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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 in raisins (2)

Monday
Apr022012

A personal tale of overindulgence and a recipe for Totally Loaded Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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[Trigger warning: depression, thoughts of self-harm, and intimacy are brought up briefly in this post. You wouldn't expect it in a post about cookies, but there it is. Wanted to bring it up for individuals for whom these topics may be triggering.] 

During my time away from the blog, I made a lot of cookies. And by that I mean two batches or so every week for about two months. In retrospect, I believe I was possessed by a cookie demon, an apron-clad creature that breathes flour from its nose, has beaters instead of hands, and whose eyes are glazed sticky sweet with honey. My kitchen became host to mixing bowls in the sink, flour on the floor, and a tin of cookies on the counter at all times. I fed my housemates cookies. I bestowed cookies upon friends. I wooed with cookies. Yes, wooed. And of course, I consumed many of them myself. 

My baking bonanza was part of a larger pattern of self-indulgence that started last fall. I had been weaning off my drugs since last October after two years of heavy antibiotic treatment for Lyme Disease and related tickborne co-infections. My doctor had told me that I was in remission, and we should try running an experiment to see how my body behaved without treatment. I took my last pill in late November. In a somewhat reckless (yet well-deserved) move, I celebrated. Caution, moderation, and self-control are not my natural and preferred methods of approaching the world. I've had to develop them in the last few years out of health-related necessity, and I managed to drum up gumption that I didn't know I had. I was so tired of regulating myself. So I threw care to the wind. I let go. I cheered myself with wine and coffee and all number of things that I had forbade myself from partaking in the last 4 years, returning to a slightly amended version of my habits of old. Concurrently, I indulged my heart and body, spending obsessive amounts of time in a blissed out haze of crushy giddiness with a pleasure rebel of equal measure to me. I laughed more than I'd laughed in years, shaking up the dust and cobwebs from prior years of sick sorrow. I fed parts of my soul that had lay hungry for far too long. 

It was all so needed, a medicine all of its own. I knew all of that was a recipe for inevitable intense consequence, but I didn't care. I wanted to experience every moment the present so badly, so I did. 

Everything hit an unfortunately timed wall in the desolate grey of mid-February, a tsunami wave of intrinsically cyclical circumstances. Cookies, wine, and losing time in starry-eyed explorations were replaced by new antibiotic regimens, detox baths, and days lost in battling Herxes from Hell. I was in physical and emotional crisis. My behaviors had fed my soul, but had also fed all the sleeping bugs in my system and brought them back to life. I had symptoms I hadn't experienced in months and years. I felt nauseous from the drugs in my system and the lonely pit in my stomach.  My head throbbed and shooting pains transversed my flesh. Worse yet, my swinging manic depressive cycles joined forces with a wicked Bartonella brain freakout and an aching heart, forming an unholy trinity of psychological destruction. Thoughts of self-harm wracked my brain, unlike any I'd had in years. It was terrifying. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, nights were silent and solitary. I struggled to unravel the pain, grappling to discern what to attribute to the flare in my illnesses, or to side effects from the pharmaceuticals, or to the deep depression, or to the unraveling of intimacy. I was plagued by frustration for taking everything "too far", indulging "too much", feeling "too deeply". I thrived at very little other than taking my pills, crying, watching Netflix, and writing depressing poetry.

What a clutsterf***.  

hellobeautiful

And yet, the old adage remains: time is the great healer of all things. Within a few weeks, a switch had flipped. My body began to acclimate, my depression started to lift, my lonliness slowly subsided. Some light poked through the clouds and I flocked to it. And now, I'm feeling pretty good, all things considered. Matters of the body, mind, and heart have all achieved a certain level of balance and redefinition and appreciation. Times like this are for learning, growing, and self-reflection. It takes patience and faith and hard work. Sometimes it sucks. But in my experience things usually end up better after a bout like this. And thankfully, they have. 

I'm not baking many cookies right now. My tendancy to overindulge doesn't bode well with the way antibiotics effect my body, so I'm putting on the brakes the best I can. But have a storehouse of recipes from my winter baking binge to revisit. I made these little love nuggets last weekend for a potluck, to great delight of all who ate. They are loaded with all kinds of stuff, a celebration of all the ways I like to overdo. But the gluttony is tempered by whole grains and healthy fat and sensible sweeteners. It's the sort of balance I am trying to achieve. 

 Untitled

 

Totally Loaded Oatmeal Raisin Cookies  (gluten-free, dairy-free, cane sugar-free)

yields 3 dozen 3-inch cookies

In addition to boasting whole grains, raisins, cashews, and coconut, these cookies are totally loaded with protein, fiber, and amino acids. Sweet.

A few tips on the fat. Make sure to use softened - not melted - coconut oil. If you are a butter eater, an equal weight of butter can be substituted. Also, chill the dough in the fridge for 3-4 hours before baking. Why? Chilling the dough hardens the coconut oil and shortening, so it doesn't melt as quickly while the cookies are baking. Instead of spreading out like weird pancakes and ending up lacy and thin, cookies baked from chilled dough spread gradually and end up slightly chewy in the middle and crisp on the outside. Totally worth the wait, trust me. And besides, it gives you lots of time to sneak into the fridge and eat spoonfulls of dough. Because duh, why else bake cookies?!

  • 90 grams / 0.75 cup quinoa flour or amaranth flour*
  • 60 grams / scant 0.5 cup arrowroot starch or arrowroot flour (equal weight of tapioca flour or tapioca starch can be substituted)
  • 40 grams / 0.25 cup buckwheat flour 
  • 5 grams / 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 grams / 0.75 teaspoon salt
  • 9 grams / 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 150 grams / 0.5 cup + 3.5 tablespoons softened virgin coconut oil 
  • 75 grams / 0.25 cup + 2 tablespoons palm shortening
  • 170 grams / 1 cup palm sugar (or equal weight of another granulated sugar, such as coconut sugar)
  • 80 grams / 0.25 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 grams / 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 290 grams / 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 225 grams / 1.5 cup lightly packed raisins
  • 85 grams / 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 100 grams / 0.75 cup toasted chopped cashews

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, and salt until well combined and light. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream coconut oil and shortening until smooth and fluffy. Then add sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla and beat until smooth (some sugar granules may remain, that's okay). Add eggs and mix just until they are evenly combined. Gradually add flour and mix until evenly incorporated.

Then fold in oats, raisins, coconut, and cashews with a large sturdy spoon or spatula. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Heat oven to 350º F and line baking sheets with parchment. Scoop chilled dough onto a baking sheet, leaving 3 inches or so between each cookie. Bake for approximately 16 minutes per batch, rotating pans half way through if baking two sheets at a time. Cookies should still be soft in the middle but browned around the edges, then remove from oven.

Let cool for 5 minutes before carefully transferring cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store cooled cookies in a well-sealed jar, container, or bag at room temperature for up to 4 days (although they won't last that long).

 

*Flour Power! If you can't find quinoa or amaranth flour for purchase, or if you want to save some ching, grind your own. Simply place whole quinoa or amaranth grains in a high powered blender like a Vitamix or a coffee grinder, and grind until you create very fine flour with an even texture. So easy and so fresh!

Monday
Oct172011

Cabbage Apple Slaw (gluten-free, vegan, grain-free, ACD)

Cabbage-Apple Slaw

Simple slaws are ideal for every season of the year. They are crunchy and light, yet satisfying and filling, and endlessly adaptable to a variety of seasonal produce. Despite this, my favorite time of year for slaws is late summer and fall, when farmers markets are bursting with fresh, crisp cabbages. The sweet, glistening, unblemished leaves tempt me from every vendor table, and inevitably, I go home with a weighty cabbage in my market basket.

I was inspired to combine my beloved green cabbage with another locally grown favorite, the spectacular Honeycrisp apple. The Honeycrisp was developed by the University of Minnesota's Horicultural Research Center in the 1970s, and has won a devoted following of fans. There are a number of wonderful orchards in the Minnesota and Western Wisconsin that grow this apple, and every year I anticipate the arrival of locally grown Honeycrisps at my farmers market and co-op. The flavor is sweet like honey and slightly tart, and it has a marvelously crisp, juicy texture that is, in my opinion, the sign of a perfect apple. Equally good for eating raw or baking, Honeycrisp is one of my favorite apples, hands down. 

The combination of sweet, fresh cabbage, sweet and tart apple, plump golden raisins, toasted caraway, and a hint of nutmeg in this slaw is magic. It only takes minutes to prepare, and it holds up in the fridge for 2 days without becoming soggy. 

Oh me oh my, autumn tastes so good. 

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