Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Cake (GF/DF)

First recipe from the new home!  :)

I make this cake quite often, even when pumpkins aren't in season, as I love the taste and the moisture the pumpkin lends to the texture of this cake.  Mmmm mmm.  ;)

Like most of my recipes, this cake is quick and easy to make, and oh my, how it makes the home smell so good!  But of course, you're here to taste it, not simply think about how wonderful it must smell, so here goes!

You'll Need:

- 1 15-oz can pumpkin (for GF, make sure the only ingredient listed is "pumpkin")
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 eggs (or 9 tbsp of water with 3 tbsp of flaxseed)
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon

Note: Though I don't do this because it's sweet enough for me without it (and I'm not very into frosting), you can also make this cake with a maple cream cheese icing:


- 8-oz softened vegan cream cheese
- 3-4 tbsp honey or pure maple syrup
- 3-4 tbsp softened vegan margarine
- 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla (try it straight from the pod - so much better!)
- 3 cups powdered sugar (more if needed)

Beat cream cheese and margarine until fluffy.  Add the honey/maple syrup and vanilla.  Pour the powdered sugar one cup at a time while mixing.  Mix until smooth.

To Start:

* Heat oven to 350 F

- beat the eggs in a bowl (or mix the water and flaxseed in a smaller separate bowl and set aside as you let it thicken a few mins)
- mix in the brown sugar and flatten it until you no longer have lumps in the brown sugar
- add the pumpkin, olive oil, and cinnamon (and if you're doing flaxseed, add it at this point)
- slowly mix in the sorghum and brown rice flours, along with the baking soda and baking powder
- when done mixing, pour into 10x8 baking pan
- place in oven for 20-25 mins - check on it and do the toothpick test at this point, then turn down the heat to 300 and let it bake another 10-15 mins (stay vigilant with toothpick-testing this cake if this is your first time making it, especially in the last 10-15 mins of baking, as it can quickly lose its moisture if you let it go too long)

* If you're adding the icing, frost once the cake has cooled.

Enjoy!  :)

Thanks for the feature!  simplysugarandglutenfreeturningtheclockback, glutenfreehomemaker, vegetarianmama, wholeintentions, onecreativemommy

Monday, October 22, 2012

Design Dilemma - Living Room

Ah, learning to settle into a new place.  It involves things like spending 40 minutes to find a pair of boots you could have sworn were in THAT box.  Or my talent for still turning around and crashing into walls that I am not used to being broad daylight nonetheless. 

It also brings forth new creative juices as you eye-up a new room and swim with ideas on how to arrange the furniture, colors, decorations, and so on.  The one that has me staring at it in deep thought the most has been our living room.  I suppose the fact that we don't have a lick of furniture in it (save a coffee table, bookcase, and two lawn chairs) leads me to trying to form a plan for this room more than any of our other rooms.  Not to mention if we want to have friends/family over, it'd be nice to have a place to hang out with them.  I'm glad and excited by our present lack of furniture, as it allows me the unhindered benefit of starting the room with a clean slate. 

If you remember [this post] from a few days ago, this is how our living room looked after making some unpacking progress:

p.s. - those boxes are gone now!
We've made strides clearing out all remaining clutter since these pix, but we still have a design dilemma of how we want to fill this empty space (we're ready for the hollow acoustics when we speak in this room to be gone).

Why is it a dilemma?  Well, let me be clear.  For the first time ever, we're faced with having to buy furniture (our 1st place/apartment was mostly furnished).  Seriously, as far as furniture goes, we've only bought our mattress in the five years we've been married- no headboard for it yet either, lol. Our coffee table was something Karl was given when he lived his bachelor life in his own apartment, and the bookcases were given to us for free, and we took them because, well, who turns down bookcases?  :-P 

So, we now have to do decide on what style furniture we'll be living with (yay, finally!).  Karl and I are lucky in that we share a lot of the same taste for design.  We both like earthy colors and natural materials, historical/world travel/antique decorative pieces, and a dash of steampunk/industrial when we can sneak it in.  We also tend to mix modern and traditional.

However, we do have different tastes when it comes to furniture.  For myself, I dislike bulky, ornate, or plush furniture like this or this.  I'm drawn towards clean lines that don't hinder your sight lines, and an airy/open and bright feel to rooms.  An example that makes me happy:

(image courtesy of Pottery Barn)  I'm oogling that airplane plank art and the bright yet cozy feeling this room gives off.  If the legs on the coffee table would not have that curve to them, then this room would be perfect.
Karl likes dark colors, dark stained wood pieces, and ornate victorian plush furniture.  An example that makes Karl happy:

We definitely are opposites when it comes to how ornate the furniture is.  But I believe I've found some good pieces that combines our two tastes and gets both of our approval (sheesh, feel like this is a room design tv show yet?).

Ready for the plan?

First, let's revisit our old living room:

Done shuddering?  Good.  Now here's our pre-move-in living room:

To envision our living room, I first needed to figure out what would fit into the room.  After several versions, I created this layout seen below that I feel will work beautifully for the living room (13ft across the fireplace wall, 16ft across the back wall opposite the windows): 

(Above: living room. Dining room is in the back - that design will come a bit later)

Now that we knew what pieces we needed to find to fit the room, I set to scavenging online to find furniture that combined our tastes and that we both approved of.  After a lot of hunting around and getting Karl to constantly come over to my desk as I worked on this for his approval, here's a mood board to show what we've come up with! (drum roll please!):

1.  Leather armchair (by the fireplace): I like leather furniture, but in moderation, thus compromising on a chair versus a leather couch.  The tufted chair was something that appealed to us both, and Karl was salivating over this piece, so I knew it was a green light to keep going.  ;)  We also added the leather footrest so one can stretch out and relax in front of the fire. 
  Sofa: The main seating area is a light cream color, similar to what we had before in our former apartment in an effort to have pieces that are a timeless color.  We liked the mix of the tufted back cushion with the modern clean lines.  Same story for the armchair.... 3.  Cream armchair - tufted, clean lines, a little ornate action in the legs, and nail head trim that matches the leather armchair. (we're on a roll!)  4.  Lamp: An antique pewter finish on the lamps for the end-tables to help tie the gray pieces into the room.  5.  Jute Rug: The stripes in this rug were what first caught my eye.  The lack of design/neutral color also guarantees that this rug would not go as quickly "out of fashion"; rugs, like furniture, are expensive, and we'd like to invest in a piece we can decorate around for years to come.  Lastly we liked the woven earthy feel it lends.  Winning!  6.  Art/Accessories: this is mostly what I came up with to get a general idea of colors for wall art and pillows that we both liked.  (love the ship pillow!).  We're sticking again to earthy colors in dark blues, greens, yellows, and classy gray.  The picture with the wall full of art was also inspirational for what we could do in the entrance-way.  7. Curtains: Neutral but textured curtains.  Not much else to explain... 8. Armless Chair (the green chair in the layout pic) : I really wanted another chair by the fireplace to fill the corner opposite of the leather armchair, and when I stumbled across this baby, I was sold.  When I showed it to Karl, I was happy when he said he really liked it as well.  Stripes can be both masculine and feminine, and we both liked the gray that helps fill the circle of gray hints in the room.  Oh, and stripes are pretty enduring through home decorating trends.  :)

What do y'all think?  (Edit: we revisited and revised the mood board for the living room here)

Also thinking of doing a project for a pallet coffee table (still have to run that idea by Karl, so we'll see how that plays out, heh) :

Image via NatesHobby on Etsy
...and something along these lines for a tv stand - we can go scouting for a great old dresser and give it either a rustic finish like the one below, or a fun color...or paint a white stencil design over it...hmmm:

Image via Pottery Barn - item here
Decent start, right?  It definitely helps us to picture the room and serves as a good guideline when we go out hunting for pieces.  Now we just need to go out there and find and/or make this stuff on a very limited budget, hehe.  This living room will definitely not happen all at once, but will likely evolve over time as we find and bring in pieces from discount retailers, craigslist, and antique and thrift stores.  I'm excited at this new "quest" to find our living room and slowly but surely make this place a home.

[Edit: click here for our "living room mood board 2.0" which throws in more color]

Next up: Dining Room design ideas!  [Edit: Click here to see the first dining room plan, and here for the 2nd version mood board]

[To see our 2014 home tour, click here]

p.s. - We will be buying the couch new, and possibly the armchairs depending on the price.  If you have suggestions for great discount furniture businesses, especially for sofas/armchairs (brick & mortar and online), please share!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Clearing Out the Wreckage - a.k.a. Unpacking from Moving

I think I'll just let the pix do the talking with progress we've made, and save wordy details for another post.  :)

Moving Day!!!! :
Old apt in upheaval.  but who cares!  we're outta here, baby!
No moving van, just family trucks (next time I'm sure we'll need a van)
the awesome Dadio
new kitchen!  my wonderful mom warmed up the frozen meatballs (I'd forgotten to thaw them) just in time for people to eat
we haz laundry room!!!!!!!!!  oh the joy and rapture!!!
looks like we won't be eating dinner on this anytime soon...
(heh, got ya ma)  this is looking into the dining room from the living room
as long as we have a place to sleep, we're done unpacking, right? (we'll just burn the rest)
bedroom - down the hall is the bathroom and office
ok, i take that back.  once we have a place to sleep and a place to do computer stuff, we're done unpacking
a real office.  we must be growing up or something crazy like that.
the only sane looking place in the whole house at the moment
like mature plan-ahead adults, we realized the day after we moved that we had no shower curtain (our old shower was just a stand-up shower with a flimsy door).  so we improvised and used this big towel until we could go out and get a curtain later that day.  the towel worked about as well as you'd expect... reminded us of the showers in Ireland with their half glass walls:
Ireland's showers - still don't understand them...
I've been mostly taking pix of the progress in the living room, so here's a series of pix from the past week:
moving day
few days later
presently what the living room looks like.  couches are in our future.  maybe.  those lawn chairs are pretty comfy and you can't beat the price.  i guess we can offer pillows to friends who come over.  we're thoughtful like that.

and those boxes are just waiting until we have room in our trash again, and then they can go bye-bye

 More to come, including design ideas I've been tossing around that I'd love feedback on.  Get ready!  :-D

Saturday, October 13, 2012

We'll Be Right Back

I see floor!

I can't believe a week has already gone by since we moved!  We're still coming up for air from the mass of boxes piled in our rooms, but I plan to be back in full swing to give all the gory details and progress made so far with moving and unpacking (and with lots of pix).

See y'all on Monday!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Moving Right Along

Thought it was high time I updated about how the process of packing for the big move has been going!  Other than stubbing our toes a lot more as we meander through the indoor box maze we've built, it's gone pretty well, and we move this Saturday.

Let me rephrase that.

We.  As in us!  MOVE.  FINALLY.  this SATURDAY!

*does a little jig*

As most of you who have gone through moving-pains can attest to, it requires packing, packing, and more packing....and then some lifting.  Make that lots of lifting. 

That has been the extent of our lives for the past two weeks.  We come home from our jobs.  We pack.  Go to bed.  Repeat.  But we're so HAPPY to be moving, that we are pretty chipper about the whole process.

I've been bubbling with inspiration on how to arrange/decorate the new place as well (posts to follow about this!).  To give you all some perspective, this is a picture of our current basement apartment's living room area:

behold: our one window in the whole apartment

This is a preview of the living room in our new place:

  biiig window and lovely working fireplace

This is our current apartment kitchen/dining area:
This is a preview of our dining room, and our separate kitchen:

dining room with a window...and lots of "boxen" 

kitchen with a window view from the sink!

And you wonder why we're excited.  ;)
p.s. - Seriously, just that we'll now have more than one window makes us happy about the new place.  :-P

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Comfort Food: Chicken Soup

...Mmmm comfort food.  If there's a silver lining to the cold of winter hiding just around the corner, it's that I get the appetite for hot dishes with lots of fixings.  We're talking mashed potatoes, steamy soup, mac & cheese, pies, meatballs, lasagna, chicken pot get the picture.  ;)

Of course, I'm still working on the lasagna and spaghetti and mac & cheese side of things (nothing yet has fulfilled my empty space for real tomatoes and cheese), but because of recently finding this post, I may have just solved my tomato dilemma  (and you can bet I did a little chair dance upon finding it)!   As soon as I get a food processor, you can count on a review on the recipe!

Anyway, back to the comfort food of the day - chicken soup.  I grew up on my mom's homemade chicken noodle soup.  Although as a kid my ratio of broth intake was much higher than the actual noodles/chicken (and I still have this "problem"), it is something I can now make GF and enjoy and slurp up to my heart's content.

You'll Need:

- chicken
- pasta (Tinkyada or corn noodles)
- carrots
- celery
- salt & pepper
- bayleaf
- parsley
- 3 diced shallots or 1/2 a yellow onion, diced (or both - once again, to your tastes)
- celery salt
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed (not to be confused with the bulbs; cloves are inside the bulb)
- 1-2 tbsp of virgin olive oil (depends on the size of your pot)

Note: When I cook, I rarely measure because I like to go on instinctual creativity and just have fun with the process.  I cook by 'feeling' out what goes with what, eyeing things up, or personal taste, so feel free to tweak this recipe to make it your own as well.  Have fun experimenting!  :)


- Clean and cut up the carrots and celery into bite-sized pieces.

To Start:

- get a large soup pot and fill it about 3/4 full with water.  Add a dash of salt.
- add chicken to the pot and bring it to a boil.  If you prefer, you can spoon out the fat that rises from the chicken.
- in the pot, the fat will rise and be thick for awhile, but then it will start to thin out a bit.  When it does this (or you're done spooning out the fat), turn down the heat to a simmer.
- add the olive oil and spices according to your taste to the pot. 
- add the veggies
*Bonus: enjoy the smell of soup wafting through your house as you do other things.
- When the soup is about 45 mins along, in another pot add the pasta and cook according to direction, then strain the water from the pasta.
- add the pasta to the soup for approx another 5 mins.

Bon appetit!

Shared On: elizabethjoandesignssimplysugarandglutenfree, turningclockback, vegetarianmama, wholeintentions, ladybehindthecurtain and glutenfreehomemaker

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