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 Perfect Gluten Free Pie Crust

Just one slice

adapted from my mother’s friend’s award-winning crust recipe.

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


Pi Pie
  • 2 cups shortening (I use Spectrum)

  • 1/2 cup margarine (I use Fleishmann’s unsalted, but you could also use an additional 1/2 cup shortening)
  • 4 cups gluten-free flour (I like amaranth, sorghum, millet, or rice)
  • 2 cups starch (tapioca and arrowroot are good choices)
  • 2 TBS xanthan gum (if not GF, just use 6 cups flour and omit this)
  • 1 TBS baking powder (optional, omit if corn-free)
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1 TBS salt
  • 1 large egg (or egg replacer of your choice)
  • 2 TBS cider vinegar
  • Cold water


Blending together the Pie Crust

Combine flours, xanthan gum, baking powder (if using), sugar, & salt in a large bowl. Add shortening & margarine and cut in using a pastry blender or 2 knives until it begins to resemble coarse meal.

In a measuring cup with a spout, beat the egg, vinegar, and enough water to equal 1 cup. Gradually add the liquid to the flour, tossing with a fork, until the pastry gathers into a mass.

If the dough needs more water, add 1/4 cup iced water at a time, until sticks together.

we like pie

Divide the pastry into 6 portions and form each into a patty-like disk. Each patty makes 1 crust. Put each in a small ziploc and freeze, or, if you are using now, chill for an hour or so. If you freeze, dough must be completely thawed before rolling. (If you plan to make pocket pies, just refrigerate it all in a lump and break off pieces to make the pocket pies)

Rolling out the dough

For easier handling, roll out between two sheets of plastic wrap. Peel off top piece of plastic wrap, position dough in greased pie pan, then remove bottom piece of plastic wrap.

This makes 6 single pie crusts, or top/bottom pie crusts for 20-25 pocket pies.

postheadericon Ingredient Free Pumpkin Bars

This is one of those recipes where I’m not sure where the original came from, but here’s my current version – many, many, many adaptations from the original.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (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.


Pumpkin Brownies 3

  • 1 cup pumpkin/sweet potato/butternut squash puree
  • 3 t ground flax seeds mixed with 1/2 c water (or 2 eggs if not egg-sensitive)
  • 3/4 c canola or other oil
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 1/3 c gf flour (amaranth/bean mix or any other nutrient-rich flours)
  • 2/3 c starch (all of one or a mix)
  • 1 t XG or guar gum (if using “regular” flour, omit this and just use 2 cups flour)
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 t allspice
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 cups brown or cane sugar


Pumpkin Brownies 1

Preheat oven to 350.

In mixer, blend wet ingredients. In bowl, mix dry. Slowly blend dry into wet ingredients for two minutes. Spread into 9×13 baking pan and bake for 20-30, until it passes toothpick test.

frost or not as desired

Pumpkin Frosting

Pumpkin Brownies 2

  • 2 T spectrum shortening
  • 1-2 T pumpkin
  • 1 T Water
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar

melt shortening and pumpkin in saucepan. remove from heat. Add water and sugar. Beat until smooth, thinning if necessary. Spread immediately, it will form a thin, orange glaze. Yum.

postheadericon Chocolate Cake with Mocha Ganache

This is adapted from a recipe in Cooking Free by Carol Fenster, cobbling a few recipes together with memories of bundt cakes from my teenage-hood and yummy filled cupcakes.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, and shellfish free recipe.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease & flour a 10 inch bundt pan (silicone works fabulously) or prepare 18 cupcake holders

Mini-bundt cakes
Ganache Ingredients

  • 12 oz chocolate chips

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or cream or other creamy substance)
  • 1 TBS margarine/shortening/butter
  • 1 TBS decaf instant coffee

Melt chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave. Check and stir every minute so you don’t burn them. Warm milk, margarine, and coffee crystals in microwave. Add milk mixture to chocolate and stir until well combined. Set aside.

Chocolate Tunnel Cake Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups gf flour mix (I used 1 1/4 cup bean or millet flour, 1 cup starch)

  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (you all know this is 1/2 a TBS, so if you have a 1/2 TBS spoon, you only need to use one spoon)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 TBS vanilla
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, or 1 TBS vinegar or lemon juice mixed with enough milk sub to make 3/4 cup – I use coconut milk here
  • 1/4 cup warmed coffee & 1/2 cup warm water (to make 3/4 cup liquid)


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together ingredients from flour to cocoa powder. Set aside.

  2. In your mixer bowl, mix sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla until well blended.
  3. Add buttermilk and dry ingredients, alternating beginning and ending with buttermilk. Add warm water/coffee mixture and mix until well combined.
  4. Pour 1/2 the mixture into the bundt pan (or fill each cupcake halfway. Use a spoon to put a dollop of ganache in the middle of each cupcake OR make a tunnel through the bundt pan. Be careful that the ganache doesn’t bleed to the edges, it will make the cake/cupcake unstable. You won’t use anywhere close to all the ganache. Save the remainder for frosting.
  5. Carefully pour/spoon the remainder of the batter on top. Be careful not to disturb the ganache tunnel, and gently spread batter to the sides of the pan as evenly as possible.
  6. Bake 20-25m for cupcakes, 40-45 for bundt cake. Cool 10 m in pan, then cool completely on wire rack or a plate on wire rack (my cakes never move right from the wire rack to a plate after cooling).

Take remaining ganache, and either use as is, or for a stiffer and slightly sweeter frosting beat in 1 cup powdered sugar. spread on cake/cupcake. It will cool to a delicious hardened frosting. mmmmm….. People love the surprise in the middle!

postheadericon Great Gluten-Free Stuffing

What is thanksgiving without stuffing? OK, so we never actually stuff the turkey with it, but it’s still a delicious bread stuffing. Mmmmmm… This year it finally turned out just right. Yum.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (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.

Great Gluten-free stuffing


  • 2 batches Focaccia or a loaf of prepared bread, cut into 1 inch cubes

  • splash olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken, turkey, or vegetable broth (you might need a little more or a little less)
  • 2 tsp Bell’s seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt (less if using prepared broth)
  • several grinds black pepper
  • (optional – 1 cup pecans, 1 cup dried cranberries, or other additions)

Make and cube the Focaccia, or cube a loaf of pre-purchased bread. Toast for about 30 minutes in a 300 degree oven, or in a toaster. When toasted, toss them into an oven-safe casserole dish.

Sauté onion, garlic, and celery in olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 tsp of the Bell’s seasoning as it’s cooking. When soft, mix in with the toasted bread cubes. Add the 2nd tsp of Bell’s seasoning, plus salt and pepper and mix well.

Chop the fresh parsley, and mix that in with the bread cubes. (If you’re adding pecans, dried cranberries, or other variations, add them here) Pour the broth slowly over the bread and toss, mixing well so they are evenly moistened.

Cover, and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Serve with the rest of your Thanksgiving or other festive meal!

postheadericon Flaky Gluten Free Biscuits

These are flaky and delicious. They are perfect for serving with some soup or fried chicken!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free recipe! It is also wheat free, dairy free, tree nut free, peanut free, top 8 allergen free, corn free, vegetarian recipe. This recipe only has two eggs in it, so it could easily be an egg free and vegan recipe.


  • 1 cup light colored flour (we like amaranth, sorghum, or millet)

  • 1 cup starch (arrowroot, tapioca, corn, potato, or sweet rice flour are some examples)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs (or your favorite egg replacer)
  • 1/2 cup margarine (1 stick) or shortening or lard
  • 2/3 cup soured milk substitute (1 tsp lemon juice or vineger, plus enough water or milk substitute to make 2/3 cup liquid)

Preheat oven to 425F.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.

Add the margarine/shortening/lard to the dry ingredients, and use 2 knives or a pastry blender to mix together until it looks like rough cornmeal.

Mix in the eggs and milk, and stir until just moistened.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet that has been well greased, lined with parchment, or lined with a silicone baking liner.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. They turn out a bit crumbly, but incredibly flaky and delicious!

postheadericon Pantry Pasta

This is a delicious, and fast (under 30 minutes) dinner. It’s a great meal for one of those nights when you should really go grocery shopping, but you’re tired and need to put it off one more night. ahem

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (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 South Beach phase 2 safe recipe. It can easily be a vegan meal if you remove the chicken – it will still taste delicious!


  • 1-2 TBS cooking oil (olive, canola, etc)

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14oz can diced or petite diced tomatoes, with juice (or equivalent fresh)
  • 2 smaller cans chicken breast, or 1 larger can, drained (omit for vegan/vegetarian meal)
  • 1 14 oz can cannelini beans (aka white kidney beans), drained
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • several pinches kosher salt
  • 1 lb gluten-free pasta (we like Tinkyada)


Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil with a few pinches kosher salt.

In a large skillet (10-12 inch), bring up to medium heat. Add oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Add onions and garlic. Add seasonings, too (warming the seasonings will help release their flavor). Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.

Add pasta to the water when it boils, and cook according to package directions. We liked this with spaghetti that had been broken into smaller pieces before cooking.

Add tomatoes, chicken (if using), and beans to the onion mixture. Stir well, and let the liquids come to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, and let cook until the pasta is ready.

Drain the pasta, then toss the sauce with the pasta in the pasta pot (or in a serving dish if you have one handy). Serve. This is delicious with a salad that might include some marinated artichoke hearts you found in the back of the pantry… :)

postheadericon Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is one of our all time favorites, because this is a super-easy, super-adaptable recipe. It doubles quite well, too. If you can’t use peanuts, other nut and seed butters work fine. And if you can’t do eggs, egg substitutes have worked well here too.

This recipe is gluten & dairy free and can be corn & soy free. I have made these as brownies as well.


  • 1 cup peanut butter (generic store brand works great)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper or silpat.

Use a stand mixer or strong arm and medium sized bowl to cream peanut butter and sugar and egg together. Add salt & baking soda. Mix until well combined. Add the chocolate chips, and mix well.

Use a cookie-scoop or tablespoon to scoop small balls of dough out. Flatten on the cookie sheet. The dough is not really easy to handle, but it will taste great once it’s cooked.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until puffy and golden brown. Let sit on the sheet for a few minutes before (carefully!) removing to cool. These cookies are delicate at first, but as they cool they become more sturdy. yum.

postheadericon Caldeirada Portuguese fish stew

Caldeirada is a meal in itself. The ingredients depend on the catch of the day. Putting the fish on top, preserves their integrity. And this was looooved by everyone in our house!


  • 1 pound swordfish or tuna (a firm fish)

  • 1 pound whitefish such as flounder or cod
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium red potatoes, cut in smallish chunks
  • 1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • a few shakes crushed red pepper
  • 1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes, or the half of a 28oz can you have left over.
  • 1 bay leaf torn in half
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely torn cilantro leaves (if you’re one of the freaks who doesn’t like cilantro, parsley would work fine)
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1-2 lbs clams or mussels (mussels were on sale, so we used them)
  • 3/4 cup white wine (we use Casa del Garcia Vinho Verde, a Portugese wine)

Cut the pepper into thin strips. In a large oven-to-table pot, heat the remaining oil and stir in the pepper strips, garlic, and onions. Add the potatoes and sprinkle with a little salt. Add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, peas, and 1 cup of water. Cover and bring to the simmering point. Cook for 20 minutes.

While it cooks, rinse the mussels/clams and cut the fish into 2-inch pieces.

Place the clams/mussels around the perimeter of the dish and put the pieces of swprdfish in the center. Place the whitefish on top, pour the wine over the fish, and sprinkle with a little pepper and the remaining cilantro. Finally, place the pepper circles in the middle, cover again, and cook for 10 more minutes, or until the clams have opened and the fish is cooked through. Take to the table and serve, making sure each person gets a variety of fish.

Serves 6, or 4 with yummy leftovers.

postheadericon Chicken Fagiole

I think I’ve made almost everything I can make mixing chicken, tomatoes, and beans, but I was feeling fed up with existing recipes, so I made up this one. This goes in the oven rather than staying in the skillet. We all loved it, and the chicken stayed very juicy.

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


* 1 medium onion, diced
* 4-6 cloves garlic, minced/pressed (I loooove garlic)
* 1 bell pepper, chopped (yellow was on sale here, and looked pretty)
* 1 TBS olive oil
* 1 tsp dried basil
* 1 tsp dried oregano
* 1 tsp dried parsley
* 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
* splash white wine (can omit or use broth or water)
* splash balsamic vinegar
* 2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken (breasts or thighs – use breasts if cooking for South Beach Diet), cut into cubes
* 1 29oz can (or 2 14.5 oz cans) kidney beans
* 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
* 6+ kalamata olives, quartered
* 1 TBS capers

Preheat oven to 400. Make sure you have a casserole dish and a skillet clean.

Prep the veggies. Heat a skillet over medium heat with the olive oil, then add the veggies. Stir, then add the seasonings (cooking them will release the flavor). When they have softened, add the splash of white wine to deglaze the pan. Dump the veggies into the casserole pan.

Return the skillet to heat, and add the chicken. Stir it around for a bit so it gets slightly browned/cooked on the outside.

While the chicken is cooking, add everything else to the casserole pan. Mix together. Add the chicken. Mix again, then cover with foil.

Cook for 30 minutes, then check chicken for doneness. When chicken is cooked through, you’re all set. This can be served with roasted brussels sprouts (which can cook in the oven at the same time as the chicken!) and if you can make some rice, quinoa, or kasha on the stove while the chicken is cooking – it has a delicious sauce! This should also be easily adapted for the crock pot, I just haven’t done it.

postheadericon Chocolate-covered Cherry Cookies

This one is adapted from a recipe by Joanne Fluke.


  • 1 cup margarine/shortening (softened or melted)

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs replaced by 1 TBS egg replacer mixed with 2 TBS warm water plus 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups gf flour (I used a mix of bean & amaranth)
  • 1 cup starch (arrowroot/tapioca – but can use corn/potato or any mix of those)
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 small, 10oz jar stemless marachino cherries
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream fat and sugar. Beat in egg replacers. Mix in vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together baking powder through xanthan gum. Add flour mix slowly until combined. Add chocolate chips and mix until just combined. Dough will be stiff and a bit crumbly.

Drain cherries and reserve the juice (when I’m really good I use the cherry juice instead of water for the egg replacer).

In the microwave combine the chocolate chips and the coconut milk. Heat in 30 second intervals and stir until just melted. Add about 2 TBS cherry juice. You want the chocolate mixture to spoon easily – you might need a little more or less juice.

Use a cookie scooper or pat dough into walnut-sized balls with your fingers. Place on parchment paper/silpat covered cookie sheets (12-13/sheet). Press down center with thumb to make a deep indentation. Put cherry in the little hole.

Spoon chocolate sauce over cherries – make sure not to drip it down the sides.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet a couple minutes, then move to cooling rack.

If you’re feeling really decadent, drizzle with more chocolate sauce after baking.

These are simply amazing. And no one will ever guess that they are “special”. In fact, my grandmother (who dislikes “special” foods) asked for the recipe!

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