Monday, November 30, 2015

Tiny House Kitchen Wish List

There is something about a beautiful tiny home that has captured my imagination.
Maybe it is part of getting older, to think of downsizing to a compact home.
Maybe it's a part of a building wanderlust.
Our girls are almost 17.
We have the door knocker for our Tiny House www.drjeanlayton
Almost ready to launch into college and the rest of their lives.

And Ed and I have been considering many, many aspects of life as that happens.

The idea of moving into a tiny house has been intriguing me for years.
I've always loved small spaces, and the ability to move the house where I'd like to go has captured my imagination.

So I've watched every episode of Tiny House Nation,  Tiny House World, and Tiny House, Big Living.
Been on the mailing list for every update from Tumbleweed Houses, Four Lights Houses and Country Living's column

And have read everything I could get my hands on to learn more.

And as my obsession has grown, I've been storing the ideas on my Pinterest Board.

Follow Dr. Jean Layton's board Tiny House Hopes on Pinterest.

Of course, for my tiny house, the kitchen is crucial.
When one part of your life is so essential, you need the right equipment and tools.

Here's my choice of items for my future kitchen.  If you have other tools that you're certain you need for your kitchen, let me know in the comments and I'll add it to my board.
Black & Decker CTO6335S Stainless Steel Countertop Convection Oven, Silver
Starting off from my future oven, I purchased this one in August.  I've been testing recipes in it ever since. It has wonderful controls, easy to move shelf and the ability to heat up a pizza with the bump out on the back. The Convection bake speeds the final product to completion without burning.

Of course, with a tiny oven, you need bakeware that will fit and function well.
This graniteware has become my new favorite.  Naturally non-stick porcelain enamel means quick clean up without worrisome toxic non stick chemicals.
Muffin Tin
Graniteware 4 piece set 

The only problem is that the cookie sheet is too long to fit into my oven, but the cost of the 4 piece set is minimal enough to buy the set and use the cookie sheet in another way, perhaps under the glass area of this dish drainer.

But we don't have to use a drain pan at all, the spout allows drainage directly into the sink.

Magma 10 piece Stainless Steel Induction Cook Top Nesting Cook Set  and Saute Pan 
Waring Pro ICT400 Double Induction Cooktop
This lovely set of induction ready Nested Pots with an add on of the saute pan for quick stir fries will make my cooking simple.

I've already made the difficult decision to go with an induction cooker instead of open coils or gas.
Benefits: lower electricity costs,  no gas vapors from propane and a stovetop that never gets hot.

Electric Kettle for Tea
We are tea drinkers, so an electric tea kettle is essential.

But the rest of my kitchen is likely to downsize and move into the home of my dreams.

I'll be truly selective about my dishes, glass ware and other cookware.

I'm seriously considering keeping my family Limoges china as my everyday.

After all, living small doesn't mean not being able to set a pretty table.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Whole Grain Gluten-Free Overnight Rise Bread

Two loaves Whole Grain Gluten free Overnight Rise Bread from

Have you ever thought you had a particular way of doing something, only to discover that there is an even better way to do the same thing?

Reading a friend's book led me to rethink my typical way of making bread. 
Donna Currie wrote this fabulous book, Make Ahead Bread, using the technique of an overnight rise in the refrigerator to develop both flavor and texture. 

I love using techniques from conventional baking books to improve my gluten-free baking.
Overnight rise lets the yeast grow slowly, developing more flavor than a quick rise.

And it also allows for a second rise for a gluten free bread.  Rarely can gluten-free bread handle a second rise, especially without xanthan or guar gum.

I'm still working on a true gum free sourdough, starting from wild yeast. The long overnight rise and second rise combine to make for a very flavorful loaf of bread, with a fine texture. 

Rising-Whole Grain Gluten free Overnight Rise Bread from

Baked-Whole Grain Gluten free Overnight Rise Bread from

Whole Grain Gluten Free Overnight Rise Bread

two loaves-Whole Grain Gluten free Overnight Rise Bread from

Combining whole grains for optimal nutrition with a time saving overnight rising technique, this bread can be your daily loaf
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Yield: 1 loaf or 2 smaller depending on pan used
660 grams (4 cups) Gluten Free Whole Grain Flour Mix
10 grams (2 teaspoons) salt
20 grams (2 tablespoons) psyllium husk I use psyllium husk to create the structure of gluten free baked goods, in place of xanthan gum which gives my husband a bad reaction.
10 grams (1 tablespoon) yeast
700 grams (3 cups) water
10 grams (1 teaspoon) honey or sugar for vegan
Equipment:One Bread Pan 8.5"x 4.5" greased or two smaller pans 
1. Combine all ingredients in mixer bowl, except 3 tablespoons of flour mix. Reserve that for the finishing.
2. Beat for a full 5 minutes.
3. Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in fridge overnight.
4. Remove from fridge.
5. Sprinkle the reserved 3 tablespoons of flour on a clean cutting board.
6. Pour out dough onto floured cutting board. It will be very soft in comparison to gluten full bread.
7. Gently form the dough into a log as long as the pan you will be using. Divide in half if using two pans.
8. Lift dough into pan (s) and cover with plastic wrap.
9. Allow to rise to doubled.  If your house is as cool as mine, that might take up to 2 hours.
10. Preheat oven to 425. Bake for 45 minutes or till an instant read thermometer reads 210.
11. Remove from pan and let cool completely before slicing.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Candied Chai Ginger

Frugality is my birthright.
Both of my parents lived through the Great Depression as impressionable children. Ones that saw how hard it was to put any kind of food on the table, not just special foods like candies.

When I was a child, I heard the phrase, "Remember the starving children in Africa." whenever I didn't finish my meal.
As a family of eight raised on the single salary of my engineer father, we learned early how to stretch the family budget, yet eat healthy, nutrient dense foods and how to cook to get the foods we wanted.

Candied Spicy Chai Ginger from

My mom had a big sweet tooth.
She loved to have chocolate around to nibble, candies to suck and some to make for holidays like her butterscotch. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Spiced Chai Drink Dairy Free, Sugar Free

Spiced Chai Drink-Dairy Free, Sugar Free from
It's the day after Thanksgiving
and all through the house,
the creatures are creeping,
quiet as a mouse.
Waking slowly from sleep,
Letting eyelids creep
Open to see
the need for some tea.
Spicy Chai is the drink
For people who think
That the day after Thanksgiving
Should continue the gratitude
and opt outside for some altitude.

the Chief at Squamish
Ed climbing at Squamish

Ok, so I'm no poet.
but it's the thought that counts, right?

Getting ready to go climb the Chief in Squamish means a great wakeup.
But I am a tea drinker, not a coffee drinker. 
My daily wakeup of choice is rich black tea with almond milk.
My morning routine is 2-3 cups of tea without sweetener, even in my almond milk.

So when our daughters asked for our family Chai recipe for the next trip to our favorite outdoor rock climbing, I mixed up a big batch.

It isn't hard, and the girls adore the warming qualities of the combination of spices- Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, and Black Pepper.

Now traditionally Masala Chai also contains black tea, thick milk or half and half and some sweetener like honey.

Our girls are in a month long lead up to the USAC Rock Climbing Divisional Competition. While they are training, they're avoiding sugar.

So for the next month or so, all my new recipes will use only natural sweeteners: honey, maple syrup, dates and dried fruits.

And since Katie doesn't do well with caffeine, we now have our Spiced Chai Drink, Dairy Free, Sugar Free and black tea-less. 
Spicy Chai ingredients

Spicy Chai just beginning to cook

Simmering Spicy Chai

We're grateful for the time to play outside, especially on a day when many people are inside the stores and malls that surround us. 

We're grateful that one of our favorite retailers has decided to close for the day and encourage people to #OptOutside. It's our favorite place to be. 

Spicy Chai Drink-Dairy Free, Sugar Free

Spicy Chai Drink-Dairy, sugar and caffeine free from

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Yield: 4 quarts
4 quarts water
1 large knob ginger
1/4 cup green cardamom seeds
1/4 cup cinnamon chips
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons whole cloves
1. Place water in saucepan.
2. Peel ginger and slice into thin slices.
3. Add the ginger and spices to the pot.
4. Simmer for 15 minutes or more. We've been known to let it sit on the warmer burner all day.
5. Strain the chai, reserving the ginger slices to make Candied Chai Ginger. Discard the spices or save for potpourri.
6. To serve: Serve warm with a bit of unsweetened alternative milk of your choice.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Today in the USA it is Thanksgiving
A day to gather and be thankful, enjoying the abundance of the seaon.
Thanksgiving with friends

Having worked decades in retail, it is Not the start of my holiday shopping season.
Nor is it the day before the start of the holiday shopping.
For me that begins on Saturday with stops at as many of my Small business friends as I can manage with my time.  I'll take a few pictures, and spend a few minutes each to create an online Review.
Those reviews are powerful for a local business.

For me, this means I will remember that these stores ARE opening on Thanksgiving, and actively avoid shopping at them for the coming year.

Ace Hardware, Bass Pro Shops, Best Buys, Big Lots, CVS, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dollar General, Fry's Electronics, JC Penney, Kmart, Kohl's, Macy's, Meijer, Michael's, Modell's, Office Depot/Office Max, Old Navy, Radio Shack, Rite Aid, Sear's, Sports Authority, Target, TJ Maxx, Toy's R US, Ulta, Victoria's Secret, Walgreens, Walmart

I'll be happy that these stores Won't be opening on Thanksgiving,  I'll happily shop here for all my needs in 2016.

Babies R Us,

I'll be thankful that these stores won't open before a kind hour of 8 on Friday.

Babies R Us, Cabela's, Costco, Crate and Barrel, Dillard's, DSW, Half Price Books, Hobby Lobby, JC Penney, Nordstrom, Patagonia, Petco, True Value,

I'll be thankful with one store will take off Friday as well, granting their employees the joy of a holiday weekend even if it means Saturday is a work day. REI who has planned to #OptOutside
Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is a time of gratefulness,
A time for being happy that my immediate family is thriving.
That my extended family is improving after some health scares, life events and challenges this year.
From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.