Kitchen Lab – Chicago

Easy Microwave Popcorn (Brown Bag Popcorn)

Microwave Popcorn is the best snack to enjoy while watching a movie. A football match is also enjoyed with a bag of popcorn that is easy to make and eat.


  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels (Trader Joe’s sells large bags of organic kernels for $1.99!)
  • 1 – 2 TBSP melted butter, optional
  • Salt, optional (I like using fine sea salt)


Add 1/4 cup popcorn kernels to a brown paper bag.  Fold the top of the bag over 2 – 3 times to close (do not staple or otherwise secure your bag – folding is all you need).  *Edited to add: Make sure to keep the kernels as flat as possible in the bottom of the bag.  If the kernels are “piled” on top of each other, they’re more likely to turn into burnt clumps!*  Place in the microwave with the folded top facing the top of your microwave (the bag is “standing up” with the bottom of the bag on the bottom of the microwave) for 1.5 – 2 minutes.**  Don’t worry if your bag falls over while the popcorn is popping – it’ll be fine!

Once the popcorn is popped, melt 1 – 2 TBSP butter (if desired) in a small bowl in the microwave for 10 – 15 seconds.  Drizzle melted butter onto popcorn while it’s still in the brown bag.  Sprinkle with salt, if desired.  Close the brown bag and shake, shake, shake until the butter and salt are evenly distributed.  Pour into a bowl and enjoy!  (If there’s not enough room in the brown bag once the popcorn is popped, just pour into a bowl and drizzle with butter/salt).

If you want a little flavor without the butter, you can coat the popcorn kernels in 1/2 tsp vegetable oil before putting them in the brown bag to pop.  There are also all sorts of toppings you can put on popcorn (here are 50!).  I love basic buttered popcorn, but feel free to get creative and make this your own!

**All microwaves are different, so please listen to your popcorn… when the popping slows/stops, it’s done!

If you have any doubts or want me to share more such quick recipes you must share your reviews here.

Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

If you are looking for the perfect breakfast snack, today I will share with you the Oatmeal Muffins recipe.

Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins


  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup good chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with foil liners (use foil, not paper liners, if you plan to freeze).(The key to this recipe – don’t skip this step!)
  2. Add oats to a bowl with 1/2 cup of the almond milk and allow the oats to soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (10 minutes or so).  This softens the oats and gives the muffins great texture.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and butter together until combined.  Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and mix (I find this easiest with a firm rubber spatula).
  4. Add the oat mixture and the remaining milk and stir to combine.  Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped pecans.
  5. Fill the lined muffin tin using a 1/4 cup measuring spoon (the batter will be pretty thick, which is why the measuring spoon is helpful).  If desired, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with cinnamon sugar.
  6. Bake 18 – 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy! This tastes better with the grind coffee, you must try if you are a coffee lover.


Most professionals will admit that doing things for themselves is so hard. It’s been a long haul, but we’re finally (almost) done. I’m sure a few of you will be amused that we painted the kitchen cabinets twice…I was sick of white, but the dark gray didn’t cut it in our little farmhouse. So, last weekend I painted the cabinets (to my husband’s dismay) the same color as the pantry cabinet – Benjamin Moore’s Coastal Fog. It’s a subtle green-gray that works with the floor.

Designer Room

What was paralyzing is that we were looking for something fresh and different, and ideally I would have loved to have changed the floor to some sort of graphic concrete tile, but there was no way that was going to happen. We’re so glad our new range from BlueStar inspired the kitchen facelift, despite the fact that it was a 6-month project. Ah, when you do things for yourself…I’m so much more decisive for clients.

I’ve already heard some criticism about how close the range is to the wall – but the truth is…it works great for us. In restaurants, ranges are often freestanding without counter space, and in this case, being able to move from a 30″ range to a 48″ range has given us a ton more counter space…ON the range top surface, which is awesome. We love our Prizer hood in the same enamel finish as the range! Couldn’t be happier with how it’s all turned out. A few more small projects like adding the new toekick, tiling the back wall of the coffee center, refinishing the counter stools and changing out the pendants, and we’re done. For now.


Below is what the kitchen looked like when we originally renovated the farmhouse 8 years ago.

Dark Space

And this was our first pass at the facelift – painted the cabinets gray… Love the gray, but not on wall cabinets. Too dark and heavy for space. If you liked the designer view and even want to promote your designs on our website you must fill the form here.


So many people think they can’t get happiness or serenity in their kitchen until they remodel, and don’t get me wrong, a remodel forces you to purge and rethink. But if you don’t have the luxury of a remodel in your future, there are small changes you can make that will hugely impact your day to day experience and sanity in your kitchen.


First off, so many of us inherit our kitchens – cabinets, appliances, layout, etc. I tell clients all the time – it’s amazing what a few extra shelves in a cabinet will do! Analyze your cabinets – where could things be better placed?

Do you have dead-space above your dishes or coffee mugs? If so, add shelves. Could your pantry be organized by the height of good rather than willy-nilly? Is there a blank wall for hooks or shallow shelves or a pot rack?

Will utensil bars on your backsplash clear up counter clutter? Can you retrofit a pullout garbage can or roll out shelves in a useless base cabinet?

Rethink organization in your kitchen and you might just find some sort of inner peace – at least in this one room!

If you want to know more about the tips and tricks for your kitchen you must contact us here.

How to grind coffee

Once you own a grinder, you will realize that grinding coffee beans is not only easy but quite rewarding too. You can adjust the grind settings and get the desired type of ground coffee without losing its aroma or flavor which is often something that most users complain about in pre-packaged ground coffee. You might be thinking that it is time-consuming and would be too complicated to perform but in fact, it couldn’t be any easier.

Want to know how you can grind your coffee beans at home? Here you can find best grind and brew coffee machines. Then just follow our advice and you would be able to use fresh ground coffee for your brew from now on.

Steps Involved:

  1. The first step towards grinding your own coffee beans would be to determine the type of grinder you will need to match your coffee maker. You would need to choose an appropriate grinder depending on the type of coffee you want to make. You have three types of grinders to choose from: hand grinder, blade grinder, and a burr grinder.

Blade Grinder:

If you want your coffee grinds to be coarse, medium coarse, very coarse, or medium, then you need to choose a blade grinder for yourself. This type of grinder is perfect for making drip coffees, French press, and cold brews. In this type of coffee grinder, you put the coffee beans in the top reservoir and then press down on its lid to make the blades move and chop up the coffee beans into smaller pieces.

Burr Grinder:

This type of grinder is effective in producing medium fine, fine and very finely ground coffee and is ideal for making an Espresso or a Turkish coffee. This type of grinder can provide you an even and finely ground coffee and tend to be a little more expensive than the blade grinders.

Hand Grinder:

The last but not the least, a hand grinder is ideal for all those people who don’t mind a little effort and want to buy a cheap grinder for themselves. In this type of grinder, you load the coffee beans into the canister and then rotate the handle so that the burrs move inside the grinder. Drip coffee makers are really good, you can check best drip coffee machines under 600.

1. Once you have decided on a grinder for yourself and bought it finally for your home, you need to ensure that you don’t grind coffee one week before the brew. Make sure you grind your coffee fresh and use it immediately as this helps in retaining the aroma of the coffee.

2. Now, you need to measure out your coffee beans for the grind. You might need to experiment a little depending on the coffee maker or the grinder but usually, 2 tablespoons of coffee beans are ideal for a cup of coffee.

3. Now, once you have measured out your coffee beans, you need to pour them into the canister or the reservoir which would be located on the top of the grinder. In the case of a burr grinder, you would just need to shut the lid and choose a grind setting and it will grind the coffee beans itself. For a blade grinder, you would need to press down on the lid and shake the grinder in between to get an evenly ground coffee. In the case of a hand grinder, you would need to pump the handle for the blade to move inside and grind the beans.

How to build your own kitchen island

Do you want your own Kitchen Island to stock up all your ingredients and experiment with and when you want without any hassle? Well, not to worry anymore, you can easily set up your own Kitchen Island space with just a few items and make a haven for yourself.

You can create extra space and counters for your dishes and storage without spending any extra money. All you need is old stock cabinets or dressing tables.

Things you will need to build your own kitchen:

  • Old dressers or stock cabinets
  • Wood pieces
  • Screws
  • Paint
  • Wood stakes
  • Wood glue
  • Nails
  • Screwdrivers
  • Wood trim tape
  • Paint brushes

Steps to follow:

Prepare your dressing table or stock cabinet

If you are using your old dressing table or stock cabinet to make the kitchen island, then first you need to remove all the drawers and trims.

Once you are done, you need to smoothen the interiors with the use of sandpaper and then paint the interiors of the table. You can also paint the top of the table if you want.

Adding the trim tape

Now, you can add color to the wooden board you will be using as the island top but before that, you need to apply the wood trim tape to the edges of the board.

Once you have applied it, stick it with the heat of an iron and then apply stain to the wood with the help of brushes. Let it dry and finish with a coat of Varathane.

Cover your outer surface with a wallpaper

Get a suitable bead board wallpaper and use it to cover the three exterior surfaces of the dresser. Make sure that you apply it properly and only after reading the instructions thoroughly.

Then give some time to the paper to dry and if you have colored your interiors with something other than white, you might want to paint your wallpaper with the same color too.

Attach the top counter

Now time to attach the wooden board to your dresser top surface and make your island countertop. You will need to use glue to perform this task and make sure you let the wooden board hang over the back side of the cabinet so that you can place stools and chairs under that.

You will also be able to use your overhang part as a dessert bar or a breakfast bar. Use generous amounts of glue, you don’t want your kitchen island top to be falling down under a little pressure.

Fit your shelves and put the final touches

Now you can make shelves under your island top with the help of mounts and make sure that you position your first mount 3-inches from the left of the cabinet and your second mount 3-inches from the right of the cabinet and then use screws and screwdrivers to keep them in place.

Once that is done, you can put back the top drawers inside the cabinet and you can place your basket organizers on the new shelves. Your new Kitchen island storage space is ready to use now!

And if that wasn’t enough here’s how to make a movable one

If you want to share your suggestions regarding, how you can build an effective kitchen island share with us here.