Affairs of Living

Gluten-free, allergy-friendly, whole foods recipes

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries from December 1, 2008 - December 31, 2008


Tarragon Roasted Turnips (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

"I believe that if ever I had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around." --James Beard

I love turnips. And so did the Greeks and Romans - ancient author Pliny the Elder heralded turnips as one of the most important vegetables of the time. Cultivated nearly 4,000 years ago in the Near East, this humble member of the brassica family is versatile, stores well, and is a powerhouse of nutrition. Like the other brassicas, they have a slightly cabbagey, bitey flavor. Raw, they are crisp and pungent, and make a great addition to salads. Cooked in soups, they add a depth of flavor and nice, starchy texture. Roasted, they make great home fries. Sliced and fried, they get crisp and rich. Mashed and whipped, they are a great substitute for potatoes. Sliced thin and layered, they make a beautiful gratin. Even their greens are delicious and super nutritious! Turnips show up in a wide variety of food traditions, from French to Chinese to Eastern European to American Southern. Oh, how I love turnips and their endless versatility!

In addition to being tasty, they are darn good for you. Like other members of the brassica family, turnips have special health-promoting phytochemicals that fight cancer and other illnessess, and are naturally antifungal. Chinese medicine asserts that turnips help to move the qi and clear phlegm and mucous, making them a great choice for damp conditions like lung congestion or candida. They are low in calories and low glycemic, and full of fiber, folate, manganese, calcium, potassium and vitamin C. In fact, 1 cup of turnips provides nearly 50% of your daily recommended Vitamin C!

A cool weather crop, turnips are bounitful in the fall and winter, so now is the perfect time of year to introduce turnips to your diet. Look for firm turnips, free of blemishes, with smooth skin. While turnips can grow to be quite large, smaller turnips have a milder flavor and more tender texture that I prefer. Easily confused with a rutabaga and some radishes, the most most common turnip is white, and may have a purple, reddish, or green top. My local co-op has a beautiful heirloom variety of turnip that is a deep ruby red and is oh-so-tasty.

I had a number of turnips in my crisper that needed to get used up, so I decided on a French-inspired roasted turnip using tarragon. If you've never used tarragon, I'd recommend getting some to try - it has an aromatic licorice-y/anise-y flavor, and is often used in French cuisine for sauces, fish, and eggs. I adore tarragon, and think it combines perfectly with the turnip. This recipe is quick and delicious, and has a remarkebly complex flavor for being so simple. I would have a photo to share of the beautiful roasted little morsels, but I just ate most of them. Enjoy!

Tarragon Roasted Turnips

Yield: approx 2 cups roasted

5-6 small or 3-4 medium turnips (approx 2 1/2 c diced)
1 T dried tarragon
1-2 T olive oil
sprinkling salt and pepper to taste
optional: drizzle lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Wash and peel turnips, and dice into approximately 1 in. x 1 in. cubes.
Place diced turnips in heavy, oven-safe baking dish or roasting pan, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on tarragon, salt and pepper, and toss to evenly coat.
Place in oven, and roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring often, or until turnips are soft and golden brown.
Serve warm or chilled over sauteed greens (like TURNIP GREENS, for example!), grains, or beans, or as a tasty side dish to fish, poultry, or meat. Delicious with a squirt of lemon juice, if you can tolerate citrus!




Holiday and New Year's Greetings

To a peaceful end to 2008 and a hopeful start to 2009. May this holiday season and the coming new year bring you and those you health, wealth, love, laughter, prosperity, and peace. Positive thoughts for 2009 and beyond!

This year I chose to send holiday and new year's blessings with this remarkably cheesy design! Working at a photo studio has its perks now and then...

Best wishes to those of you I know and all of you I don't yet. Be kind, think positive, and may love chase all your fears.



Soft Amaranth Quinoa Buns (Gluten-free, Vegan, ACD)

I had an experiment with amaranth flour earlier this week, and while it didn't turn out exactly as I'd hoped, I think it is decent enough to post. This recipe makes 8-10 good size, flattish buns/rolls. They are chewy, moist, and flavorful, and could stand any number of added variations, like herbs, spices, chopped up dried fruit, or nuts, or substitute fruit juice for the milk/water.

These might work baked in muffin tins as well - if you try that, give it a shot and let me know how it works!

Soft Amaranth Quinoa Buns

1/2 c amaranth flour
3/4 c quinoa flour
1/2 c quinoa flakes
1 T arrowroot powder
2 T flaxmeal
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
2 t cream of tartar
1 t salt
1 T coconut oil (solid, not warmed)
1/2 c applesauce
1 c water, milk, or milk substitute

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a large cookie sheet, or line with parchment.
In large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Rub coconut oil into flour mixture with your fingers until well incorporated.
In a small bowl or large measuring cup, mix applesauce, and water/milk. Mix well, then gradually add to flour mixture. Stir until evenly mixed and moistened, adding more water as necessary, to create a goopy, spoonable batter. Add any optional additional seeds, nuts, fruits, etc at this point, and stir until just evenly mixed.
Spoon batter onto prepared cookie sheet, in 3-4 inch rounds. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, then transfer to cooling rack.

Smear as is with your favorite spread or nut butter, or slap two together and make a sandwich. Great reheated in the toaster oven - the top gets crusty and golden brown. Yum! These freeze and thaw very well.


Approximate nutritional information per bun:
125 calories, 4 g fat, 17 g carb, 2.5 g fiber, 2.5 g sugar, 3 g protein

12/31/08 update: I put two frozen and thawed buns to the test over the holiday weekend! I made a sandwich with two buns, a Sunshine Burger patty, hummus, lettuce, and cucumber slices, wrapped it in tinfoil, and took it on the road for my drive home. The sandwich held together well enough that I could eat it while driving without creating a total mess! Awesome. I was most impressed at the fact that they actually held together - no crumbling, no breaking, no lost sandwich fillings! Thaw frozen buns at room temperature, or place in toaster oven and toast for slightly longer than usual for a crisp outside and chewy inside!


Gluten Free Vegan Sprouted Quinoa Rice Bread 

My sprouted quinoa rice bread is a vegan adaptation of this recipe from I used ground Chia/Salba seed for the egg replacement in this recipe, which I had never tried before. It made a thicker gel than flax, and I'm excited to try it out in other recipes. I also adjusted the flours, added some quinoa flakes to help stick everything together, and added a little olive oil for richness. Winter in Minnesota is cold, and a girl needs a little fat now and then.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the result. The loaf isn't particularly light or airy, but had a moist texture, pretty golden color, good flavor, and held its form pretty well. The best part was the crusty, crackly top. While the moist texture is nice, it is almost a little TOO moist, and could stand a lighter crumb - slicing this stuff gets a little sticky. So, I think next time I will bake it a little longer to help dry out the middle just a bit more, and maybe cut out the oil. Regardless, it wasn't bad...I ate nearly a third of the loaf once it came out of the oven, drizzled with a little good quality olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Maybe that's just bread lust altering my opinion?


Gluten Free Vegan Sprouted Quinoa Rice Bread

adapted from
Yield: 1 9x5 loaf, approximately 10 slices

Rinse in cold water 3x:

  • 1 c dry quinoa

Soak in 2 c water at room temperature overnight, or for 6 - 10 hours. The seeds will start to sprout! Make sure you rub the quinoa grains together and rinse well, in order to wash off the bitter saponin coating on the seeds, which can irritate digestion.

After soaking...

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a large loaf pan with olive oil, and dust with rice flour. Set aside.

Drain excess water from quinoa, and rinse a final time. Puree sprouted quinoa seeds in a blender with:

  • 3/4 c rice, soy, or nut milk
  • 2 T tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Chia/Salba eggs (1 T chia:3 T water for each egg - heat 2 T ground chia/salba with 6 T water in microwave for 1 minute, whisk briskly, and let cool slightly before using.- you should be left with a thick gel. You may want to do this first so your 'eggs' have time to cool)
  • 1.5 T olive oil

Combine separately:

  • 1/2 c brown rice flour
  • 1/2 c quinoa flour
  • 2 T quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp corn-free baking powder

Mix wet and dry just until evenly moistened. Pour into a greased loaf pan dusted with rice flour. Bake at 350 for about 40-50 minutes - a toothpick inserted in center should come out clean when it's ready. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before removing it from the pan. Gently transfer loaf to a cooling rack.

If you can, let cool almost completely before slicing, or you will have a sticky mess! Or, take you chances (like me) and dig right in. Slice it thick, and serve it up with your favorite spread or nut butter.


Cashew Rosewater Cookies (gluten free, vegan, ACD)

I have a great cookbook by Najmieh Batmanglij called Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey. The recipes call for all sorts of wonderful, exotic ingredients, like rosewater and pomegranate seeds and saffron and dates. this recipes are wonderful, and always inspire me to try out new flavors and combinations and make me daydream of future trips to new lands.

Unfortunely, many of the recipes include gobs of dried fruit, which isn't on my list of allowed foods right now. And middle eastern baking uses GOBS of sugar, so many of the baked goods in the book are also out the window. But I wanted to use rosewater, and thought it would be divine combined with cashews, and wanted to make a cookie. Holiday baking is my favorite, and this year, I miss it big time. So, I was bound and determined to make something out of this idea.

I found a recipe for almond rosewater cookies here, and adapted it to fit my cashew desires. My kitchen was filled with the scent of roses while the cookies baked. These tasty, aromatic little grain-free shortbreads have just a hint of sweetness and a flowery twist. I'm excited to serve them up to my family for the holidays.



Adapted from Cheryl’s kitchen.

yield: 46 1 1/2 inch cookies


1 3/4 cup cashews, finely ground
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp coconut oil, warmed to liquid
1 1/2 Tbsp agave nectar, or other natural liquid sweetener like honey, yacon, or maple syrup
1 t roseflower water

Blitz cashews in food processor or blender until finely ground. Make sure to stir often between pulsing, and not overgrind, or nuts will turn into a paste!

Mix ground nuts, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. In seperate bowl, mix warm coconut oil, agave and rosewater. Mix oil mixture into dry ingredients and stir.

Briefly knead dough until well mixed, then roll into two 1 1/2 inch diameter logs. If desired, roll log in finely chopped/ground cashews or finely shredded coconut. Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a few hours, or until dough has becomes firm.

Preheat oven to 350º F, and line a baking sheet with parchment. Slice logs into 1/8-1/4 inch slices. Bake 6-8 minutes or until cookies start to brown.
Cool on pan for 10-15 minutes, then transfer whole parchment sheet to cooling rack to cool completely. The cookies are fragile, especially when they are warm, so moving the whole parchment sheet is a safer way to transfer them.
Leftover cookies can be frozen for later - just wrap tightly, and place in a freezer-safe bag or container!  They are tasty grabbed right out of the freezer, or allowed to cool to room temperature.