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 June, 2009

postheadericon Chewy Chocolate Jam Cookies

Munching on a cookie

One of my friends on Facebook posted her variation of the Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cookies in Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. This is my adaptation of her adaptation.

I’ve now made this with 3 types of preserves – Lingonberry, blueberry, and raspberry (a special sneaky batch while the berry-allergic child was out of the house). Of the three, I have to say that the Lingonberry preserve version was the best, hands down. We used the preserves from Ikea, but you can buy 2 brands of lingonberry preserves them through Amazon if you don’t find any in the international section of your grocery store. This is a wonderfully easy and adaptable recipe, so I’m sure I’ll be trying more flavors soon!

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, top 8 allergen free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.

Chewy Chocolate Blueberry Cookies


  • 1/2 cup preserves. Great flavors which work with chocolate include lingonberry, blueberry, pomegranate, cherry, or orange marmalade. (For those who can tolerate seeded berries, the original recipe called for raspberry preserves, and strawberry would likely taste good too)

  • 1 cup sugar if using a sweet jam, 1 1/2 cups if using a tarter preserve such as Lingonberry
  • 1/3 cup melted margarine, or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cup GF flour (my current favorite is sorghum, but millet, bean, pea, or brown rice would also work well) Reserve the 1/4 cup, that might not be needed.
  • 1/2 cup starch (I prefer tapioca or arrowroot starch, but corn starch is acceptable if you aren’t sensitive to corn)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum
  • (if you can eat gluten, use 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus an extra 1/4 cup reserved, and omit the xanthan gum)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips – (we usually use Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips, but Enjoy Life Baking Chips, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips are allergy-friendly and also soy free)
Lingonberry in Chocolate Lingonberry Jam Cookies

Note: each brand and variation of preserves/jam is different. Just as we need to add more sugar if using lingonberry preserves, sometimes more flour is needed when the preserves are quite liquidy, and sometimes a bit more sugar is needed if the preserves are tart. Be patient with this recipe, as the results are well worth it!

Preheat oven to 350, and line a cookie sheet with silpat, Reynolds non-stick foil or parchment paper. Or you could grease a cookie sheet, if you don’t have any of the above.

Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), stir together preserves of choice, sugar, oil/melted margarine & vanilla in one bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk together well. (this replaces sifting in this recipe)

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing well with a whisk or fork between additions (or using the paddle of your stand mixer). If the dough becomes quite stiff, doing the final integration of the flour with clean hands works very well. If the dough does not become stiff, add the reserved 1/4 cup flour and incorporate it into the dough.

Mix in the chocolate chips after the wet and dry ingredients are well combined.

chocolate lingonberry jam cookies

Use an 18/8 cookie scoop (or roll walnut-sized balls of dough) flatten to make a cookie about 2″ diameter. Drop the balls of dough and gently push them down, leaving about 2″ apart on cookie sheet (they can spread out a bit as they bake). This makes 24 cookies

Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to let them cool completely. Eat and enjoy!

postheadericon Balsamic Chicken Sauté

This is a rich and flavorful meal that has a hearty feel to it. The combination of chicken meat, balsamic vinegar, and mushrooms leads to a wonderful depth of flavor and heartiness. A lighter meal with similar flavors is the Balsamic Chick Chick recipe, which pairs chicken with chick peas, plus the wonderful combination of balsamic vinegar and rosemary.

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, and top 8 allergen free recipe. This is also a faux fast food recipe, which can be on your table in under 45 minutes.


Summer dinner tableau
  • 2 TBS canola oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 6-8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced (also called “Baby Bella” mushrooms)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, or 1 TBS fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning, or 1/2 tsp each basil and oregano
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • 3 TBS balsamic vinegar

Prepare seasonings, meat, and vegetables – mince, slice, and dice vegetables. Then cut chicken into approximately 1 inch cubes.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté onion and garlic until tender.

Add chicken to the pan, and stir frequently. I find that a pair of Oxo Good Grips Tongs helps me keep the food moving so it doesn’t burn, and yet stir so the different ingredients are well combined.

When the chicken has started browning, add the sliced mushrooms, rosemary, Italian seasoning, and kosher salt. Continue to stir the chicken and veggies until the chicken is well browned and the mushrooms have shrunken and become quite tender.

Balsamic Chicken Sauté

Drain any excess liquid from the pan after the chicken and mushrooms have cooked.

Pour the balsamic vinegar over the pan, and stir as it reduces and mixes together with the flavors already in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, and continue stirring so the ingredients are integrated into the whole dish.

Serve over brown or white rice with a salad or roasted vegetables on the side. This is delicious!

postheadericon Junior Mint Brownies

This is a wonderfully easy treat tip for those of you who like chocolate-mint! This reminds me of the Mint Chocolate Brownies I remember from volunteering at the nearby folk music coffeehouse as a teenager.

Allergy note: my brownie recipe contains eggs, but is gfcf, gluten free, and dairy free. Junior Mints have soy in the ingredients, and a “may contain” warning for dairy and egg. We have a dairy intolerance rather than allergy, so we have been Ok eating foods that “may contain” dairy, and have had no issues with Junior Mints. However, contact the manufacturer yourself before you introduce Junior Mints!

Junior Mint Brownies

First, make a batch of Super Easy Brownies.

Once the brownies are done, shake a regular sized box of Junior Mints over the brownies, then gently press them into the cooked brownies.

Place the pan of brownies back in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and use a spatula or butter knife to spread the Junior Mints over the brownies. Gooey minty goodness, and so, so easy!

This also works fine over half the brownies, if you want to keep some of them uncontaminated for those of us who don’t like mint.

Variation: Try this with other chocolate-based candies, you may end up with a new favorite flavor combination!

postheadericon Shrimp Stir Fry

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, and fish free recipe. This is a faux fast food recipe, ready in under 45 minutes. If served without rice, this recipe is acceptable as part of the South Beach Diet phase 1.


Shrimp Stir Fry
  • 2 TBS canola oil

  • 1 small vidalia onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 handfuls snow peas
  • 1 orange or red bell pepper (or 1/2 orange bell pepper and 1/2 red bell pepper)
  • 6-10 crimini mushrooms, sliced (also called “Baby Bella” mushrooms)
  • 1 lb large shrimp, shells, veins, and tails removed
  • 8 oz baby spinach (approximately)
  • 2 TBS soy sauce (LaChoy soy sauce, SanJ wheat-free Tamari, and Braggs Amino Acids are all gluten-free)
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
Shrimp Stir Fry with Snow Peas

Dice the onion, mince the garlic, slice the mushrooms, and clean the shrimp. Remove the string from the snow peas. Slice the bell pepper into rings, and then slice the rings into smaller sections.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a wok or a large skillet. Add onion and garlic to the heat, and stir. After they have cooked for a minute, add mushrooms, bell pepper, and snow peas. Use tongs or a wooden spoon to stir regularly, so they cook uniformly.

Shrimp Stir Fry and chopsticks

When the veggies begin to soften, add the shrimp. Keep the shrimp moving in the pan so they cook on both sides and cook evenly.

Add the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan, then add the spinach. Stir to combine, then cover and turn off the heat under the wok/skillet. Use the residual heat in the pan to wilt the spinach.

Stir to combine well, then serve over rice with chopsticks and additional soy sauce at the table – yum!

postheadericon Fabulously Fudgy Frosting

I was making a chocolate bundt cake for my middle daughter’s 9th birthday when I ran out of cocoa powder. I wanted to make an icing-type frosting, and modified it to include chocolate chips rather than cocoa. It turned into this delicious fudgy frosting. All three girls (and the other tasters) agreed it was the best frosting ever!

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, top 8 allergen free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.


  • 2 TBS margarine or shortening (Fleishmann’s unsalted margarine is dairy/gluten free, Spectrum Naturals Organic Shortening is also soy-free)

  • 2-3 TBS milk substitute or water
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life Baking Chips are allergy-friendly, and Trader Joe’s sells dairy/gluten free chocolate chips)
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar

In a small saucepan over medium/low heat, melt margarine/shortening and chocolate chips. Once it is melted, remove from heat and whisk until well combined.

Whisk in 1 TBS milk substitute, then 1 cup confectioner’s sugar.

Whisk in 1 TBS more milk substitute, and the final 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar.

If the frosting is very thick and not pourable, whisk in a 3rd TBS of liquid.

This frosting drips almost like an icing, but is thicker, and doesn’t set as firmly – it has a wonderfully fudgy texture to go along with the fudgy taste! Enjoy it on top of a chocolate bundt cake – mmmm….

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