Affairs of Living

Gluten-free, allergy-friendly, whole foods recipes

Recent Posts

Subscribe to RSS headline updates from:
Powered by FeedBurner

Site Search
Subscribe

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. 

Free Shipping on Vitamix

The Vitamix is my favorite kitchen tool for blending perfectly smooth sauces and smoothies, making my own nut and seed butters, grinding fresh gluten-free flours, and more. Interested in purchasing one? Check out the great deals on reconditioned Vitamix machines, or investigate new Vitamix machine packages. Payment plans are available!

Receive FREE SHIPPING to the US and Canada when you order a Vitamix with my affiliate code 06-004943. 

Save at iherb.com

Save $5 on your first order from iHerb.com with coupon code QAB040.  Visit iHerb.com now to browse natural products and supplements. 

Love it here?

                                

Entries in Giveaways (26)

Tuesday
Jun142011

A Farmers Market Demo with Sweet 'n Sour Rhubarb Pickles and Rhubarb-Apple Compote (gluten-free, cane sugar free, vegan options)


Preparing ingredients for Rhubarb Apple Compote

On Saturday, June 11, I gave a rhubarb-themed cooking demonstration at the Minneapolis Farmers Market during their weekly Market Talk segment. This was my third cooking demonstration at the market, and as usual, it was an absolute blast. Market Talk host (and local food blogger) Emily Noble and I walked the crowd through a brief history of rhubarb, shared suggestions for selecting and storing rhubarb, and gave advice on how to care for plants of your own. Then I demonstrated how to prepare Sweet 'n Sour Rhubarb Pickles and Rhubarb-Apple Compote, recipes that I had developed for the event. Despite the rather chilly temperature and high gusts of wind that nearly took away our tent a few times, it was very sunny and the market was hopping. 

As usual, I had a wonderful kitchen setup to work with, complete with large stainless tables, utensils, a gas-powered double burner, and a snazzy microphone headset. Emily shopped the market that morning for the freshest, most beautiful rhubarb, apples, ginger, local honey and maple syrup, and a few other ingredients. I came armed with everything else I needed, including one of my favorite vintage aprons. 

Preparing ingredients for Rhubarb Apple CompoteStirring the Rhubarb-Apple CompoteExplaining the process for making Sweet and Sour Rhubarb Pickles

The crowd was highly engaged and interested, asking lots of questions and offering up their favorite ways to prepare rhubarb. They even laughed at my jokes! My assistant (yes, I had an assistant!) passed out samples, which were quickly eaten up by the crowd and received enthusiastic smiles and thumbs-ups all around. And the retention rate was excellent, even though the demonstration went well over an hour.  

Curious about the recipes? The pickles are a sweet and sour pickle, heavily flavored with clove, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger in an apple cider vinegar and honey (or maple syrup) brine. They celebrate the natural sourness of rhubarb rather than trying to cover it with lots of sugar. It's like they say, "I'm sour, love me for it!"  The compote was the sweet counterpoint to the pickles, an aromatic and flavorful mix of apples, rhubarb, raisins, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, cooked together with apple juice. The high amount of pectin in apples allows the compote to thicken considerably, creating a luscious fruit mixture that is ideal eaten on its own, over ice cream or yogurt, or with pancakes or waffles. 

I passed out a recipe booklet of some of my favorite rhubarb recipes from my kitchen and my family's kitchen, which included both the pickles and the compote. The recipe booklet was a hit with the crowd and I will share it with you here on the blog. But first, I need to scan my hand-illustrated cover and attach it to the Word document, then set the whole thing up in Google docs so you can have access to it or figure out how to load a PDF into this post. When I do, I'll be sure to let you know!  

In the meantime, I want to share the recipes for the two recipes that I demonstrated that day. I hope you enjoy them. Happy rhubarb season!

Previous Farmers Market demonstration recaps and recipes:


IMG_2266.jpgIMG_2268.jpg 

Kim’s Sweet ‘n Sour Rhubarb Pickles 

By Kim Christensen

These pickles are inspired by cucumber bread and butter pickles. They are sour, sweet, and heavily spiced, and are a bold addition to a relish tray or served with Indian, Middle Eastern, or North African dishes. A fun and unexpected way to preserve the rhubarb harvest! I like this recipe because it celebrates the naturally tart, sour quality of rhubarb, rather than hiding it below lots of sugar. Rhubarb tends to be a bit fibrous and hard to bitd through, so you may opt to cut your stalks into shorter, bite-size pieces. 

Yield: 2 pints or 1 quart

  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar (I suggest using raw and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, such as those by Bragg's or Eden Organic)
  • ¾ cup filtered water
  • 1 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 ¼ - 1 ½ pound rhubarb, thin stalks if possible (about 1/2-inch thick)
  • 1 ½ inches peeled ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp whole allspice berries
  • 1 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 dry chili peppers

Place vinegar, water, and maple syrup/honey in a saucepan over medium heat. While mixture heats, cut rhubarb stalks into lengths that fit inside the jar with approximately 1-inch headspace (about 4-inches long if using a pint jar). If your rhubarb stalks are much thicker, slice them in half or quarters so they are about 1/2-inch x 1/2-inch before cutting into 4-inch lengths. Set rhubarb aside.

Divide cloves, allspice, and fennel between the jars. Then place rhubarb stalks inside, tucking sliced ginger, chili peppers, and cinnamon sticks between the stalks.

Pour boiling vinegar mixture over rhubarb until jars are full, leaving about ½-inch headspace and making sure rhubarb stalks are fully covered. If you have leftover brine, save to use for salad dressings or other pickling projects.  Screw on jar tops and let cool on kitchen counter until approximately room temperature. Then place in the refrigerator. For best flavor, let sit for 1-2 weeks before consuming. 

IMG_2255.jpgRhubarb Apple Compote served over organic yogurt is a wonderful breakfast or light dessert.

Rhubarb-Apple Compote 

By Kim Christensen

Sweet and aromatic, this compote is excellent served warm or chilled. For a simple fruit dessert, it can be served alone, or spooned over yogurt (as in photos above) or ice cream. It is also very good served over pancakes or waffles. For a savory twist, serve alongside grilled or roasted pork or chicken. The flavors of this dish are perfect for autumn, so freeze some of your rhubarb to use later on this year when the seasons change!

Yield: approximately 1 quart

  • 3 cups rhubarb, sliced in 1-inch x ½-inch pieces (about 1 pound rhubarb) - use either fresh or frozen (not thawed)
  • 3 apples, quartered, cored, and chopped in 1-inch x ½-inch pieces (about 1 pound apples)
  • ½ cup raisins or currants
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup honey or maple syrup (or more or less, to taste)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Prepare rhubarb and apples as directed. Place in a saucepan with raisins/currants, apple juice, and spices. Bring to a high simmer over medium-high heat, then turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove cover and stir in honey, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Replace cover and let sit for 3-5 more minutes. Let cool slightly before serving, mixture will thicken as it cools. This is also excellent served chilled. 

Thursday
May122011

Raw Coconut Cacao Bites and a Tropical Traditions Giveaway

Updated on Thursday, May 19, 2011 by Registered CommenterKim @ Affairs of Living

Raw Coconut Cacao Fudge

 It's no secret I love everything from Tropical Traditions. Their coconut products are made from fresh organic coconuts, grown by dedicated family farms in the Phillipines. Everything is produced small batches and tested for quality, ensuring that we receive the freshest, highest quality coconut oil possible.  I feel confident that when I'm using their products, I'm supporting a good manufacturing practices and getting the most nutrition possible for my money.

One of my favorite products is their Coconut Cream Concentrate, a delightful product that goes by the name of coconut butter by other brands and in the blogosphere. I've made my own coconut butter before (shredded coconut + food processor + patience), but the texture is always a little gritty. While the dollar amount is much friendlier on homemade coconut butter, I really prefer the creamy smooth texture of the storebought. So, sometimes I splurge and buy a jar. Or, I agree to do a giveaway and take part in a little complimentary coconut goodness.

Coconut Cream Concentrate is made from the flesh and fat of raw coconuts. It is white, thick, and fragrant, full of coconut goodness. When chilled, it is very firm, almost like candy. When softened, it is creamy and smooth, like a delectable spread. It can also be mixed with hot water to create a natural coconut milk or used in soups, stews, and daals to create a wonderfully rich coconut broth. Because it is naturally sweet, Coconut Cream Concentrate is also the perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth on a sugar-free diet. A little chunk on its own is a wonderfully satisfying treat, and it is brilliant included in sweet treats from pie to truffles, cookies to smoothies. Because it hardens at cool temperatures, it is great to use when you want a firm consistency in raw desserts.  

In addition to being delicious, Coconut Cream Concentrate offers all the awesome nutrition of raw coconut, including fiber, protein, medium-chain fatty acids, a variety of vitamins and minerals, and lauric acid (a naturally occurring acid with potentially antimicrobial and antiviral properties).

Please note that Coconut Cream Concentrate or coconut butter is different than coconut oil. Coconut Cream Concentrate contains fiber and fat, while coconut oil is just oil.  Since they have very different properties, the two cannot be used interchangeably. Coconut Cream Concentrate should never be used as a cooking oil, and cannot substitute coconut oil in any recipe.

Inspired by my love for Coconut Cream Concentrate, I made a recipe for you. It is kind of like fudge, kind of like candy, and totally delicious. Even better, I'm giving away a 32-oz. jar of Coconut Cream Concentrate to one lucky reader! 

Click to read more ...

Monday
May092011

"The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking" Book Review and Giveaway

I have a confession: I obsessively cyberstalk The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking author Kate Payne. 

It all started last summer, when I stumbled upon her blog. I instantly fell in love with her smart suggestions, her multitude of jam recipes, and her conversational writing style. She was writing a book about homemaking, biked around Brooklyn, grew strawberries in buckets, and doled out hints for cleaning with baking soda and dumpster diving for furniture. Oh, a kindred spirit! Truly, we were cut from the same vintage dishcloth. I left comment upon comment on her blog and her blog's Facebook fan page. Shortly thereafter, I stepped it up a notch; I found her personal Facebook profile and messaged her. She responded and we became Facebook friends. For months I picked her brain about food swapping, and she encouraged me to start the MPLS Swappers. All this time I have hoped that we would meet someday and geek out together about canning and collecting vintage aprons. 

Well, my dearies, cyberstalker dreams do come true. This Saturday, I'm picking Kate up from the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, taking her to brunch, and she is attending to the second gathering of the MPLS Swappers. The next day she'll be having a book signing event at the Barnes & Noble in Roseville, Minnesota. The virtual and physical worlds meet in a homemaking extravaganza fit for a domestic goddess!  Hooray!

When Kate asked me to review a copy her new book The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking on my blog, I was absolutely thrilled. I truly admire Kate's enthusiasm for community, drive to learn, and ability to teach, and couldn't wait to support her effort - and of course, share a copy of the book with a lucky reader. 

look at that darling calligraphy and illustration!

The Review

I consider myself to be a fairly accomplished homemaker with a broad knowledge base. Some beginner homemaker guides or blogs are little too elementary for me. While The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking is definitely written for the beginner, I was delighted at the amount of information that I learned from start to finish.  Kate covers the gamut from making your own tomato cages to building shelving. She teaches the reader how to sew on a button and remove stains. There are tips for planning parties and buying groceries on a budget. I found answers to many of my lingering homemaking-related questions and learned things I didn't realize I didn't know.  And I got a great refresher in basic things like how to do the dishes without wasting water and the best way to fold a fitted sheet.

As I discovered new tricks and tips, I tried them in my home to great delight. I made mental note about things to try in the future and the information to share with friends and family. The more I read, the more motivated I became make my home a home. Now I'm in the midst of an obsessive top-to-bottom organization/purging/home improvement/redecorating project, and I love it.

In addition to being jam-packed with information (and jam-making tips!), The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking is fun to read. The writing style is casual and conversational, filled with funny turns of phrase ("botulism blues") and the occasional snippet of colorful language. I felt like Kate and I were sitting together chatting about domestic affairs over tea.

 This is a real person's book, a keep-close-at-hand resource for everyday life. There's no judgement, no "perfect", and no pretense, and the information is realistic, approachable and accessible. From practical, time-tested wisdom to uniquely modern-day solutions, this book shares sustainable, creative, and affordable ways to improve every aspect of your domestic life. Kate thoughtfully dispenses loads of advice on how to live richly without spending a lot of money. If dumpstered chairs, makeshift curtains, and DIY cinder block & wood board book shelves are the best you can do, she shows you how to do it with panache. And the money you save on furniture just might allow you to buy some nice organic sheets from one of the suggested retailers listed in the "Sources" section.

To top it off, the visual impact of this book is fantastic.  The page layout is simple and clean, creating a creative and breezy feel that I want to achieve in my home. An easy-to-read read typeface is used throughout the book, interspersed with handwritten calligraphy and helpful hand-drawn illustrations. It feels both modern and homespun, a perfect combination of how I perceive Kate's approach. And even the paper feels nice. 

helpful illustrations are scattered through the book

In short? I highly recommend The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking for anyone (regardless of gender identity) looking to beef up their domestic skills and become more handy and self-sufficient. Kate empowers the reader to learn, to experiment, and to make their home their own. You'll be amused and inspired, and walk away with actionable ideas that won't eat up too much time or too much money. And with graduation, wedding, and home buying season just around the corner, may I suggest that this book would be a great gift for a college graduate, newlyweds, or a new homeowner.  

For those of you in the Twin Cities area, Kate will be in town this coming weekend. On May 14 from 2-4 pm, she will be attending the MPLS Swappers food swap. Tickets are currently sold out, but you could add your name to the waitlist and hope someone cancels. On Sunday May 15 at 2 pm, she will be at Barnes & Noble in Roseville, Minnesota for a book signing event. The event is open to the public and dopies of her book will be available for purchase. Be there, or be square!

And now, I am happy to bestow a beautiful new copy of the book upon one lucky reader.

helpful tips and tricks are included from beginning to end

Enter the Book Giveaway

Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, is generously offering one copy of The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking by Kate Payne to a lucky reader.  

Monday 5/23: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this blog post following the instructions below. Entry deadline is Sunday 5/22/11 11:59 pm CST. I will randomly select a winner from the comments, and the winner will be announced Monday 5/23/11 in a followup on this blog post. I will contact you if you win to get your shipping information, and Harper Collins will mail you a copy of the book.

To enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post (on the blog, NOT on Facebook), and share what you would like to learn to do around your home. Make sure to leave an email address when you comment so I can contact you if you win.

Optional additional entries (complete as many as you'd like):

 

Buy the Book and Connect with Kate

If you'd rather not take your chances and would like to purchase a copy of the book,The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking is available at bookstores nationwide as well as on online retailers.  

Order The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking online:

   

Ways to connect with Kate:

 

Good luck, and happy homemaking!

 

DISCLAIMER: Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, provided me with a free copy of this book to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Thursday
May052011

May SOS Kitchen Challenge Reveal, and a First Anniversary Giveaway!

Welcome to another month and another round of the SOS Kitchen Challenge! Ricki and I realized that the SOS Kitchen Challenge is now a year old. Our first challenge in April 2010 featured the noble beet, and we've been on a roll ever since thanks to your culinary creativity. Ricki and I look forward to seeing your awesome recipes and are inspired every time! Thanks for all your contributions over the past year, and we look forward to your participation in many SOS Kitchen Challenges to come!

To celebrate our 1 year anniversary, we're featuring one of our favorite ingredients and offering giveaways to two lucky readers.  This month we are featuring...

Carob!

recently harvested mature carob pods [source]

An Abridged History of Carob

Carob, also known as St. John's Bread, has been used for over 5000 years. The word "carob" is derived from the Arabic Kharrub or Kharoub, which means pod or bean pod. This ancient food has a long and interesting history, feeding Mohammed's armies and (according to the Bible) sustaining St. John the Baptist in the wilderness (Mark 1:16). Carob was referred to as the "Egyption fig" or "Egyption date" by the Romans, who at the unripened pods as a sweet treat. The ancient Egyptians used carob to make the adhesive used in mummification, and carob has been found in Egyptian tombs.  And more recently, thousands of Spaniards relied on the nutrition from the carob pod during the Spanish Civiil War and World Wars I and II. Fascinating!

Carob is harvested from the carob bean tree. Depending on the age of the tree, carob bean trees yield between 100 and 250 pounds of beans per year. Over the course of the growing season, glossy flat green bean pods develop. As they mature, the pods turn dark brown and become very firm. Each pod grows up to 12 inches in length and can contain as many as 15 carob seeds. Seeds are harvested and used for human consumption while the pods are often used as animal feed.  

carob powder [source]

 

How to Use Carob

As a food, carob is remarkably versatile. Carob powder, available both raw and toasted, is a wonderful 1:1 substitute for cocoa powder in any recipe. Carob is also used to make carob chips, which can be substituted for chocolate chips. The rich brown color is equal to cocoa powder, and naturally sweet flavor reduces the need for other sweeteners in recipes, making it great for low-sugar or sugar-free diets. But unlike cocoa, carob is free of caffeine, theobromine, and oxalic acid, so it a great choice for individuals who are sensitive to or wish to avoid those things. 

Roasted seeds have a rich flavor, and can be used as a substitute for coffee or black tea. Whole pods are eaten in Egypt as a snack and crushed pods are used to make a refreshing drink. In addition to use the pod whole or ground, it can be used for a variety of other purposes. Throughout the Mediterranean, carob is used to make liqueurs and syrups for both culinary and medicinal purposes (carob syrup can be found at Mediterranean, MIddle Eastern, or speciality markets). The commonly-used thickener locust bean gum - often found in many processed foods - is derived from carob.  

In addition to being delicious, carob is actually quite health promoting. As mentioned earlier, it is free of caffeine, theobromine, and oxalic acid, perfect for anyone intolerant to caffeine or on a low oxalic diet. It is high in fiber and contains a respectable amount of calcium, potassium, riboflavin, copper, potassium, and omega-6 fatty acids. It can be used as a treatment for diarrhea, and is particularly effective in infants and children. 

How to Participate (and Enter to Win!)

Ricki and I are offering great prizes to two lucky readers to celebrate our one year anniversary.  By submitting a recipe to this month’s Challenge, you will become eligible to win one of our two great prizes.

Remember that recipes must be vegan or provide reliable vegan substitutes, cannot use refined sugars, and must utilize whole foods ingredients (no heavily processed foods or box mixes). For full Challenge guidelines, please see this post.  If your entry does not comply with our rules, we will remove it - so please read the rules!

Entries must be recieved by 11:59 pm CST on May 31, 2011.

Our prizes this month:

  • A 1-pint jar of Harrison's Sugar Bush Maple Syrup, harvested by my family in Fence, Wisconsin. This syrup is made in small batches and is only available for purchase through my family. It is truly an artisan, regional product! (I'm currently out of syrup and don't have a jar to photograph - I"ll add a photo this weekend when I get more syrup for me and you!)
  • A pdf copy of Good Morning! Breakfasts without Gluten, Sugar, Eggs, or Dairy by Ricki Heller. Ricki's latest e-book features easy allergy-friendly breakfast ideas perfect for everyone in your family. It's inspiring, and I'm looking forward to cooking my way through every recipe I can.

At the end of the month, Ricki and I will choose the two winners at random from the entries, and will announce the winners on our blogs Wednesday June 1, 2011. Be sure to come back here and check if you won at the beginning of next month! 

We’ve been blown away by the enthusiasm and incredible creativity you’ve all shown over the past Challenges.  So put those carob-filled thinking caps on, and start cooking!   

May SOS Kitchen Challenge: Carob

 

 

References

  • Wikipedia. "Ceratonia siliqua" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceratonia_siliqua
  • Eden Organic. "Carob Notes." http://www.edenfoods.com/articles/view.php?articles_id=111
  • DigHerbs. "Carob - (Ceratonia siliqua)." http://www.digherbs.com/carob.html
  • Nutrition Data. "Carob flour." http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4324/2

 

Tuesday
Mar012011

February SOS Kitchen Challenge Stevia Round-up & Giveaway Winners

 

Thanks to everyone who submitted a recipe using stevia for February's SOS Kitchen Challenge! As always, we received a stellar collection of recipes!  And I want to extend personal thanks to Ricki for hosting this month's challenge - I kind of dropped off the face of the map on this challenge, and I apologize for my lack of enthusiastic comments on your amazing submissions! 

Here's the "Sweet"

Ricki and I were blown away by the creativity in the "sweet" section of the event this past month.  While I have added every single recipe to my "to try" list, some that stood out as particularly enticing were

And I must also give honorable mention to two posts on panna cotta!  We also had a submission from reader Jess, who made Ricki's Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles for her sweetie on Valentine's Day.  

And now, for the "Savory". . . .

Um. . . well, er. . . what the--HUH??

It appears that the only savory recipe in the list was Ricki's Crunchy Green Salad!  I guess most people consider stevia a "sweet-only" ingredient, but if you think about all the savory recipes made with a dash of sugar or honey, you'll begin to understand the wide range of recipes that can include stevia.  I hope you'll try out some savory variations in the future!

And the Winners!

Whether sweet or savory, four recipes were still chosen at random to win our four prizes: a box of 50 packets of NuNaturals stevia powder and a 2-ounce bottle of NuNaturals Vanilla flavored  stevia liquid each. Many thanks to NuNaturals for generously providing these prizes! And the winners are

Congratulations, everyone! Please send us an email at soskitchenchallengeATgmailDOTcom with your mailing address, and we'll be sure that you get your stevia prize asap!

February SOS Kitchen Challenge: Stevia