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Summer 2019 Newsletter – Remodeling Tips

Creamy Pecan Pralines Recipe – Erich’s Kitchen

I got this recipe when taking a cooking class at Casa Pelican in NOLA. What I have altered from their recipe is using Steen’s pure cane syrup and the amount of pecan halves. This recipe is easy to make but there is no time for distractions once you add the pecans and stir to combine. You must get the mixture out of the pot fast, but not too soon. When we talk about the mixture losing the gloss that’s when you must hurry to get the mixture out of the pot. You have about 1 minute to make this happen before the mixture will set in the pot.

A second set of hands to help with this process is a good idea. This recipe yields candy shop quality pralines. ENJOY!!


  • 2-1/4 cups pecan halves and pieces
  • 3 cups of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • 1⁄4 cup of butter
  • 2 tablespoons Steen’s pure Cane syrup or light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Wax paper
  • Candy thermometer


  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Bake pecans in a single layer for 8-10 minutes, let them cool completely
  3. In a heavy bottom pot, heat the sugar, cream, butter, and syrup stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil and boil until the candy thermometer registers 236 degrees (softball stage). Remove from the heat and let cool to 150 degrees.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and pecan halves and pieces and stir or beat until the mixture loses its gloss.
  5. Quickly scoop and drop heaping spoonful’s onto the wax paper. Let them set and cool at room temperature

Washington Township Kitchen Remodel

Our client has a very impressive home with contemporary lines, and spacious rooms. They love to entertain but the one area of the house that was lacking was the “wow” factor in the kitchen.

For the size of the house, the kitchen was under scaled and closed-in. Our objective was to open the kitchen up to the dining room, raise the ceiling in the breakfast room to match the vault in the kitchen, and open the bar area to the living room. All of these objectives would allow for easier entertaining and better flow to the public spaces.

The existing kitchen was efficient, but it was tight if there was more than one cook. But, the homeowner always worried about cooking around a crowd because the cook top wasn’t far from the general walkway. Moving the doorway and walkway approximately 36” gave us more room to expand the island.

After the kitchen remodel, the new kitchen was brighter, felt more spacious, and was much more updated. Our designer, Beth Spegal made a huge impact with material selections. Oversized subway tile, lighter Cambria countertops, and rich, wood floors make this room the stunning space that it is.

Raising a ceiling can visually open up the space and make a room feel so much larger. We added a window to match the other side of the loft and bring in more natural light.

A new, flat screen TV and buffet area kept the contemporary feel while giving them some storage and a place for serving food when gathering smaller crowds. Additionally, it was also an opportunity to make the cabinets feel more like a piece of furniture by changing the finish from the rest of the kitchen.

The new open design allowed for better traffic flow through the kitchen, to the dining room, and around to the bar. Guests could be closer to the action in the kitchen but still remain out of the way.

The bar area was already organized and a fantastic space for any serious entertainer. The problem was that the beverage cooler was in the kitchen and not in the bar. We incorporated a wine cooler in the upper area of an old closet and a Subzero refrigerator drawer appliance below it. The bar now allows for all drinks and cocktails, no matter your taste, to be orchestrated from this spot and away from the food preparation.

The homeowner wanted one final change to the bar area and that was to open it up more to the living room. Because of the framing of the loft, it was decided to create a pass-through between the two spaces. This was the most cost effective way to create a ledge for the guests to stand at and visit, and for us to properly support the load above.

This kitchen remodel changed the way the entire area functioned for our clients. Entertaining was easy and the three public spaces flowed much easier now. It was a challenging, fun, and beautiful project. Ultimately, the kitchen became brighter and far more open than they could have ever imagined was possible.

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