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 July, 2009

postheadericon Simple Gooseberry Syrup

Saving the syrup

If you miss the flavor of raspberries and blackberries but cannot eat them, consider trying gooseberries – they are their own food family (related only to currants) and are unlikely to cross-react with other foods.

The green gooseberries taste very similar to raspberries and blackberries when eaten raw. However, the red gooseberries are quite tart, and need another use. This syrup is great over pancakes, waffles, or ice cream, and has a wonderful sweet-tart flavor. Plus, it’s incredibly easy!

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.


Cooking gooseberry syrup
  • 1 cup cane sugar

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup gooseberries

Combine sugar and water in a small pan over medium heat. Whisk and cook until the sugar fully dissolves.

Meanwhile pull off the little brown or green bits at either end of the gooseberries. Cut gooseberries in half.

Add gooseberries to the sugar/water mixture.

Let cook over low heat for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Strain the seeds and fibers from the syrup, and pour into a refrigerator and microwave safe container.
Refrigerate syrup, then warm for a few seconds in the microwave before serving over waffles, or ice cream.

postheadericon Tarragon-Lime Green Beans

Lime & Tarragon Green Beans

This was adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe. It’s a pretty fast cooking dish, and the flavors are amazing. Don’t cheat and use bottled lime juice – if you don’t have a fresh lime to zest and juice, wait until you do.

Serves 6.

Decorative Tarragon Sprigs with green beans


  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced/pressed
  • grated lime zest from 1 lime
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 TBS olive oil (this does not need to be extra virgin, and could be another cooking oil)
  • 1 1/2 pound green beans
  • 1/2 small red onion, minced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves


Green Bean prep

Combine 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and lime zest in small bowl; set aside.

Juice the lime and chop the tarragon leaves, and set aside.

Snap off both ends of the green beans, and set aside. Set aside the minced onion with the green beans.

Just browning

Heat 1 TBS regular olive oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Add onion, green beans, 2 pinches kosher salt, and 3 grinds teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add water, cover, and cook until beans are bright green but are still crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove the cover, increase heat to high, and cook until water evaporates, about 60 seconds.

Add olive oil mixture to the pan and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until beans are crisp-tender, lightly browned, and beginning to wrinkle, 2-3 minutes.

Summer dinner - 1 pan, plus grill

Transfer green beans to serving bowl, toss with lime juice and tarragon. Serve immediately, or cover the bowl with a plate or other lid to keep warm when bringing the rest of the meal to the table.

This is great with some roasted potatoes and a fish that has been in a citrus marinade. There won’t be many leftovers with these!

postheadericon Miso Soup, hold the barley

Traditional miso contains barley, a gluten-containing grain. However, there are some companies, such as Great Eastern Sun which make miso from alternate ingredients such as soy, chickpeas, and rice (their misos are also certified organic and kosher). Additionally, as miso soup is usually made using a fish broth, using a vegetable broth in its place, makes the soup an option for vegetarian/vegan diners and those with fish allergies.

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, fish free, shellfish free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.

This is my adaptation of a couple easy miso soup recipes I’ve found.


Miso soup, serving for one
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (you can make some quickly)

  • 1/4 cup dried wakame (sea vegetable)
  • 1/2 lb firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into half-inch cubes (1/2 lb = 8 oz = 1 package)
  • 4 TBS red Miso
  • optional: 2 scallions, sliced into rings (white and light green parts only)

Make a quick batch of vegetable stock. In a medium pot, bring 7 cups of water to a boil with 2 cloves garlic, 3 baby carrots, and 3 leafy pieces of celery.

Turn heat down to low and let simmer for 20+ minutes. Strain the vegetables out of the broth, then measure 6 cups of broth for the miso soup.

Ready to serve the miso soup

Reuse the medium pot and bring the vegetable stock to a simmer.

Add the diced tofu and wakame, and simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Remove 1/3 cup broth from the soup, and dissolve the miso in the stock. Once the miso is well mixed in with the broth, add to the soup.

Garnish with scallion rings and serve.

Tuna and rice

This is lovely served with a salad and sushi, but is also wonderful served with grilled tuna and Asian Rice Salad.

postheadericon Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

2 loaves out of the oven

My dear friend Nanny Ogg had an overflowing zucchini crop last year, and every time I sent her an instant message, her status had something to do with making, serving, or eating Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread. It does taste every bit as good as I thought it would, too!

This makes 2 loaves. This doubles wonderfully, too!

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, shellfish free, corn free, and vegetarian recipe.

1 slice


  • 3 eggs

  • 2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 cups gf flour (sorghum, rice, brown rice, millet, or another mild flour)
  • 1 cup starch (tapioca, arrowroot, or corn)
  • 1 TBS xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (the miniature Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips are perfect here if you have them!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour or use parchment to line 2 loaf pans

In a stand mixer or medium bowl, combine eggs, oil, and sugar. Beat well. (Since this recipe has 3 eggs, it is not easily changed to an egg free recipe)

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, starch, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

Add zucchini and vanilla, and combine well. Stir in flour mix, and mix well.

Add chocolate chips and stir just until they are distributed well.

2 loaves, ready to go into the oven

Divide batter into two loaf pans, then bake for approximately 1 hour. Start testing with a toothpick after 45 minutes – when the toothpick comes out clean, it’s done.

Cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack in the pans, then knock out of pans and cool completely. Slice and serve. While it’s delicious hot, it might be better to wait for it to cool – it’s only somewhat crumbly after it’s cooled, but quite crumbly when hot.

This recipe freezes well if your freezer isn’t already crammed with zucchini and the bread isn’t inhaled by your family!

postheadericon Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

This is my daughters’ favorite ice cream, so I finally tried to make it. I used my basic Coconut Milk Ice Cream recipe, and then tweaked it for mint. I used multiple taste testers, including a couple who can eat dairy, and all loved it. (I couldn’t be used as a taste tester because I dislike the taste of mint)

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.

Mint Chip Goodness


  • 2 14oz cans coconut milk

  • 2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 8 drops green food coloring (optional, but a good way to differentiate between mint chip and chocolate chip)
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan or guar gum
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips


In a blender, combine coconut milk, peppermint extract, food coloring, xanthan gum/guar gum, and sugar. Blend until well combined.

Chill for 1 hour in the blender jar.

2 scoops

Blend the chilled mixture for a moment, then add to ice cream maker. Follow ice cream maker directions for time in the ice cream maker.

Add chocolate chips at the end of ice cream maker cycle

Scoop into a container with a lid and put in the freezer until ready to serve. This makes great sundaes or “milk” shakes too!

If you can’t use coconut milk, use 4 cups of your milk substitute in place of the 2 cans of coconut milk. The mouth-feel isn’t quite as creamy as coconut milk, but it still tastes great!

postheadericon Summer Gazpacho

Gazpacho is chilled tomato-based soup with lots of veggies and a bit of a spicy kick is just right. For my kids, I explained it was “salsa soup”, which interested them. The adults loved it, and all the kids enjoyed it, too.

On a hot summer day, a cool bowl of gazpacho is just what my taste buds are wanting. My corner of the world (New England) hasn’t had many hot summer days this year, but on the last one I developed a serious craving. Of course, when I was able to make the gazpacho, the days had become cooler again, but it still tasted wonderful!

I misplaced my gazpacho recipe in the move, so this is loosely based on Alton Brown’s Gazpacho recipe, which is more time intensive and while yummy, doesn’t include two of my gazpacho staples – cilantro or avocado.

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.


A little summer treat
  • 28 oz can peeled & seeded plum tomatoes

  • 3 cups Tomato juice
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 chopped red, orange, or yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 chopped medium red onion
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2-3 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1 bunch scallions, white & light green only
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 limes, juiced (we love our OXO Citrus Squeezer)
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Tabasco or Frank’s Red Hot sauce
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or several grinds)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Open the can of peeled and seeded tomatoes. Strain juice through a sieve into a large mixing bowl. Remove seeds from the tomatoes, then dice and add to the bowl.

Add 3 cups bottled tomato juice to the bowl. Add olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, cumin, hot sauce, salt, and pepper and stir to combine

Great Summer Gazpacho

Dice and add avocado, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, garlic cloves, and scallions.

Use your immersion blender (no one should live without a good Stick Blender, also known as the “juzsh juzsh thing”) to puree half the mixture. Or transfer half to a blender and puree for 15 to 20 seconds on high speed. Stir again to combine the pureed and chunky parts of the soup.

Add chopped cilantro to the soup, then cover and chill for 2 hours or more.

Serve with extra chopped cilantro. Yum!

postheadericon Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cake Mix review

Bunny ears and a toothless grin

Our family has been living gluten-free due to Celiac Disease for over 6 years. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and very similar to the protein found in outs. This means that any food needs to be made specially – bread, pasta, cake, pizza crust, pretzels, cookies, etc. Finding the Betty Crocker gluten-free mixes was a wonderful surprise!

Over the past 6 years there has been a huge increase in availability of gluten-free products, but most of the GF products have been found in the health food aisle of the grocery store or in a specialty store.

However, gluten-free products are becoming more mainstream as the number of people diagnosed with celiac disease rises, as well as the number of people living gluten-free for other reasons. Last summer, General Mills introduced a new, gluten-free formulation of Rice Chex (they changed the sweetener from barley malt to another sweetener). In addition to becoming more mainstream, gluten-free products are becoming much more commonly available and found in most grocery stores.
Read the rest of the review

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