Toast (And Panini) – Day 21

IMG_20161112_145725260Today we talk about the toaster in the Tiny House Foodie kitchen.  There are a number of ways to make great toast – in a toaster, in a toaster oven, or in a skillet on a burner.  Consider how often you enjoy toast, and pick the method that is right for you and the space you have in your tiny home.  Here I show how to toast bread in a skillet so that a toaster is no longer needed, and it’s delicious.  Toasting bread in a skillet is my favorite toast because it’s crispy without being dry, and it’s wonderful with a drizzle of honey.  I consider toast made this way a real treat.

If you love sandwiches toasted in a panini press, then build your sandwich and add a thin coat of mayonnaise to the outside of each piece of bread in addition to whatever dressing you put on the inside.  Heat two skillets, put your sandwich in the first, and top it with the second hot skillet.  Press or add a weight to flatten your sandwich even more.  The mayonnaise makes the bread toast up beautifully and of course the melted cheese of a panini press sandwich is always amazing.

Pull out all your toasting equipment – and since toasting can be such a messy endeavor – give it all a clean.  Donate what you no longer need and put back what you intend to keep.

In our tiny house we have a toaster oven instead of a range oven, so we use that to toast or melt some cheese and even to bake off a tray of cookies now and then (keeping the rest of the dough in the freezer until we were ready for a few more fresh warm cookies).  In our much larger Tiny House Foodie kitchen there is no space for something like a toaster or toaster oven on the counter top, so we use the skillet method to make toast.  I’m not sure what we’ll do in the Skoolie, once it is finished.  That depends mostly on whether or not there is a oven in the space and I don’t know that yet.  We’re still in the design stage of the build.  As it turns out, I’m working at this right along with you.

Thanks so much for following along with this series, I appreciate it.  We finish up this series this week with a conversation about the microwave and then one final session is sort of a “catch all” about the other appliances you may also have in your kitchen.  We’re on the home stretch.  Well done on all your hard work to make your kitchen a place of simplicity and order!

I’m Carmen Shenk, the Tiny House Foodie, reminding you that we can #LiveTiny #EmbraceSimplicity and still #EatWell.  Thanks for watching, I really appreciate it!29c45-1a2bcarmen

Traveling Foodie

We are having a fantastic time in California and are looking forward to the event on the RMS Queen Mary where my recipe will be demonstrated before a crowd by the Chef of the Queen Mary, along from a recipe from her sailing days.  This is part of a book event featuring my dear friend, Patricia V. Davis.The fun is the 6th but we are already here soaking in sunshine, delicious California produce, and unwinding a bit.

We are enjoying the hospitality of a lovely AirBNB host.  We walked to the market this morning for a few groceries and walked back.  We asked our host if it would be ok to cook in her kitchen and she readily agreed.  My Austrian cracked open a beautiful fresh coconut and we drank the refreshing juice and munched on coconut as I whipped up some yummy omlettes.  We have plenty for a few meals even though we will eat out and enjoy the local cuisine.  We had a delicious Mexican meal yesterday along with some seafood, and we haven’t been hungry enough today to budge from our comfy spot here on the porch.

We are having a lovely time!  Yum!!  Enjoy the journey!  -Carmen

The Hungry Healthy Hippie Scramble

This is how we cook on any given night, we simply make it up as we go along.  You’ll see me try something, then change my mind and change direction.  That’s part of the fun, you really can cook in the same way jazz musicians make music – an improvisation on a theme.  In this case, the theme was farm fresh local eggs, and they were delicious!  This meal works very nicely for dinner or a hearty breakfast.

I’m enjoying the idea of this Copper Chef Induction Cooktop because it means you can have a burner anywhere you have power.  Even in the smallest of the small kitchens.  Pair this with a toaster oven and you’ve got a world of possibilities at your fingertips.  In addition, it can all be stowed away out of sight when you wish.

The table where I cooked this meal was 6 square feet, proving the point that you can comfortably cook a delicious meal in a very small space!  In fact, the smaller a kitchen, the more efficiency is built in.  No need to walk miles in an expansive kitchen when you can stay put and cook something lovely in a small space.

Is there something specific you’ve like to cook in your tiny kitchen but can’t figure out how?  Do leave a comment with your comments and questions.  LOTS more delicious food coming your way!

Stay Tuned,



Sunflower Cake (Apricot Almond Cake)

Welcome back, I am so pleased to bring you my new favorite Paleo treat: “Sunflower Cake” or “Apricot Almond Cake” if you prefer, or even “Cake with Two Names” (or even three)!  No matter what you call it, it is inspired by Mary Berry’s Wobbly Apricot Tart, but it’s CAKE!  PLUS, it’s Paleo, which means no dairy, no gluten, no grains, and no problem.

There is no refined sugar in the recipe, but unfortunately, the almond paste comes with lots of sugar in it and my local stores don’t stock a almond paste that isn’t already sugar sweetened.  Marzipan is one of my favorite flavors, and it’s apricot season here, and the fruit has been marvelous this year!  That means it’s time for this delicious Apricot Almond cake.

So without further ado, here’s the recipe: (And you don’t have to have a mixer to make it!)

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (I’m using Pink Himalayan Rock Salt)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda

Stir together and break all clumps.

  • Then add 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil (it’s hot here today, so mine was already liquid, but if yours is pretty solid warm it slightly until it’s soft)
  • 2/3 cup honey (you may sub in maple syrup)
  • 4 large roughly treated fresh eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract (sounds like a lot, I know.  If you vanilla or almond extracts are extra strong, adjust accordingly.)

Stir together, and pour into a 9 inch round cake pan that has been buttered with coconut oil and lined with waxed paper (the waxed paper is an optional step that zero waste folks will be fine to skip).

  • 2 large fresh apricots, peeled, and sliced thin

Place the apricot slices evenly around the edge of the cake for sunflower petals.  I used two large apricots in the video, but I’ve since been back to the market for more and they were quite small the second time, so use what works for your situation.  It’s never wrong to have a  few left lovely fresh apricots left over for snacking.

  • 4 ounces almond paste

Roll paste into snakes, cut into even rounds and roll into little balls to be used for the middle of the sunflower.  Use a little powdered sugar to keep the paste from sticking to everything.  Any extra almond paste may be chopped and stirred into to the batter.

Bake at 350 degrees, conventional oven, for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Let me know what you think of my recipe.  I think it works as a dessert and as a breakfast cake.  And as you can see in the video, it’s easy to make in only 6 square feet plus oven and a sink for doing dishes.

Thanks for visiting my blog and stay tuned for many more great new recipes that you can make, even in a teeny tiny kitchen!  Even if you live in a tiny house like we do, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor!


Blushing Eggs

I’ve been researching the various ways authors include food in their writing.  Some authors weave the recipes right into the story, others mention the food and then include recipes in the book.  While that seems like it would narrow the options down to just two, each author does this in their own unique way and I’m enjoying this exploration very much.

One example is the memoir Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World that I have written about before.  This book has inspired me a great deal, and I even had lunch and a delightful conversation with the author, Shirley Showalter.  That was FUN!  (Authors are So Cool!)

In her book, Shirley mentions food and she includes special recipes at the end of the book.  There were two recipe that caught my attention, one was for a Beet Pickle and the second was for Pickled Red Beet Eggs that uses the brine left from the pickle a second time, to pickle the eggs.  The more I thought about these pickled eggs, the more I began to crave them.  But without the leftover brine from the pickles… and beets aren’t in season… how?

Then I thought about the pickled eggs we used to serve at our restaurant.  The other day I discovered a whole banker’s box full of recipes left from our restaurant.  I even found the blue book of hand written recipes that was the reference book for my husband’s sandwich shop that he ran alongside his pipe organ business before I was a part of his life.  I was delighted to find this box and as I sorted the recipes I found my long forgotten recipe for pickled eggs that we used in our restaurant.

Two dozen farm fresh eggs (some of which have a turquoise hue) in hand made pottery on a hand woven cloth.

But before I go on about those beautiful eggs, let me share a little morsel from the book:

“In the 1950’s a few hobos still traveled the countryside, although most of them had disappeared after the Depression and World War II. I remember Mother making a delectable meal for one man who knocked on our door.  She cooked up fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, bread and butter, and home-canned peaches, along with chocolate cake for dessert.  I could tell she was also a little afraid.  As she confided afterward, she had heard that sometimes hobos set fire to barns, but she swallowed her fear after looking at the hungry man in front of her.  She wanted to make him a meal he would enjoy, one that would stay with him until he met another generous farm wife down the road.  The man ate the meal on the porch, sitting on a rocking chair.  Henry and I played in the yard, watching him from the corner of our eyes.  When he had eaten every morsel, the man returned the plate to Mother and thanked her.  ‘You’re a good cook, Ma’am, he said.'”

Even through her fear she chose to be generous, and she cooked a real meal for the “hobo” knowing it might be a while until he had another.  Everything about this meal shows a woman walking in Grace and making the road a little gentler for her fellow travelers.  Brava!

About those eggs…

Put two dozen eggs in a roomy pot and cover with water.  Bring to a rolling boil, then remove them from the heat, cover them, and set the timer for 14 minutes.

When the timer rings, drain the hot water and rapidly cool the eggs in cold water.  When the eggs are cool, peel them gently and place each dozen in a quart canning jar.

 Juice three large beets…
 and one onion.
 To the quart jars with the eggs add two gloves garlic and 1/2 T pickling spice per jar plus a healthy pinch of salt.
Fill the bottom half of the egg-packed jar with the beet/onion juice and fill the rest with vinegar and cover.
 Allow them to sit in the fridge for a few days until the color and flavor seeps through the egg white.
Ok, I know that’s the advice to give, but mine were in the brine
only a few hours before I could NOT TAKE IT ANY LONGER.
I ate the first egg.
It was yummy!
(If this is wrong I don’t want to be right)
pickled for only a few hours

Helpful tip: I use this brine over and over for lots of eggs.  I boil a new batch of eggs, pack the jar, pour in the brine, and just top it off with vinegar.  The eggs will continue turning out delicious and colorful, and a little lighter in color each time.   And pickled eggs are yummy straight from the jar, and they make a delightful addition to a cob salad!

BTW, I’m posting these Blushing Eggs (see what I did there?  The title of the book is “Blush” and I’m talking about pickled eggs, lol, I amuse myself!) in conjunction with Novel Food by Simona Carini.  Drop by over there to see all the links to delicious food inspired by a published literary work!  I’ve been a part of Simona’s collection in the past and seriously, the Novel inspired food from creative cooks all over has been absolutely spectacular!  Last time there was a guy who wrote about pots de creme from Proust.  The very idea is swoon-worthy!

A shout-out to generous cooks everywhere, especially the kind who feed our modern day ‘hobos’!
These “Blushing Eggs” have been allowed to soak in the brine for about 24 hours.

Stay Tuned


Oatmeal for Breakfast

Part way through perfecting a killer coffee cake recipe… I threw myself a curve ball.  Sure, let’s take gluten out of my bag of tricks for a while and see what happens.  Why not?!  What could possibly go wrong?  (Besides the coffee cake he refused to eat?)  Truth be told, if it hadn’t been the only thing in the house, I wouldn’t have eaten it either.  Ok, so perfecting the coffee cake will have to wait for another day.  No problem.

Fine, I’ll go back to enjoying oatmeal for breakfast. My Austrian starts making faces when I pull out what he calls “porridge” for breakfast but I have finally got a recipe he delights in teasing me about… but still eats.  And good news… what we don’t eat, the dog will make short work of (only no raisins for dawgins).

So here’s how I make oatmeal that even an Austrain-whose-mother-loved-porridge will eat.  And this morning I measured what I was using so I could share this recipe with you.

1 cup water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon raw honey
pinch sea salt

I bring this to a boil until the raisins have plumped and the coconut oil is melted then I add
1/2 cup gluten free oatmeal – quick oats.

Cook gently, stirring often until it is the consistency you like.  This won’t take long at all if you purchase quick oats, and yes of course you can use butter instead of coconut oil, yum!

This recipe makes more than enough for one person for breakfast, and my dog gets what I don’t want.  But like I said, dogs shouldn’t have raisins, so I make sure I’ve picked them all out before I offer it to her.  If my Austrian is home, I double the recipe and add less raisins.

Jamie Oliver has all kinds of gourmet ideas for dressing up oatmeal such as apple and blackberries, bananas and almonds… and all of that sounds amazing. However, at my house we’re slightly more likely to garnish the oatmeal with the ever-charming gummy bears which is always good for a laugh.

What is your favorite breakfast food on a cold winter morning?  Let me know in the comments.