Your FIRST look at my new kitchen in Canadian Living Magazine.

The last time I was this excited over something it was covered in gravy.

Here’s your first glimpse of me in my new kitchen.



The October issue of Canadian Living magazine is on stands now!  And if it’s not where you are in Canada it will be in the next day or two.  I know.  It’s September.  Early September at that.  But that’s the way magazine work and since it gives  us all a chance to see my kitchen in print a month earlier than I thought I’m O.K. with it.

And yes.  That is my dear little Cuddles sharing the spotlight with me.  When Cuddles came close to dying a few weeks ago I thought … I won’t even be able to open the magazine.  It would be too much to bear.  But that little Cuddles made it through her mystery illness and lived to see her magazine debut.

To recap:

In March of 2013 I decided to rip up my horrific kitchen floor and install VCT tiles.  Black and white check.  While the floor was up, I decided it would be stupid not to install heated floors while I was at it.  With such a good lookin’ floor I was suddenly embarrassed about my sink.  Why had I never noticed the horror that was my sink?  I should get a new sink.  That one from Ikea with the apron front.

Only the sink didn’t fit because my counters weren’t deep enough.  I could maybe get new counters to accommodate the new sink so as not to embarrass my floors.  Floors are very sensitive that way.  Everyone knows that.

Cut to a year later, my entire kitchen is ripped out, a new ceiling is going in, cupboards are being hoisted over fences, the fella has left and I’m pooping in a bucket.


How did THIS happen?

I’ll tell you how it happened.  I’m like you, you’re like me, we’re all nuts.  And that’s O.K.  That’s how it goes in this world and the people who aren’t nuts are boring.

I lived through a kitchen renovation and even though people told me I was going to forget all about how gross it was once I had my new kitchen I didn’t believe them. In fact I pretty much silently cursed those people until I started cursing them out loud.  With big, new curse words that only a kitchen renovation can pull out of you.  But they were right.  I don’t remember any of the pain and every time I walk into my kitchen I still gasp and sigh and smile.  Then I cook something and leave the dishes to clean up in a week or so.

When I realized this tiny little kitchen update was actually going to turn into a  full blown renovation I emailed someone I knew at Canadian Living.  Brett Walther was someone who I worked with when a different magazine shot my house a few years ago. I told him what I was doing and asked if he’d be interested in featuring it in the magazine.

He said yes. I said good. He told me I couldn’t show my kitchen until it was released in the magazine, I said bad.  But agreed, because I could understand his point.  Canadian Living wanted the big reveal to be in their magazine.  Who could blame them.  The only problem was I couldn’t take any pictures, or do any posts or videos that revealed my kitchen for a year.  A YEAR.

That year is up. I still can’t show you my kitchen but I CAN soon because the Canadian Living article is out now.  


  1. Linda G says:

    I don’t like gravy, but that leaves more for you! Right, ol’ buddy? You and Cuddles look gorgeous as always in your kitchen. I’m a bit curious about everything BUT the sink in the title, since you did change it. Perhaps I’ll receive my own copy and find out how they tie it all together.

    Will you autograph the magazine for the winners?

    • Karen says:

      Hmm. I hadn’t really thought about that Linda G., but your the second or third person who has asked that. I might be able to work it out, but the problem is the magazines will be shipped from Canadian Living as they’re the ones providing the magazines and footing the shipping bill! So it might be hard to do. :/ ~ karen!

  2. Mel says:

    How fabulous you are in that dress! So coordinated with your gorgeous kitchen, and of course Cuddles steals the show. Tsk. The worst “gravy” I’ve ever had was once upon a time, ten years ago. The Jones Soda people made a limited edition package of “Thanksgiving dinner” flavored sodas. My college friend Max got his hands on a set of them, and rounded up me & several other friends to share the experience. We each had about a half-shot glass full per flavor. Cranberry was tolerable; turkey & gravy soda was just as gawd-awful as you can imagine. I adore your blog, am so thrilled for Cuddles, and live in California and would thus love to be a prize-winning recipient of the magazine!

  3. Susan says:

    I love gravy.
    My parent’s first fight was over whether to add water or milk to the gravy.

  4. Jean says:

    I’ve been telling my neighbor’s chickens about Cuddles. Betty White and Dixie aren’t the least bit interested, but Whoopi was devastated to hear of her troubles. Whoopi has troubles of her own. She’s low man (or chicken) on the totem pole and suffers greatly under the pecks of the rest of the clan. So what does this have to do with gravy? Well, I could have sworn that Whoopi squawked the word “gravy” the other day. It wasn’t clear to others, but I am a retired speech therapist and I know “gravy” when I hear it.
    And then of course, reality struck…maybe I was just fantasizing gravy…a not so seldom occurrence I might add. It began shortly after my kitchen renovation just two years ago. But unlike other sufferers, I left my home in Northern California and spent the whole time in Calgary with friends. Smart, eh?

  5. Chana says:

    *vomit I hope I get mag! I want to steal your kitchen ideas! Muahahahaha

  6. Lisa says:

    Yay for gravy! One of the best parts of Thanksgiving, we think.

    I’m actually the one in charge of making the gravy for our family meal. These days I make two kinds – regular turkey, and a pretty darn good vegetarian gravy. Last year I pulled off a real coup – one of the guests was vegan and I adapted my vegetarian gravy to match her diet.

  7. Amanda Renea says:

    Who doesn’t like gravy??? I *love* it so much. All kinds on all things. As for the kitchen, I can’t wait to see it! Preferably a picture of you eating/cooking gravy in it!

  8. Chana says:

    I LOVE gravy! It’s good on chicken, turkey, brisket, biscuits, Triscuits OH MY! I have no thriller diller to share. However, I DO suggest you master making gravy on your own. Before I took the Kosher route, I loved chicken fried steak with white gravy which had bits of sausage in it with a distinct high note of pepper. I couldn’t afford to eat this every weekend at the restaurant so I found a packet of this exact gravy in the grocery store. How happylicious was I!!! That Sunday I rustled up some chicken fried steak and made the gravy. BALEEEECH!
    it tasted like Milk O Magnesia with vomit stirred in. Accchhhhh ach ach. wipe the tongue, wipe the tongue, dry heave! Go online, watch food channels, scour Pinterest, learn the rue and you will rue-le! No powdered vonit allowed. :)

  9. Kristy says:

    A free magazine is totally worth my first post here!
    I love your dress and Cuddles is absolutely adorable. Really, that’s the truth. Not sucking up.

    Now about gravy, I don’t think I’ve ever had a real gravy. I’ve had something that my former in-laws insisted was gravy but was actually closer to turkey-scented school paste. I had an aunt that would make gravy that I loved, though I don’t think most people would agree that it was gravy. It was usually meat drippings with a little corn starch to “thicken” it…though it never got thick. When warm it was always sort of runny, yet salty, peppery and delicious. When refrigerated it formed a gelatinous mass that may very well have been motile (I’m thinking pseudopods were involved). I swear nothing is more delicious than brisket gravy on mashed potatoes. Which could be something you could do with your 100 lbs of potatoes. :)

  10. Erika Serodio says:

    I became a vegetarian a few years back, and I love it. But I have and always will stand by my one exception – gravy. I could not imagine my life without the sinfully wonderful delicacy of delightfully crispy fries smothered in melty cheese curds and gravy!

    Also, I’ve been waiting for your kitchen for so long! Emailed you this week asking about it. I can’t wait to get my hands on the magazine!

  11. Andrea says:

    Hate gravy, but am fully prepared to love your new kitchen. And am delighted to hear Cuddles is doing so, so well. You’re a wonderful chicken mama!

  12. Leslie Zuroski says:

    Crap, once again I am last in a long list of comments, so why bother? Anyhow, my gravy story is how I learned to appreciate the art of making gravy while I was fool enough to be volunteer chairperson of a huge church festival dinner. We fed 1,800 people in 6 hours & started prepping for it 3 moths in advance. There was one lovely senior lady who came in to make all of the gravy for the dinner. She made a big deal about how ‘Leslie, really now, this all I do for the festival, period’. But her gravy was amazing. And in fact days before other church ladies made homemade chicken broth for the gravy by pressure cooking “old hens” with water, salt, pepper, and celery tops. Ah yes, those were the days. The 1990s, when we still made stuff from scratch and didn’t think it was unusual.

    • Karen says:

      Hah! The good ‘ole 90’s. And don’t worry about being later in the comments. EVERYONE reads all the comments! ~ karen

      • Nancy says:

        Yep, I’m reading it now.
        I loved church dinners and the good cooking from all those church ladies, all from scratch!

  13. Marsha Jean says:

    I LOVE gravy, and unfortunately for way too many years(translated into pounds), gravy loved me…mostly my hips and thighs. When our girls were younger and visiting their great-grandmother one summer, I got a panicked call from said grandmother asking me what was wrong with my daughters…they wouldn’t eat gravy on the rice she’d prepared for dinner!!! After I calmed granny down with a few compliments on her wonderful cooking, I tried explaining to her that we only have gravy at Thanksgiving(a must have as far as I’m concerned), I don’t cook it the rest of the year because we don’t need the fat/calories, and the girls don’t care for gravy on their rice or potatoes…after grandma calmed down and declared me insane for not insisting they eat gravy on everything, I pointed out that they eat almost any vegetable, salads, and most everything else put on the table…unlike their cousins who lived right across the street from grandma! Point well made…no more worries on that subject. Do you want to hear her reaction when at age 4 one of the girls came out of the bathtub saying something about her “bagina” and we almost had to chase granny’s dentures skittering down the hallway?

  14. Lora says:

    I love Gravy but my 40 year old body doesn’t. I also love how you look in all your posts esp this dress. I am happy to here Cuddles is ok. Yes I have been stalking you for about a year… LOL I have wanted to comment many times but I am shy even in print, maybe thats why all my animals love me so. Thank you for all your hard work!

  15. Jennifer says:

    Yes, I like gravy. I don’t love it. I love coffee and local beer and bacon and truffle mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs with chives and good cheese…

    My mom and dad (80 and 79 years 0ld) still cook Sunday dinner for our extended family every Sunday. My dad has made me the official gravy stirrer. He has a special flat whisk for non-stick pans that works great. I usually get there after it’s already cooking, so I still don’t know how to cook it from scratch.

    You and Cuddles do look great! I love the counter-sitting pose. Counter-sitting is highly underrated.

  16. Terri says:

    You and Cuddles are adorable. I love your dress. You look so classy!!!

    I HATE gravy. My mom made the lumpiest, bland gravy, growing up. I like my potatoes with garlic and butter. Yum!

    Please send me a magazine. It will be the only thing I have ever won in my very long life. Thanks!

  17. Sarah says:

    Of course I like gravy! And of course you and Cuddles look adorable in that fabulous kitchen! I would like to see the rest of the kitchen in that glossy magazine spread, please.

  18. JOAN LOFTON says:

    I really can take it or leave it, gravy that is. The fella I married 63 yrs. ago LOVES GRAVY. I hated to see anyone just whip of gravy when mine was never more than yuck. Well, the old story of practice makes perfect, does prove true. I do NOW make DELICIOUS GRAVY and my fella never strays for lack of gravy. ……..

    I want to see your kitchen! you did a huge amount of good ole hard work!!!!Hurray for YOU!!!!!!!!

  19. Tracy says:

    Gravy……… brown gravy, white gravy, sausage gravy, thin gravy, thick gravy – love any and all kinds of gravy! Congrats on your kitchen’s magazine debut! :)

  20. Judy Okey says:

    Gravy makes everything good, especially white gravy!

  21. Kimberly Miner says:

    I freaking love gravy. Whenever I do a roast of any sort, I always make sure I have some stock to make a gravy. I don’t care if it adds eleventy billion calories, I need some gravy on me meats. Oh and by the way, you completely renovating your entire kitchen, especially during a turbulent time in your life, is absolutely inspiring and kick ass.

  22. Becky says:

    I can make a pretty good gravy myself… but, I’m not all that crazy about eating it…. but I good white sauce will make me secretly lick the plate. Does that count?

    That’s a fantastic dress. But why did they cut off your feet? I can’t oooh and aaah over your shoes when they cut off your feet!!!
    I can’t wait to see the whole kitchen…. when I win, will you autograph the magazine? How about a cuddles footprint? Dip her foot on an ink pad and stamp a page.

  23. SusanR says:

    I make killer vegetarian mushroom gravy. It’s great on egg noodles. Maybe throw in some peas, carrots and tuna. Yum!
    Karen, you look like a real grown-up in the photo; a glamorous, sophisticated babe! Very nice. And Cuddles in your arms is the frosting on the sophistication cake! Genius!
    The counters and lamp are making me jealous! Sigh.

  24. Twyla Powell Harkey says:

    I love CHOCOLATE gravy on homemade biscuits!!!
    You and Cuddles look totally amazing in you brand spanking new kitchen!!!!
    I just love it!!!!!

  25. Judy Santiago says:

    First of all I LOVE GRAVY!!!
    Many years ago when my girls were teenagers they decided they wanted to make gravy so they asked me how to make it. After explaining to them about making a rue and then adding liquid, etc. they convinced me that they could do it and to go off and leave them alone. Then when they realized that there wasn’t enough flour in the house they went next door and borrowed some cornstarch and added that to the mix, leaving the wooden spoon in the pot and stirring it now and then. They then proceeded to cook the rest of their meal and when everything was ready and they reached for the spoon to put some gravy on their meat the spoon was stuck and the whole pot of gravy, with the spoon stuck in the middle, came out of the pot like a popsickle on a stick. Obviously way to much cornstarch was added and their laughter shook the house – we still joke about their gravy to this day. p.s. – I live in the San Francisco bay area, love your blog and can’t wait to read it every day. Thanks…

  26. Lily says:

    Oh yes. Gravy.

    And the magazine. And the kitchen.

    But the gravy.

  27. Grammy says:

    Of course I love gravy. I have a sister-in-law who loves it, too, but cannot learn how to make it. At least she claims not to be able to.

    So, when she has Thanksgiving at her house she does most things perfectly and presents them in a beautiful way, but she just stands there a few minutes before dinner is served and looks at the turkey roasting pan and says some profoundly stupid thing so that I and another sister-in-law leap into action, grabbing spoons and looking for the flour and double-teaming that roaster and it’s drippings until there is a collective cheer that “Gravy’s ready!” gets everyone seated and smiling and slopping gravy on everything on their plate. I think a couple of people just spoon gravy on the plate and pretend there’s other food under it.

    This is a long-standing family tradition. At least I know someone will miss me when I’m gone.

  28. Dawn says:

    I adore gravy, especially my mother-in-law’s HAM GRAVY! I had never conceived of such a thing. In fact, that gravy may have played a part in marrying the guy. If you have never tried it, you should. It is a perception altering experience.

  29. Olivia says:

    Yes, I like gravy ! It’s essential for a great turkey dinner .

  30. Deb says:

    I would love a copy! My mother was raised in a household where cooks did the cooking, so she never got hold of the skills herself. So my first encounter with gravy was in a school cafeteria. Which is why I never can eat it now, despite the tearful pleading of my family. The rumor is that my husband’s is the best gravy in the south, but I will never know….

  31. Paula Smith says:

    I lurv gravy! Lurv, lurv, lurv it!!!! My gravy story goes like this….my family and I were visiting with my grandparents for a holiday dinner of turkey, GRAVY, and all the yumminess that goes along with it. My sister, who was five at the time, insisted she required no assistance to pass the very full, very hot gravy boat along to our uncle. Well, the gravy didn’t make the transfer as smoothly as she had intended landing on my grandma’s brand new, celery green dining room carpet. The family (and I mean ALL the family) still talk about the great gravy incident of 1977! Gravy is some serious business with my people. BTW my sister is now 42 and finally finds the story funny; however, that took a long, long time.

  32. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Oh course I love gravy that’s why I’m fat…now give me the magazine!!!!!

  33. Ellen P says:

    Yes. .. Love gravy, but mostly I love roasted chicken or turkey gravy… only the homemade kind. I am actually quote good at making gravy, which has amazed many friends over the years.

  34. So one Christmas, I was slaving away in my 1950’s era kitchen, cranking out turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy – the whole nine yards. Thought I’d make the gravy EXTRA SMOOTH by pouring it into my handy dandy blender… which I did. Trouble is, I didn’t hold my hand down on the lid to make sure it stayed there. Ten seconds later – yes, it can happen that fast ;-) – gravy was in EVERY CREVICE OF MY KITCHEN, including all over my Pug, Oliver. And then, it was Oliver – I mean all over – ME. Yowsa.
    I re-named my kitchen “Gravy-ty” after the Sandra Bullock movie.

  35. Debbie says:

    Gravy is a lot like bacon……everything is better with it!

  36. Jamie Lynn says:

    mmmm…graaaavy…*drool* (a la Homer Simpson). I can’t think of any particular gravy stories. The kind I like best though is country gravy or chicken gravy or whatever you call it. White gravy. I put it on all the things. That stuff could make a flip flop taste good (though I haven’t yet tested that theory).

    I certainly hope that if I don’t win a copy of the mag that you will be able to show us pics on the blog eventually? Please don’t make me drive all the way to Canada to buy a magazine but I totally will because I’m dyyyyying to see the whole kitchen!

    You and Cuddles look super cute in the pic you posted! Love your dress! And really, really glad to hear that Cuddles is doing better. I never thought I’d cry reading about a sick chicken on a blog, but there’s a first time for everything.

  37. Pat says:

    Yes, I like gravy. With all due respect to Cuddles and company, here’s a gravy story…in the good old 60s and 70s, my mother in law used to make chicken giblets in gravy and serve them to her bro in law who swore he would never in his life eat chicken giblets. He loved that gravy which she told him contained mushrooms and NOT chicken gilblets. My husband, then a kid, says they used to laugh everytime this uncle came to visit and gobbled up the “mushroom” gravy which he raved about. Never told him he was eating chicken giblets.

    You look lovely on that mag. cover.

  38. Auntiepatch says:

    My mother was the gravy queen. Chicken gravy on mashed potatoes, pepper gravy on steak, tomato gravy on Salisbury steak, and country style on anything. She was known for her gravy and she always put whatever gravy we were eating on the dogs’ food. They had the glossiest coats you ever saw. And they always had a smile on their faces. Just like us!

  39. Dieu says:

    I don’t really care for gravy. It’s not something I grew up with, coming from a family that was more stir-fry than pot roast…

  40. Dana says:

    I love gravy, especially the vegan gravy from the Naam restaurant in Vancouver. Damn, now I want poutine!

  41. Debbie from Illinois says:

    Yup, I love gravy! When I was a newlywed I made roast beef for dinner and I used a jar of gravy with some of the pan drippings mixed in. My husband was really impressed because he said it was better than his mom’s. It was too funny.

  42. Vanessa Gillespie says:

    Growing up the only time we had gravy was at Thanksgiving. But when I grew up, I married a man from the Midwest. I had to learn how to make gravy, from scratch. I’ll admit it took some time to master. But it is awesome!

  43. Laurie says:

    Certain kinds of gravy, yes.

  44. Kailee H. says:

    Um I’m currently stuffing my face with fries dipped in gravy… How serendipitous!

  45. Jessica Rippy says:

    Love some good ‘ole Southern gravy!! And would love a copy of Canadian Living!

  46. Alicia says:

    I like gravy. Not country gravy though…it looks gross to me and I can’t do it.

    My dad always tells a story of his younger sister (my Aunt Patty) asking for gravy in the following manner: “Gots any gravy, please?” when she was little. That’s my only gravy story except that I’m pretty good at making gravy.

  47. Jordan Lodoen says:

    I love gravy! I especially love gravy when I lick it out of my moustache later in the evening.
    P.s. I am not an old man, I am a gay, 31 year old man with a beard. For the record.

    • michele says:

      gay man is fine with me.

      I was just grateful that you did not “PS” that you are a woman!!!

    • Pat says:

      Licking gravy out of your moustache later is better than pooping in a bucket. WTF indeed. Did she explain that? I missed why she slipped that in there. Canadian Living pissed me off a couple of years ago when then screwed up my subscription, so I have been ignoring the mountain of mail from them with subscription deals. BUT FOR KAREN I’ll make the trek to Shopper’s DM and buy a copy. ‘Cause we love her.

  48. Monica says:

    Mmmmmm, gravy!

  49. Missnicoleo says:

    My boyfriend loves gravy so I bought him gravy candy canes for Christmas. They really tasted exactly like gravy. It was beyond gross.

  50. Dani says:

    Yes, I love gravy — my preference is Pepper Gravy!

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