Hi there. I’m Shauna James Ahern. I’m the writer, photographer, and baker for this site.
And this is my husband, Danny. We create recipes together. We raise kids together. We really dig food, our kids, and each other.
Together, we create gluten-free girl.
Here, we share stories of family, friends, and the food that gathered us around the table. We love to tell the stories of the creative people who move us: bakers, sculptors, cider makers, chefs, and photographers. And we share the insights we’ve gleaned about gluten-free baking after playing with flours for more than a decade
We love artichokes dipped in good butter, roasted potatoes, a Dungeness crab feast with friends, any vegetable in season at the moment (well, maybe not lima beans),peanut butter and apples, ripe blackberries off the vine in August, anything with tahini, dark chocolate, homemade granola, kale salads (that’s more Shauna), a big pot of braised beans, fried eggs, and chicken stock in the refrigerator, ready to use.
For us, food is a daily pleasure, not something to fetishize or brag about. Cooking simple but good foods for nearly every meal is a normal activity in our house, a practical skill we’re sharing with our kids. And since 2005, we like to share what we’re learning with you, sometimes
Oh, also I have celiac, an autoimmune disorder that means my body reads gluten as a toxin. That’s why this site is gluten-free. But I’m much more interested in living joyfully with this than in deprivation. I’m all about the yes.
If you’re brand-new to gluten-free, we have some pretty extensive guides to help you. Brand new to this? We can help. We have a guide to gluten-free baking that should save you a lot of time. And for a really detailed read on how to do this with joy, read a guide to gluten-free living.
We have a rather large recipe index of foods you might like to make. I have four published books: a food memoir about what I learned when I first went gluten-free and 3 cookbooks I wrote with Danny. (Gluten-Free Girl Every Day won the James Beard award for excellence.) We also teach baking classes, both online and in person.
We’re happy you’re here. Pull up a chair and stay for awhile.
frequently asked questions
Why is this site called gluten-free girl?
I started this site in May of 2005, just after I had been diagnosed with celiac. I was equal parts elated to feel well and pissed off that I had this disease for years without knowing it. (Celiac is still the most under-diagnosed disease in the United States.) I’ve always been a writer — crafting words into sentences is how I understand the world — so I started writing. For months I had been so sick that my friend Dorothy called me the sick girl. When I was diagnosed and started to feel healthy, Dorothy proclaimed, “You’re no longer the sick girl. You’re the gluten-free girl!” When I started a site on blogger, I called it gluten-free girl. I liked the alliteration. I never imagined anyone reading it. And then I met Danny, who is wonderful and entirely comfortable with being known for a site called gluten-free girl.
Where do you live?
We live on a rural island in the Puget Sound called Vashon. It’s about a 15-minute ferry ride from Seattle but it seems like a world away. Vashon is the same length as Manhattan, about 2 miles wider, and there are about 10,000 of us here. (That’s in the summer. In February, when it’s gloomy and people aren’t living in their summer houses, it’s about 7,000.) I sometimes call it Wacko Island, with the most endearing of intentions. Fact is, you don’t live on an island, which you can only reach by ferry, unless you’re interested in escaping the rest of the world. It’s slow here. We like it that way. Kids don’t have to grow up fast here. Someone who moved here wrote a piece about Vashon for The New York Times and he had the best line to describe this place: “Vashon retains its Mayberry-meets-Burning-Man character.” Yep. This is a small town on a rural island with a lot of artists, close enough to a city to make us semi-urban.
Vashon has dozens of small organic farms that grow beets, kale, and Japanese turnips. You drive up to the farmstand and stuff your money in an empty coffee can, on the honor system. Nearly everyone here has a garden. We have a world-class coffee roasterie, a local distillery, and one of the best Thai restaurants I’ve ever visited. Vashon is like no other place we’ve ever been. It’s home for us, for sure. Our food is a product of this place..
Who takes the photographs for gluten-free girl?
Shauna here. I love looking for light. I don’t consider myself a professional photographer but an enthusiastic amateur, still. I started taking the photographs on a point and shoot, then I bought a very old Nikon D100 from someone on Craigslist to feel a big camera in my hands. Back then, I did all my photo editing on Flickr. Eventually, I sold all the Nikon lenses I found at garage sales and estate sales and bought a Canon 6D, with a 24-105 lens. I love that camera, even if I don’t feel like I entirely understand it. That makes me love it more. I’m still at beginner’s mind with it. I’m still dreaming of this lens. Maybe someday.
I hack around on Lightroom, learning what I can from photos of possibility made a little better with fiddling.
Mostly, I take photos on my iPhone 7+ these days, then edit on VSCO. It really is true: the best camera is the one in your hand.
Can I advertise on gluten-free girl?
Nope. We don’t run this site as our business anymore. It’s an act of love again. So we don’t do advertisements or sponsorships anymore.
We are part of the Amazon Associates program, which means we earn a small amount of money every time you click on a link we provide and purchase something on Amazon. That modest monthly check helps keep us in gluten-free flour and ingredients for recipe development.
Way back in May 2005 .
taken on April 20, 2005 ten days before diagnosis
taken in early June, 2005 one month after being gluten-free
I’m much older now.
Here is some food for you.
My food memoir, Gluten-Free Girl.
This book is a love story. It’s the story of a love affair with food, and finding everything that I can eat, joyfully. It’s a story about slowing down and appreciating my life. It’s a story about forging a new relationship with my body, and learning to love the life I have. It’s a story about eating local, eating organic, and eating in season. It’s a story about finding the self I never was, for the first 38 years of my life, and reveling in that self.
And of course, it is an actual love story as well. It can’t surprise anyone to know that the last chapter of this book is about meeting the Chef.
Our first cookbook: Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story in 100 Tempting Recipes.
This was three years of our joint effort, the two of us pouring our hearts and laughter into recipes you can make at home.
We just want you to cook and feel comfortable in your kitchen. We just want you to taste how delicious gluten-free can be.
If you think that living gluten-free means deprivation? You won’t feel that way once you make duck confit with Umbrian lentils, seared shrimp with Marcona almond sauce, and the blue cheese cheesecake with a fig crust.
Plus, there is pizza, pasta, and bread. Good ones.
We love this cookbook. So do many others. We were humbled and still amazed that The New York Times named our cookbook one of the best of 2010.
We think you’ll like it too.
Our next cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day. It’s a cookbook for busy families who still love cooking. We show you how to set up a pantry, how to make a big enough pot of whole grains to eat them all week, how to break down a chicken and use all the parts in a dinner, and how make a gluten-free all-purpose flour mix to make fluffy biscuits and sausage gravy, grilled pizza, and apple pie.
Our latest cookbook, American Classics Reinvented. It’s crowd sourced, the recipes created for the benefit of the hundreds and hundreds of people across the United States who wrote to us, saying they missed red velvet cake, sourdough bread, macaroni and cheese, and pecan pie. It’s a book full of comfort food, gluten-free. And really, it’s a book about a longing satisfied. You can take this food to any party you attend and people will happily share it with you.
We’re very proud of these books.
That’s all I need to say.
La Dolce Vita, senza glutine.
Hey, if you’ve made it this far, hello!
If you want to see more of what we’re offering on a daily basis, I offer up stories and recipes on Instagram. Once in awhile, I post and answer questions on our Facebook page. Since we don’t run this as our business anymore, we really don’t answer emails — send me a message on Instagram if you need something!
Mostly, hello. Let me know if you make one of our recipes and you enjoyed it.