It’s been a busy few weeks here at the Food is Life headquarters. Mr. FIL and I are in full reno mode. We spent Easter weekend gutting our living room and dining room. We pulled out three tonnes of plaster, wood, and odds and ends. It was a huge job, but weirdly enough we actually had fun doing it. Mr. FIL and I work extremely well together on house projects, and this one has definitely been rewarding. And messy.
So, Friday morning on Easter weekend, we got to work. I had a mimosa and my sledgehammer and I was good to go! I will say demo is super fun. Especially with a big sledgehammer. I’m pretty sure my muscles got bigger from swinging that thing for two days. It weighs 8 lbs on it’s own!
This house is so old that the plaster had horse hair in it. Apparently that’s house they insulated back in the day. It’s so weird to see. I also had to wrap my head around the fact that it was 117 years old. All the wood behind the plaster was absolutely beautiful (as you can see), it looked like new!!! I said we should have left that back wall and had an accent wall!!
Anyway, I’m not sad to see that charcoal gray colour gone. It was the previous owner’s choice of colour, and it’s not really my cup of tea.
So, what surprises did we find behind the walls? Surprisingly all good ones!!! Like two sets of old pocket door bars, that I’m going to reuse. Two hockey cards from the 70’s, a blue rubber pig figurine, and a little toy gun.
That’s a picture after we ripped it all out and cleaned up. The rest of that archway is gone now, and we replaced it with a big beautiful rustic wood beam. We’re so lucky to have family help us put it back together, because it’s been a huge project. It’s coming along great though, the guys have been working extra hard all week, every day I came home from work, there was something new to see!
I can’t really say I’ve ever gotten excited about pot lights, but not having ceiling lights in those two rooms was a pain. we literally had lamps everywhere, along with extension cords everywhere to power the lamps. Now we have more plugs and more lights than we know what to do with!!!
We have one more week of finishing everything up, and then I’ll be able to start decorating (YAY!). I bought a “new” dining set off of kijiji, along with a beautiful old antique sideboard to go in the dining room too. I still need to shop for a few odds and ends, but I’ve got a mental picture of the end result, and I can’t wait!
I’ll be sure to post before and after pictures when all is said and done.
Speaking of said and done… is anyone else done with winter!? It is mid-April and I’m sitting here watching ice pellets and freezing rain fall. It’s absolutely freezing outside, and we’ve had to hunker down and stay put because everything is covered in ice.
I’m itching to get outside and do yard clean up, refinish some furniture, and just have some warm weather! Instead, I’ve spent the weekend inside, cooking winter dinners, and baking lots. (Which is totally ok with me!).
So, to end this post, I thought I would share one of my favourite winter dishes… IN APRIL! It’s a warm, hearty, delicious chicken stew. It’s so good for you, and so full of flavour. I always call it a hug in a bowl.
It pairs great with a slice of fresh bread, or even cornbread. I’ve been making this recipe for years, and it’s a FIL household favourite.
Stay tuned for more reno picture updates, and until then… happy eating! 🙂
Hearty Chicken Stew
This is my absolute favourite stew. It's so flavourful, and perfect for a cold winter day. It's nutritious, hearty, and full of chicken and vegetables. Serve with a fresh baked roll and some butter, and you have a perfect winter meal.
- 1 rotisserie chicken organic & hormone free
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 med onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup gluten-free flour
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 med carrots diced
- 1 med sweet potato cubed
- 1 handful green beans chopped in small pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 2 green onions sliced
- salt and pepper
In a large pot or dutch oven, add the butter and onions, and saute until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and saute for additional minute or two. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the flour and cook for one minute. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and stir until there are no lumps in the sauce. Add the bay leaves, carrots, sweet potatoes and beans. Place a lid on the pot, and simmer on low, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are cooked through and are soft (about 25 minutes).
Add the Greek yogurt and stir until it is combined. Add the green onions and diced chicken. Remove the bay leaves. Serve immediately.
Keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days.