Welcome To My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen {and a little lesson in contentment}

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been hopping around the food blogging corner of the internet and come across someone sharing photos of their kitchen.

Their beautiful, spotless, efficient kitchen. Sigh…

Let’s face it, every woman wants a gorgeous kitchen (even if she hates to cook). But from one beautifully designed kitchen to another perfectly spotless one, looking at other foodies kitchens always leaves me feeling a little… discontent. ‘Cause mine pretty much never looks beautiful and spotless, and I know for a fact it’s not very efficient.

As humans, we naturally want stuff. It doesn’t matter what country or ethnic group we’re from. And the more stuff we get, the more we want. This discontentedness does not breed joy. We convince ourselves we don’t have everything we need. And sometimes we have to be taken down to pretty much nothing to appreciate what we do have.

So today I decided to share a little kitchen story with you. A little story of kitchen contentment…. 

Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
Not too long ago, in a not too far away place (if you live in the southern US, that is), a little redhead girl married a boy she met in college. They started off in a dorm apartment, where she learned that she had no idea how to make a can of Progresso (and believe me, she was OK WITH THAT!), but she could make chocolate chip cookies 10 different ways using the same recipe every time. From the dorm they moved every year or so from small apartment to smaller apartment, had a couple kids, and ended up in a tiny two-room Russian apartment.
 
And in this tiny Russian kitchen, with a stove that had no temperature gages and was barely big enough to fit a 9×9 inch baking dish, and a sink without running water for weeks on end (let alone hot water in the summer), this little redhead was more content than she had been in the bigger, better small American kitchens with their dishwashers, garbage disposals, and hot running water!
 
Because she learned this (as it applies to kitchens):
 
“I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. 
In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content
whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 
I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:12-13)
 
So, just in case you’re struggling with being content with your current kitchen, remember the women in Tanzania who cook over a fire in their front yard, or the women in India who only have one pot and eat rice for every single meal (though, let’s face it, when you’re gluten-free sometimes it feels like you’re eating rice for every meal, too). Remember that your contentment shouldn’t be based on what you have, it’s a choice that springs up from your heart – you are blessed! 🙂
 
Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
Now, if you’re still here, I’d like to share a few photos of my current kitchen… along with some of my family’s favorite recipes. 🙂
 
Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
Proverbs 3:5-6 = always a good idea. 😉
 
Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
Ah, cast iron pans, how I love them. If you don’t own any, let me encourage you to forsake all other fry pans you have and go get one! I won’t fry an egg on anything else. Actually, I can’t fry an egg on anything else, I’m really really bad at it…
 
Some of my family’s favorites on the skillet include my Quick Fix Gluten-Free Sourdough Pancakes, and my kid’s all time fav lunch: Cheese Triangles (a.k.a. quesadillas). Skillets are also where we make our meat-free Sprouted Lentil ‘Sloppy Joes and our southern favorite Biscuits & Gravy.
 
Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
Here’s my kombucha monster taking over the counter. It chased my poor fragile water kefir to a different room! Seriously, this stuff is a beast… (I’ll be posting on how to contain make it soon, if you’re interested.)
 
Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
Fridge art. No kitchen is complete without it! Unless your kitchen doesn’t include a fridge, that is…
 
Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
Sourdough starters… drying watermelon seeds to plant in the flailing garden… the trusty Blentec purchased with credit card points and daily used for dairy and grain-free necessities like Homemade Coconut Milk and Coconut Flour, our family’s favorite Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie, and our recent favorite summertime treat: Banana Nut Butter Soft Serve.

Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com

My favorite place to do dishes [ha]: a window with a view of some spiders who made a web in the screen and my gorgeous jungle of a backyard, along with a tiny aloe plant in a plastic cup and some oregano flourishing in a jar of water on the windowsill. 🙂

Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
My “laboratory” cabinet featuring my wonderful spiralizer (great for curly fries & dried apples – recipes coming soon!) and jars of vanilla beans marinating themselves into extract alongside some orange peels soaking in vinegar. There’s usually some Simple Homemade Sauerkraut in there as well and sometimes a jar or two of Cinnamon Apple or Cranberry Chutney
 
Never made your own vanilla extract? It’s super easy… Check out my post on it!
 
Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
Here’s the handy-dandy refurbished KitchenAid my hubby and I purchased with all our wedding gift money. One of my favorite things to use it for is Garlic & Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, though it most often gets used for its shredder attachment when we’re grating cheese for our weekly pizza.
 
Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
Tap Master Jr., the best water purifier for people who can’t afford a Berkey.  ; )
 
Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
My 7-year old’s pets (a.k.a. my kitchen companions): Jessica, the male beta fish, and the entomology jar featuring a freshly caught cricket (usually it’s roly-polies, centipedes, or worms).
 
Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
The table, where all the action happens (ha), and the amazing storage bench my friend’s husband made that doubles as children’s seats. Also, to the right notice the newest addition to our family: standing desks! My handy hubby made them for us and they daily save us from the mounds of neck, shoulder, and back pain we have accumulated over the years of sitting at desks. If your job requires you to be at a desk, I would highly recommend you look into getting one.
 
And, in case you’re still around, here’s some photos from my cooking experiences in Russia, just for fun…
 
Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
This discarded old army thing was my first ever Russian stove. For my internship I was a cook for an orphan camp out in the middle of nowhere on Lake Baikal, in Siberia. I think my instructor passed me out of sheer amazement that 80+ kids survived off my cooking on it for the summer!
 
Welcome To  My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
Here’s my family’s kitchen. Yep, that’s all of it, minus the tiny table I was standing on next to the tiny fridge in the corner. Isn’t it lovely? Pink is my favorite color (that was typed in sarcasm). In all seriousness, though, I learned so much about cooking in Russia, like how many different dishes can be made from potatoes and cabbage, and tasty ethnic dishes like Breakfast LapshaSyrniki (not gluten-free!) and our favorite Homemade Sweet & Sour Chicken.
 
And, just FYI, it was our family’s move to the States that triggered the dormant celiac in me and my second daughter. It’s crazy what eating processed, genetically modified foods does to one’s insides!
 
Aren’t you glad you stuck around for that? 😉

If you’re interested in the reality of what other gluten-free kitchens look like, stay tuned… this is the first installment in a monthly tour of gluten-free kitchens across the web! I’ll be linking up the others down here as they get posted.

 

FabGrandma’s Gluten-Free Kitchen

Flippin’ Delicious

Rolling Out Dough

Those Who Help Themselves

EpiFamily


 

{This post is linked to Allergy Free Wednesdays, Anti-Procrastination TuesdayBe AwesomeBlogger’s Brags, Brag About ItClever Chicks, Create Link Inspire, Do Tell TuesdayEat Create PartyFamily Fun Friday, Fat TuesdayFight Back Fridays, Five Friday FindsFoodie Friday, From the FarmFull Plate Thursday, GF & DIY TuesdaysGluten Free FridaysGluten Free Wednesdays, Good Tips Tuesday,, Great Idea Thursdays, Heritage HomesteadersThe HomeAcre Hop, The Homestead Barn, Jack Of All TradesLet’s Get Real, Marvelous MondaysMerry Mondays, Mostly Homemade MondaysNatural Family Friday, Natural Living MondaysRaising Homemakers, Real Food FridaysReal Food Wednesdays, Saturday Night Fever, Share Your StuffShine Blog Hop, Show & Tell Saturdays, Simple Saturdays, Simple Meals Friday, Simply Natural Saturdays, Sweet & Savoury Sunday, Tasty TuesdaysUnprocessed FridayWaste Not Want NotWellness Wednesdays, What’d You Do This Weekend? and What To Do Weekends.}

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35 thoughts on “Welcome To My {Gluten-Free} Kitchen {and a little lesson in contentment}

  1. I love the idea of a storage bench. In our new house, my husband is building us a farm house style dinner table [per my request. That is totally happening], and I've been thinking about what to do about chairs. That seems like a nice option to squeeze in more people if we have a party, too haha.

    Your Russian cooking picture with that army thing – wow! You're my hero to manage to cook on it. I never had that kind of experience cooking in Ukraine/Russia [I'm from Crimea so not sure what to call it now]. I do remember those tiny kitchens though and squeezing everyone in there to make far too much food than we could possibly eat.

    My family that still lives there has a pretty normal kitchen that was much nicer than the one I had in our old house in the Netherlands actually. However, a few summers ago I was interning in Georgia [gruzija] and oh my! The kinds of places that women there cook is amazing! The food tastes fantastic and they're so resourceful!

    Anyway, thank you so much for sharing this post! I'm so nosy- I love seeing into other people's kitchens and how they cook!

  2. Oh, my goodness, we would be in trouble without that storage bench! It was genius of our friend to make it, and it is pretty much my favorite piece of furniture in our whole house! 🙂 Other than my standing desk… 😉

    I love your description of the tiny Russian kitchens! All that squeezing everyone in and making too much food was always a wonderful experience (even if the prep work was ginormous). It is amazing how many unique dishes they can come up with from so few ingredients!

    I'm so glad you enjoyed the little tour of my kitchen – and I'm always glad when you stop by, Yuliya! 🙂

  3. What a cool post. I love Philippians 4:12-13 – and I try to think and live with that mentality. We can get so caught up with the world and what the world deems as "good and acceptable" that we often overlook what we have to be thankful for.

    I love the details of your kitchen! I used to make kombacha tea and one day I discovered it crawling with maggots and could not bear the thought of making it (or drinking it ever again). The benefits of it are so great though!

    I love the idea of a storage bench in the kitchen. I have been longing for one but unless we find one second-hand or someone gives one to us, we won't be getting one. I would store my daughter's homeschool materials in it if I had one.

    Standing desks? Hmmm, I can see how it would be better for your neck and back but I don't know if I could stand that long.

    So cool. I really enjoyed this.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend.
    xoxo

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer! It is amazing how many things the world tells us are we need that are completely unnecessary. It's hard not to get caught up in it, sometimes.

    So sad about your kombucha! I found some maggots in my water kefir once and that was REALLY hard for me to get over. I would've thrown it away, but my husband wouldn't let me. :p I try not to think about it….

    As for the standing, being up that long really encourages me to do other stuff, beside standing around on the computer for too long. 😉

  5. Aw! What a sweet look into your life and a needed lesson on contentment! I have to constantly remind myself of how blessed I am, and I certainly do not have the heart to look at other people's kitchens–It breeds discontentment in me. I live in Singapore where everything is small–and my kitchen is about half the size of yours and home to two bicycles! I am reminded all the time of how blessed I am though, as the space on the kitchen bar dwindles because my husband showers me with far more kitchen gadgets than the woman in Tanzania could ever dream.

  6. Your story was so inspiring and you are right – we always want more. I love all your recipes and how you have made every work and for you. We probably all need to experience being poor as the women in India that have little or nothing but still survive and cook for their families. Bless you and Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays Blog Hop I will share your post.on Google and twitter.

  7. Thanks, Marla! I appreciate you stopping by and sharing my post. 🙂 It is always good to be reminded of how much we have – we forget to be thankful too often!

  8. Thanks so much for linking up with Jack of All Trades! Loved reading this post – you have such a great view on contentment in whatever situation! I loved home tours – so seeing pictures of your kitchen was lovely 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  9. Oh I loved this tour! I'm pretty sure I opened every link. 🙂 I'm definitely going to checking out all your gluten free recipes, and it was great to see another gluten free kitchen.
    Thanks for linking up with JOAT!

  10. Just a note to let you know that I have chosen your posts as one my features for this weeks Real Food Fridays Blog Hop. Always glad to see your articles. Thanks for sharing with Real Food Fridays.

  11. I love your little Russian kitchen. My mothers father was from Russia, so I am always interested in seeing things native to that country. I can only imagine what it must have been like living there,
    .

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Karen. 🙂 There are definitely things I miss about Russia, such as the slower-paced, simpler life and the massive-amounts-of-pesticide-free food. I don’t miss the winters, though… 😉