Rockin Robin's Mexican Recipes Blog

If you are interested in recipes, cooking, and food then this blog is for you.
I will share with you my food experiences including:

  • New Recipes, Mexican and Other Family Favorites
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  • Product Recommendations
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  • Food Trivia
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and anything else I think you may find interesting, useful, and fun.

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September 16, 2009 20:26 - My Kitchen Remodel - Lighting

Here is a quick update on the kitchen remodel. Today the plumber came in and moved the gas line for the cooktop just and inch or two so the drawers underneath it would fit. I will be getting a hand turn-off valve for this gas line to satisfy code.

I needed a water line installed for the ice maker in the refrigerator, so he ran one in the ceiling by tying into an existing water line from the second floor bathroom.

The plumber also is updating my water lines for the kitchen sink. I will be getting new shut off valves for hot and cold water.

The electrician is putting in all the necessary wiring today. Next my contractor and I need to plan where the can lights should go.

LED Recessed Lights

That brings me to lighting. I am not a big fan of florescent can lights so I started, months ago, looking at alternatives like LED can lights. I like the idea that LED lights are green.


  • They don't contain mercury or require special handling for disposal.

  • They don't give off radiation.

  • They don't produce heat like regular incandescent bulbs and remain cool to touch.

  • LED's last about 50,000 hours.

I looked at and compared various brands of LED can lights. The 3 I checked out were Cree, Juno, and Halo.

Next, I went online and tried to find out what other people had to say about this kind of lighting. GardenWeb.com is a good place to look. They have a forum where people talk about their experiences with LED's and everything else.

Cree seemed to get the highest comments, stating the light output(lumens) was excellent and the light was warm (measured in Kelvin (K)).

Cree has a color rendering index (CRI) of 92. This is an important number as it gives you an idea how true colors will look under this light. The scale is 0 to 100 with the sun being 100. Cree's light is 92 which is excellent. Halo and Juno both have a CRI of 80. In my kitchen, I want my food to look appetizing.

Another important thing to consider is lumens. This number tells you how bright the light is. Cree LR6 puts out 650 lumens for 12 watts and Halo puts out 600 lumens per 15 watts. Juno puts out 600 lumens for 14 watts of energy.

In the end I bought 8 Cree LR6's so we will see how it goes.

Under cabinet Lighting

Again, I was looking to use LED for under cabinet lighting as well. I don't like the look of florescent and xenon runs hot like halogen.

So my search was on for LED's. Here all I really was concerned with were two things. How bright are they? How streamlined are they?

For brightness I want something bright enough for task lighting. I need help seeing as I age and brightness matters.

I visited my local lighting stores and found many under cabinet lights but many were not bright at all. They would be fine for ambiance but that's not what I was looking for. I couldn't justify spending a lot of money for a little bit of light.

So I turned to the Internet to see what was available.

I found what I was looking for in a company I'm sure you have heard of: Philips. They have an under cabinet light called the eW Profile Powercore. It satisfied all my needs. It puts out 150 lumens per foot while using 5 watts of energy, it's very stream lined and it's dimmable.

I felt confident this product would be bright enough when I read it meets the IESNA illumination intensity specifications for optimal usability and safety in task lighting applications. Perfect.

These under cabinet lights are small. Here are the dimensions. They come in three lengths: 11 inches, 21 inches, and 41 inches. They are 7/8 inch high by 1 1/2 inches wide. I've seen other lights specifically Kicher, that are twice this size.

I was quite happy when I found these lights. They should last 55,000 hours too. I won't be changing light bulbs any time soon.

These under cabinet lights need to be mounted near the front edge of your cabinets for the best light. Also resist the urge to buy cheap LED lights. Always buy from reputable companies.

Pendant Lighting

Here I ended up buying 3 regular halogen pendants. LED's are quite expensive and I wasn't sure they would be bright enough. These lights are by Juno under their Afla name.

I have been told to hang them 30 to 36 inches above the counter. You don't want the pendants in your line of sight but just a tad higher. Could be interesting. Do I place them just above my eye level or my husbands?

I will probably use him as a guide, keeping the 30 to 36 inch height in mind.

In California we have to comply with Title 24. This means that all my LED lights have to equal or exceed in wattage, the pendants. For example, The pendants (which are low efficiency) use 150 watts of power. That's 50 watts per pendant times 3.

I have to have an equal or greater amount of wattage in high efficiency lighting (my LED's). Each can light is 12 watts times 8 fixtures equals 96 watts. My under cabinet lighting totals 55 watts. 96 plus 55 equals 151 watts. I just made it.

I can't wait to see all this lighting in action.


What's Next On The Remodel

Tomorrow my contractor will be filling some holes and installing insulation in the walls and ceiling. We didn't have insulation in the ceiling before so this is a good opportunity to put some in while it's accessible. This will help keep things quiet upstairs in our master bedroom.

Sheet rock will also be started tomorrow. It will take two days to sheet rock and texture.


Next time I will tell you about how we are surviving this kitchen remodel and what things you can do to get through one yourself.


Till next time,
Rockin Robin

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September 2, 2009 17:00 - Kitchen Cabinets -Some Things To Consider

So after two days of demo work for my kitchen remodel, my kitchen is down to it's studs.





Somehow it looks rather small doesn't it? That's what my oldest son said as he passed through on his way to work.





Here you can see where the refrigerator and oven was.

Today I am going to talk about the cabinets we purchased and some things to look for or consider when buying
cabinets for your kitchen.

At first we were going to go with Kraftmaid as we had some experience with it and we are trying to keep costs down.

Cabinets are a big deal in kitchens. They cost alot of money or they can and they really create the essence in the room. You usually really notice them. I do at least.


Two Important Considerations For Buying Cabinets

To me two of the most important considerations when choosing cabinets are the finish and the hardware. Some people might call it durability and function.


I want the most durable finish I can find. Why? Because cabinets can take a beating day in and day out. Foods get spilled on them, they get banged into by chairs or kids feet and water from the kitchen sink drips on them and eats away the finish.

So what's the best finish?

In my opinion it's a finish called conversion varnish. To get this finish your cabinets will have to be made somewhere else other than California. Here we have a lot more rules and regulations regarding California environmental protection laws.

All I know is I have a couple of friends who bought "custom cabinets" and after 5 to 7 years, their lacquer finish failed. I have another friend who has painted cabinets and the paint is wearing off after 5 years.

We had one company give us an estimate for custom cabinets but when I asked him how long the finish would last, he was honest and said it won't last as long a conversion varnish.

Bottom line: Find out what kind of finish you are getting before you buy.

As I mentioned earlier, we did not go with Kraftmaid (they do use conversion varnish). We went with a company called DeWils. They are supposedly better quality than Kraftmaid and have the conversion varnish. They were cheaper than Kraftmaid too.

DeWils also uses full plywood boxes instead of particle board and they don't charge extra for "soft close" or full extension drawers.

The downside to DeWils is that their color selection is small. Luckily for me they had the color I was trying to match. They also only have one choice for under cabinet rail which is 1 inch thick.

Under cabinet rail is used mostly to hide your under cabinet light fixtures. Sometimes people just like the finished look of their cabinets with the rail attached.

Again this worked out for me as the under cabinet lights I am using are very stream lined. Other brands can be quite bulky and noticeable.

Get Quality Cabinet Hardware

The second most important consideration, in my opinion, in choosing cabinets has to do with the hardware. I'm not talking about handles or knobs here. I'm talking about the drawer glides and door hinges.

You will be using your kitchen everyday. You will be opening and closing those doors and drawers all the time. Buy something that will hold up, you won't regret it. Get drawers that can handle at least 75lbs.

If you have never had full extension drawers, get them, you'll love them. You will be able to see everything in your drawer without having to dig around.

Soft close or easy close is another feature I like. It's not necessary but it's really kind of cool. You don't have to worry about slamming doors or drawers as they close softly all by themselves after a little push from you.

One Recommendation For Hardware


I'm sure there are many companies out there but I am certain you cannot go wrong with Blum. Most everyone I talked to about cabinets mentioned Blum as being a good/premium quality product. And yes DeWils uses Blum hardware.

I personally had a good experience with Blum when I called them about replacing some cabinet hinges for a rental property that I manage.

They sent me replacement hinges, no questions asked. I was very impressed. I like doing business with companies that stand behind their product.

Next time I will be talking about lighting and explaining what kind of light fixtures I bought. I'll give you a hint...LED.

Regards,
Rockin Robin


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September 1, 2009 12:44 - My Kitchen Remodel

I have decided to take on the challenge of a kitchen remodel. I know, I must be crazy but if you live in a house
long enough, it's bound to happen.

Did I mention the gazillions of decisions that have to be made? I tend to analyze things to death and then get tired of it all and then just decide. I like to be a informed consumer.

Here are some "before" pictures of my kitchen.








If you are wondering what the blue tape is near the ceiling, we cut out pieces of sheetrock to be able to see what was in the soffit area. Our goal is to raise the ceiling up to 8 feet in height.







If you look closely, you will see duct tape on our microwave. It keeps the button pushed in so the darn thing will run.

My sister in law keeps reminding me that I can buy a microwave for less than $100 from Costco. My husband and I think it's kind of fun seeing how long we can keep this old one running. Duct tape has a million and one uses.

So I thought I would write about my kitchen remodel thinking it could possibly help you out if you are thinking of doing the same. I will be sharing my thoughts about the kinds of decisions we had to make.

We started with the usual "get three quotes from contractors". At first we thought we might reface our cabinets instead of going with new ones. In some cases this is a good idea but in our case we had issues with our dishwasher being "locked" into its place.

We had a laminate floor installed over our vinyl floor years ago which raised the floor over all, thus "locking" in the dishwasher.

So we bought a new dishwasher hoping it would last until we remodeled. Let's just say it barely made it.

The dishwasher issue really pushed us to buy new cabinets because we had to remove the counter tops to get
it out. Then the floor where the cabinets were, had to be raised up so the counters would be 36 inches high.

To accomplish all of this we decided we would just start over with new cabinets.

The next big question is "What kind of cabinets should we buy?" You hear about "custom cabinets". Sounds pricey though doesn't it? What about finishes?

I will talk about cabinets the next time so stay turned. And just so you know, my contractor is demo-ing my kitchen as we speak.

Have a great day,

Rockin Robin
P.S. Let me know if you have any questions about the construction by leaving a comment below.


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