A Gaggle of Girls
I'm a divorced mom of 3 gluten-free daughters. We've outgrown dairy, soy, egg, and corn allergies, but still deal with a berry allergy in my youngest.
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Archive for December, 2007

postheadericon Chocolate Peppermint Bark

This isn’t even really worth a recipe, but it’s an easy candy, and it looks nice. Broken up and put into petit fours cups or holiday ziplocs it is a great gift candy.

Peppermint bark

Melt 1 bag chocolate chips (if you can find white chocolate chips that fit your dietary requirements, that looks great)

Smash 4 candy canes into little bits (oooh, this is fun!)

Mix the two together, then spread out on parchment paper, wax paper, or silpat. chill. crack into pieces and serve.

I hear this is really yummy from my family and friends, but I don’t like candy canes. I’ll take other people’s word for it!

postheadericon Easiest Banana Muffins Ever

These are delicious and totally allergy friendly. These are incredibly yummy and amazingly easy. They make a great banana bread, too – just bake it in a bread pan for a little longer.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.

Easy, yummy Banana Muffins


  • 2/3 cup banana – mashed (about 2 medium bananas)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or brown sugar)
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 2 cups gf flour mix
    • 1 1/3 cup GF flour (such as brown rice, millet, or sorghum flour)

    • 2/3 cup starch (such as tapioca or arrowroot starch, or white rice flour)
    • 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum
    • (if not gluten-free, use 2 cups “regular” flour and omit the xanthan gum)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 12 cup muffin pan, or use muffin cups. Keep a 6-cup muffin tin ready, sometimes this works out to be 18 muffins. Mini-muffins work great with this recipe, too.

In a blender, combine banana, juice, syrup, oil.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl until combined. Add banana mixture and combine, using as few strokes as possible so that you do not overmix the batter.

Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling each one 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 – 25 minutes.

Let muffins cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.

If you are OK with nuts, you can replace some of the flour with a nut meal/nut flour. Or add 1/2 cup chopped nuts to the batter at the end.

postheadericon Baked Stuffed Shells

This is a delicious, family-friendly gfcf, gluten free recipe! It is also wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, corn free, vegetarian & vegan recipe. It could be OK for South Beach phase 1 by serving the filling as a side-dish. If you use whole-grain pasta, this should be OK as is for South Beach phase 2.

We serve this with a side of italian sausages, as there’s no meat in it. You could probably put ground turkey in with the vegetables, but I like it being Vegan, as then I can serve it to vegetarian friends. We all love this recipe, and it fills my creamy, Italian goodness spot.

A tray of Baked Stuffed Shells


  • 1 batch White sauce (if you’re doing South Beach, you might want to use 1/2 coconut milk and 1/2 broth (or just Lite coconut milk, which is simply watered down coconut milk)

  • 2-3+ cups marinara sauce (how much you use depends on how soupy you want it)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1 bag baby spinach (10 oz) (or 1 lb of regular spinach that has been cleaned, de-stemmed, and torn into pieces)
  • 1 package crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced (7-10 oz)
  • 1 package GF pasta shells for stuffing (we like Tinkyada)
  • olive oil
Baked Stuffed Shells filling


Heat olive oil in skillet over low heat and let garlic simmer for a few minutes – watch to make sure it doesn’t brown.

Turn heat up to medium and add eggplant and mushrooms. Cover and cook until eggplant is very tender (almost mushy), stirring occasionally. This takes about 5-10 minutes.

Make the white sauce while the eggplant & mushrooms are cooking.

Add spinach to the skillet, stir and take off heat once spinach has just wilted. Add 1/2 of the white sauce to this mixture, and stir to combine.

Ready for the oven

Barely cover the bottom of a 9×13 (or so) baking pan with marinara sauce. Take the uncooked pasta shells and stuff them with the veggie mixture. Sometimes this is easy when the shells are open, but sometimes it requires creatively poking filling through openings. You can boil the shells for a couple minutes to make this easier if you want, but then they are wiggly.

Fill each shell until overflowing until you run out of shells, placing them in a rows of 3 across. I piled some broken shells in the corner of baking dish and heaped the remainder of the filling on top. Cover with a scant layer of marinara sauce, then drizzle the second half of the white sauce on top – it will look remarkably like melted cheese!

Cover tightly and bake 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Take off cover, pour white sauce on top, and bake additional 10-15 minutes until everything is browned and bubbly (I sometimes turn on the broiler for the last 2 minutes to brown the top).

Italian dinner

This ends up tasting like it has cheese in it. YUM. No one ever even notices that there’s eggplant in it or that it is gluten & dairy-free. Serve with a side of some sort of protein (we like turkey italian sausages), and you are ready to eat.

Being gluten & dairy free (and whatever else free) doesn’t have to be traumatic – look how good it can be!

postheadericon Chicken Rattatouille

First of all, just to clarify, Ratatouille is a vegetable dish of Italian origins usually involving eggplant, tomato, and other vegetables. There is no rat involved. That was the first thing my children asked, so I wanted to declare it up front. :)

This recipe was inspired by a recipe in the wonderful The Silver Spoon cookbook. I’ve changed pretty significantly to fit with our family’s eating preferences and requirements. It isn’t a completely authentic Ratatouille, but as long as you have some zucchini, tomato, and eggplant in it, play with the other ingredients – whatever you can get your hands on!

This recipe turned out to be a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and South Beach phase 1 safe recipe.

Chicken Ratatouille


  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced (optional)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (optional)
  • 2-3 zucchini or summer squash, cut into cubes
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into slices (optional)
  • 2 portabello mushrooms, cut into cubes (optional)
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled, quartered, and seeded OR 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 lbs chicken, cut off the bone and into cubes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • olive or canola oil to coat bottom of pan
  • Splash of wine (optional)
  • pinches of kosher salt and grinds of pepper to taste

Prepare all the vegetables and chicken. Place the peeled and cubed eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let sit for about 30minutes while you do everything else.

Find a large skillet (I think mine’s 12-14 inches), and cover the bottom of the pan with your cooking oil of choice. Bring pan and oil to medium heat, then add the onion, garlic, shallot, and celery. Once that’s sizzling, add the chicken, and stir for a few minutes until it is browned.

Add the vegetables, except the tomatoes (be sure to rinse the salt off the eggplant first!) to the chicken & onion mixture. Stir to combine and sauté for a few minutes.

Chicken Ratatouille over penne

Add the tomatoes and some of their juice. Splash in the wine, and add the salt, pepper, and oregano. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium low. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, until vegetables have softened and meat is cooked through.

Serve with brown rice noodles (South Beach Phase 2) or spaghetti squash (South Beach Phase 1).

postheadericon Asian Rice Salad

This recipe contains peanuts! You could easily substitute pea butter, sunbutter, or soynut butter for the peanut butter, though. Do not despair! The top 8 allergen I can’t avoid in this recipe is soy, as the soy sauce is integral to the taste. If you have a good soy sauce substitute you use, though, try it – and let me know!

One day when we were having lunch with friends, my oldest daughter tried this salad, and promptly scarfed down the entire container! I was quite excited, as cold dishes aren’t a big hit in our family, so my friend sent me the recipe. This is my adaptation of the original.

Taste Testing Scoop

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also a wheat free, dairy free, egg free, tree nut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.


  • 3 cups cooked short grain brown rice

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1-2 carrots, diced
  • 1 1/2 TBS sesame seeds
  • 3 TBS peanut butter or substitute
  • 2 TBS rice vinegar (cider vinegar works fine)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 TBS soy sauce (LaChoy is GF, Braggs is GF and corn free too)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (toasted is ideal)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
Asian rice salad

While the rice is cooking, combine everything else in a large bowl. Mix together well.

Add rice to the rest of the ingredients while still warm – this will help the rice soak up the flavors. Taste and adjust seasoning (it might need more soy sauce or vinegar).

Chill, then serve. This makes a great dinner with some stir-fry; or in summer serve it along side some cole slaw and something off the grill!

postheadericon Chicken Stock

This is a great and easy (and cheap!) way to make chicken broth while avoiding your dietary restrictions. Feel free to adapt ingredients as needed.


  • leftover chicken bones from other meals

  • vegetables – onion, garlic, celery, carrot
  • 2 bay leaves, any other desired spices
  • 1 tbs cider vinegar (or another vinegar)
  • kombu seaweed (optional) or a couple pinches of kosher salt
  • water

Fill crock pot with chicken bones, veggies, bay leaves, vinegar, and seaweed (if using). Pour water in until the crock pot is full.

Cover the crock pot and turn to low. Let simmer for 1-2 days. The vinegar will pull the minerals from the bones, and you will end up with a dark, rich broth.

Strain, then refrigerate or freeze for later use. Freezing in muffin tins or ice cube trays works well – then pop them out and keep in a large ziploc bag in the freezer until needed.

Don’t forget to save your chicken bones from your meals for your next batch of broth!

postheadericon Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

Make this for thanksgiving. In our house, it is not thanksgiving without it.

As a warning, though, I broke my crock pot with this soup (OK, it slid off the hood of my car), and my mom needed stitches from this soup. So be careful!

Ginger Butternut Squash Soup


  • 2 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped in 2 inch chunks*
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Cups apple cider
  • 2 Cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 2 Cups Chopped onion
  • Olive oil
  • 4 slices fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • kosher salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil. Saute, then sweat the onions and ginger over medium heat for 20 minutes or until the onions are quite soft. (The fresh ginger is the secret here – ground ginger doesn’t have the same punch.)

While the onion is cooking, peel and chop the squash – [*an Oxo peeler works best for the peeling, and take care with the chopping, since folks have been known to hurt themselves with this very resistant squash. You might consider buying pre-peeled squash.]

Add squash, chopped apple and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 25-30 minutes or until squash is tender. Allow to cool slightly.

Remove the solids from the broth with a slotted spoon and puree in a food processor or in a blender in batches, adding broth as needed. It’s easier if you can use an infusion blenders right in the pot – less mess potential! The soup should be a velvety orange puree.

Add cider to soup, stirring well. Correct seasoning by adding ground ginger, grated fresh ginger, and/or salt and pepper to taste. Serve in small soup bowls as a hearty first course, or with a salad as a light lunch or supper.

postheadericon Bagels, Buddy, and Me

Reading to herself

Our family lives with Celiac Disease. This auto-immune disease means that our family cannot eat foods with wheat, rye, oats, or barley. In our house, this means that we eat a lot of home-made treats using my recipes.

There aren’t a lot of books about kids with Celiac Disease, but the ones we have seen talk a lot about what the kids can’t have, whereas my kids think that you can eat anything with Celiac Disease, you just have to be patient for Mom to make it. :) The picture book Bagels, Buddy, and Me tells the story of a boy with Celiac Disease, but with a focus on the positive. It also talks about the family changing their diet, not making special meals for one person – this book showed something very similar to our lives in a book!

Read the full review

postheadericon Taco Meatloaf

This one is gobbled down by everyone! It can also be shaped into a person, using added salsa and olives as decorations for halloween…

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free recipe! It is also a wheat free, dairy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, and corn free recipe. This recipe is safe for South Beach phase 1. The refried/mashed beans hold the meatloaf together without needing any egg.

Meatloaf Man


  • 2-3lbs ground meat (lean beef or turkey)

  • 1 14oz can pintos, mashed, or refried beans
  • 1 10oz can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilis (or another brand), drained
  • 1 onion, diced (optional)
  • 3+ cloves garlic, minced or pressed (optional)
  • pinch or two of Kosher salt
  • about 1 tsp each of chili powder and cumin

Preheat oven to 350

Saute onion and garlic in a small saucepan (if you are using them).

In a large bowl, mix together the mashed beans and the Rotel. Add the onion/garlic mixture. Add the salt & spices, mix well. Add meat and combine.

Place in a lightly oiled glass baking pan or some other vessel. Bake for about an hour, or until it is no longer pink in the center. As you can see from the above picture, you can mold it into shapes. We made one for Halloween, too. Use your imagination!

Serve with salsa, avacado/guacamole, and olives. Folks who can do corn/carbs can eat it with tortilla chips, too.

This is great with a large salad!

postheadericon Scrambled Sausage Brunch

This has been a staple weekend lunch/light dinner for us since we started eating meat


a little olive oil
about 1 1/3 lb sweet italian turkey sausage (the kind that isn’t already cooked)
1 medium onion, chopped
2+ cloves garlic, minced/pressed
half a bell pepper, if available, chopped
1 pkg sliced mushrooms (we like baby bellas especially)
1 14oz can beans
baby spinach
pinch salt
oregano, basil, etc as desired


In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and start the onion, garlic, mushrooms & bell pepper. start sauteing them.

Squeeze the sausages out of their casings and start mushing them up and cooking them with the veggies. Add salt and spices.

When the sausage is no longer pink, add the beans to heat, and right before serving add the spinach and cook until wilted.

Serve all mixed together. yum!

Look at our lunches!
Foods we have made
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