lies. Maybe fibs. Dipped in chocolate so these untruths are tasty.

Admittedly, I’ve had some real goodies for dishes but I crave more. Something warm for the “it’s almost snowing” season, filling with flavor, and has no more than 500 calories per serving (lady on a diet watching her calories and doing more strength training with her cardio). I’m hungry, ya’ll or y’all. I don’t know. I’m from a town in northern Indiana, near the corner, almost to the Michigan and Ohio lines. Like supper versus dinner. I say dinner. Relatives say supper. Pop or soda. Pop in our household. What was I talking about? I got a new hairstyle. No, that’s not it although I did. Note to self: update photo at the top.

I was getting to the delicious bits of the post. Apple cider cream pie and pumpkin spice rice krispie treats. Yum and yummer. (It’s taking all my strength not to insert a Dumb & Dumber joke here.) Thought I’d give you the two best dessert/treats I’ve had in the last 2 months. Even though I think these go in the all-time best record books for that category. Loved them.

The apple cider cream pie…well…

In 2009, Allison Kave and her boyfriend, Jay Horton, were winners in Brooklyn, New York’s Pie Bake-Off with this clever pie. The challenge was to use a local ingredient, so they chose apple cider and developed this delicious combination of cream pie and apple pie. Winning the contest was the impetus for Kave to open First Prize Pies in Brooklyn. ~Food & Wine

It won a freaking prize.  A totally deserving one and was reason enough for me to try it.  Umm awesome.  Not overly sweet nor too tart and the cinnamon whipped cream really set it off.  This would be great for Thanksgiving.

The pumpkin spice rice krispie treats I’m sure will become something you make each season when everyone goes gaga for pumpkin.  Delicious.  Also good for Thanksgiving or a weekend when you want to cry in the bathroom over the amount of calories you’ve consumed (why did you make an entire batch while “watching your calories”) because you will eat an entire pan alone in a day or two.  Just happens.  No, I shared with my significant other (and sent a few to our friends).  Regretted that decision.  Be sure to follow the directions exactly or you’ll get soggy treats.

Apple Cider Cream Pie from Allison Kave and Jay Horton


Crust: Make your own or be a cheater pants like me and buy it this time

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice and chilled

3 tbsp cold milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Filling and Topping:

2 cups apple cider

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 tsp salt

4 large eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Crust: in a food processor, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse in 1-second bursts until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine the milk and vinegar and drizzle it on top. Pulse in 1-second bursts until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather up any crumbs and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to an 11-inch round, a scant 1/4 inch thick; ease it into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Trim the overhanging dough to 1 inch and fold it under itself. Crimp decoratively and chill the crust until firm, about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 15 minutes, until the crust is barely set. Remove the parchment and pie weights. Cover the edge of the crust with strips of foil and bake for about 15 minutes longer, until the crust is just set but not browned. Press the bottom of the crust lightly to deflate it as it puffs; let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 350°.

Filling: in a medium saucepan, boil the cider until it’s reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Whisk in 3/4 cup of the sugar, the sour cream and salt, then whisk in the eggs.

Pour the custard into the pie shell without removing the foil strips. Bake the pie in the lower third of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custard is set around the edge but the center is slightly jiggly. Let the pie cool completely.

Topping: in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and the cinnamon until firmly whipped. Mound the cream on the pie, cut into wedges and serve.


Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats from Nealy Dozier at Dixie Caviar
Serves 12

3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 (10 ounce) bag mini marshmallows PLUS 1 cup
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of allspice
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of kosher salt
6 cups crispy rice cereal

Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish.In a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add the pumpkin puree and continue to cook until it is warmed through. Fold in 10 ounces of the marshmallows, stirring frequently until almost completely melted. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt, and remove from heat.

Allow the marshmallow mixture to cool 10 minutes; fold in the remaining cup of marshmallows. Continue to cool the mixture for another 20 to 25 minutes until it is room temperature (failure to cool the mixture will result in soggy rice crispy treats.) Add the puffed rice cereal and stir, using a silicone spatula, until combined.

Press the mixture into the greased rectangular baking dish. Let set for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.


Braised Short Ribs

2013 September 26

Here is that recipe I promised you last week. The one to go along with the homemade creme fraiche I told you about. It comes from Ree the Pioneer Woman whom I trust very much when it comes to recipes. She doesn’t let me down ever. (I don’t know her personally but I bet she’s a lovely lady.)

Her braised short ribs are nothing short (ha) of pure awesome sauce (and meat). I especially like that they are free of tomato-anything in a time I am tomato-ed out (beginning of fall).

I whipped up a small batch and regret not getting more bone-in beef short ribs when I had the chance. Before I turn the conversation into a rant about not having simple cuts of meat in any of the 4 stores in town…on a regular basis…I’ll just let you know I did not have bacon or pancetta but did have salt pork (the inexpensive salt-cured but not smoked meat from the belly of a pig…which one store does have consistently). Substituto!

Instead of serving it with poletna, I used some of that creme fraiche in place of plain old buttermilk (buttermilk + heavy cream + time = creme fraiche from my last post) in some mashed potatoes. Like this recipe here.

My better half, Greg, loved this dish (as did I of course). Next time I will 1) buy more short ribs 2) make a bigger batch and 3) freeze a portion because I’ve read it can be done. I plan to do this again soon. Like today if I had short ribs. Which I would get if I had the car and an hour to get to the store that has them. But nooo, I’m covered in paint with a blanket as a bathroom door since we’re painting our interior doors and windows right now. I also have some chalk paint to get on a dresser in the garage so, another batch of braised short ribs will have to wait.

*I swear I took a number of photos throughout the cooking process but I can’t find those anywhere. The only photo I have is sloppy from the night we had them as a late dinner.

Braised Short Ribs

Braised Short Ribs from Ree the Pioneer Woman
Serves 4

8 whole bone-in beef short ribs
kosher salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
6 pieces of pancetta (or bacon or salt pork), diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 shallots, peeled and finely minced
2 cups red (or white) wine
2 cups beef (or chicken) broth (enough to almost cover the ribs)
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Salt and pepper the ribs then dredge them in flour and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large Dutch oven, cook the pancetta (or bacon or salt pork) over medium heat until crispy and fat is rendered. Remove the pancetta and set aside. (I didn’t know when to add it back but since I used salt pork-which is very salty-I only added a few pieces before putting it in the oven.) Keep the rendered fat in the Dutch oven and add the olive oil then increase the heat to high. Brown the ribs on all sides then remove the ribs and set aside.

Turn heat to medium and add the onion, carrot and shallots to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until starting to soften then pour in the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to get the delicious bits up. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth, cooked pancetta (or bacon or a few pieces of salt pork), 1/2 tsp kosher salt and lots of black pepper. Taste for salt then add the ribs to the liquid. They should be nearly submerged. Add the thyme and rosemary sprigs to the liquid.

Put the lid on and place in the oven. Cook for 2 hours at 350F then reduce the heat to 325F and cook for another 30 to 45 minutes. Ribs should be fork tender and falling off the bone. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and allow to sit for 20 minutes with the lid on. Before serving, skim the fat off the top of the liquid. Serve over polenta or the creme fraiche mashed potatoes I mentioned above. The ribs are also great with the creme fraiche on their own.

Homemade Creme Fraiche

2013 September 19

You know what I like besides pina coladas and getting caught in the rain*? When you take something that is seen as gourmet and usually pretty spendy at the store (if you can even find it) and simply make it at home on the cheap. Boom-creme fraiche. Crème fraîche if you’re particular.

Homemade creme fraiche

It’s a thick, nutty, tangy cream that is great for many many dishes. In mashed potatoes, desserts, as a topping for fruit and veg, used as a thickener for soups and sauces, etc.. Sure it’s like sour cream or yogurt or crema fresca (which apparently is different with a higher fat content than creme fraiche) but is something completely its own flavor-wise.

This recipe for creme fraiche will keep for 2 or 3 weeks which means you can have creme fraiche with the upcoming, “make this now” recipe (highly recommended) for braised short ribs. Look for that next week. I won’t explain how easy making creme fraiche is because you can read the ingredients/instructions below and see what I’m talking about. Never buying it again.

Homemade creme fraiche

*I don’t really love pina coladas and only enjoy getting caught in the rain if it doesn’t involve a torrential downpour, lightning, tornadoes and running for your life. True story about a family vacation at Sea World. I remember watching guys dressed as loggers running on logs in a big pool during a show then the next I recall is running for safety with a large crowd and being completely scared out of my mind during a bad storm. Then, when it was finished, my parents, sisters, aunt and myself had to change in the car. Removing wet jeans is not a fun task in the backseat of a car…nor is it when the car is surrounded by your family.

Homemade Creme Fraiche

Makes 1 cup


1 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp buttermilk

Add heavy cream and buttermilk to a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and stir to combine. Cover the jar with a paper towel and secure with a rubber band, string or the canning ring. Let sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. Times will vary. Check for a thick, creamy but not completely solid consistency after 12 hours. Once your desired consistency is reached, remove the paper towel and close with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

2013 September 12

This is what I made Greg for his 29th birthday a few weeks ago-a carrot cake/cheesecake hybrid that was amazing. There’s really nothing else to say.

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Yum? Delicious? Worth making (again and again)? Yes, yes and yes. Even better the next day and slightly chilled? For sure.

I mean, it’s carrot cake AND cheesecake together. What more do I need to say?

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Hold up-found some words. I changed the recipe because I like my cheesecake to have some mascarpone cheese so I did half cream cheese and half mascarpone. I used vanilla bean paste and not just vanilla extract. Again for my ingredient preference. I made sure to drain the carrots and pineapple well. Next time I’d make less frosting. I think half would have sufficed but we’re not big frosting people.

The original recipe said to stagger the layers of each batter 4 times but I don’t see the need. Put the carrot cake batter down (put it down real good) and the cheesecake batter on top (ooh la la) and be done (what the hell is wrong with me). The two cakes will work their way around each other on their own. Scaaan-dalous. Tasty tasty scandal.

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Carrot Cake Cheesecake
Serves a birthday boy and his wife over 3 days…or more


8 oz. mascarpone cheese
8 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)

Carrot Cake-
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
8 or so oz. crushed pineapple, well drained and reserve juice for frosting
1 cup grated carrots, well drained
1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting-I halved the original recipe but if you enjoy frosting double this
1 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup + 1/8 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla (I used extract this time)
1/2 tbsp of the reserved pineapple juice

Set aside a 9 inch springform pan. Preheat the oven to 350F.

For the cheesecake: In a large bowl of an electric mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat together the mascarpone, cream cheese (not the amount for the frosting) and 3/4 cup of sugar until smooth. Then beat 1 tbsp of flour, 3 eggs and 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste (or extract) until smooth. Set aside.

For the carrot cake: Ina large bowl, combine oil, 1 cup of sugar, 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract); blend thoroughly . Stir in 1 cup of flour, the baking soda, cinnamon and pinch of salt. Mix well. Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts.

Spread the carrot cake batter in the bottom of the springform pan then drop the cheesecake batter in large spoonfuls over the top of that. Bake for about an hour or until the center still shakes a bit (the top will look more like cheesecake) then remove and allow it to finish cooking outside of the oven. Refrigerate for 3 or 4 hours. When almost ready to serve, prepare the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the ounce of cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and reserved pineapple juice. Beat until smooth and spreadable. Frost the cake and serve. We enjoyed this best the following day straight from the refrigerator.

I Turned 31

2013 September 9

My triumphant return (umm in case you haven’t noticed I’ve been gone for a few months) involves a link to my other blog because I turned 31 last week and writing a completely new post about what I’ve been up to is hard. For the record: I did not intend this to be my return thoughts AND that link covers only a month of my absence since I’ve only neglected writing anything over at the Wits for just a month in place of the few months here. Guess I like those readers better. I’m kidding.

Here’s that link before I forget and facepalm myself.

Add that I made fresh pasta with my mom-in-law’s Kitchenaid attachments, my in-laws got me a new pizza stone that is awesome, my parents got me the newest Gwyneth Paltrow Cookbook It’s All Good which is amazing, I made a hybrid carrot cake/cheesecake then his grandma’s carrot cake recipe for Greg’s August birthday (and numerous share-worthy recipes that I hope to get to…someday…).

Our 4th

2013 July 5

I’m still here. Just taking a breather. I think I deserve it. July 14th marks 4 years of existence for the Dabble. Yep, 4.

If you really want to know what’s going on at my place, check out this post.

our 4th of July

Oh and this was basically our 4th of July yesterday. A beautiful steak from Whole Foods, a few glasses of wine, ripe strawberries, sprinkler fun with the pups and Americana music after a trip to Minneapolis for some craigslist finds. Hope you had a great one and I’ll see you around.

The Homestead

2013 June 19

Nothing to brag about here food-wise. Long story short: I bought a frozen pizza, we ate a frozen pizza (and then I bought a kneeboard). The end. For like days. Or the equivalent of a frozen pizza. Or hot dogs. Not the equivalent, just actual hot dogs. Nathans cause they are the best.

We’ve been doing and building thangs, a movin’ and a shakin’.  Like this modern slat fence and other “stuff” outside. See this post at the Wits for the DIY breakdown.

My parents and sis are scheduled to pull in Saturday so we’ve been preparing. I probably won’t be around next week. Around the blog but hopefully still kicking on this earth. Fingers crossed and assuming all the basement/bathroom reno plans go well.

The homestead where the recipe magic happens (or the burning or ruining of recipes) in the tiny, galley kitchen.

So I basically just wanted to drop in and brag about the fence cause I love it and it came in under $200. Which makes me love it more and it was our brainchild and hard work that made the whole thing happen.

Before you say something, yes, plants might eventually go in front so it’s not just mulch. No, it’s not in the budget.

Have a blast doing whatever you are doing or plan to do. Even if it’s eating frozen pizza. Which isn’t that bad. Good day.