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. 

Entries in Life (32)


I am making something for you. And I mean it this time. Seriously.


I can't hold it in anymore, so I'm letting the cat out of the bag...

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May Day Blueberry Crumb Cake (gluten-free, vegan)

Much to my surprise, I just found this completed post in my drafts section. I had written it all the way back in May and thought I had scheduled it to post, but apparently, I forgot! So, here it is, much delayed, but still delicious.  I have made this a couple of times since, each time with slight tweaks, and it has always been delicious. Enjoy!

On Sunday I marched in the annual MayDay Parade.  Every year in Minneapolis, everyone comes out to the streets to see a wild procession of larger than life puppets and celebrate the renewed energy and rebirth of Spring. It is incredible, and this year I marched in a rowdy marching band with a bunch of people that I played music with last fall.  It fulfilled my childhood dream of playing viola in a marching band - we had a whole marching string section! We also  had a banjo, accordions, a big brass section, a ton of drummers, and a flag twirling color guard. Our parade section theme color was blue and silver, and some very talented people made us beautiful costumes to wear.  It was incredible.

We were having a big grill out brunch before the parade. Inspired by the blue color theme and the communal brunch, I wanted to bring a blueberry coffee cake to share.  

So I did.

I showed up to this brunch feast with fresh coffee cake, snap peas, raw sauerkraut, and a couple chicken sausages in hand, and was greeted with a table FULL of food, a grill going, and a backyard full of people. This backyard is huge, and has gardens, a chicken coop, and a hand-built little cottage that someone lives in with a wood stove inside.  A seriously great space.  The feast was incredible. Everything was homemade (with the exception of some very out of place Pringles and PopTarts).  Sliced beets, zucchini, and other veggies were on the grill. Fresh fruit was on the table. Pear crisp and banana bread joined my bread, along with homemade pancakes, fresh yogurt, egg bake, and hardboiled eggs. There was a big pot of brown rice with curry. There was pasta salad. There were roasted potatoes. Sure, I couldn't eat all of it, but it was a site to behold. I snapped a shot at the end, when most stuff was gone... including my cake, whose nearly empty pan is in the front left corner.  

Pre-parade feast.

Lining up before the parade begins. So many accordions! My dream come true.

My amazing parade uniform cape, from the back.

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Apple, Turnip & Cabbage Hash (gluten-free, vegan, ACD) and an unrelated crafty announcement

sweet, savory, sour, and so so so good 

This month's SOS Kitchen Challenge features none other than the trusty apple, a harbinger of autumn.  For my first apple recipe of the month, I wanted to make something that walked the line between sweet and savory.  I decided on a mix of apples, turnips, and cabbage, spiked with onion and caraway seeds. It is very much inspired by Scandanavian and German food; what can I say, I'm influenced by my cultural heritage.  It is aromatic and full of flavor, and I am convinced that caraway, apples, and cabbage were absolutely made for each other. Despite the fact that this combination makes vegetables almost sinfully delicious, you needn't worry - no sinning here.

If you want to participate in this month's SOS Kitchen Challenge, it's easy! Just check out the kick-off post for all the rules, and submit your apple recipe to the Linky at the bottom of this post. You can submit recipes until the end of the month, when Ricki (my challenge co-host) and I will post a round-up highlighting our favorites. Awesome.

Apple, Turnip & Cabbage Hash

yield 4 side servings

2 organic apples, cored and diced
2 large turnips, peeled and diced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 cups finely chopped purple cabbage 
2 Tbsp olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, or butter
2 tsp caraway seeds 
pinch allspice
umeboshi plum vinegar, to taste

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, then add onion and stir. Saute 2-3 minutes, then add turnips, stir to coat with oil, and saute for for 5-8 minutes, until turnips just start to turn slightly golden. Then add apple, cabbage, allspice, and caraway seeds. Saute until apple and cabbage are softened, stirring often. Then crank up the heat and saute for about 5 minutes to give everything a nice little brown edge. Season to taste with umeboshi plum vinegar, and serve.

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Oh, hey, wait a minute!  I have an unrelated announcement!

I'm excited to present you with My Little Ideas, my very own shop on Etsy! Etsy is a an amazing site that provides virtual storefronts to artisans and crafters, and is the source of amazingly unique handmade goods on the internet. I've been meaning to start a site for years to sell the various things I make - embroidered items, jewelry, crocheted and knitted items, the list goes on. However, my recent crocheting solution to a problem finally kicked me into gear. I use mason jars for everything, and generally have one bouncing around in my purse to use as an eating or drinking vessel. After one too many broken jars, I finally decided to start crocheting jar cozies, and it turned into nothing short of an obsession! So, I now present you with my very own shop, my place to sell whatever I make, including my beloved cozies. 

My Little Ideas

one of my handmade mason jar cozies, available on Etsy

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Happy Summer Solstice

Today's Summer Solstice sun rises over Stonehenge. Image from the Daily Mail

An Invocation of Summer
by Patricia Telesco

Fireflies and Summer Sun, 
In circles round we become as one. 
Singing songs at magic's hour 
We bring the winds and timeless power. 
Turning inward, hand to hand 
We dance the hearth to heal our land. 
Standing sacred beneath the Sky 
We catch the fire from out it's eye 
Swaying breathless beside the sea 
We call the Goddess, so Mote it be! 


Today is a powerful day. So powerful, in fact, that I awoke at 5:45 am, without a the help of an alarm.  I was alert and alive. Instead of drifting back to sleep, I meditated in my FAR infrared sauna box for 30 minutes, did a little detoxifying skin brushing, took a refreshing shower, then made zucchini oatmeal pancakes and sat down to do a little blogging.

What an amazing way to start the longest day of the year. 

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Kitchen Disasters: A Pictorial Tribute

One of my readers recently asked me "How do you do all this cooking? Are you super human? I'm beginning to wonder if you are lying about the Lyme!"

Uh, no.  I'm not super human, nor am I lying about the Lyme. I need to eat, so I cook.  And I definitely have some Lyme brain issues that plague me from time to time.  Lyme eats your brain, causing brainfog and dementia and ADD and emotional disturbances and forgetfulness.  People with severe Neuro Lyme have immense challenges with even simple tasks. I'm extremely lucky in that my brain hasn't been affected as much as other systems in my body.  Thankfully, I've only experienced some minor cognitive delay and some memory loss, but nothing that renders me incapable of functioning.  If I lay off the sugar, take my meds, and get enough sleep, I can keep it together darn well (better than many totally healthy people, I'm told).  But when I deviate, I'm a foggy mess.  I get a little twitchy and very clumsy.  My body hurts and I have a rough time.  So, I try not to deviate.  I've already noticed improvements since starting antibiotics a couple months ago. I'm extremely lucky.

Spaciness and clumsiness has, however, led to a lot disasters.  For example, I've lit toaster ovens on fire and made them explode (note the use of the plural). I've destroyed really nice pots by not turning off the flame. I've fallen asleep with the oven on.  I've risked explosion by letting the gas run without flame. I've broken multiple dishes in one day on more than one occasion. I've found things in my microwave that I've forgotten about and cooked days before. I've left broth cook for multiple days in the crock pot because I forgot I had made it.  I drop stuff alot, spill things often, and cut my finger tips fairy frequently (I have a healing finger as I type).

Combine this with the countless challenges of working outside the realm of "regular" recipes, with all those gluten free, dairy free, egg free, etc etc etc substitutions and tweaks and changes? We have more potential for disaster.   I've created frostings that are more like wallpaper paste than food (see below).  I've made baked goods ranging in texture from hockey puck to sponge to gerbil cage bedding.  I've begrudgingly thrown away disturbing amounts of money in failed baked goods.  I've sheepishly fed strange desserts to obliging friends.  Ah yes, such is the life of an experimental cook. 

But let's be real: Lyme or no Lyme, kitchen disasters happen to everyone.  The more you cook, the more opportunity you have to screw up, because the more time you spend doing it.  It's like driving. If you're driving all day long, you have more opportunity to get hit by another driver, because you're simply on the road more and in contact with more drivers!  But when you add a twist of forgetfulness/brain fog, twitchy clumsiness, and the challenges of a restricted diet, you have a formula for wildly amusing (and sometimes dangerous) kitchen follies.  

No, not everything is a victory.  I screw stuff up like anybody else.

Inspired by this post from Gina at Gluten Free Gourmand, I started documenting some of my favorite follies.  Here are a handful of my most memorable kitchen disasters from the last 6 months.  I think these photos probably speak for themselves, but never one to be short on commentary, I'll share a little about each one.  This is just the tip of the iceberg. I wish I had taken more photos of all my disasters and culinary shenanigans!


 Don't try thickening coconut milk and blended cashews with a ton of tapioca starch and think you'll ever get usable frosting.  What resulted was a thick, greasy paste that reminded me of the bastard child of Silly Putty and Gak, and I had to play with it.  Then it wouldn't wash off my hands or out of the pot - it took intense scrubbing.  I think it could have been used to caulk a bathtub, adhere wallpaper, or lay bricks. My entire family, myself included, experienced both awe and horror.  This stuff was unreal. 


Chasing a dream for spicy and sweet pumpkin waffles, I strayed from my failure-proof waffle formula, and was punished.  Yikes.  Thankfully, the rest of the batter made excellent pancakes, so it was kind of a blessing in disguise.  But the clean up from this disaster was horrible. Thank god for a waffle iron with removable plates, my goodness.


The batter was amazing, rich and flavorful.  They looked beautiful cooling in the muffin tin.  Then I tried removing one, and it crumbled on contact.  I managed to keep a few of them in one piece from the tin, but they crumbled when I tried to transfer them from the cooling rack to the storage container.  Dust.  It was insane, they couldn't be moved without absolutely falling apart.  

What happened? I got a little cocky, and neglected to add binder of any kind to this recipe.  Foolish.  


Disaster #4: Baked Baby Bok Choy

Mistake 1: thinking that baking bok choy with basil was a good idea. It is not.

Mistake 2: going all Lyme brain and leaving it cook for about 1 1/2 hours, despite setting a timer.

This was terrible.  Wilty, floppy, grey, watery.  The basil took on this terrible sharp, bitter flavor, and the water reminded me of a putrid swamp. Vegetables prepared like this is what make people afraid of eating vegetables.  Blech. I felt terrible for making such an absolute waste of such beautiful baby bok choy!







See that green color?  That was not intentional.

This was a failure on so many levels.  I was trying to make something high-protein and low-carb like Elena does with almond flour and coconut flour, but using sunflower seed meal and no eggs.  Good idea, terrible execution.  I had such hope for them, but upon removing them from the muffin tin knew it was a failure.  Still curious, I ate one, and my suspicions were completely confirmed. There was WAY too much flax, they had a weird flavor, and a horrible texture that never set up.  

I was even more disappointed when I started feeling kind of sick about 15 minutes later - itchy eyes, headache, congested sinuses, queasy stomach, sore throat. Yuck, I felt awful.  What was going on? When I returned to the kitchen a short time later to throw away the failed muffins, I was greeted by a disturbing and mysterious DARK GREEN color.  Baked goods should never be this color.  Ever.  It was the most bizarre thing I'd ever seen, they had literally changed color within an hour of being removed from the oven. 

My theory? My coconut flour was probably rancid, and the heat of the oven made some kind of mold bloom. In my hasty curiosity, I ate one of my fresh muffins before this strange chemical reaction showed itself; the deceptive little jerk of a muffin tricked me.  

I irrationally contemplated making myself throw up upon discovering the disturbing color change, but decided to let the moldy muffin run its course through my body instead. And consequently, felt ill all night.  Gross. Totally creepy. I couldn't make muffins for WEEKS.


Okay, so that's all for now. More kitchen disasters to come in the future, I'm sure.  Happy cooking!