Chalk it up

surf boardFor the longest time I have wanted a chalk board in my kitchen.  My friend Alan once suggested I create a board for my cabin in the bathroom for guest towels.  Each guest would write their name above the hook, and that was their hook and towel for the week. She was so creative and always inspired me.  I miss her so, but her passion and inspiration follow me always.

Here in Florida, I am trying to transform my old 1961 cinder block house into a kitch-y beach-y little home. When my grandfather built it, he dreamed of fishing everyday in search of the giant Tarpon, while my grandmother was a lady who lunched with the women of Lemon Bay. What great times they had! Their house was a revolving door with lots of friends and family making memories in sunny Florida.

While the beach  is 3 miles away……..I like to give the feeling that it is right outside my door. OK, on to the Topic of the week………Chalk it up!

Here is a big fat blank wall next to my refrigerator.  My dog has a cute little bowl and placemat  there.  I thought……… wouldn’t a nice big chalk board look great to square off the kitchen from the dining and living room? Always a work in progress I set out to make my own board.

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Off to Home Depot to pick up a nice size board that would fit in to the space next to the fridge. My husband calls it MDF.  Not sure, nor do I care what that stands for but it is cheap and easy to grab in various sizes at Home Depot. First, I add a coat of white primer. I always keep a gallon of Kilz onhand. It is my go to stuff and works as the perfect undercoat.

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Next, just grab a quart of Chalkboard Paint from any paint store or again, Home Depot.  About $8-$10.  Paint one coat, let dry 4 hours and add a second coat.  Leave overnight.  The next day you have to take a piece of chalk and lay it on the side and coat the entire board with it to get the finish chalk-worthy.

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Next, find a saying that means something to you.  I never ate chocolate……until about 4years ago when I discovered the dark chocolate sea salt caramels from Whole Foods.  So far I have received two deliveries from Chicago.  My sister Ginger shipped via UPS two packages of these marvelous wonders of the world.  After 2 months I ran out and solicited my personal shopper Michele at the bloomingdale’s home store to pick me up 2 packs and include in my bedding order.  Easy as pie!

So……I Heart Chocolate!!!   014

The other thing I now long for are certain dishes, recipes from my past. 20 years (along with 20 pounds) in Chicago with my amazing husband (who also cooks like a top-chef).

I have been craving salads and fresh produce.  There is plenty of it to be had here in Florida.  In fact we are spoiled with the best tomatoes from my neighbor next door……little cherry tomatoes that taste like candy.  And when we need Poblano peppers (every other day) we head to the Farmers Market on Dearborn street.  In addition to peppers and the best guacamole I have ever had,  they have some large home grown tomatoes that we always pick up.

Even though Mark does the cooking, every now and then I try to sneak in a meal that is not in his secret archive of menus.

And there it is!!! So cute and ready to use.  I decided to go ahead and add a menu and surprise Mark with one of our favorite dishes.

The CPK Bar-B-Q chicken chopped salad of course! 024

 

 

Wow was it ever good.  Here is my version of the recipe in case you want to try it!  It was exactly like the CPK only better because I got to add as much avocado as I wanted!     022 Pick up a package of Arugula and a package of Spring mix. Rotisserie Chicken (barbecue if available) You can get these ready made chickens almost anywhere these days…….even Wal-Mart.

Cube an avocado, chop 1/2 a red onion, add 1/2 cup of whole kernel corn drained, 1/2 cup of black beans drained, chop yellow peppers (or your color of choice), chop vine ripe tomatoes.

Take 1/4 cup of Ranch and 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce (your choice) and mix together to make a delicious dressing.

Remove the two breasts from the chicken. Refrigerate the rest for another meal.

Chop up the breast meat into small bite size squares and throw in a large bowl.

Top all other ingredients into the bowl and stir.

Add the dressing and stir.

Add soy nuts on top for a crunchy finish and you have an awesome fresh barbecue chopped chicken salad!

Bon Appetit!

2 thoughts on “Chalk it up

  1. Love reading about your ideas. I found a small 5×7 slate board at the Randolph St. Market last year. I have it propped against the wall in my kitchen and use it to jot down items needed from the grocery store. So much more elegant than having grocery lists laying around. My girlfriend made her whole backsplash into a blackboard. Friends write and draw on it. It looks great as part of the decor. Love the towel rack idea!

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