Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Renovation Completion!


 The final look!

So that's it! That's our big reno. We are one or two light fixtures being hung away from saying we are DONE! (And we need a stair railing so small children can't fall off the side of our living room...but that's another project completely.) As I had mentioned in the Spring. I was very interested in projecting estimations for the project and seeing what actual costs were. I was hoping the whole thing would cost us $15k, but I think it was more like $20k+. Here's what my projections looked like!

Materials Estimated Actual
Laminate Floor 450 480  
Sink 300 250  
Cabinet Hardware 150 110  
Faucet 300 300  
Microwave 400 225  
Counter top 1,200 2,000  
Backsplash Tile 1,000 300  
Paint 150 75  
Cabinets 4,500 6,410  
Fireplace 250 160  
Lighting & Rough Electrical Supplies 1,000 1,500  
TOTAL $9,700 $11,810  

Labour Estimated Actual Comments
Demolition  500 250 Weekend DIY with friends. Costs include demo accessories and lunch.
Painting 1,200 1,258 Contracted out - ceiling, trim and walls and downstairs hallways
Plumbing 250 0 included with drywall
Electrical 2,000 2,490 Potlights, running new electrical, new breaker box
Flooring 500 0 Weekend DIY
Drywall 2,000 3,400 Going from popcorn to flat ceiling and repairing all the walls that we tore down.
Tiling 500 0 Thanks to helpful friends!
Cabinetry Install 5,000 2,091 Completed by Lowe's Installers
TOTAL $11,950 $9,488  

Sunday, 4 November 2012

What's for Breakfast?

I had to share these two great breakfast treats that I've been enjoying so much lately. I love my breakfast and I'm always trying to find ways to avoid cereal & milk for breakfast. A friend posted a link to Zain's Swiss Summer Oats and I was instantly hooked. Its easy to make at home and VERY convenient to take on the road.

I have two go-to favourites: Sweet Cherry Pie and Chocolate Hazelnut. I've manipulated both flavours to fall within my current eating guidelines.

According to the blog, Sweet Cherry Pie has the following ingredients:

1/2 Cup Slow Cook Oats
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Milk of Your Choice
1/4 Heaping Cup Fat Free Greek Yogurt
11/2 Tsp Flax Seeds
1/2 Tbsp Crunchy Almond Butter (Raw or Roasted)
1/8 Tsp Cinnamon
1/8 Tsp All Spice
15 Red Cherries
2-3 Drops Natural Almond Extract (Optional But Recommended)
5-7 Drops Liquid  Sweetener of Your Choice (Honey, Agave, Stevia Powder etc.)
6 Almonds Chopped or Whole (Optional Topping)
2 Tbsp Granola

I've been taking out the yogurt, stevia, and granola though and adding Chia seeds (for a creamier consistency) as well as half a scoop of vanilla protein powder.

When I first started making the Swiss Summer Oats, I would always be craving Chocolate Hazelnut (or Ferraro Rocher as the blog calls it) flavour. My discipline skills haven't reached the point yet where Nutella can stay in our house for longer than a few days without being eaten out of the jar with a spoon. But this is even better than Nutella (and a lot better for you!).

Here's the recipe:

1/2 Cup Slow Cook Oats
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Milk of Your Choice
1/4 Heaping Cup Fat Free Greek Yogurt
11/2 Tsp Flax Seeds
1/2 Tbsp Hazelnut Butter
11/2 Tbsp Cacao Powder
1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cacao Chips (Optional)
5-7 Drops Liquid Sweetener of Your Choice (Honey, Agave, Stevia Powder etc.)
6 Whole or Chopped Hazelnuts (Optional Topping)

Again I've tweaked it for my current eating guidelines by using more almond milk and removing the greek yogurt and Stevia. (I find it sweet enough as it is). And then adding chia seed and using an Almond & Hazelnut butter from Great Canadian Superstore. If this is my evening snack I'll use a chocolate flavoured protein powder and add cacao chips, but in the morning I find chocolate flavours a bit too overwhelming and will just use a vanilla flavoured protein powder. (If you've never tried Arbonne's Vegan Essential Protein Shake, you have to check it out. Contact Julie Karanfilis for more details!) So to sum it all up, without any added sugar, this treat tastes like Oatmeal Cookie Batter and it's delicious!

The best part of this is I can mix all the dry ingredients in canning jars and keep them in my pantry. In the morning when I need to grab them as I run out of the house, I need only to throw in the wet ingredients in and shake up the jar!

That's all I got for today folks! Thanks so much to Zain for the great idea!

Would love any creative and super easy breakfast ideas you have too!