Can I move in?

As soon as I saw this home of blogger Nicole Cohen in the most recent issue of Rue, I haven't been able to get it out of my head! If I could redo my house, this is the look I would go for. Elegant and chic, yet cozy and approachable. LOVE IT!!!

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Lemon-Berry Pudding Cakes

On Monday my friend Linda, Phil and I kicked off our bi-weekly family dinner night with an Italian theme. My adorable husband made us Chicken Marsala - delish! And Linda and I made Martha Stewart's Lemon-Berry Pudding Cakes for dessert. Let me tell you, they were little cups of pure HEAVEN! In fact, I may have had more than one little cup of heaven that night. And I've been dreaming about them ever since! I might have to break down and make them again this weekend for company :)

Lemon-Berry Pudding Cakes
Makes 6 individual cakes

  • 1 pint blackberries
  • 1/2 cup (about 3 lemons) plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for ramekins
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Boiling water, for pan
  • 4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) creme fraiche
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process 2 1/2 ounces blackberries (12 to 15 berries), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pass mixture through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Set sauce aside.

  • Butter inner top inch of six 6-ounce ramekins; set aside. Whisk together egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in flour and milk in two batches each, beginning with the flour. Whisk in remaining 1/2 cup lemon juice, the salt, and the melted butter, and set aside.

  • Put egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium-high speed until very frothy, about 1 1/2 minutes. With mixer running, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a slow, steady stream; beat until whites hold stiff (but not dry) peaks, about 2 minutes. Whisk half the whites into reserved lemon mixture until combined; gently fold in remaining whites with a rubber spatula.

  • Place the ramekins in a high-sided roasting pan or baking dish, and divide the batter among ramekins, filling each almost to the top. Spoon a few drops of berry sauce onto cakes, and use a toothpick or skewer to swirl sauce into batter. Transfer to oven; pour boiling water into pan, a bit more than halfway up sides of ramekins.

  • Bake until cakes are set and the tops are just starting to turn golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. With tongs, transfer the ramekins from pan to a wire rack, and let cool 15 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, beat creme fraiche in a clean mixing bowl until it holds soft peaks. Serve cakes warm with creme fraiche and remaining blackberries. Enjoy!

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    Hillsong United Concert

    Last week Phil and I got to go to our third Hillsong United concert at the US Airways Center with about 25 friends from Vertigo. What an AWESOME night of worship! We all got floor tickets, and were standing just about 15 feet from the stage. I don't think I've ever experienced a concert like that - packed in like sardines but loving every minute of it, hands in the air, jumping up and down and singing at the top of my lungs! It was SO much fun! Hillsong United is the youth band of Hillsong Church in Australia. They are so incredibly talented! They put on a great show, but more than that, it's an incredible worship experience. At one point towards the end of the concert, I turned around and saw pretty much every person in that arena on their feet, hands in the air. You could just feel God in that place! Here are some pics Amanda took that night:

    Our crew! A bunch of people met us inside, so this was the closest we got to a group shot.

    My lifegroup girls! LOVE them!

    Another Lifegroup shot.

    Candice, Melissa and me.

    Me and the hubster <3

    Me and my bestie Amanda :)

    Here are a few videos I found on YouTube of the concert:

    The video below starts just before the band came back on for the encore. I can't even describe how cool it was!

    If you've never seen Hillsong United in concert, be sure to see them next time you have the chance! You won't be disappointed! Until then, check out their newest album Aftermath. I can't get enough of it!

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    Life-Sized Barbie Dress-up

    After weeks of walking into my closet and having "nothing to wear," I decided to enlist the help of one of my besties to remedy the situation. So, Miss Amanda took me shopping at H&M last weekend and we successfully walked out with eight fun new outfits! Amanda is amazing at seeing the potential in pieces and creating great ensembles with them. Check out her blog, Pretty Little Things, for all of my new looks! And let me know which ones you like! The hubs and I are on a new budget, so I have to limit myself and return a few items. Please help me decide which outfits to keep!

    Be sure to check out Amanda's blog for the other six looks. And a huge thanks to Miss Amanda for all your help! Love you!

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    Kitchen Remodel: Herringbone Subway Tile and Stainless Steel Appliances

    Finally, my favorite part of our kitchen remodel: the subway tile backsplash in a herringbone pattern! Since we decided to lay a more complicated pattern, we measured the dimensions of the first strip of wall and laid out the tile in the pattern on the countertop and made cuts where needed. Here is my father-in-law getting the pattern laid out, and then beginning to adhere the tile to the wall with mortar:

    After two full days of cutting tile and adhering it to the wall, the following weekend we filled it in with a sand-based grout. 

    Here's the final pattern:

    I'm absolutely in love with how it turned out! It's classic but yet so fun and interesting. I could stare at it for hours!

    You'll also notice the classy stainless steel appliances my in-laws gifted us with for our birthdays! Phil is absolutely over-the-moon about our new induction cooktop stove. And I'm totally digging the second oven down below. At first I thought it was just a typical drawer. Surprise to me! We also purchased the integrated panel dishwasher from Ikea. You can see it to the right of the sink. I love that it just looks like another cupboard!

    The corner tile around the window ended up being a last minute addition, but I'm so glad we went with it! It has such an elegant curve to it and perfectly finishes off the edge. Gorgeous!

    I have one more reveal to share you of our adorable little breakfast nook, and our latest DIY makeover on those stools you see above! Coming soon! A huge thanks to my amazing in-laws, Kent and Barb, for all your help on the tile! We couldn't have done it without you! 

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    Featured on Wedding Cheesecake

    All this week, mine and Philip's engagement and wedding photos were featured on the midwestern wedding blog Wedding Cheesecake. Thank you Amanda for all your sweet words! It's so fun for us to look at those photos again and be reminded of what an amazing day it was! Check out Amanda's posts here:

    Engagement Part 1
    Engagement Part 2
    Engagement Part 3
    Wedding Part 1
    Wedding Part 2

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    Kitchen Remodel: Countertops

    After our cabinets were installed, we ended up having to wait a MONTH before our countertops could be installed. Let's just say we ate lots of gyros from Saba's. When we purchased our cabinets at Ikea, they were running a promotion for 40% off countertops (with cabinet purchase). Score! We chose Silestone Quartz in Blanco Maple - white with gray glass flecks - with a contemporary "eased and polished" edge. We picked this product because Silestone has antimicrobial protection, which prevents bacteria from building up as it does in other porous stone materials. And quartz is resistant to acids and is extremely hard. In fact, it's the toughest interior surface available, resisting scratches, staining and scorching. Which I'm sure will be helpful when we have kiddos in the future! Here they are templeting our countertops...

    Putting in the wood backer...

    The first slab goes in...

    And the final product!

    Please excuse all the stuff on the counters and the lack of styling. This is real life at the Ellerbroek house! We bought our farmhouse sink at Ikea for only $199! Most similar farmhouse sinks start around $800-$1,000 and go up from there. So we were thrilled to find this deal! Apparently Ikea discontinued this sink about a week after we bought ours. Good timing!

    There's still more to come! Our gorgeous tile backsplash (my favorite project in our house to date!), new appliances, and our fun breakfast nook!

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    Kitchen Remodel: Cabinets

    If you remember my post about our kitchen inspiration photos, you'll remember that I was dreaming of white uppers and black/brown lowers for an open, spacious feeling. So, we ordered just that from Ikea in the Ramsjo style doors. But when our cabinets were delivered and we opened one of the nearly 100 boxes, we found the white doors to be more white wash than bright white. The problem is that the wood showing through the white wash is a pinkish colored birch. Baby pink kitchen? No thanks! So, we made the decision to switch to black/brown uppers to match the lower cabinets. Not exactly what I had in mind. But our only other option if we wanted bright white was to go with a different door style, and the OCD designer in me couldn't handle the inconsistency of that. Luckily, we have very few upper cabinets, and LOTS of light in our kitchen, so it wouldn't totally ruin the open, airy feeling I was going for.

    We hired a local company called Great Spaces to assemble and install our cabinets for us. We were planning to do it ourselves with the help of Phil's parents (aka The Slaves :), but they decided it was worth the money to have professionals take care of this house project, and generously gave us $$ towards the bill.

    So, without further adieu...

    I'm loving our glass front upper cabinets, the sweet little bookshelf to the left of the sink, the lazy susans in the corners (where we didn't even have a cabinet before!), and the deep drawers for our pots and pans! And the 42" uppers (minus the soffit) make the room feel so much more big and open!

    Still to come: the countertops, tile backsplash, appliances, and kitchen nook!

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    Kitchen Remodel: Before and Soffit Removal

    We're finally almost finished with our kitchen remodel, and I finally got a card reader to download photos from my camera, so here we go! A few before shots:

    As you can see, our kitchen felt small and out-dated. And we didn't care for the style of it, nor did it match the rest of our house. So, to get started we had the cabinets, countertops and appliances removed:

    Next, since it served no functional purpose, we decided to have the soffit removed to create a more open feel, and give us another 10 inches of vertical space in the upper cabinets.

    After the soffit came out, all of the wiring had to be moved up above the beams, and the drywall repaired:

    We were then left with one night to quickly get the room painted before the cabinets were to be installed the next morning! (A huge thanks to my bestie Linda for helping me tackle this job while Phil was in class. Press on soldier! :) You can see my test swatches in the photo above. We ended up going with the middle swatch, Behr Ultra Premium Plus Flat/Matte in Roman Plaster.

    Sorry for the dark photo. It was early in the morning and I only had a quick moment to snap a picture before the installers got started. Up next, the cabinets and countertops!

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    About This Blog

    Two newlywed's adventures in home renovations, traveling and experiencing life together.

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