My New Kitchen - Ikea Adel White Kitchen

When we decided to remodel our kitchen last year, I searched high and low on the web for pictures of Ikea Adel White cabinets - and I was sad to find very few pictures of remodeled kitchens using these cabinets. It actually made me a bit nervous to go with the Adel white cabinets, mainly because they are slightly off-white and I was so worried that they would look horrible in our house (white trim throughout). But alas, I absolutely LOVE our new kitchen.

Here's the before. We received mail (addressed to us) at our new address on the day we moved in, that's why the silly face. I didn't think to take real 'before' pictures until it was too late, so this move in day pic will have to do.

We recently had our counter tops installed, and we are not yet finished with the tile backsplash, painting, or trim, but I couldn't wait any longer to show you our new Ikea Adel White kitchen.

Ta-Da!!!
We removed the dividing wall and moved the location of the pantry and refrigerator - these changes made a huge difference in our kitchen.
 We installed an island with seating - this has become our breakfast spot. Our counters are 2" thick and we have an undermount sink with a touch faucet (LOVE it).
 We have the perfect amount of storage with new cabinets facing into our dining room. I have room for my cook books, and I also have a clean and dirty basket for our fabric napkins (so handy to have a 'dirty' basket right there to toss them into after a meal).

We bought a 30" Smeg range. I love that it has 5 burners. And it looks so purdy.
There are tons of drawers in our pantry, and our refrigerator fits so well in its new spot. The kids have made themselves at home in our remodeled kitchen! 

Shauna's Chocolate Cake (Gluten-Free & Vegan - or not)

Shauna's Chocolate Cake
This is simply THE best chocolate cake I've ever tasted. I found the recipe online last year (though I don't know where I found it!) and I made some modifications. The result - FANTASTIC. 

Makes one 3-layer 8" cake

Ingredients:
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour - I've used Better Batter and Namaste Foods Gluten-Free flour (these flours are a one to one replacement and are simply AMAZING for gluten-free baking)
1 cup + 2 Tbspn Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 tspn salt
2 1/4 tspn baking powder
2 1/4 tspn baking soda
3 eggs (for an egg free cake, I use flax+water as an egg replacement...the cake is still good, but the texture was not quite as moist as the original - it was a bit heavier)
3/4 cup vegetable oil 
1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 cup hot coffee (use decaf if you like)

Frosting:
The secret? Pamala's dark chocolate frosting mix. Amazing.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease, flour, and line the bottoms of three 8" round cake pans. 
2. In a mixer bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the beaten eggs, vegetable oil, and milk. Stir to mix. Then, with the mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix on low until evenly distributed.
4. Pour the hot coffee into the batter and mix on medium low until smooth. The batter will be soupy.
5. Divide the batter between the cake pans.
6. Bake for 35-45 minutes. When a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out cleanly, the cakes are done. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
7. Level the cakes (this is easier if they've sat in the freezer for at least one hour beforehand).
8. Stack the cakes, spreading a layer of frosting (or jelly) in between each cake layer. Frost the outside of the cake--for a smoother finish, use a hot knife.

Note: this recipe also works for a 3-layer 9" cake, with slightly shorter layers.

Updates to the blog

Hey there,

Thanks for visiting my blog - I hope you found what you were looking for. If you came here and received an error page, I'm so sorry about that! I recently switched my hosting, and as such, I lost quite a few of my direct links, or rather, I haven't hooked everything back up since the switch.

Have you ever transported a cake on a cake stand
without an extra set of hands to hold it? 
Tricky business...

I will be posting my to-die-for Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake recipe in the next few days, stay tuned!


Shauna

Marinated Flank Steak

This has been a family favorite since I was a small child. In fact, this was THE meal to request when there was a birthday in the house.

It's so easy to make, and delicious to boot.

I didn't have a meal in mind for this evening, but I did have a flank steak in the fridge just waiting to be used. It was a beautiful day, so I thought one last grilled meal would be a fitting way to bid summer farewell (it's supposed to rain tomorrow!).

Without much ado, here is our tried and true, family favorite recipe for the most amazing flank steak you will ever taste. Don't believe me? Make it, I dare you. ;)


Marinated Flank Steak

Ingredients:
Flank Steak
1/4 Cup Gluten-free soy sauce
3 TBSP Oil
2 TBSP Sesame Seeds
1 TBSP Brown Sugar
2 cloves crushed garlic

Instructions:
Remove fat and "film" and cut the flank steak into serving size pieces (optional) - place in a marinating container.

Mix the soy sauce, oil, sesame seeds, brown sugar and crushed garlic together - pour mixture over the flank steak.

Marinate 5-6 hours (I only marinated 1 hour tonight).

Broil or barbecue (for med-rare I leave it on the grill for 4 minutes per side).

Cut into thin slices against the grain.

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By the way, see those purple fingerling potatoes next to the steak? Well, I must brag a little....I pulled those out of my garden today - they were my first ever harvest of home grown potatoes!!  I just might have a green thumb after all...

Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Beets

I used to think that beets tasted like dirt. My opinion has changed, thanks in part to learning how to cook them in the most delicious (and simple) way. When paired with sweet potatoes, beets are like candy.

I am a fan of quick and easy dishes in the kitchen, so this is one of my favorite go-to side dishes. I made these for Easter, and everyone approved - even the kids!

I use organic sweet potatoes (I buy the orange ones, known as yams) and red beets (I don't think the flavor is near as good when using the yellow beets). I always use different amounts and sizes of beets and sweet potatoes, so I adjust the ingredients up or down depending on how many I'm using. I also don't use measuring spoons. Fewer utensils = less time cleaning up the kitchen! It's hard to go wrong with this recipe.

1. Peel sweet potatoes and beets (save the beet greens for juicing, they are excellent!). NOTE: You might want to wear some gloves, as beets do stain hands. I remove beet juice from my butcher block by spritzing Vinegar on and wiping the surface clean with a sponge.

2. Chop into bite size pieces and toss into a bowl. Cut the sweet potato chunks slightly larger than the beets as beets tend to take a little longer to cook - cutting the beets smaller will even out the baking times so you don't have to worry about starting beets before the sweet potatoes.



3. Drizzle Olive Oil onto the beets and sweets - use enough to lightly coat every piece. I used about 1.5 TBSP for the amount prepared.

4. Sprinkle in some Garlic or Onion Powder. I have used both garlic and onion powder. I prefer the onion powder as it produces a sweeter taste in the end, but they are both good, so experiment! I used about 1/2 tsp for the amount prepared as I don't want to have garlic breath when my husband gets home from work!

5. Grind in Salt and Pepper

6. Stir it up and spread the sweets and beets on a rimmed baking pan
7. Bake at 425 for ~30-45 minutes (stirring once). The larger the chunks are, the longer it will take to cook. They are done when the beets can be easily pierced with a fork.

Enjoy!


Warning: Beets will cause you to stare into the toilet in shock - don't be alarmed, pink poop and pee is to be expected after eating beets. Your kids might think it's cool...

Do you like beets? If you don't think you do, I challenge you to make this - give beets a second chance! Also, I'd love to hear the popular vote - what do you prefer, onion or garlic powder on your sweets and beets??

What we eat: Gluten-Free

When I first eliminated gluten from my diet, I felt deprived. Like utterly and totally deprived of all *good* food in the world. Oh how I loved that soft and fluffy french bread dipped in olive oil w/balsamic vinaigrette... Fly me to Italy and you may see me shed a tear (or 500!) as my husband and I pretty much survived on bread and cheese (and wine, oh my!) when we were there in 2009 (aka before going gluten-free).


Oh the memories...

When others find out that we are a gluten-free household, I'm often met with the response, "What on earth do you eat?!"

I felt the same way in the beginning.

The transition to a gluten-free lifestyle was not easy. It was a journey and it was a journey that I didn't enjoy {like, at all}. I would look at food in the grocery store and say, "I can't have this, I can't have that..." as I stumbled my way through the aisles.

Now, having been gluten-free for over 2 years, I have a totally different perspective! Now I eat real food, and for the most part, I don't find myself questioning the possibility that something I ate had gluten in it {unless I'm eating outside of my own kitchen}.

I'm going to give you a quick run down of what we eat, on a regular basis.

The usual breakfast options:

  • oatmeal (Trader Joe's GF) - I like to use unsweetened coconut milk (also from TJ's) or almond milk instead of milk or water. I also add cinnamon and raisins, the kids love it.

  • eggs (scrambled, omelettes, hard-boiled) - I like to throw in some peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and cheese when I do scrambled eggs or omelettes. I cut the vegetables up nice and small so the kids don't complain too much. ;)

  • protein shake - currently using SFH's chocolate whey protein powder. I use Zico coconut water as a base, add a frozen banana, lots of spinach and sometimes almond butter. There are a gazillion ways to spice up the vanilla or chocolate powders, I like to experiment.

  • pancakes or waffles (The Cravings Place All Purpose Pancake & Waffle Mix) - we only do pancakes/waffles if we're having eggs and the kids only get the pancakes if they eat their eggs. ;) I like this GF mix because it's so simple to make, and the pancakes taste great! I usually add some unsweetened apple sauce to the mix with water, unsweetened coconut milk, or almond milk. I don't measure, I just add liquid until I get the right consistency. Sometimes I add a little vanilla and cinnamon. The pancakes/waffles have the perfect texture - just like those gluten filled ones we used to enjoy.

The typical lunch (note: we usually have fruit and vegetables paired with one of the following items at lunch time):

  • Quinoa - we eat a lot of quinoa. I usually make a quinoa salad with black beans, garbanzo beans, red/orange/yellow peppers and artichokes all mixed in. Our girls love it.

  • Salmon patties (purchased from Costco - WARNING: read the packages, some salmon patties have gluten in them!) - I use my cast iron pan to quickly grill up salmon patties for my kids. Dip a bite of  salmon patty in mayonnaise, and it's even more delicious. We usually pair the salmon with a green vegi (typically steamed broccoli)

  • Sandwiches (Udi's bread is THE best store bought bread) - on days I need to make something quick, my fall back is a good old fashioned PB&J, grilled cheese sandwich or a meat n'cheese sandwich (sometimes I sub hummus for mayonnaise - yum). I love panini's so I usually grill our sandwiches (I have a Cuisinart Griddler - absolutely LOVE it!).
The last-minute dinner:

  • Meat and vegi's. Seriously. We eat a lot of meat and vegetables for dinner. Whether it's shrimp, steak, fish or chicken (my least favorite), we eat it with a vegetable (the usual stuff in our refrigerator: asparagus, broccoli, sweet potatoes, beets, rutabaga, turnips, zucchini, peppers, and whatever else is in season).



This is a quick last-minute kind of meal at our house. I simply cut up a steak or two (or chicken), mix it with a ton of cut up vegi's, drop some olive oil in the bowl, sprinkle on some of Trader Joe's every day seasoning (great way to spice things up!), mix it up, then spread everything on a rimmed baking tray. Bake for ~15 minutes with the temp somewhere around 400-425 degrees (stirring once), and enjoy! SO SIMPLE! 

When I'm being a planner, I like to use meal planning services (my go-to GF menu planning site is gfreecuisine.com). I love that they provide menus that follow seasonally available produce. They also have monthly freezer meals which are quick and easy to prepare, and taste great!

So there you have it. A quick look into a typical day of eating in our gluten-free household.

I will be including more recipes and a deeper look into our food choices in future posts. Also, I will provide a list of our favorite gluten-free snacks {isn't it CrAzY how often kids want snacks???}. And if you want some tips for getting your kids to eat their food (including vegetables!), stay tuned. Dinner time doesn't have to be a war...

Gluten Ingredient Cheat Sheet (printable)

When we were first transitioning to a gluten-free life, I had the hardest time trying to remember the 'banned' ingredient list. Grocery shopping was a bit stressful. Trying to read all of the ingredient lists while toting my toddler and baby through the store was a challenge in itself, but throw in new dietary restrictions, and I was a hot mess.

I didn't have an easy to reference cheat sheet, but I wished I did. I was in 'tired mommy' mode as I balanced life with my newborn and toddler (19 months apart), so I never made a list, I just suffered through those early gluten-free shopping days.  Sometimes, I made mistakes and brought something home that had an ingredient on it that I forgot was another form of gluten.

Well, I finally found some time and was able to make a cheat sheet (it only took me 2.5 years!). This will be useful for you even if you don't need to be on a gluten-free diet. Maybe you will have some gluten-free dinner guests one night and will wonder what you can feed them, or maybe someone you know just found out that they have celiac disease - give them a cheat sheet to help them in their journey!

Without further ado, I give you my 'ingredients to avoid' cheat sheet:
See all those numbers in the "Check with manufacture" list above? Download the PDF (click the link below) and you will see an extra page with more information on why those ingredients may or may not be gluten-free (courtesy of celiac.com).

There are other strange ingredients out there that are 'glutenous' but since they have names like, Hing, Hordeum Vulgare Extract, and Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, I left them off my list. If it has wheat in the name, don't trust it - pretty simple, right?

Going gluten-free promoted a great deal of processed food elimination in our home and it increased my 'whole food' mentality. My rule of thumb is, if something has really strange, hard to pronounce ingredients listed on the package, it's better for my health not to eat it.

Anyway, click the link below to download the PDF. Feel free to use the buttons at the bottom of this post to share this post with the world! :)

DOWNLOAD: Gluten Ingredients to Avoid - Printable

Post this list on your fridge, drop one in your wallet, give one to a friend! I hope you find this list as helpful as I would have back when I was just starting my GF journey. ;)

I am working on making the list in an easy-to-print wallet size (because wouldn't that be cool?). I will post an update with a download link when it's ready.

If you see anything missing from my list that you consider a 'normal' gluten ingredient, drop me a line!

Happy shopping!

(This post is linked up to a blog hop here: Laura's Gluten Free Pantry)