Friday, August 31, 2012

Plumbers, Electricians, and Peppers! Oh My!

To quote my friend Daniel Christian who wrote  the song, "Worse":
 Things are gonna get worse before they get better! 
Of course, Daniel was singing about an uptight drama queen, and I'm referring to a kitchen remodel. 
I wonder if Andy sees the irony. 

The plumbers came this week and ran new pipes and drains. The pot filler pipe is in place. The pipes/drains for the sink and dishwasher are prepped. The fridge line has been capped. There's a new gas line just waiting for its home in my new range. 

Then, Matt Harris, the world's best electrician, came and held our hands as he walked us through our project. He helped map out where new outlets, switches, and more wires would go. He drew me a picture of where the pendent lights would look best. He ran a cable line to the corner end of the kitchen so that I don't ever miss a second of BRAVO or FOODNETWORK or SESAME STREET simply because I'm chopping peppers. The pendent light boxes are in! There are wires where there ought to be wires and he cleaned up the wires from where the wires ought not to be.

Here are a bunch of BEFORE and AFTER DURING photos. 

Remember when the kitchen looked like this:
Well, now it looks like this:
Those are the cabinets that Andy built. No toe kick yet but they fit!!!! GO ANDY!
Remember the breakfast nook?
And now:
The Before:
The During:

Below, is the old command center, AKA the place where everyone stores their junk. (i.e. purses, diaper bags, tools, broken rubber bands, chewed up paper, pennies, empty hand sanitizer bottles, keys with no  known coordinating door, no ink pens, broken pencils….)
And now:
I'm commandless. Better than commando, I suppose. 
I think things just got weird. Let's change the subject! 

Other than no kitchen, life really is the same with the Dokulils. I've made Broccoli Beef from Also, I made a roast with carrots in the slow cooker and made mashed potatoes in the microwave. And you know what? Microwave mashed potatoes just might be my new go to way to cook potatoes. SO easy. FAST. And delicious! Have you ever heard of such a thing?

Last night, we had Stuffed Bell Peppers in the slow cooker. A friend/former student/now a college student (*sniff sniff*) gave me some green beans and greed bell peppers before she left for college. Instead of tricking Andy into eating a vegetable, he had a taste and then promptly hit DQ and made himself a burger on the grill. 
These had to have been the best stuffed bell peppers I've ever had! 
Here's what I did:

Stuffed Green Bell Peppers in the Slow Cooker
1. Cut off the tops of several bell peppers and scoop the seeds and ribs out. (I had a handy pepper scraper outer thing.)
2. Mix 1 lb. ground beef (I used ground bison) with 2-3 cups COOKED rice. (I used a long grain brown rice and I cooked it in the microwave! That link will send you directions for how to cook white rice in the microwave. Because mine was brown I found I needed to almost double the cooking time, but I honestly think either would be fine as its going to cook in the crock pot for awhile.) 
3. Add salt (a couple good pinches) and pepper and crushed red pepper and whatever else sounds good from your spice cabinet to the meat/rice mixture. 
4. Add in 1 cup of some tomato mixture. Diced tomatoes, rotel, crushed, whatever. (I used a cup of my friend, Ashely's, homemade marinara sauce!) 
5. Add in some grated sharp Cheddar cheese. (I always grate my cheese fresh because it just tastes and melts better.) 
6. Give it a good mix.
7. Stuff those peppers and set them stuffed side up (duh!) in the slow cooker. 
8. Top with more tomato sauce or whatever you used. (I gave each stuffed pepper an additional 2-3 T on top of tomato sauce). 
8.5 I had a bunch of extra filling - so I guess you could freeze it for another stuffing day… OR, do what I did and just dump it in around the peppers. 
9. Pour in 2-2.5 cups of chicken broth. (Just depends on how big your crock pot. I used a 6.5 quart-er for this and so I used closer to 2.5 cups.)
10. Turn the thing on and dinner's done! I set mine on high and it was ready in 4 hours. I imagine if I had used my smaller slow cooker it would have taken 5 hours on high. Most recipes say 8-9 hours on low. 

I loved the texture and flavor of these! I liked how it was skimpy on meat and heavy on the nutty, brown rice. Made me feel less guilty when I had seconds! But if you are one of those people who becomes invisible when you turn sideways - go ahead and use more meat and less rice. Whatever. It doesn't matter. It'll still be great!

Super good! And I guess its true - sometimes it really does take a village! Thank you, Laura, for the veggies! 
And thanks, Ashley, for the homemade jarred marinara! (And for holding my baby.)
And thanks Daniel for the quote that kicked off this post. 
And while I'm thanking people… Thanks for letting me have a bite of your ice cream cone, Laura. 
And Thank you Matthew for sleeping until 5am for the past couple nights. 
And thanks, Adam, for being such a great big brother and riding on the sidekick attachment that I bought you before jumping off and running away, making sure mommy gets her exercise as I leap and race after you before you can reach the street or the rocks or the neighbor's yard.
But most of all… 
Thank you Andy for destroying my old kitchen and building me a brand new one. With your bare hands.
Now… Get back to work!


  1. Tee hee. I love this post!
    I want to know how you made mashed potatoes in the microwave! And those peppers sound amazing! I have a ton of peppers growing in my garden right this second (actually, I should have picked them a week ago, so I hope they are still growing!)...sounds like a perfect meal to me! I love learning about crocking from you - lol!
    Keep working Andy! It looks great! My hubby needs to get to work too...if your kitchen is done before my basement I'm not going to be a happy camper! It's not like I'm a slave driver or anything =).

  2. You know I read this, because I'm totally leaving a comment.

  3. Looking good!!! I'm gonna have to try that pepper recipe! Yum! That Andy, what a stud-bucket!! :)