Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy 7th Anniversary to Kitchen Exchange!

I have been spending quite a bit of time lately flat on my back...Impatiently recovering from knee surgery (a meniscus repair). There's nothing like extended sack time to give you time to ruminate on life, work and such, especially when the final outcome is not clear.

I don't think I've slept so much since I had the Hong Kong Flu at 15. Wild and crazy dreams too! Very unusual for me. I haven't regularly remembered my dreams in many years. They're quite entertaining. Must be the drugs.

Anyway, so here I am celebrating my 7th year doing this blog. Contemplating retirement and what comes after.

I have an invention idea I need to patent. It will revolutionize kitchen cleanup. I've had it stashed in the back of my mind for many years. I'm amazed that nobody else has thought of it in the interim.

Then there's my Top 10 Cabinet list idea. Really need to get on that too. So many of you keep asking when I will.

Thank you to all of you who keep reading Kitchen Exchange. Here's a toast to many more years of blogging for you.


KHI Quarterly V3 Q1 - Winter 2012

Featured Project: Groff Kitchen Renovation

When we met Kathy and John Groff a year ago, they were contemplating an addition to their existing kitchen in their split level home. After running through several different options, they decided that maintaining the present footprint of the house was the best choice. We were able to create a significantly different look and greatly  expand the useable space by changing the kitchen layout.

To start the project, we decided to open up the main floor of the home by completely removing the walls separating the dining room, kitchen and living room. As a result, we were able to add about 10 linear feet of additional base cabinetry which contained a small food prep sink and built-in microwave. This increased counter space and ease of food preparation. We constructed an elevated breakfast bar area with a solid Teak top just between the kitchen and living room. The bar area has enough room for three people to sit comfortably and read the paper or enjoy a meal.

To create a craftsman style and appearance, we installed all new exterior doors and windows, trimmed with flat stock casing both inside and out, a new square baluster porch railing system, and double 4” vinyl siding. On the interior of the home, we created continuity between the decorative columns and the cabinets by mimicking the flat recessed panel of the shaker style overlay cabinet doors. This effectively tied the design elements together. The ceilings were trimmed with a simple 2-1/2” cove molding around the entire perimeter.

The lighting in the room was also redesigned with the placement of new 5” recessed lights positioned to highlight the cabinet layout and new under-cabinet task lighting was installed throughout. The breakfast bar area was illuminated by adding two hanging pendants that extend down from the decorative beam on the ceiling for a change of texture.

To complete the kitchen, the wood floors throughout the main level were sanded and refinished. A 4”x4” tumbled Travertine backsplash was installed with a decorative mosaic accent situated over the new cook top location. The mosaic design was subtle but effective at creating some additional texture to break up the homogeneous look of the Travertine.

This project was challenging but very rewarding as we began to see it come together toward the end. We are very proud of the way that this renovation project turned out and we think that the pictures speak for themselves. Thank you Kathy and John for the opportunity!

Kruse Home Improvement LLC announces first Certified Remodeling Project Manager
Shawn Kruse, 

Kruse  Home Improvement LLC is proud to announce that Shawn Kruse, CR, CKBR, CRPM, UDCP, is one of the first to pass the Certified Remodeler Project Manager (CRPM) exam, earning him the CRPM designation from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Kruse is among first to be certified nationally.

The exam is designed to measure an individual's application of knowledge and skills in the role of managing every aspect of a remodeling project. Those who earn the CRPM designation have not only passed a written exam but are also held to a stringent set of eligibility requirements, including compliance with NARI’s strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, earn continuing education hours and have several years of continuous remodeling experience.

“I’ve been on my own for about 10 years now, and it is important for me to learn systems for handling more work and supervising others during the job to prepare for future growth,” Kruse says.

The program, which launched in September 2011, addresses a growing trend in the remodeling industry, which has more companies using project managers to supervise jobs as opposed to lead carpenters. The program follows a set of knowledge domains and sub-domains that include project cost management, communication, project planning, quality assurance, record-keeping and risk management. Those who take the course are provided tools and ideas to improve business operations and efficiency in order to generate and sustain growth. Kruse has already begun to put the things he’s learned down on paper and develop new systems.

Kruse believes the course has helped him refine the communication process between himself, the client and the field staff. “I’m able to be more on top of the job details and to communicate with the field staff throughout the project,” he says.

The increase in control and management of the job spills into the success of the project and into the clients that are being served.

Gain Space and Add Value to Your Home

Winter is a great time to work on interior remodeling projects. One of the easiest ways to add a new room or rooms to your home is to better utilize the space you already have. If you're planning on staying in your home for a while, transform your basement into a beautiful, finished living area for you and your family to enjoy and love.

A basement remodel done by KHI
Besides the obvious benefit of gaining more living space, a finished basement adds value to your home. According to The Wall Street Journal and a poll of the Appraisal Institute, “a basement finish equals a kitchen remodel as the best financial return of all home renovations, but only if the quality matches the rest of the house.” 
There are several advantages to adding additional living space to your basement. Basements tend to be cooler in the summer and warmer in the  winter thus keeping energy costs down. Moving the family room, home office, or children’s playroom to the basement frees up additional space in the main living area. This allows you to expand a kitchen or bath, create a larger master bedroom, or add an additional guest bedroom if needed. By putting a home entertainment center, exercise area, workroom or other "activity" room in the basement, the rest of the house can be quieter and more stress free.
A finished basement often becomes the most popular room in the house. There's no better way to safely and usefully invest in your home’s value.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Vennai Puttu - Indian Cooking Challenge, Feburary 2012

Vennai Puttu, a traditional recipe from Tamilnadu was chosen by Srivalli as this month's Indian Cooking Challenge. The Recipe is Shared by Priya Suresh, who surely doesnt need any introduction. They have also referred to Nirmala's Post on Vennai Puttu. The recipe was so much like making Kozhukattai Maavu, only difference being adding jaggery and fried nuts. I thoroughly enjoyed making it and more than me my people loved hogging it. The Sweet was mild and cooked chana dal and coconut pieces added a nice texture to the Puttu.

1 Cup Raw rice
1/2cup Grated jaggery
1/2tsp Cardamom powder
2tbsp Shredded or sliced fresh coconut pieces ( i used shredded coconut)
2 tbsp Dark Brown Sugar ( i added it @ the end, since i felt the sweet wasn't enough)
1/4cup Cooked channadal
1-2 tbsp ghee
Few roasted Cashew/Almonds for Garnishing
  • Soak the raw Rice and Chana Dal for three hours. Cook Chana dal in 1/2 Cup water, the dal should not be mushy. 
  • Grind Rice as a fine paste  with half cup of water, meanwhile make a jaggery syrup with jaggery and quarter cup of water, strain the syrup and keep aside. Keep a Greased plate ready.
  • Boil 2 cups of water in a heavy bottomed vessel. when it starts boiling, reduce the flame and add the grounded rice paste. Keep Stirring and cook in medium flame until the rice paste is Cooked.Keep a Close watch and keep stirring or you will end up with a burnt puttu!!!
  • When the rice paste is cooked add the jaggery syrup,cooked channadal,cardamom powder, give a stir and cook until it turns as mass and gets off from the vessel,now add the coconut pieces,give a stir and put off the stove. At this point, i added Brown Sugar to make it little more sweet and a tbsp of ghee to make the Rice Mass come out smooth.
  • Finally pour this thick mass of rice-jaggery paste to a greased plate, arrange the fried nuts over the prepared vennai puttu.
  • Let it Cool for few minutes and Enjoy while it is warm.