Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potatoes and some Baseboard Love

What do a couple of newlyweds do on a Sunday afternoon when they are in the middle of house renovations?? Cut & paint baseboard together. Romantic, huh? The couple that sands together stays together, right?….Ok, maybe not. But that is what JD & I found ourselves doing last Sunday afternoon. We had loaded up on baseboard from the local Kent earlier in the week and JD spent the afternoon measuring and cutting them to size while I painted them with a fresh coat of white paint. It was the perfect way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon and SO rewarding to see our apartment reaching the final stages of renovation. Jd had painted the apartment the previous weekend (while I brought in our wood…that is how much I hate painting. I’ll take hard labor over cutting in any day!) Just look at the difference some color and baseboard make!

Before- boring white and naked

lilac and baseboard. Such an improvement!

I was also so excited to share my apple-ginger pork recipe yesterday that I completely neglected to tell you about the awesome sweet potato side that accompanied the pork- sweet & spice roasted potatoes from cinnamon, spice & everything nice. And it is not a side dish to be neglected. It was sweet with a little bit of heat and a lot of carbs…..a perfect combination!

Sweet & Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

 

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (mine were massive costco size.)
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Preheat your oven to 400. Peel & chop up the potatoes and sweet potatoes in a large bowl and pour the olive oil over them. Mix together all the spices in a small bowl and mix in well with the potatoes ( the potatoes should be covered in spice mix. If you want a lot of flavor I would double the spice recipe.) Arrange the potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook for 30-40 minutes (longer=crispier. Just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.)

La Cocina Creighton

Hi Guys! Sorry about the week-long absence- I have been working 12 hour days and then a friend and I are attempting todo the couch-to-5k program after work so my days have been extremely busy.

I have been wishing I had thought to start this blog years ago- when we started all the renovations on our old home. I regret not taking any “before” pictures from when we moved in because, trust me, although our home has some beautiful bones- it was definitely needing some decorating TLC. The last time the previous owners had done any major decor changes had definitely been in the 70’s or 80’s and I honestly think it could have won an award for world’s ugliest bathroom or kitchen contest. With the kitchen being so outdated and it being the room I most enjoy to spend my time in, it was a logical starting point for our renovations. My dear hubby did the majority of the work  himself (with A LOT of help & instruction from a dear friend who is also a contractor) but we did hire a company to build us new cabinets. What did I help with?? DEMO!! Honestly- the best stress reliever I have ever found is knocking down a wall with a hammer. If you ever have the opportunity to help demo a room- DO IT!!

I would like to share with you some pictures of our country kitchen as it is now- I am absolutely in LOVE with it and nothing makes this gal happier than spending my day cooking, baking, or even folding laundry in the heart of my home. I hope you like it as much as we do! (Keeping in mind that even 3 years later there are still unfinished projects in the kitchen. But it is the most complete renovation to date.)

We chose a blue-grey stain for our cabinets to make it stand out a little from all the white/brown/traditional cabinets that you see. We both loved this moody blue hue as soon as we saw it and think it goes with our “country kitchen” theme perfectly. My absolutely favorite upgrade was the wall oven, cooktop and over the range microwave/convection oven. I LOVE them!!I am also in the minority of people who do not like stainless steel appliances; I find them too cold/modern for my taste. I love my black appliances but d not  how hard it is to keep them clean & smudge free. If anyone has some tips on how to do this Please share!! I also highly recommend the deep drawers as opposed to cupboards. They make finding your pots & pans & casserole dishes much easier.

I have to give my hubby huge props. Even though he did not build or install the cabinets he was responsible for the whole kitchen layout/design and one of his best ideas was this stained glass corner cabinet. It is the masterpiece of Kindred Spirits Stained Glass in Hillsborough, NB and this picture does not do it justice. (Blogging has made me painfully aware of my lack of photography skills!). All the different parts of the pineapple are done in different textures of clear glass and it is the focal point of the kitchen. We chose a pineapple because it is a symbol of welcome to our kitchen- where we do the most of our entertaining.

This backsplash was my birthday present 2 years ago. I went off to the gym in the morning and came home to find Mr.Creighton putting this up to surprise me. Now is that the best birthday gift ever of what?? (PS: Ignore the dirty dishes…just keepin’ it real!)

For the finished touches in our country kitchen we scour all the antique shops & Kijiji looking for one of a kind pieces that call to us and these are a few of them. The island comes from Wheatons and defines country charm to us. If you have never been to Weatons you must check it out- they have gorgeous country themed home decor and make their own wood furniture. This island not only stores our small kitchen appliances and most importantly our wine- but I use is every single day for food prep and/or folding laundry. It has been a lifesaver. The hutch is also made by Wheatons but was a steal off Kijiji where Mr.Creighton found it listed for only $500! It houses all my crafting supplies, cookbooks, baking supplies and acts as a place to show off our pictures of our nieces & nephew. It is hard to see but the last picture is to show the old church pew (another Kijiji find!) that serves as extra seating around the kitchen table. My next kitchen purchase is going to be a new dining set- I envision a large farmhouse table here someday with lots of mini-Creightons surrounding it.

And here are a couple of the little details JD put into our kitchen design that have made our life easier. Built in spice rack= awesome. And those vintage spice bottles? Another kijiji find- and these ones were FREE! And the pull out garbage/recycling combo is a godsend- now all we have underneath the sink is our compost & cleaning supplies. Do you guys have any kitchen ideas that you love??

The Heat is On!

Well, not literally….but the heat could be on if it were cold enough to warrant it. Why?? Because we finally got the pellet stove hooked up in the apartment! YAY! This is a big moment for la Casa Creighton as our biggest problem when we were renting out our apartment before was heat. More specifically, the cost to heat that apartment. I love, love, love my old home but I do not love trying to heat it. When we first moved in it only had oil heat and I have no idea how the previous owners were able to heat their home and still have enough money left to buy groceries…because let me tell you- we relied on oil heat for one winter only and that was it. Three years ago we installed a wood furnace on our side and it completely changed our lives (and bank account!). The main reason we had not been renting out the apartment was because we were concerned about their heating bill. The solution?? We bought a second hand pellet stove off Kijiji and had it installed in the apartment. Now we do not have the worry about the heating bill because the tenants can buy their own pellets and I could not be happier. Here is a look at the stove- isn’t she a beauty?

 

And here is another view just a little further back. Not only will it solve our heating dilemma but I also think it adds a little bit of charm to the living room. Although my opinion is biased, I think this little apartment is starting to look pretty cozy.

And the pellet stove is not the only change in the apartment this past week…we also have new carpet on the stairs & in the closets. We opted to carpet the stairs to save some money on installation as it would have been much costlier to do laminate there. I think the carpet we chose looks pretty good and the price to carpet the stairwell & all the closets came in under $800- a price we can live with!

It is so encouraging to see the place finally start to come together and know we’ll be able to rent it out again in the next few months. Left on the to do list:

– paint ( everything is primed but not painted

– remove the outdated wallpaper border in the entryway

– replace the outdated closet door in the entryway

– replace the kitchen sink

– replace the windows. ( They are all the original windows= not very energy efficient)

We would also like to replace the cushion flooring in the kitchen & entryway ( we are thinking tile) and paint the kitchen cabinets & update the hardware but  due to budget limits it looks like those are going to be phase 2 projects. I have not mentioned this yet but we are also struggling with infertility and are currently saving up to for an IVF cycle in roughly 1 year. That gives us 365 days to save $12,000! ( On top of trying to complete the house renos in the same time frame so that baby C has a perfect house to call home.)

 

Progress in the Apartment

Since I had completely forgotten to write any posts in over a month I thought I would kickstart my vow to start writing more with 2 blog posts in 1 day! This post is just an update on the progress we are making over in the apartment. My house is an old Victorian home and since it is so big it is actually divided into 2- we live on the main side and we also have a small 2 bedroom apartment. We had rented it out when we first moved here about 4 years ago but it was a disaster (that side of the house needs a lot of TLC) so we have left it empty for the past 3 years. It was an outta sight outta mind kind of thing. But in the last little while we have been working to fix up that side and attempt to rent it out again. First steps included ripping up all the dirty, old carpeting in the whole apartment ( a dirty job!) and then we primed every wall in the place. We will eventually get around to painting it….. ( we both HATE painting!) but for now everything is plain old white. Next we bought some laminate flooring & got that installed and already we can see quite the difference in the place! Here is the before:Image

The only cute thing in that picture is Rally! But here is the after…isn’t that floor gorgeous!

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We had been watching the flyers for weeks looking for a sale on a laminate we both loved and as soon as we saw this grey-wood beauty we were sold! And for only $1.39/sq.ft. we loved the price too. One step closer to becoming landlords again!