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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Saturday
Jun252011

Tuna & Chickpea Salad with Olives and Basil (gluten-free, ACD)

a scoop of tuna & chickpea salad over baby greens and edible flowers is a delicious light meal

I like to mix tuna with beans for simple salads. The tuna provides pure protein while the beans provide a mix of protein and complex carbohydrates. Add olive oil for healthy fat, and hooray, you have a versatile framework for a satisfying and nutrient dense meal. Build upon this basic framework by adding any variety of herbs, spices, or other ingredients. 

This time around, I combined tuna and chickpeas with green olives, basil, lime juice, olive oil, and pinch of cayenne pepper.  If you can eat cheese, a bit of crumbled feta in this salad would be really fab. I served it over mixed baby greens for light and nourishing meal, but it would be great served in a brown rice tortilla or a collard leaf for an easy wrap, or served as an open-face sandwich on a slice of your favorite gluten-free bread. 

If you like the looks of this recipe, you might also like these recipes...

Apparently, I like tuna with lime juice!

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Tuna & Chickpea Salad with Olives and Basil

Yield: 2-4 servings

This simple salad is a breeze to prepare and very delicious. Serve as a salad on its own, or scoop over greens or use in a wrap. The high protein content balanced with complex carbohydrates and healthy fat makes this a satisfying and nourishing addition to any meal. And it's affordable to boot!

If you have soy allergies, be sure to check the ingredients on your tuna. Many varieties of tuna contain vegetable broth that contains soy. I often buy soy-free water-packed tuna from  the brands Genova, American Tuna (BPA-free can), Wild Planet (BPA-free can), or Natural Value (will be BPA-free soon), or from Trader Joe's (BPA-free can). All of these tunas are packed in water and are dolphin safe. 

  • 1 5-oz. can water-packed tuna (salted or unsalted)
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas (approx. 1 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 10 large fresh sweet Italian basil leaves
  • 8 large green olives (pimiento-stuffed or not, your choice)
  • two glugs of extra virgin olive oil
  • juice from 1 lime
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 pinches of cayenne pepper, to taste

Drain tuna and chickpeas, and rinse chickpeas thoroughly. Place in a medium bowl.

To prepare herb and vegetables, peel the onion and garlic then mince, and add to bowl with chickpeas and tuna. Slice basil in a chiffonade, then thinly slice the green olives cross-wise to create rounds. Add basil and olives to bowl and toss ingredients together lightly with a fork. Add olive oil, lime juice, and seasonings, stir to combine with a fork, and adjust seasoning to taste.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes for flavors to meld, then serve. 

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days. 

HINT: if you want to use this as a sandwich filling or wrap filling, I would recommend lightly mashing the chickpeas before adding the tuna and other ingredients. That way, your chickpeas won't roll right out of your sandwich! A potato masher or a pastry cutter works great for mashing chickpeas, as does a fork. 

Friday
Jun242011

Bacon-Spiked Turkey Burgers (gluten-free)

bacon burger 2

While I don't like uneccessary fat hanging off my meat, a fatty cut of bacon, a well-marbled steak, a paper thin slice of speck, or a nice fatty sausage brings nothing but a smile to my face. Fat keeps things moist and juicy, and makes things taste really good. When it comes to meat, I'm of the opinion that a little fat can often be your friend.  

So, when I choose ground turkey for burgers, it has more to do with the fact that I really love the flavor and price of ground turkey than it has to do with a concern about saturated fat. The only problem with turkey is that the low fat content makes it easy to turn that lovely turkey into a dry little hockey puck. This is why I have taken to loading up my lean ground turkey with thick, crunchy, salty, fatty, porky bacon. YES. The bacon makes the turkey taste amazing and helps keep it moist. And when the bacon is in the burger, it doesn't slide off and fall to the side when you try to take a bite. Way easier to enjoy every bacontastic moment. 

Yeah, I'm one of those bacon people. I never thought it would happen, but it has, so I'm rolling with it. 

I used Black Forest Bacon this time around, acquired at my local Whole Foods store. This bacon is sliced extra thick and smoked over cherry wood for a totally porkgasmic experience. If you don't do pig, you could use turkey bacon. Although I'll eat turkey bacon with pleasure, it is no where near as delicious or crispy. It is merely a shadow of true bacon. But, it is better than no bacon at all, and it will get the job done - except there won't be any bacon drippings leftover to fry your burgers in. I know, my newly acquired love for bacon drippings goes against all principles of "good nutrition". But when something tastes this good and my body actually processes it without a hitch, I can't say no!

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Thursday
Jun232011

Gluten-Free New York Adventures - or - Kim Eats Manhattan

how much is that blue crab in the window? the one with the big shiny pinchers?

I went to New York City back in February for a check-up with my Lyme-literate MD. I intended to post this travel recap back then, but somehow it slipped my mind. Better late than never, I suppose! 

February's trip to the Big Apple was a victory. I have now gone to New York three times for appointments over the last year and a half, and the difference I notice each time I go in how I feel is amazing. Traveling removes you from your daily routine and the patterns of how you feel - it is such an incredible way to strip you down to a baseline. And you know what? I feel better. The first time I went in December 2009, New York totally destroyed me. I had a great time explore, but I had to take breaks going up the stairs from the subway, felt completely exhausted at the end of each day, and spent the next week after I returned trying to recover. This last trip I found myself skipping up stairs, running down stairs, and walking all day, without feeling like I was on a torturous death march or needing to take breaks constantly. 

Ladies and gentleman, it's official: I really am getting better. I feel so grateful. 

In addition to exploring the city, I met up with my friend Kim Trick from Steph and Kim (formerly Wallet-Friendly Wellness). I stayed with Kim and her sister Steph when I was in NYC last summer. Despite talking a lot online and through the blogosphere, we had never met before I arrived at their doorstep last July. I was touched at their generosity and willingness to invite me into their home, and we really hit it off and had a ton of fun together. Needless to say, it was a pleasure to catch up with Kim again. We spent the afternoon in a cute Brooklyn café, discussing everything from Lyme to nutrition to grad school to religion to boys. Fun!

Other than walking around a lot, I ate. In fact, I ate a lot and drank a lot and pretty much felt like I consumed half of Manhattan. I didn't have a lot of cash flow after paying for my doctor appointment and didn't go out to eat at very many restaurants, my friend Matthew and I mostly cooked at his place for breakfasts and dinners. But, as always, I did my fair share of tourist snacking while wandering the city. 

Oddly, I didn't take a lot of photos during this trip, probably because it was cold and my hands didn't want to come out of my gloves! New York City is weird in the winter because there really isn't snow anywhere other than Central Park. Coming from Minneapolis, where snow collects everywhere and takes over the streets, I saw this was a very strange phenomenon. Look at the difference between Central Park and the Union Square Greenmarket - it looks like two different cities and seasons! 

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Tuesday
Jun212011

Paprika Rice (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

IMG_2364

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring two spices with you, what would they be?

For me, this answer is simple: smoked Spanish paprika and cumin. The rich color, intense flavor, and incredible fragrance of smoked paprika makes my heart swoon, and the complex acrid flavor of cumin makes me weak in the knees. Without these two spices, my kitchen would seriously suffer. So would my taste buds!  They make everything taste good, working wonders on roasted vegetables, meats and poultry, and grain dishes. 

My most recent spiced rice dish exhibits my adoration of smoked Spanish paprika and cumin. It also displays my love for the coriander plant, combining both the dry ground seeds and the fresh leaves (a.k.a. cilantro). These herbs and spices enliven simple ingredients and create a wonderfully flavored dish that accentuates any meal. 

Spiced grain dishes like this one are a great staple for your weekly meal rotation. They are easy to prepare, affordable, nutritious, and wonderfully satisfying. If you have a rice cooker, making grain dishes is even easier, as you can simply flip the switch, walk away, and return to find perfectly cooked rice. I hardly ever cook rice on the stovetop anymore!

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Paprika Rice

yield: 6 servings

The rich, alluring flavor of smoked Spanish paprika flavors this dish. It is easy to prepare and very delicious, making it the perfect side dish for just about anything. The flavors are especially good with Mexican or Spanish inspired meals, grilled chicken or tilapia flavored with lime juice and chile powder, or Mexican chorizo. For a quick meal, top hot paprika rice with a fried egg - keep the yolk soft for an extra delicious twist - and serve with sauerkraut. 

  • 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 3 cups water, broth, or mix (I did half and half)
  • 3/4 tsp unrefined salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2-3 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro, or more to taste
  • unrefined salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • optional garnishes: extra virgin olive oil, chopped cilantro, smoked Spanish paprika

Soak rice in 6 cups of water for 6-12 hours. Drain rice in a fine colander, and discard water. Rinse rice very well. Place rice in a rice cooker with vegetables, broth/water, olive oil, salt, smoked paprika, cumin, and coriander.  Stir together, then place cover on rice cooker and cook per manufacturer's recommendation.

If you don't have a rice cooker, do the same thing but place in a pot on the stovetop. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Let cook about 45 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Remove cover and toss rice with a fork. Add fresh cilantro to hot rice and stir, seasoning with salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl, and if desired, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with additional chopped fresh cilantro and a dusting of smoked paprika. Serve.

Store leftovers in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

Friday
Jun172011

Sugar-Free Mango-Blueberry Crisp (gluten-free, vegan, grain-free)

Sugar-Free Mango-Blueberry Crisp

I am a night baker and a stress baker. As the sun goes down or my stress level rises, my immediate response is to reach for my apron, fire up the oven, and pull out the mixing bowls. 

Take last night, for example. I had a lot to do - laundry, starting the daunting process of packing my possessions for yet another move, answering emails, paying bills, the list goes on. But rather than attending to any number of tasks on my to-do list, I decided to bake. The fresh mangos and blueberries hanging out in my kitchen were calling my name, beckoning me to take part in their juicy sweetness. I heeded their call. Truly, I adore fruit desserts above almost all other desserts. Especially when those fruit desserts are grain-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free.

Really darlings, trust me, it's not hard to make a delicious dessert without grains or sugar. This easy crisp is a great example! I chose a combination of mango, blueberry, and grated fresh ginger for the filling, thickened with bit of arrowroot starch.  For the topping, I diverted from the expected rolled oat topping and chose a mixture of coconut, chopped cashews, and quinoa flakes. Since the fruit is so sweet already, I merely helped it along with a modest amount of stevia extract powder. Throw it in the oven and hooray, a sugar free crisp is born. And it's really good. My housemates both went in for hearty seconds. I somehow refrained to a single serving (?!?!), and relished in each sweet bite. And to top it off, the crisp looks really lovely: bright orange mango contrasting against the deep indigo-hued blueberries, covered in a flaky layer of spicy sweet golden coconut, toasted nuts, and crisp quinoa flakes. It's delicious on the eyes, right?

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