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 February 1, 2010 - February 28, 2010


Yeast-Free Soy-Free Vegan "Parmesan Cheese" (gluten free, ACD, vegan, raw)

Lazy Sunday afternoons are made for pizza.  And today, I wanted pizza.  Unfortunately, like many of you, I don't really have the option of calling for delivery.  Hrmph.

Life without gluten, tomato, and  dairy doesn't leave a lot of options for restaurant pizza.  There are a few places in Minneapolis to get vegan, gluten free pizzas, but their crusts have ingredients that don't work for me, and their cheese is that creepy vegan processed fake cheese that I also cannot eat and wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole even if I could.  I keep hoping that I'll find a restaurant somewhere that has just the right crust, will make my pizza cheese free, and will offer a dairy-free, nut-free pesto sauce or garlic-olive oil sauce.  It will happen.  I know this place exists somewhere.

But for now, it seems that pizza as I knew it is a thing of the past.  

To be honest, I haven't done much with pizzas in my own kitchen because I get overwhelmed by making crusts.  My favorite pizza crusts are the Neopolitan-style thin cracker crusts, and recreating that in a gluten-free form is tricky.  I don't like using guar and I avoid xanthan, and that makes it hard to create thin - and most importantly, stable - crusts.  Yeah, I've made pizzas on chickpea crepes and other flatbreads, but it just ins't the same.  I could make a pizza with a thicker crust, but I don't really like thick doughy crusts, because it is just too much dough.  Pizza, for me, is about the toppings, not loads of crust.  Writing that sentence, I realize that I feel  the opposite way about pies - I could eat pie crust all damn day, often picking off all the crust from any leftover slices and ignoring the filling.  Hmn. I wonder why this difference exists.

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I think I figured it out.


Take that, McDonald's: Dairy-Free Avocado Shamrock Shake (gluten free, vegan, ACD)


I went to McDonald's.

It's not what you think.

Every day on the bus, I pass a McDonald's.  Sometimes I end up waiting at the bus stop in front of the McDonalds.  The smell makes me queasy.  I really dislike McDonalds.  I think it is disgusting, and have thought so for a long long long time.  I turned on McDonalds after going veg at 14, and I think I've probably eaten at McDonald's less than 5 times since then.  My last meal there was an egg McMuffin my junior year of college, a very reluctant event that occurred out of absolute necessity in the desolate dietary wasteland of Moorehead, MN on a college trip with a music group.  I am not an advocate of McDonald's.

Anyway, earlier this week, I noticed that McDonald's had changed the sign under the golden arches to read "Shamrock Shakes $2.99".  Despite my disgust for the general establishment, I could taste the minty goodness in my mouth.  I used to be quite the sucker for seasonal ice creams - pumpkin shakes in the fall, shamrock shakes for St. Patrick's day. I have always loved mint ice cream, and Shamrock Shakes, as a child, were a nice treat. Never mind the inevitable stomachache - I loved those things.  In that very moment, I desperately wanted a Shamrock Shake. The golden arches were tempting me. I started obsessing over how I could make a dairy-free, sugar-free replica.  It took over my brain.  I had an idea, something that involved avocado, mint leaves, and ice.  Yes. This would work.  

When the bus stopped across from McDonald's yesterday, and I saw the sign again, I was overcome.  I got up, I got off the bus, I crossed the street, and I walked in to the McDonalds.  Yes, you heard me - I went in. My nostrils were filled the heavy smell of french fries.  I went to the counter.  I ordered.

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Cinnamon Raisin Rice-Free Muffins (gluten-free, rice-free, vegan, ACD option)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I said I was on a break. I've never been good at putting myself on time outs.

These little gems were the result of an emergency gluten-free baking consultation session with a newly GF friend last night. I had to share the success story, because it is close to my heart! Imagine the following situation: you just found out you're allergic to lots of stuff, you're freaking out, you don't know what to eat, and then I show up on your door with a box of gluten free flours, a great big smile, and lots of determination to help you bake up something good.

 My dear friend B is an amazing baker - truly amazing - and makes cakes so beautiful you'd expect she went to pastry school.  Her buttercream frostings are epic.  She makes cookies and candies and pies that melt your heart.  But, in a rather tragic turn of events, she just found out she has allergies to rice, wheat, dairy, and eggs, as well as legumes, most nuts and seeds.  She suspects additional allergies to oats, corn, and soy, as well as other foods, but she isn't sure.  She is very allergic to the cats she loves deeply.  All these allergies explain a lot about the symptoms she's been dealing with, and she's already noticing some positive changes after cutting these foods out of her diet.  But she has a long way to go, and a lot more unanswered questions.

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Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, lovely readers!  I wish I had treat recipes to share with you, but unfortunately, most of my sweet treat endeavors this week didn't work out so well.  I did bake some amazing Carob Sunbutter Sandwich Cookies for a party at work, they were stellar.  But my fudge and truffle project?  Not good.  After a week of eating lots of coconut oil, nut butter, and carob-filled confections, I kind of want to puke.  And I wasn't totally thrilled enough with any of what I created to share it with you.  All I was left with was a queasy stomach, a tight waistband, and empty jars of expensive ingredients.  And this cute photo of the latest project , a rich tahini-carob truffle dusted with ground gojis. And the leftovers of these projects that I don't even want to eat because I feel so grossed out by too many sweets.  Ugh. 

This was a realization, however, that I've grown a little too overzealous and need to get a life outside of my kitchen again!  The cold of winter has made me a bit of a hermit.  Combined with my general nature to obsessively work on passion projects, this means I found myself making various kinds of truffles or fudge late at night most nights this week instead of sleeping.  Sampling taste after taste of rich treat late at night is not good for the digestive system.  My propensity to binge eat is only aggravated by this behavior.  This is not good. Not good!

So, I'm putting myself on a blogging time out.  I need to take some time to do other things that are important for my healing process with Lyme, as well as take time for other important for my general life (like doing my taxes, for example).  I also need to make some serious tracks on this cookbook I'm working on. Recipes, recipes, my oh my! Thankfully, they are vegetable based, no heavy ingredients involved.  I never get sick of vegetables, and they rarely make me feel queasy.  YES!

So, I'll be away for awhile on a little blogging holiday, but I'll be back soon, better than ever.