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, 2010 - December 31, 2010


Celebrating a Florida Christmas with Sweet Green Smoothies and Maple-Candied Bacon


I am spending the holiday weekend in Orlando, Florida, hanging out at my brother and sister-in-law's cozy little apartment. My parents drove down from Wisconsin and I flew down from Minnesota, and the warm Florida sunshine is a welcome departure from the wildly snowy, grey weather up north.  The weather in Florida has been marvelous, perfect for sitting outside playing cribbage and telling stories, going on walks, and simply enjoying the sunshine. I forgot that there are many parts of the world where things remain colorful, sunny, and green all year round, and this has reminded me that I need to get away to warm places more often during the cold Minnesota winters. I don't even want to think about the snow back home, and I'm sure my parents don't either. I mean really, when this snowy mess (otherwise known as my parents' house) is what the northern Midwest has to offer right now, why wouldn't we want to see all this beautiful color that Florida has to offer?

Why deal with this in Wisconsin and MInnesota when you could have warm, sunny weather and flowers in Florida?

little purple loveliesmy brother and mepalms at Christmastime! Hibiscus are one of my favorite flowers.I'm always amazed at the way that trees become habitats for so many other plants and animals, especially in warm climates. This tree had lichen and two other varieties of plants growing on the bark. Amazing.

Of course, since this is a food blog, I have to talk about what we have eaten thus far. We have eaten lots of great food together so far.  My mom brought down their Vitamix, so we have been able to make lots of delicious green smoothies.  The warmer temperatures left me craving fruit and raw foods, which is an unusual departure from  my normal winter desires for warm stews, meatloaf, and starch!  So, the smoothies were a welcome addition.  In addition to smoothies, I have made lots of other things, like roasted butternut squash, seared Brussels sprouts with apples, chickpea and celery spread, roasted cauliflower and broccoli, and a wonderful clean-out-the-fridge leftover soup. I made awesome red curry with chicken, squid, and fresh vegetables, served with quinoa (I will share that recipe soon!).  And my dad made grilled salmon and grilled mahi mahi that brought us to our knees.

Since the holiday always makes me want to bake, I did spend plenty of time whipping up sweet treats to satisfy the cookie craving. I made raw "trail mix" truffles, a nice mixture of a Larabar, dried apple juice-sweetened cranberries, homemade trail mix, and coconut oil.  We ate those on Christmas Eve instead of cookies, and they absolutely satisfied everyone's taste buds.  Later on, I dug through the pantries and my mom's snack box, and managed to throw together a really delicious breakfast scone/biscuit/cookie thing, made from freshly ground rice flour, oatmeal, apple sauce, finely shredded carrot, among other things.  Everyone loved it, and I'm going to refine that recipe and share it in my  next recipe collection.  

But the real star of the kitchen thus far has undeniably been the maple-candied bacon we ate on Christmas morning, accompanied by green smoothies.  


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Rainbow Curry Chicken Stew (gluten-free, ACD)


The chill of winter makes me yearn for the heat of chilis.  And thus, another red curry stew is born.  

This stew is a vibrant rainbow of color, a welcome departure from the winter whites outside my window. It has a complex and sexy combination of flavors. And the best part? It turns on that internal fire just a bit, and makes your hands and feet and forehead warm. 

Most of the ingredients in this dish are easily accessible in any well-stocked grocery store. When I'm making Thai-style curries, I like using Thai Kitchen products, as they are high-quality and gluten-free. You'll notice I used their red curry paste, fish sauce, and organic coconut milk in the dish below. I'm not advertising for them, I swear! I just really like their stuff.  You can find their products in the Asian food section of your local grocer, or online. 

I'd recommend serving it with a dollop of Garlicky Red Chili Hot Sauce. Not necessary, but it amps up the burn just a bit, and that makes me smile. What can I say, I'm a spicy lady. 

Like curry?  Check out these recipes....


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On visiting a nutritionist and making Mango Chicken Curry and Steamed Napa Cabbage & Fennel


I recently had a session with Jennette Turner, a Natural Foods Educator here in Minneapolis, MN. Jennette has a lot of experience and a grounded, whole foods approach to nutrition. From her website: "Jennette earned her Holistic Nutrition degree after three years of intensive study at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. After graduation, Jennette taught classes at the Institute alongside Paul Pitchford, Sally Fallon and Annemarie Colbin. She is a certified member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and a member of the Weston A. Price Nutrition Foundation. Her articles have appeared in publications nationwide."  I was excited to hear that she has spoken at the WAPF Conference - I've always wanted to go!  She also  has a really cool meal planning subscription called Dinner with Jennette. My new housemate subscribed last year - some strange coincidence, right? - so we have a stockpile of recipes that I'm excited to go through.

I really enjoyed my appointment with Jennette, and found her approach to diet completely affirming. I struggle - like so many of you do, too - with my weight, and body images issues, and spinning cycles of "I should eat this" or "I shouldn't eat that" and feeligns of guilt. I get all tied up in knots, and end up denying myself things, only to binge on them later. Jennette had excellent advice for me about new ways to approach how I thought about eating. she gave me book titles to read, and affirmed all the work I've done to change my diet and improve my health with food. And the best part yet? She told me to stop worrying about my weight, eat what I want, and see if my cravings reduce.  She told me to eat breakfast at home instead of eating at my desk at work. She told me to eat lots of butter and protein.. She told me to eat snacks during the day.  She gave me great recipes to try.

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Buckwheat Banana Bread (gluten-free, vegan, low sugar)


After a wild winter storm that dumped nearly 20" of snow upon the streets of Minneapolis in one day, I needed to feel cozy. I wanted to bake. And immediately, I thought of banana bread. Truthfully, I can't take credit for the idea - I was influenced by one of my most favorite blogs, My New Roots.  Sarah wrote a lovely post that discusses the Danish interest in hygge, the concept of being cozy, and her amazingly cozy recipe for Banana Bread. I have always loved the notion of hygge (perhaps my Danish ancestry makes me predisposed?), and was giddy to see her writing about it, especially in relationship to a lovely bread recipe.So, I found my way into the kitchen - where I spent most of last weekend - and made a batch of this lovely bread.  Sarah's culinary style is right up my alley, so I didn't need to do much to tweak the bread. I made the recipe gluten-free, using freshly ground flours, and made a few other small changes, but kept the spirit true to the original.

The result was lovely. It is sweet, but not too sweet. It is dense but still has a well-defined crumb. It is moist, but not gummy. It is flavorful and soft and chewy and makes me feel cozy inside. I really like this bread. And the bread stored well at room-temperature for almost 4 days (I don't believe it lasted that long). We all agreed it was best toasted or warmed up, but it was also good eaten plain.  I think it would make great french toast.  My housemate Mike (a guy who can eat everything) said, "This is good. Can I have another slice?" while chewing the last bite of a warm slice. He promptly returned from the kitchen with more, and ate it up. Over the next few days, we devoured the loaf, eating it slightly toasted, smeared with ghee. So good! My grain-free eating plan went totally out the window when the temperatures started diving toward the 0º F mark.  

I like to grind my flours fresh for the best flavor and freshness. For this recipe, the bulk of the flour is freshly ground hulled buckwheat groats and freshly ground millet.  If you've never baked with freshly ground buckwheat flour made from buckwheat groats, you're missing out. It has all the same great texture as regular dark buckwheat flour, but with a lighter, more neutral flavor and a light tan color. Regular buckwheat flour is made from buckwheat groats that still have the dark hull, which lend a dark color. When you grind hulled groats, you get light buckwheat flour. Pretty cool, right? Freshly ground millet flour is no different than what you'd buy in stores, except that it tastes better and is fresher.

I use a Vitamix to grind my flours. You can also use another high-powered blender like a Blendtech, a grain mill, a coffee or spice grinder, or perhaps a really good high-quality regular blender. Just grind until you have a fine powder, like flour. Done!

I think you'll really like this bread. It made me feel cozy inside and out, and filled the house with a warm, lovely smell that made us all smile. Winter is totally bearable with food like this around, isn't it?

Oh, and one more thing...

I'm starting a monthly newsletter! I think it will be fun. Sign up here, and I'll start sending out newsletters in January 2011. It's free and should be lots of fun. I plan to include all sorts of unique information, tips, featured foods, and a recipe each month. So sign up!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday for 1/11/11 on Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. Yay!

IMG_0147 IMG_0130

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Announcing..."A Procraftinator's Delight: Last-Minute Holiday Craft Sale"

 illustration by Kim Christensen, 2010

 Some of my artistically-inclined friends and I are teaming up to throw A Procraftinator's Delight: Last-Minute Holiday Craft Sale this Saturday from 10-5 in Minneapolis!  It will feature a wide variety of awesome handmade goods, perfect for gift giving. We might even have some select vintage finds as well. This sale is meant for the last-minute holiday shopper!  

My friends and I have a varied assortment of things that will be featured, and all of it is unique and one-of-a-kind.  I've been busy making some super cute stuff - cowl-neck capelettes, fingerless gloves, wraps, and the like.  If you live in the Twin Cities area, come on over and visit with me!  I'll probably be making tasty gluten-free, allergy-friendly treats to share with our shoppers... I'm just sayin'. 


handmade pottery 
A Year to Eat Freely: 2011 Allergy-friendly Recipe Calendar
crocheted and knitted accessories
The Fit hats by Alison Hoekstra
homemade jellies, jams, pickles, and preserves, using organic ingredients
vintage accessories
...and more!

S A L E    H O U R S   &   L O C A T I O N

Saturday, December 18, 2010 - 10 am-5 pm

3541 Bloomington Ave., Minneapolis, MN

It is a blue and white house with a shrub-lined front yard, there will be a sign out front.   Street parking is available, although our recent snowmaggedon storm has made parking a bit of a challenge.

Spread the word, invite your friends, and bring along some cold-hard cash.

See you there!