Fire it up!

Been a long time since I’ve posted, huh?  I last posted back in…oh, look at that, JULY.  And here it is, January.  Oops.  I have so many reasons but those are really just excuses, right?

It’s been a fun summer-into-fall-into-winter around here.  The biggest event cooking-wise, though, that will mark the winter of 2019 for years to come, will be the kitchen fire we had behind our oven.  Please note, we are all safe, it was not that scary when it was happening, and we are so lucky that we live where we do (extremely fast fire response) and that we were working with the companies that we were.

We took advantage of an energy assessment that our state provides for free and which then offers discounts and rebates if you make the changes in your house that they recommend.  One of these recommendations was to insulate our house with the stuff that they spray into the walls.  This seemed like a fine idea so we went ahead and did it.

After day one, half of the house was done and we were scheduling the second day.  We decided that we should clean our ovens, since they were a little dusty from the insulation.  After about an hour, I smelled something burning.  I turned off the ovens but they were smoking and I could still smell the burning.  I called the non-emergency line for our local fire department and described what was happening.  I couldn’t see flames or fire — it was just a lot of smoke.

side of oven in wall

Within minutes, five fire trucks had arrived.  They came in, investigated, and put out the fire that was happening behind our oven where a whole mass of insulation had fallen between the oven and the walls due to a hole over the oven that no one knew was there.

insulation behind oven copy

At one point there were more than 15 firefighters hanging around in my kitchen.  I chatted with a number of them and we figured out who we knew in common (since they all seemed to be local).

figherfighters in kitchen

They removed my oven and cleaned up, after opening up the wall to make sure the fire was completely out.

hole in wall


In the end, the owner of the insulation company took responsibility for all of it, bought us a new oven, installed it, and finished the house insulation, complete with patching and painting the holes left on the inside walls.  He was fantastic and if anyone local needs insulation, please let me know- I’ll pass along his information.

We joke now about what else we could set fire to in order to get it replaced.  I mean, maybe we want a new fridge?

All of this took time so I spent several weeks without an oven.  I didn’t think this would really be a hardship until I realized just how often I use an oven.  I roast veggies, cook chicken, bake bread, heat up pizza, make sheet pan suppers, and bake cookies.  It was a lot harder to meal plan than I thought it would be.  Nonetheless, we managed just fine.

Over the holidays, we bought ready-made cookies and decorated them.


Our annual “feast of the seven fishes” didn’t require an oven, just a kitchen torch to toast the “scallop.”


We celebrated the release of the last star wars movie by watching the previous one at home before we went to see the newest one in theaters.  And of course needed Star Wars themed snacks (which did not need an oven!).


I really missed my oven, though.  But this week?  Well, let me just show you….

new oven closednew oven open

We all had a discussion about what we needed to bake first, to break in the ovens.  Micah wanted cake and cupcakes.  Grace wanted steak.  Andrew wanted roasted veggies.  I just wanted to use it, for anything.  One of my dearest friends who has been staying with us asked for cinnamon rolls and that was the winner- everyone else agreed immediately that cinnamon rolls were the right call.

I used this recipe from JoyFoodSunshine.  It’s very detailed and easy to follow.   I made the dough yesterday. I didn’t judge my counter space well and ended up with a somewhat uneven rectangle to fill.


It rolled up well, though I should have rolled it a bit more tightly.


But it made very pretty pinwheels.


This morning I took them out and let them rise a little more (using the proofing setting in my new oven!) and then baked them while I made the frosting.  They were really pretty before I frosted them but of course I didn’t take a photo.  I did after frosting them.



They were really gooey and sweet and not at all dry.  The frosting was sweet but not cloyingly so, and the dough was tender and soft.



We also made cookies because, well, we have an oven.  They were also delicious.


Up this week is an all oven, all week menu:  Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas, Broccoli Melts, Mole Enchiladas, and roasted veggie bowls.  We can’t wait. Maybe I’ll even remember to photograph and post.  I mean, stranger things have happened.

Meanwhile, be safe!  Check for holes in your cabinetry before you insulate and always call the fire department when you’re concerned, just in case.