Like A Cup Of Tea http://www.likeacupoftea.com Homesteading and A Handy Husband Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:00:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Master Bathroom Ahoy! http://www.likeacupoftea.com/master-bathroom-ahoy/ http://www.likeacupoftea.com/master-bathroom-ahoy/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:00:58 +0000 http://www.likeacupoftea.com/?p=4561 read more »]]> I promised you guys a post on Tuesday and Thursday every week for the month of April at a minimum, and I’m bent on keeping that promise. I’m battling my first nasty cold in a while, and my biggest event of the year at work is in two days, so bear with me. I expect my post for Thursday will be up a little later than 10am, so I’d check back in the afternoon.

When we completed the addition, and especially the master bedroom, we left one place pretty much untouched-the master bathroom. We simply didn’t have the money or time to finish it up when there were other things (like siding) that needed to be completed first. So while our bedroom is beautiful ,the master bathroom continues to be roughed in only.

DSC_9025-01This room is one of the few rooms in the house that is extremely difficult to photograph. It’s quite small and will be nothing like the master bathrooms you see all over the place. Double sinks? Not a chance. Soaker tub? Sure, if you want to sit at the bottom of the shower and pretend you’re in a tub.

We really wanted this bathroom for function – i.e. shower, toilet, sink. Though, I’ll admit that I actually fought against having this within our bedroom. We had a bathroom in our bedroom in the house we lived in before we bought this place and I hated it. You read that right. I might be the only woman in all of America who absolutely disliked having a bathroom off of the bedroom. I also don’t like bathrooms directly off kitchens. Your bedroom and your kitchen are two places that should never smell a certain way. I was finally convinced when we realized the layout for a second upstairs bathroom wouldn’t work anywhere else and one stipulation would be adhered to – absolutely, positively, no…uh…number two…unless there’s an absolutely unavoidable world-is-ending emergency.

Now that the bathroom is there I’ve grown accustomed to it. Despite my initial reservations I had to agree that an upstairs bathroom was pretty necessary and space simply wouldn’t allow it anywhere else. Secret between us is that I’m looking forward to see how it turns out. It’s going to be tiny, but it’s going to be beautiful. Right now we’re talking a hardwood cherry floor, douglas fir custom vanity, douglas fir custom mirror/medicine cabinet, douglas fir ceiling perhaps and definitely 100% a sliding barn door since a regular door wouldn’t work in that space. The barn door was another one of my concessions to having a bathroom upstairs. I like them a lot, but it really came down to a big space issue. We couldn’t have the door swing out or it would hit our master bedroom door, and we couldn’t have it swing in because it would take up too much room. Also, we have a locking bedroom door so there’s really no need for a traditional bathroom door anyway.

Without further ado I give you all of the roughed in “before” photos with a little blurb about each photo above the shot.

Facing the shower. We’ll have about a 34″ shower stall here. We’re looking at corner units so we can have more open space. A traditional one would essentially give the feel of a wall and would make the space tinier than it already is. While I would like an acrylic base and tiled walls, I think Andy is going to go the full acrylic route. I admit it would be a lot easier to clean and less likely to leak.

DSC_9016-01The ceiling is currently vaulted and I’d love to keep it that way, but loving something doesn’t mean it loves you back. The vaulted ceiling just isn’t into me. While it would be a great way to add a spacious feeling to the room it just won’t work. We need the space so we can put in a strong ventilation system. Damn.

DSC_9018-01This is the toilet corner. I’m picturing a white toilet with a couple picture frames above and maybe a few plants on the top of the toilet itself. I also don’t love toilets in my bedroom. Might as well try to jazz it up a bit.

DSC_9017-01This is where the vanity will go. It will be tucked right into the corner. Because of the plumbing layout it will be flush to the floor since it’s not meant to go with a pedestal or legged vanity. It will work better anyway since we need the storage. Function wins, though I suspect it will be pretty to look at as well.

DSC_9021-01One more overall shot for good measure.

DSC_9023-01I’m not sure when we’ll start this project, but our hope is this summer. First, we need to finish siding the house and perhaps finished up the porch. If we have enough time this will be tackled too. It’s definitely on the 2014 roster though since we have to have this one done before we tear out the original house (and only current bathroom).

Hopefully I’ll get to update on some details in the next month or so, even if it’s just picking things out for the bathroom. You guys know you can’t wait until I tell all about the toilet we finally pick out. Sounds like another “How To Be Classy Like Me” post. I am nothing if not the classiest broad you’ll ever meet (she says while coughing up a lung).

xo,

Heather

]]>
http://www.likeacupoftea.com/master-bathroom-ahoy/feed/ 0
The Deck Is Back On The Roster http://www.likeacupoftea.com/the-deck-is-back-on-the-roster/ http://www.likeacupoftea.com/the-deck-is-back-on-the-roster/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 14:00:01 +0000 http://www.likeacupoftea.com/?p=4556 I’m hesitant to definitively state what we’ll be working on this summer because we’re still figuring that all out, but over the last week or so I decided the deck was making it back on the roster. When we built our deck a few summers ago (here, here, here, here and here) we knew we would eventually have to refinish the railings. All wood requires upkeep and our mahogany rail is no different.

So while the deck railing looked like this when we finished:

DSC_6941-01It now looks a little more like this:

DSC_9004-01DSC_9005-01I am officially throwing the gauntlet down against myself to get this project done by the fall. Now I’m putting in on my blog too.

At least the deck doesn’t still look like the photo below. I think we can all agree even a worn rail is indescribably better than the previous hazard. That makes me feel better at least.

Deck_BeforeHere we go! Now stop grumbling me, you did this to myself. Wait, what?

xo,

Heather

]]>
http://www.likeacupoftea.com/the-deck-is-back-on-the-roster/feed/ 4
Sun Tea & Sprouts http://www.likeacupoftea.com/sun-tea-sprouts/ http://www.likeacupoftea.com/sun-tea-sprouts/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.likeacupoftea.com/?p=4544 read more »]]> With spring slowly yawning it’s way awake this year, and a good portion of our yard snow free, once I saw Sunday was suppose to be a 48 degree high I knew I was headed outside to work in the yard. Potential snow be damned, it was time to get this spring thing started.

First, I decided to set up our table and chairs that we often eat most every dinner meal on once it gets warm enough, and that I will happily read at all bundled up until then. Second, nothing symbolizes spring more at our house than sun tea. The warm sun heats up tea bags and brews it slowly. Whether you drink sun tea warm when the evenings are still cold, or more often chilled on a hot summer day, it’s downright delightful.

DSC_9049-01After just a few hours of working in the yard and reading at the table, it becomes a happy sign of the sun at work.

DSC_9047-01DSC_9077-01 While I let the sun do it’s job I mulled around the yard and started cleaning up certain beds and saying hello to the plants that snuggled in during this long winter we had.

One mild concern is our three rows of garlic. The frost heaved many of the cloves out of the soil. They seem to be well rooted and some are sprouting so keep your fingers crossed.

DSC_9055-01I also found our strawberry plants had quite surprisingly made it through the fall and winter. We battled some grass wanting a strong takeover last year, and I half expected between the grass and the winter we would have lost them. The grass seemed to have protected each little plant to my happiness. Under the long dead grass laid small green leaves. This year we really will have to transplant these strawberries. After two years it’s clear our original spot next to this particular stone wall simply isn’t the best option. While not an ideal time of year to do so, in another week or so I’ll be transplanting them into the blueberry beds which also enjoy an acidic soil. Given the slow start to spring I expect they may not yield a lot, but they will be okay and take root.

DSC_9059-01 DSC_9056-01In preparation for moving these strawberries, I cleaned up the blueberry bed and found these little flowers growing. I believe these might be the peonies but I’m not quite sure. While peonies and tulips are my two favorite flowers I have to admit that if I can’t eat it, I don’t pay much attention to it. In other words, my focus is really on my vegetables in the summer time and anything else is something Andy or mother nature has likely taken the time to transplant.

DSC_9062-01Speaking of the veggies, inside the house they are starting to peek up. I decided to try seriously under-taking seed starting this year and doing it in soil blocks. I bought my soil blocker from Johnny Seeds (2″ – 4 blocks) but there are many seed catalogs that sell them. It’s a method that helps the plant from becoming root bound, but requires a little more care.

Currently I have celery and celeriac seed sprouting, neither of which I’ve ever grown before, and  45 tomato seeds started on Saturday (15 pink beauty, 15 granadero, 15 defiant). I’m not sure how many of the tomato seeds will actually germinate but I had a pretty decent germination rate last year when I tried starting just a couple indoors. Keep your fingers crossed! If they all germinate I’ll likely give a few away and I’m still going to have a lot of tomatoes which makes me happy. To me there are few things symbolizing summer more than how delicious a fresh off the vine tomato is while you’re still standing in the garden’s warm soil.

DSC_9082-01 DSC_9081-01Overall it was a very relaxing and productive Sunday.

DSC_9060-01I hope you all had a beautiful weekend, and if not, that this helped put a smile on your face.

xo,

Heather

]]>
http://www.likeacupoftea.com/sun-tea-sprouts/feed/ 0
Delicious Dairy-Free Lasagna Roll-Ups http://www.likeacupoftea.com/delicious-dairy-free-lasagna-roll-ups/ http://www.likeacupoftea.com/delicious-dairy-free-lasagna-roll-ups/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 14:00:01 +0000 http://www.likeacupoftea.com/?p=4536 read more »]]> Last week a craving for lasagna hit. We’re talking Garfield style craving. I hit two issues though. The first issue was that a pan of lasagna, even eaten as leftovers, is simply way too much for the two of us. The second issue was that I really needed to find a way to make it dairy-free (reasons why I limit dairy found here).

Lasagna RollupWhile looking for dairy-free alternatives, I started seeing a lot of lasagna roll up recipes. Excuse me?! I had not only never heard of them, I had never thought of making them. I knew this was perfect because it meant I could make only as much as Andy and I wanted. As far as dairy-free, that turned out to be a bit more difficult. A lot of recipes used processed vegan parmesan and other “cheeses”. Then I came across multiple blogs mentioning cashew cream and I bonked myself on the forehead. Cashew cream is incredible for both sweet and savory purposes. It’s simply cashews (soaked if you have a regular blender) and water thrown in the vitamix into a smooth velvety mixture. Add chocolate and you have a chocolate like mousse / pudding. Add basil, a little garlic, Italian seasoning and you get an absolutely delicious spread for lasagna or just to put on top of pasta as is.

DSC_8974The cashew cream really added a delicious velvety texture and awesome flavor. In addition, the cream really helped the fillings stick while rolling.

Speaking of fillings I did both a vegan filling and a meat lovers filling using local hot italian sausage from Farmers Gate Market here in Maine. The best part is that you can put whatever you want in these roll ups, just like any other lasagna you would make. I sweated down some onions, garlic, spinach and mushrooms. On the vegan ones I left as is, on the meat ones I simply crumbled already cooked sausage on top. Because these typically are just heating up in the oven for a short period I would definitely make sure any meat is thoroughly cooked.

DSC_8977When it came to rolling up I first put down a layer of cashew cream on the noodle, then topping, and then rolled it up. Note on rolling, as you roll press in to make sure it’s tight. Some of the filling might fall out but that’s okay. I found if I kept an inch or two of noodle at the end filling free it helped it all hold it together easier.

DSC_8979DSC_8984Once I finished rolling I topped them with tomato sauce, put in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes, and then served! So incredibly easy, and so incredibly tasty.

DSC_8986These are definitely going to become a staple in our house. I know the cashew cream might sound odd if you’ve never made it before but I definitely encourage you to try it—even if you’re a regular dairy eater! I’m going to be honest, I actually liked the flavor of these better than when I’ve had lasagna with cheese which I certainly didn’t expect.

Dairy Free Lasagna Roll-Ups
A delicious dairy-free lasagna roll-up using cashew cream.
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. Few handfuls baby spinach
  2. 1/2 large onion, diced
  3. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1/2 container small mushrooms
  5. Lasagna (as many noodles as rollups you want)
  6. 2 cups raw cashews
  7. 1 cup water
  8. Italian seasoning (to taste)
  9. Salt (to taste)
  10. Dried or fresh basil (to taste)
  11. Spaghetti sauce
Noodles
  1. Cook according to directions. Noodles should be al dente.
Filling
  1. Add onion to a hot skillet, cook until translucent
  2. Add garlic & mushrooms to the skillet
  3. Add spinach and cook until wilted
  4. Remove filling to bowl
  5. Add meat to skillet and cook thoroughly if using
Cashew Cream
  1. If using a Vitamix or other high powered blender, add raw cashews, spices and enough water to create a smooth paste. If using a regular blender, soak raw cashews overnight before using.
Rolls
  1. Drain noodles and slightly cool.
  2. One noodle at a time smear with a heaping tablespoon of cashew cream. Spread leaving 1-2 inches of noodle bare at the end.
  3. Add vegetables in a thin row and meat if using.
  4. Slowly roll the noodle tightly around the filling
  5. Place each roll, seam side down, into a rimmed baking pan for cooking
Bake
  1. Top the rolls with spaghetti sauce
  2. Bake at 350* for 10 minutes or until heated through.
Notes
  1. Fillings should be whatever you love best in a regular lasagna. Our favorite is spinach, onion, garlic, mushroom and local sausage. Meat should be thoroughly cooked before using as stuffing. Vegetables should be reduced properly as they will not cook down in the oven.
Like A Cup Of Tea http://www.likeacupoftea.com/
Roll ups – win.
Cashew cream – win.

xo,

Heather

 

]]>
http://www.likeacupoftea.com/delicious-dairy-free-lasagna-roll-ups/feed/ 6
Retro Post: Septic Replacement http://www.likeacupoftea.com/retro-post-septic-replacement/ http://www.likeacupoftea.com/retro-post-septic-replacement/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.likeacupoftea.com/?p=4500 read more »]]> Some of the grossest jobs around here happened long before this blog existed. You could call yourself lucky, except for one thing – I had a digital camera. You’ve already been subjected to the high-quality musings of why my husband can’t stand certain fake scented apple products. Get ready for round two: replacing our septic system.

Preface: When I say “we” in reference to any work I very much 100% mean “Andy”. He replaced the entire septic, and built a new septic field, by himself. He took an entire week off of work to do it. Hell of a man? You bet.

When we bought this place we weren’t sure what state the septic was in. We weren’t sure what it looked like, if it was up to code, or the last time it had been pumped. This place was a fixer-upper, and a couple things were a crap shoot. Pun intended.

We knew one fact about our septic system: there was a pipe that came out in the side of the yard next to the garage. Gray water flowed out of this. For those unfamiliar, gray water is the runoff. It was, uhm, maybe a bit more gray than a normal septic system. On certain days it just didn’t smell right. Or rather, it smelled right, in the wrong spot. The neighbors even knew this. A good septic system should NOT smell.

Have you lost your appetite yet? If not, you’re going to.

We had a general idea of where the “septic tank” was. When the time came to fix the septic we first had to dig it up with our good and faithful Mahinda, as well as by hand.

IMG_1055First, we found an old well cover that was sketchy at best. Then we found this.

IMG_1056It turns out our “septic tank” was a cylinder block square, covered in a piece of round granite, covered in a well cover. An open pipe from the house flowed into it. Like all septics, the solids went to the bottom. The pipe by the side yard with the gray water? A pipe flowing out. Solids went to the bottom, liquids came out the second pipe.

Lovely.

For your viewing pleasure, the actual tank.

IMG_1057Now to assuage your shock I should tell this this is post pumping. Guys, I would never show you the tank pre-pumping. Even I have lines that I won’t cross on a blog. I don’t even have a photo of it. Ew. I can tell you this, the guy who pumped it said it was the worst tank he’d ever seen, and second, it probably had never been pumped.

Let me reiterate this:

Never.

Been.

Pumped.

How long was it in service? 15 plus years. I’ll wait here while you go hurl.

I think we need a visual break before we move on. Given that this is a retro post, I’ll give you a retro photo of me in college. I was having a nice, quiet, refined evening out full of intellectual conversation with my friends. We discussed great philosophy all night. We may have imbibed in a few couple drinks.

IMG_0044Have you stopped laughing yet at my college photo, and stopped hurling yet at the photo of the septic?

While I understand you’ve just regained your composition, I’m sorry to explain that I’m now going to go into destruction of the septic. Instead of showing you the video, I took a screen shot. I’ll just explain that we were knocking the blocks back into the hole, and then we back filled the hole in.

Old SepticOnce the old septic had been taken care of, it was time to start the new septic.

Andy ordered the tank, and in the mean time he dug the hole for the new tank which was placed next to the house – where it should have been all along – and dug up the yard to install the proper up to code septic field.

IMG_0085 IMG_0100As he dug up, we found the old pipe coming out of the house (the length of this was eventually removed as he dug up the new septic field as well, which the pipe ran through).

IMG_0088The brand new tank came in and was dropped into the hole, ready to be hooked up.

IMG_1014 IMG_1015 IMG_1017A few pipe fittings and hook ups later…

IMG_1019…and it was onto building the new septic (leech) field. This system brings the gray water (real gray water this time) out of the tank and disperses it properly into this area of the lawn through a series of piping. Yes, we have very nice green grass on this part of the lawn now, but no, it never gets wet (from below, rain yes), it never smells, and you’re never stepping “in” anything at all. It might surprise you to learn it’s the driest part of our entire yard.

To build the field Andy used both the bucket on the Mahindra, and the tiller attached to our 67′ holder.

IMG_1024IMG_1027 IMG_1028These photos really show just how much earth was moved.

IMG_1036 IMG_1037More earth was removed to create a fully level area, and then laser sighted in.

IMG_1045 IMG_1046Winnie & Rosie approved.

IMG_1049Next up came filter fabric, topped with stone for filtration of gray water as it slowly seeps out of the piping system.

IMG_1065Piping was laid, and then more stone.

IMG_1067 IMG_1069 IMG_1071The box in the photo directly above is the d-box (distribution box). This distributes the gray water from the septic tank into the other pipes which will, as the name says, distribute it throughout the leech field. The d-box is then covered in layers of insulation to help keep gray water flowing.

IMG_1073A final cover of stone and filter fabric, and the field and septic tank were ready to be back filled with all of the earth originally removed.

IMG_1074 IMG_1081 IMG_1082Andy then put a layer of soil on, seeded it with grass, watered, and covered it with seasoned hay. With the septic field done, Andy was able to grade out the area where the gray water used to flow, and use some of the left over earth to help grade our lawn in some areas that had been rough previously.

IMG_1091Years later and we’re quite happy with how everything has been performing. By “very happy” I mean “nothing has gone wrong”. We’ve since done a lot more to our yard. We took trees down and now have some fruit trees, and a soon to be (hopefully) second garden area where the leech field used to be. The new leech field? Well, it has lush grass since you can’t actually grow anything on top of it.

I might not look as ecstatic about the new septic as I lseemed to have been having during a very mature night out with my friends in college, but inside, I have the same big smile. Septic is a big deal. Trust me. You don’t want that shit hitting the fan.

Now let’s never discuss this again. Just thinking of the old system is gag worthy.

xo,

Heather

]]>
http://www.likeacupoftea.com/retro-post-septic-replacement/feed/ 0