My Friend’s Kitchen Cabinet Update

One of my very best friends wanted to give her kitchen a complete overhaul and it was nothing short of spectacular! The kitchen was in excellent shape, so there was no reason to get new cabinets. They just needed a fresh look! Also, why pay thousands of dollars on new cabinets when you can do a DIY and spend some time with your awesome friend (me, duh)!

Here’s the kitchen before the reno:

The cabinets are a gorgeous solid wood. This is their natural color and it had a clear coat glaze on top to seal the wood. This is a great sized kitchen with A LOT of cabinets! (You’re going to be slated by the transformation!)

If you’re going to paint your cabinets, the first step is removing the hardware. My friend did that before these pictures were taken. Next, removing all of the cabinet faces from the wall.

Don’t worry about emptying the cabinets! There’s no reason to do that unless you’re going to paint the inside. Which is up to you, but might be more trouble than it’s worth!

After removing all of the cabinets and drawers, we took them outside and sanded them down. I used a 120 grit paper on my sander. A lower grade (harsher sand paper) might work faster, but it will not give you a smooth finish. We laughed and cried a little at how long this took us. My friend thought it would be an hour, I said, “no way, it’ll be more like 3 hours.” Well, it ended up taking us just over 5 hours to sand everything. That’s 10 man hours total. If you’re going to paint your cabinets, you’ll need to dig deep. Pro Tip: Do this DIY with someone you enjoy spending time with! It’ll go by faster 🙂

Here’s a before and after of a drawer face that I sanded. You can see the difference in the color of the wood once the glaze was removed. The surface was entirely smooth and almost ready to be painted!

Depending on what kind of hardware you choose, you might need to fill the holes. My friend decided to go with some new hardware and switched from a knob with one anchor,  to a drawer pull with two. You’ll need a flexible joint knife and wood filler to do this.

Take a dab of the wood filler and push it into the hole. The take the joint knife and smooth it out, just like if you were spackling a wall. Do this on both sides of the cabinet or drawer.

For the absolute best results, wait until it’s 100% dried. Then take a sander and lightly go over the filler until it’s flush with the cabinet. Tip: Close your eyes and run your finger over the area. If you can’t feel any dips, cracks, bubbles, or crust, you’re ready to paint!

The Finish-All Paint is available on Amazon and I have only excellent things to say about it. This was my first time using it and I literally could not believe how far 32 oz of this paint goes. For the entire kitchen we only used 3 of them. The paint goes on thin and smooth but is heavy enough that you only need two coats.

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At this point in the day it was pretty dark out. So we brought painting inside and set up a painting and drying station. The paint dries so quickly and does not smell, so it was manageable to work inside. Make sure you used a tarp or sheets to protect your furniture. We used my old bed sheets to cover a pool table.

The best way to paint cabinets is to paint inside the grooves first, then the panel, and finally the trim. Doing it this way will create clean and crisp brush strokes. If you paint the grooves last, the corner strokes will look sloppy.

Here you can see the difference between coats one and two, but coat one is super impressive, especially for white paint. White paint usually takes 3 or 4 coats to cover a dark surface color.

When the cabinet faces are drying, you’ll need to go back and paint the cabinet frames. Once everything is dry, you’ll need to seal the cabinets with a protective finish. My friend used General Finishes. This will protect against general wear and chipping. It will also create an easy to clean surface.

When you’re all done, you can add your hardware and hang the doors back up! I recommend using a hardware guide to expedite the process and more importantly, please your OCDs.

This difference is unbelievable! Those are the same floors! The same space! The same cabinets! The white is so brilliant, it makes it feel like a completely different room. You can basically do cartwheels in this kitchen now. I can’t explain it. But it’s glorious. Just look at it!

Special thanks to Jackie for trusting me to take apart your home, love you, friend!

 

Chili

There’s nothing like a full belly from a hearty bowl of chili. This is one of the easiest recipes I have and it goes such a long way. People typically only make soup when it’s cold out. You’re supposed to eat chili when it’s chilly, get it? 🙂 But this chili is good on burgers, nachos, hot dogs, literally everything. By popular request, I make this bad boy often.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large green peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 29 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 tsp fajita seasoning
  • 4 cups corn
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tsp sea salt

Dice and sautĂ© the peppers and onion in a large cast-iron pan (if you don’t have cast-iron, any pan will do. But I strongly recommend a cast-iron). Start with the peppers. They usually take a little longer to caramelize than the onions. After they’ve gotten a good sweat on, I add a tsp of sugar and stir. It adds a nice sweetness and helps bring out the goldenness of the onions and char the peppers lightly.

In a large pot, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Turn on medium to get the heat moving quickly. Pour the black beans into a large strainer and rinse well to remove the bean water. Add the beans to the pot with the tomatoes.

When the peppers and onions are finished, add them to the pot of beans and tomatoes. In the same pan as the peppers and onions, add the ground turkey. We love this Butterball Everyday turkey. Brian actually had no idea that I use turkey until I added this recipe to my Instagram stories. I think it tastes better than ground beef and it’s definitely leaner. I add a dash of fajita seasoning to add some flavor to the meat.

After it browns, add it to the pot.

This was not a part of my original recipe, but I have recently loved the bright pop of sweet corn in chili so I’ve been adding 4 cups to every pot of chili I make. You can use frozen or fresh corn.

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The seasonings are really what drives this baby home. Once all the ingredients are in the pot, add your chili powder, salt, and garlic.

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Partially cover on LOW heat, for 3 hours stirring occasionally. Then enjoy!

Pupsicles

If you can’t tell, we LOVE our dogs! This 4th of July we wanted them to have something delicious to help keep them cool. So we’ve made home made popsicles for them to enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Carrots
  • 1 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 1/2 tsp Sodium Free Beef Bouillon
  • Hand full of dog food

Put water on high heat until it boils. While the water gets going finely chop 1/2 cup of carrots. When the water is ready, add the bouillon. Stir well so it dissolves completely. Then add the carrots. Bring the heat down to a nice simmer for 5 mins to slightly soften the carrots.

Take a hand full of whatever dog food you use and place 3 or 4 kibbles in each ice cube tray. This will add some nice crunch and a familiar flavor that your pup will most certainly enjoy!

 

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Take the pot off the stove and strain the broth to separate from the carrots. I used a measuring cup, but you can use anything with a spout. This will make pouring the broth evenly into the ice cube tray effortless.

While the broth is cooling, take the carrots and add them evenly to each ice cube tray. I used a spoon to do this. You can also add a few ice cubes to the broth to cool it faster.

When the broth is cool, take the measuring cup and evenly pour into each tray.

When the tray is full put it in the freezer! Freeze completely before letting your fur babies enjoy these refreshing pupsicles!

 

 

Guacamole

Guac is a staple in our house. Mainly because we celebrate Taco Tuesday almost religiously. This is a simple 10 min guacamole recipe we engineered over the years.

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Ingredients:

  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • Pepper
  • Jalapeño or Crushed Red Pepper (optional)

If you’re feeling spicy, you can add a jalapeño! We’ll be adding jalapeños from our garden just as soon as they arrive! When we don’t have fresh jalapeños sometimes we add crushed red pepper flakes. We like a lot of spice in our life.

Half the avocado and remove the pit. If the avocado is perfectly ripe you should be able to scoop it out using a spoon with ease. Then dice a tomato. Sometimes I cut the end off of the tomato and squeeze out some of the juice before dicing it. This is the best way to keep the guac from getting watery.

Next into the bowl are spices! We started growing fresh cilantro in our herb garden this year. Fresh cilantro is KEY. As soon as I started cutting it I could smell the zest and it was OUTRAGEOUS. My mouth is watering thinking about the cilantro.

Once you’ve cut the fresh parsley and oregano you can add that to the guac along with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder –these ingredients are to taste. So you can go as heavy or as light on them as you wish.

Once all the ingredients are in you can mash it all together.

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We got this molcajete bowl from CostCo when we first got married. It’s incredibly heavy and annoying to store.

When to stop mixing the guacamole is a person preference thing. I do not like guacamole that is pureed. I like it a little chunky. So I stop mashing when it starts to look like this.

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Enjoy your next Taco Tuesday! Adios.