M2S in the Kitchen: Minestrone Soup

It’s Fall ya’ll!! Ok I’m not sure if I can really pull off saying ya’ll being the New Yorker that I am but I am so excited for the cooler temps! Although these days it’s more like sweater mornings and tank top afternoons! Either way there is a lot to look forward to and one of my favorite things about the Fall is Fall cooking! Mainly lots of soups, stews, and hearty food! 

Today I wanted to share with you one of my absolute favorite recipes and is pretty much a staple in this house. Minestrone soup! It’s chock full of veggies and so incredibly tasty! I’ve seen minestrone cooked a few different ways but this is a fool proof way to get a delicious warm bowl of goodness in your hands.  Now every once in awhile I like to be naughty and add some bacon. I mean why wouldn’t you add bacon to it? Bacon is an extremely flexible ingredient and often can be a major part of a recipe. In this case the bacon creates a beautiful base that saturates all of the veggies and gives it the perfect kick that it needs! 

The beauty of this recipe is that you can throw just about any vegetable that you have in your fridge into it! 

Minestrone Soup I Made2Style

I’m cooking for a crowd tonight so I’m doubling the recipe but here’s the normal one! 

2 cloves of garlic
2 large onions
2 celery stalks
2 large carrots
2 large potatoes
2 large handfuls of green beans
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 tbsp butter
1/4 c. olive oil
2 strips of bacon
6 c. vegetable or chicken broth
2 tbsp. tomato paste
3 1/2 oz. small pasta (I use Ditalini)
salt and pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese
Remember, you don’t have to use these specific veggies.  If you wanted to throw in some kale or white beans you absolutely could!

Instructions:

1. You’ll want to chop the garlic, onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, green beans, zucchini, squash and bacon.
Minestrone Soup I Made2Style
2. Heat the oil and butter together and then add the bacon.  These three work beautifully together to make a coating for all the veggies. Cook for about 2 minutes.Minestrone Soup I Made2Style

3. Add the garlic and onions and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the celery, carrots, and potatoes and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the beans, zucchini, and squash for 2 minutes.
Make sure you are mixing the veggies you add into the bacon butter goodness!
Cover the pan and cook all the veggies for 15 minutes.
Minestrone Soup I Made2Style
4. Add broth and tomato paste. Bring to a boil the lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour.

5. Add your pasta to the pan and cook for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

6. Serve in a large bowl, because you’ll want a lot, and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Minestrone Soup I Made2Style

Here are some links to some other favorite soups I love!

White Bean and Kale Soup
Carrot and Ginger Soup
Hearty Lentil Soup
Butternut Squash Soup

Let me know what you think if you give it a try! 

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Kitchen Table Makeover

Ah kitchen tables.  I always go back and fourth with my feelings for them.  In my old apartment I ended up tossing the one I had because I found that I never actually ate at it. It just became the place where all my crap went.  When I moved into the house I was delighted to find a table with some medieval looking chairs to go with it (pure sarcasm.)  The table itself was not terrible but the chairs had to go.  A year later I am finally taking care of that! 

I must say the one thing I promised myself was that I wouldn’t allow the table to get full of clutter and I have lived up to it because it is always free of crap. In fact several people have said that since I’ve moved in it’s the first time they’ve seen what the kitchen table looks like! I guess I wasn’t the only one with that issue! 
Kitchen Refresh @ Made2Style

We actually use this table everyday. Frank comes home for lunch everyday and this is where we eat so keeping in mind that other than being a piece in the room I needed to make sure that the top got some good protection when redoing it.
The first step was getting new chairs. I love the look of tables with wood tops and white legs so that’s what I was going to try to achieve.  I donated the chairs to Good Will and purchased these 4 chairs from Target.
f64ef0ca8bddfe2094798db646a5d5cdI had decided that the table top stain would be Weather Oak so those yellowy chair seats wouldn’t really work.  As soon as the chairs arrived I sanded the seats down with my palm sander and restained them with the Weathered Oak. You can see below the 3 seats I sanded and the one I hadn’t done yet.

Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleThen I applied the stain and then the wax to seal it all in.Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleKitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleKitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleOk so chairs are done now it’s time to get to the table! I worked on it outside since I would be using the sander. Here is the table.
Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleKitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleThis table top clearly needs some TLC.Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleI’m going to let you in on a little secret product that will save your life doing this and that’s Rock Miracle. It seriously is a miracle! You guys this stripper is better than anything you’ll see at Chippendales! And just like the real deal you need to make sure you wear protection!
Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleA throw away brush will be helpful for you to apply the product on and make sure that your putty knife is flexible so when you’re scraping off the varnish you don’t dent the wood.
I read about a few strippers online and most of them required you to apply the stripper and let it sit for awhile, sometimes for hours. Not this stuff! I put it on and by the time I was done applying it I started scraping it off. It started to eat away at the varnish immediately and I found it easier to scrape off when it was still wet rather than let it dry.
Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleKitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleKitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleYou’ll want to toss the varnish away in a metal or glass can. It will eat away at plastic so don’t even try it. After one pass I applied another layer and scraped it away.  I did this 4 times until all the varnish and a few layers of stain were removed.Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleNext step was to start sanding down to the bare wood. I used a medium grit and then a fine grit to smooth it all out.Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleKitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleKitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleKitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleI love the different tones within the wood.  I brushed on a thick coating of the Weathered Oak stain and left it on for 10 minutes and then wiped it off.Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleKitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleAfter giving it 24 hrs to dry I applied the protective wax and buffed off. Once done I flipped the table over to start working on the legs.
Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleI was planning on priming so I didn’t go crazy sanding but some areas really needed it.

Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleAfter smoothing it all out I put on 2 coats of Zinsser oil based primer and then Benjamin Moore paint in White.Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleOk…let’s take a look back at the before so you can appreciate the after. I AM OBSESSED!!
Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleAFTER:Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleKitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleKitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleKitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleKitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleThere are so many things I love about this table.  The chairs alone make such a dramatic difference. The chair backs are so much lower than what we had that you have more sight of the kitchen and even the view outside the sliding door. The fact that it’s so much lighter brightens the room and it feels like we gained more space in the kitchen even thought we didn’t. And let’s talk about the tabletop, ugh..love it so much!
Kitchen Table Makeover via Made2StyleKitchen Table Makeover

There’s nothing like making something old look brand new! 

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Kitchen Refresh

Happy Monday! It’s snowing here in the northeast once again…shocker! I guess I can’t complain since it is giving me the opportunity to finally get this post up. About 2 months ago we decided to give the kitchen a little refresh.  The top half of the walls were yellow and the bottom half had good old 1970’s wood paneling. The cabinets are dark wood and with a dark kitchen table and chairs this kitchen needed some brightening up! We decided to paint the wood paneling white and get rid of the yellow walls. 

Here are some pictures of what it looked like.

Kitchen Refresh @ Made2Style

Kitchen Refresh @ Made2Style

Kitchen Refresh @ Made2StyleWhen thinking about what color was going to replace the yellow I knew I wanted to do some type of mocha.  Not brown, but a cream color with a hint of cocoa if that makes sense.  After checking different samples I fell in love with Mocha Cream by Benjamin Moore. 

2221 Now before we even started the painting process we decided we wanted to add a beefier, better looking piece of trim to the top of the paneling.  The trim that was there was your simple basic kind.

DSC_0379

After purchasing the chair rail molding and recruiting our friend to do the work we had some wood paneling that I could work with!

Kitchen Refresh @ Made2Style

Kitchen Refresh @ Made2StyleKitchen Refresh @ Made2StyleThe next step was priming the paneling.  Since it is so dark and we are going white the only thing to do is use the tried and true Zinsser Oil-Based Primer. Here is the paneling after one coat. The radiator got some paint too!

Kitchen Refresh @ Made2StyleKitchen Refresh @ Made2StyleAfter two coats.

Kitchen Refresh @ Made2Style

The paneling then got its fresh coat of white and the walls got their two coats of Mocha Cream. Let’s take a look at the before once more.Kitchen Refresh @ Made2StyleAnd now the after…Kitchen Refresh @ Made2StyleKitchen Refresh @ Made2Style
Kitchen Refresh @ Made2StyleKitchen Refresh @ Made2StyleI’m so happy we sold the black island that was in the corner and replaced it with this smaller and much simpler one.Kitchen Refresh @ Made2StyleWe also moved where we keep the recyclables so the garbage area isn’t so cluttered.Kitchen Refresh @ Made2StyleEven the cats’ area got a little makeover.Kitchen Refresh @ Made2StyleKitchen Refresh @ Made2StyleKitchen Refresh @ Made2StyleWe love the way it turned out! We quickly realized that we want to put up some crown molding in there to really complete the look. I also have been on the hunt for new chairs for what seems like forever now! It’s insane how expensive kitchen chairs can be.  Once Spring rolls around and yard sales start popping up I’m hoping to get my hands on a set. 

Don’t you just love how paint can transform a space!

xo

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