Monthly Archives: May 2013

Meet My New Kitchen

Okay, so here goes. Our kitchen remodel. We didn’t have a huge budget, and we didn’t want to do anything drastic. Just wanted some updating, and anything we could do to make it feel more luxurious, clean, bright, and open. I have a small, galley-style kitchen, so anything that could be done to make it feel more spacious is a plus. All I really knew going into this was that I wanted granite countertops. But after some consulting, we opted to paint the cabinets, replace the countertops (adding a bar area, which I’ll show in a bit), and install a backsplash. There will be more renovations in the future (I want a new light fixture, for instance), but the majority of the work is complete. So without further adieu, here we go!

THE BEFORE PICTURES:  

As I mentioned before, the kitchen is galley style. The cabinets were a warm oak stain (which goes with NOTHING in the house – most everything I have is either black, dark, or cherry stain), and the countertops were a cream-colored laminate – something I strongly dislike for the sheer fact that I was constantly having to apply bleach because I’d stain it with things like turmeric or beet juice. Here is the side of the kitchen with the stove.

And if you turn around 180 degrees, you’ll see the side with the sink, dishwasher, and an open ledge area that opens into our living room. That ledge was kind of annoying. It wasn’t wide enough to be considered a bar, so we couldn’t sit and eat there. It basically was just a good place to stash stuff. I typically had a few baskets of vegetables, plus other random things that somehow didn’t have a home. It collected clutter. I hate clutter.

Here it is from the other end. See, not a lot of space. That’s my huge spice rack in the foreground, and yep, that’s a moving doggie butt at the bottom left. Also at the other end of the kitchen is our breakfast table, covered in stuff (I’d just removed everything from all of the cabinets, so other parts of the house were starting to look like an episode of Hoarders). Please ignore the mess.

This is the view standing in the living room, looking into the kitchen. Again, there’s the weird, mostly useless ledge. And an ugly light fixture that we’ll someday replace. THE AFTER:

 All in all, this transformation took about a week. Which was AWESOME – I feel for all you people that spend months out of your kitchen. I am not sure I could manage. We emptied the kitchen on a Wednesday night. Thursday, they primed the cabinets. Friday, they painted. The following Tuesday, they installed the countertops (and that night, hubby installed the faucet, and we installed the new garbage disposal), and Wednesday they installed the backsplash. I did some paint touchup Thursday, and put everything back into the cabinets. It was a whirlwind affair, and I couldn’t be happier. Here it is:

Here is the stove side again. The cabinets are painted a Hazelnut Cream. The countertops are Ubatuba, which is a dark green granite. It really looks black, but I loved the subtle differences in colors. The backsplash is a mosaic mixture of glass and natural stone tiles.

Here’s the opposite side again. Notice the fancy new faucet, and the deeper sink? I am in love. The faucet has a pull-out sprayer, and I can fit the deepest pots and even my Vitamix blender in the sink without difficulty. I also feel like there’s more space (which is crazy). And oh, that backsplash. Love it. Also, you can see that we replaced the funky ledge with a bar.

Another view, this one from the living room looking in. There’s that bar we longed for. No longer is the ledge a semi-useless thing. We now have a decent-sized slab of granite on top, and can pull up a few barstools. People can actually sit there. We’ve since gotten rid of the barstools in this photo and replaced them with these, which take up less space and look sleeker, in my opinion. It’s a win for sure.

Overall, as I’ve expressed already, I couldn’t be happier. After all, I spend most of my “at home” time (well, the time I’m not sleeping) in the kitchen. We wanted it to be a beautiful space, and it is. It also feels cleaner and brighter, and I love that the counters wipe down so easily. There will still be some tweaks and improvements here and there, I’m sure, but the hard work is done.

So, there it is! What do you think? Have you ever gone through a kitchen remodel? Tell your stories!

Potato Biscuits

I love biscuits. Like, really, really love them. Let me count the ways: biscuits with butter, with jam, with gravy (especially a good Southern sausage gravy!), with fried chicken, or even for the making of a sausage biscuit sandwich…that’s just the beginning, I’m sure. But good, tender, moist biscuits are hard to come by, especially when one is gluten and dairy-free. So for us, biscuits are a special event.

What I do love about making gluten-free biscuits is that there isn’t that pesky gluten in there, making things tough and chewy. Makes for an easy time – you can’t accidentally overwork the dough. And when using potato flour, it seems there is no need for gums like guar or xanthan gum. It also makes the biscuits taste nice and potato-y; something I really enjoyed.

I do have to apologize to you, however. It seems I’ve been hoarding this recipe for a while now. I’ve had it tucked away for at least a year, digging it out once in a while, but I’ve never managed to get photos of these humble beauties. Well, my friends, there’s no time like the present. I hope you’ll make up for lost time by making these quite often. Grab yourself some potato flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill), so you’ll always have it on hand for a quick breakfast treat.

Print Recipe

Potato Biscuits (gluten-free, grain-free, vegan)

2/3 c potato flour (not potato starch)

1/3 c potato starch or tapioca starch

2 t baking powder

1/2 t kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

3 T coconut oil

2/3 c canned full-fat coconut milk

1 T chia seed meal (grind chia seeds in a coffee grinder)

1/2 t apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the potato flour, starch, baking powder and salt. With your fingers or with a fork, blend in the coconut oil until the mixture is crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, chia seed meal, and apple cider vinegar. Stir the coconut milk mixture into the flour mixture until combined and the dough comes together. It will be crumbly, but it should hold together. Using a 2 inch biscuit cutter, press a handful of dough into a circle to form a biscuit, pressing just firmly enough for the dough to hold together. (Alternatively, you can simply form rounds by hand.) Repeat with remaining dough. Sprinkle each biscuit with a pinch of kosher salt.

Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 biscuits.

Do you make breakfasts more often during the summer, when kids are home? What do you like to make? Share at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community!

This post is linked to Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free over at Gluten-Free Easily.

Gluten-Free, Vegan Macaroni and “Cheese”

Nailed it!

That’s totally what went through my head with this recipe. I told my husband last week that I was craving Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. (Doesn’t everyone have these random cravings for nostalgic, refined “crap” foods once in a while?) It’d been forever since I’d had anything close to macaroni and cheese, much less the “real” thing (Kraft or homemade). Last year around this time, I made a “cheesy” grain-free, vegan cauliflower and butternut dish that was a delicious swap for macaroni and cheese. But never had I attempted something that would really replace macaroni and cheese. I wanted, you know, noodles. With a creamy cheesy-like sauce.

So I went for it. I found some brown rice pasta that I enjoy. I grabbed a whole can of full-fat coconut milk, my good ol’ vegan cheesy standby – nutritional yeast – and a few other ingredients, and got to work. What resulted surprised me. It looked and felt very much like the cheese sauce you might find in a boxed macaroni and cheese. It was creamy. Smooth and rich. Orange, even. Only it tasted better. The flavors were more complex, but still cheesy, and still kid-friendly. My oldest son Matt, who really enjoys the simpler flavors of childhood days, commented that this was some good macaroni. (I hadn’t told him that it wasn’t “real” cheese until afterwards.) The kid in me could imagine some sliced up hot dogs thrown in. (My favorite meal when I was about five – no joke!)

Of course, if you want to elevate this to grown-up status, you could certainly put it in a baking dish, top it with some non-dairy shredded cheese, sprinkle some gluten-free breadcrumbs over, and bake for 20-30 minutes. It’d be amazing that way as well.

So embrace your childhood. Make some mac ‘n’ cheese today!

Print Recipe

Macaroni and “Cheese” (gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, nut-free)

1/4 c vegan butter or butter-flavored palm shortening

1/3 c chopped onion

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c potato starch

1 T lemon juice

1 14-oz can full-fat coconut milk

1/4 c nutritional yeast

2-3 T Dijon mustard

2 T tomato paste

1 t turmeric

Salt and pepper to taste

12 oz gluten-free pasta (I used Tinkyada), cooked according to directions on package

Smoked paprika, for sprinkling

Heat the vegan butter or shortening in a medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the potato starch and whisk in until thick. Add the lemon juice, coconut milk, and remaining ingredients and whisk in completely, and stir occasionally until the sauce bubbles. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Stir in cooked gluten-free pasta, and serve with smoked paprika sprinkled over.

Serves 4-6.

 

Swiss Chard with Orange and Pepitas

Earlier this month, we did some renovations to our kitchen. For about a week, I was kitchenless. As in, I couldn’t cook. There were even two days where we could barely get water from the fridge. (Seriously. We had to tear away some plastic sheeting to get to the water and ice, and if I wanted into our pantry, I had to suck it in and squeeze between the fridge and the wall in what amounted to less than 10 inches of space.)  When we finally scheduled for the work to start, we only had about a day’s notice before I had to clean out the cabinets. I went into a state of half-panic. I would starve! I thought. After all, I pretty much prepare all of my meals myself. I didn’t have time to make much of anything in advance. How would I survive? Well, needless to say, I managed. I’m grateful for some trustworthy gluten-free restaurants and my arsenal of snacks that I stashed in my desk drawer at work. And now we are back in the new kitchen. Let me tell you, it’s awesome. I am so excited.

In fact, I’m so excited that I definitely need to take some photos for you and share. I have a few, and I’ve shared a bit on Instagram, but I really need to get some decent (read: non-iphone) photos for you! Stay tuned for that.

Meanwhile, my garden didn’t stop growing just because we weren’t cooking. In fact, the lettuces, radishes, Swiss chard, collard greens, arugula and even some mizuna were all in need of harvesting. But I left them there, as I didn’t really have a way to wash or prepare them. Once we were back in business, I pulled radishes (some of which had grown to the size of golf balls!), cut what was left of the good lettuce (much of it has bolted), attempted to take control of the cucumber beetles, and harvested some of the Swiss chard for this easy little side dish.

Swiss chard is one of my favorite greens. It’s so pretty – especially the rainbow chard, with the colorful red, pink, yellow and white stems. It’s also milder in flavor than some other greens, and it cooks quickly – nearly as quickly as spinach. And the stems are tender, which is a bonus. I love munching on them raw. They have a texture somewhat similar to celery; crunchy and crisp.

This dish highlights that freshness that chard offers by throwing in a hit of citrus. It’s bright and light. I served it alongside some roasted chicken, but I imagine it would go extremely well with grilled pork, shrimp or any poultry. The pepitas (a.k.a. pumpkin seeds) add a nice crunch and nuttiness.

This recipe should serve 3-4; unless you’re me and love greens. In that case, I’d say it’s enough for 2.

Print Recipe

Swiss Chard with Orange and Pepitas (gluten-free, vegan, paleo, sugar-free)

1 T coconut oil

1 large bunch Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Zest of 1 orange

Juice of 1 orange

Salt and pepper to taste

About 3 T raw pepitas, toasted in a dry skillet

Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the stems of the Swiss chard and sauté for a minute. Add the garlic and orange zest and sauté for another minute. Then add the leaves of the chard and stir, and add the orange juice. Cover the pan with a lid and lower the heat to medium-low. Allow to wilt for about a minute, then remove the lid and stir again. Allow the juice to reduce a little, season with salt and pepper to taste, and then remove the pan from the heat.

Serve with toasted pepitas sprinkled over.

Serves 3-4.

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Cake

Check out this chocolate sheet cake. Fudgy, chocolatey goodness. It’s gluten and dairy-free to boot. But what if I told you that it was a tad healthier than a traditional chocolate cake? And that there was a secret ingredient in this cake that contributes to it’s “healthy” status? Furthermore, no one can tell that this is anything but a fudgy, indulgent treat.

Wanna know what that secret ingredient is?

Head on over to The Balanced Platter, where I’m sharing the recipe for this chocolate sheet cake. I’ll be divulging all of my secrets and more!

 

Kettle Brand Chips – Gluten-Free and NonGMO


If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you’ll start to realize that I am all about real, whole foods. It’s even in my logo – “real food recipes”. I love knowing my recipes are nourishing. I’m a proponent of eating local, organic, sustainable food when we can. I’m also most definitely not a fan of genetically modified foods.

I’m also no stranger to treats. I do eat sugar sometimes. I make gluten-free Ding Dongs, I make cookies, and I even fry things on a rare occasion. I’m a big believer that the only way to really keep a happy, healthy relationship with food is to allow yourself treats. Most of my treats I make myself, and they often are healthier version, but sometimes, a store-bought treat is needed.

That doesn’t mean I am left with only junk to eat though! Kettle Brand Chips are made with real, all-natural ingredients. They’re also the first potato chip to be verified by the NonGMO Project. While I would never go so far as to say that this qualifies potato chips as “health” food, it’s a treat I can definitely feel more comfortable with. Combine that with the fact that Kettle Chips are super-crunchy and delicious (I’ve long been a fan of Kettle Chips!), and I think that if I am looking for a little salty treat, I can reach for something like these.

Kettle Brand Potato Chips are also all gluten-free and processed in a gluten-free environment. (Their TIAS chips are gluten-free as well, but processed in a facility that makes gluten-containing products. Same with their nut butters.) I appreciate that they disclose this information, as it helps consumers like me make an informed decision. They also have been using non-GMO ingredients since they were founded in 1978. They have chips that are verified by the NonGMO Project. I’m glad that they are taking the steps necessary for this verification. I truly believe that everyone deserves an informed choice about whether or not to consume genetically modified organisms – and amglad to see companies such as Kettle Brand Chips getting on board.

What are GMOs? GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In more than 60 countries around the world, there are restrictions or bans on GMOs. For more info on GMOs, check out The NonGMO Project.

Of course, I’ll continue to eat (and share!) real-food recipes – that’s the way we live from day to day. But for special events or treats – for example, for a crawfish boil/barbecue party we’ll be hosting soon – I’ll have store-bought treats available as well. Kettle Brand Chips are definitely on that list!

Why are real ingredients important in your recipes?Share! Each reply will be entered for a chance to win $250.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kettle Brand. The opinions and text are all mine.

Honey Teff Bread

It’s been a while since I’ve baked bread. I don’t really do it much – I don’t often have the time to allow dough to rise and all that jazz – and besides, up until recently, I haven’t done well when consuming many grains. (Over time, though, I’m finding I’m more able to tolerate them in moderate amounts. Hooray for healing!) But the other day, I decided it was time. Time to get back out the flours, knead some dough, and make some real, honest, good bread. I’ve been working on a bread that would be delicious for sandwiches for a long while. I was inspired by this recipe over at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen, but I played, played, and played some more with the recipe. I wanted to make something that was corn-free, so my corn intolerant family members could enjoy it, and so I used different flours and in varying amounts until it was right for me.

What I love about this bread is that it’s not dry. It doesn’t have to be toasted to be enjoyable, and it doesn’t crumble when made into a sandwich. It’s pliable, flavorful, and filling. I’ve enjoyed several turkey sandwiches with it this week, in fact. A sandwich is a simple thing, really, but it’s something I’ve missed. I’ve never been a huge sandwich “person”, but to have one every now and then is truly wonderful.

Anyway, back to this bread. I highly encourage you to try out a loaf for yourself. It’s therapeutic. Kneading dough is something many of us gluten-free bakers rarely get to do anymore. Usually, gluten-free dough isn’t kneadable. This is. Take advantage of it, and release some stress! You won’t overwork the dough – there’s no gluten in it, after all! Then relieve more stress when you bite into your first slice, because after all, my friend, it’s the best thing since…well, it is sliced bread!

Print Recipe

Honey Teff Bread (gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free) – adapted from Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen

2 ½ c warm water (105-110 degrees)

2 active dry yeast packets

3 T honey

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1/3 c ground chia seeds

¼ c psyllium husk powder

 1 c teff flour

½ c sorghum flour

1 c millet flour

½ c sweet white rice flour, plus more for kneading

2 t kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

Place the warm water in a bowl or 4-cup liquid glass measure. Add the yeast and honey, whisk together. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes to activate the yeast. The mixture should get foamy or bubbly.

 While the yeast is activating, mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

 After the yeast mixture is all bubbly, whisk in the olive oil, ground chia seeds, and psyllium husks into the water-yeast mixture. Let stand for a minute or two to let the chia and psyllium get thick.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together until thick. I usually start by using a wooden spoon and then eventually get in there with my hands for this step. Knead the dough to incorporate the flour – you could do this on a floured wooden board, or do as I do, and simply knead while it’s in a large bowl. Add additional sweet white rice flour, a little at a time, until the dough holds together and isn’t too sticky (about ¼ to ½ cup total). Form dough into a ball and cover with a damp towel. Place in a warm spot to rise. Let dough rise for an hour or until doubled in size.

After the dough has risen, place a pizza stone in your oven on the center rack. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Punch down the dough a bit and knead again for a minute or two. Form into a round ball. Place on a piece of parchment paper and use a sharp knife to cut slits on top. Pour a little olive oil on your hands and lightly rub over the top of the bread, and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let rise for about 30 minutes while the oven and stone are preheating.

Carefully lift the parchment paper with the risen loaf on top and place it onto the stone in the oven. Bake for about 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for an hour before cutting into it. It is preferred to allow to cool on a rack to allow air to circulate around the loaf. The bread will be somewhat gummy if cut into while the loaf is still hot.

 Store leftovers for a day at room temperature, but store in the refrigerator for longer term storage – about a week.

 

LIVE CHAT: Raising Gluten-Free Children – Wednesday, May 8, 2013 @ 8PM ET

Just a quick note to make you all aware that I will be co-hosting a Live Chat over at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community next Wednesday, May 8, 2013, at 8PM Eastern Time. We will be discussing how to deal with a gluten-free diet when it comes to raising children. Whether you’re a newbie to this gluten-free world or a pro, or somewhere in between, you are welcome to join us. It’s completely free, and there will even be prizes, courtesy of Udi’s Gluten-Free Foods.

Come join us by visiting this link on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, at 8PM ET. Hope to see you there!

A Gluten-Free Mother’s Day Ebook

 

A Gluten-Free Mother's Day: Recipes for Moms by Moms from Attune Foods

Mother’s Day is on the horizon. Attune Foods wanted to help you make this year’s celebration extra special with a FREE ebook filled with recipes any mom would love.

They gathered eight incredible gluten-free, allergy-friendly mom food bloggers (including yours truly – and yes, I lumped myself into that “incredible” category – let’s just go with it…) and asked them each to develop a recipe to make the occasion deliciously memorable.

Within the pages A Gluten-Free Mother’s Day: Recipes for Moms by Moms, you’ll find gluten-free dishes with simple ingredients for breakfast in bed, brunch, recipes designed specifically for cooking with kids, and those you can make ahead of time. We’ve included something for every type of dietary restriction, too. Mom can choose her favorite and hand the recipe off to Dad, or she can bring her kids into the kitchen and let them help prepare a meal to celebrate her.

A Gluten Free Mother's Day from AttuneFoods.com

The recipes include:

  • Blueberry Breakfast Pudding with Granola Topping from Kim Lutz (vegan, tree nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free)
  • Turkey Strata Muffins with Orange Slices and Balsamic Glaze from Beth Hillson (tree nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free)
  • Corn Flake Quiche Lorraine from Karen Morgan (tree nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free)
  • Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Tart from Kelli Bronski (vegetarian, tree nut-free, peanut-free)
  • Blueberry Scones with Vanilla Lemon Sweet Cashew Cream and Homemade Blueberry Chia Seed Jam from Maggie Savage (vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, peanut-free)
  • Peanut Butter Crunch French Toast with Maple-Peanut Butter Syrup from Alta Mantsch (vegetarian, dairy-free, tree nut-free)
  • Chocolate or Carob Tart with Dairy-Free Whipped Topping from Adrienne Urban (vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free)
  • Strawberry Streusel Oatmeal Breakfast Cake from Kim Maes (vegetarian, dairy-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free)

I’m delighted to be a part of the creation of this ebook. Download your FREE copy of A Gluten-Free Mother’s Day: Recipes for Moms by Moms, and Happy Mother’s Day!