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 the ‘side dishes’ Category

postheadericon Cranberry Sauce

This is my favorite. It’s an adaptation of a few recipes, plus some twists of my own. The basic concept of adding Ginger Ale came from Alton Brown of Good Eats. Brilliant. Adding a little fresh ginger boosts the taste a bit, and the sauce ends up very yummy, but it is incredibly easy.

This is gfcf, gluten, dairy, egg, soy, peanut, tree nut, and wheat free. If you get the right brands, this could also be corn free. Cranberries (and blueberries) are in a different food family than strawberries, raspberries, and other berries, so they are safe for our berry-allergic child.

Cranberry Sauce


  • 2 12 oz bags cranberries

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups ginger ale (check ingredients)
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • zest of 1 orange or 2 clementines (depending on what you have in the house)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (check ingredients – some add caramel color)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 knuckle-sized piece of ginger, grated

Put all ingredients into a large saucepan or small soup pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer about 30-45 minutes, until it is significantly reduced and pretty thick. Cool, and either refrigerate until needed or serve.

The cooking will mash the cranberries a bit. You may want to puree some or all using an immersion blender, depending on your tastes, and the willingness of your family members to eat things with lumps.

postheadericon Garlic Sauteed Mushrooms

This is one of those easy-peasy recipes that is almost not worth writing down. But it’s so yummy (and the picture came out so well!), that I wanted to share.

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, corn free, vegetarian & a vegan recipe. Plus it’s South Beach Phase 1 safe.

Garlic Sauteed Mushrooms


  • 10 oz mushrooms, sliced (I prefer the pre-sliced Baby Bellas/Criminis myself)

  • 4+ (as much as you want) cloves garlic, minced (our grocery store sells pre-peeled garlic. this is lovely)
  • a couple pinches kosher salt
  • Olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, and let it cook, stirring occasionally, for a minute. Add mushrooms. Stir occasionally, and watch the mushrooms cook until they reduce in size and turn a golden, almost caramelized brown.

Serve as a side dish with anything. Really.



  • balsamic vinegar

  • medium onion, cut into 1/8″ rings

Prepare as above, but add the onion when you add the garlic, and use a slightly bigger pan. As the mushrooms, onions. and garlic are cooking, sprinkle balsamic vinegar over the top.

Continue cooking until everything has cooked down. This is a fabulous side dish for steak or burger (veggie burger, too), and my daughter calls the onions here “onion rings” – she’s never had the batter fried ones. These are infinitely healthier, and a lot less work!

postheadericon Quickly Candied Walnuts

I love candied nuts. Unfortunately, most commercial candied nuts contain wheat starch for some unknown reason. I am sure there are dozens of recipes out there for candied nuts, but this is one I just threw together when my sweet tooth and almost-empty cupboard collided. They are fabulous as a snack, over canned peaches, and over ice cream.

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

Images will be up later today!


  • 1/4 cup oil or margarine (half a stick)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups walnut pieces (or other nut that you can tolerate. You could use larger seeds, such as pepitas, if you cannot tolerate nuts)

Melt the butter over medium heat in a small to medium sized non-stick skillet.

When the butter is melted, add the brown sugar, and stir with a spatula (a silicone one is best, as this will get hot). Add the cinnamon and salt, and keep stirring.

Watch the mixture, and stir intermittently as it heats up. In a few minutes it will melt and begin to bubble. Watch out – this mixture is hot, and can burn you if you aren’t careful. (burns from candy hurt a LOT, as the candy sticks to the skin. OUCH!)

Add the nuts, and stir carefully. Keep the heat at medium, and stir intermittently, gently combining the candy mixture with the nuts. Cook for about another 5 minutes, still stirring and mixing.

While the candied nuts are cooking, prepare a cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper or a Silpat Silicone Baking Mat. Pour the candied walnuts onto the parchment/silpat, and make sure they are scattered and separated over the sheet – if they clump, you’ll have a big lump of praline, which is yummy, but not easily scattered!

Let cool, and then eat. If you have some will power, you can keep them in an airtight jar or container, or in a zip-top bag for easy snacking. yum.

postheadericon Potato Pancakes

I’ve always loved these, but they never turn out quite right. Then I saw a recipe on another website and played around with it until it worked well. This was a huge hit for brunch – there were no leftovers, and the children AND adults were wishing I had made more! The partial frying, partial baking kept it easier and less messy.

These are gfcf, wheat, dairy, gluten, soy, nut, peanut, fish, shellfish, and corn free. They could easily be egg free by leaving out the egg. I have better results with the egg as a binder, though. These are vegetarian and could easily be vegan.

Pan-frying Potato Pancakes


  • cooking oil – canola, olive oil, or whatever you prefer

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and shredded on a wide grater
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 8-10 green onions/scallions, finely sliced in rings (all of the white, plus the light green)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup starch (corn, tapioca, potato, or arrowroot)
  • a couple pinches kosher salt and a couple grinds black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°. Put a cookie sheet in the oven to preheat, too.

Peel the potatoes, then shred them on a grater or in the food processer into medium-sized shreds. Put all the potatoes in a few paper towels, and wring out the moisture a couple times. When they are dry, put them in a large bowl. You can also use a sieve and press out the moisture.

Place a nonstick skillet on the stove with about 1/2″ of the cooking oil, and bring up to medium-high heat.

Put all the ingredients (except the oil) in the large bowl. Combine well.

Use a soup spoon to form the mixture into little cakes. Drop cakes into the oil. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side.

Crisp and delicious

Put the first batch of potato pancakes in the oven on the cookie sheet. Repeat with more batches until all the mixture is finished. Cook for about 10 more minutes, then serve and eat. Yum!

This made 12 pancakes, which served 5 people as part of a brunch. they would also be great with sour cream if you are OK with dairy, or applesauce.
Sunny Fall Sunday Brunch Fall brunch plate

postheadericon Avacado Chick Pea Salad

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, vegan & vegetarian, and also South Beach phase 1 safe recipe.

This is barely a recipe, because it is soooo easy and yet so yummy. I first had it at my friend’s house, and she dislikes lettuce so she has created salads without lettuce, which boggled my mind a bit, until I couldn’t stop eating it. So my version has mesclun in it, but it does taste great without it.


  • 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned chick peas (approximately)

  • 2 avocados
  • a few handfuls of mesclun (mixed baby salad greens) – optional
  • salad dressing – we use a balsamic vinagrette or a poppy seed dressing (we love the one from Brianna’s) be careful with the dressing amounts for South Beach!


Find a nice bowl to use as a salad bowl. If you are using the mesclun, fill the bottom of the bowl with a few handfuls of washed & dried mesclun.

Dump the chick peas on top of the mesclun.

Slice the avocados in half long-ways. Twist to remove one half from the seed. Slice into the avocado still in its peel diagonally ( \ ) and then slice the opposite way diagonally ( / ) so you have cubes. Gently squeese the cubes on top of the chick peas. Remove the pit from the other side of the avocado and repeat. Do the same thing with the second avocado.

Serve salad with dressing on the side, as some people may prefer it without the dressing. You can also easily double or triple this or figure out the best ratio for your family between chick peas and avocados.

I have also served this with crab meat on top for a non-vegan choice. mmmm….

postheadericon Cole Slaw Without Mayo

This is my adaptation of my grandmother’s Canister Cole slaw, or Deli Cole slaw recipe. It’s the only cole slaw I’ve ever liked – it tastes more like a salad, and has a fresh, tangy taste. My husband hates mayonnaise, and this is the only cole slaw he likes as well

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, vegan/vegetarian, and South Beach phase 2 safe recipe.


Mayo-free and delicious cole slaw
  • 2 bags coleslaw mix (or equivalent shredded green & purple cabbbage with a little shredded carrot and/or pepper for color)

  • 1 finely sliced bell pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup vinegar (I use a splash of balsamic and the rest cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (or several grinds)
  • 1 tsp Italian-style seasoning (we like McCormick’s and Mrs. Dash)
  • 1 tsp celery seed or celery salt (if using celery salt, reduce the amount of salt a bit)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (helps cut the gassiness)
  • 1 tsp mustard powder


Summer dinner

Bring the vinegar to a boil (via the microwave or stove), then mix with oil, sugar, and spices.

In a large bowl, mix the hot vinegar/oil mixture with the cabbage mix, until well coated.

Put in a tightly closed jar or large covered plastic container, and chill for a few hours.

Serve with anything. This is especially yummy with anything bbq-ed, and if you make some potato salad, it’s even better!

Allegedly this lasts for 6 weeks in the fridge, but we’ve never had it last that long!

postheadericon Great Gluten-Free Gravy

I use this at thanksgiving, or for shepherd’s pie, or for anything. yum. This is an adaptation of a friend’s vegan recipe from back in the day when we were vegetarian.


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or drippings

  • 3-6 cloves of garlic, squashed and minced very well
  • 2-3 slices of yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup gf flour or starch of choice
  • 4 tsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 4 TBS Tamari/GF soy sauce
  • 2 cups milk sub (for white gravy) or chicken broth, beef broth, or mushroom broth (for brown gravy)
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 5 or 6 (or lots more!) crimini mushrooms, sliced (for mushroom gravy)

Measure the vegetable oil or drippings into a small saucepan. Cook the garlic and onion in it for about two minutes on medium or medium-low heat, until the onion is a bit tender and translucent. Add the flour/starch, yeast, and tamari to make a paste. Add the milk or broth gradually, stirring constantly. Bring the gravy to a boil on medium to medium-high heat, for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add pepper. Stir in the sliced mushrooms, if desired. Add salt and serve warm.

postheadericon Salmon Cakes

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, shellfish free, corn free, and South Beach phase 1 safe recipe.


Collection of Salmon Cakes

In a medium bowl, combine drained fish, and season to taste. Use a potato masher to pulverize the fish, including any (edible, filled with calcium) small bones. Mix in egg (if using) and bean flour.

Salmon Cakes

Heat a skillet over medium heat with canola oil in it (just enough to cover the bottom).

Create palm-sized patties, and cook until crispy on the bottom, then flip.

Serve over a bed of lettuce with a little salad dressing or mayo or lemon juice.

postheadericon Crabbie Patties

I think we’ve perfected this! The original recipe for Crab Cakes and Salmon Cakes were egg-free and more delicate. This Crabbie Pattie is sturdier, and has eggs. It would still be suitable for a low-carb diet, though.


  • 4 6 oz cans crab (the cheap kind works fine) You could also use 2 cans salmon
  • 2/3 cup bean or pea flour (or another type of flour or starch you have on hand)
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • cooking oil

Drain the cans of crab in a strainer. Squish it to get as much liquid out as possible.

While the crab is draining, preheat oven to about 400 degrees (or whatever temperature another food is cooking at), and heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a largish nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Dump the drained crab into a medium bowl. Add the salt, seasoning, and egg. Stir. Add flour, and mix well.

Finger Food Dinner

Use a spoon to form Crabbie Patties. place in oil – 4-6 per batch. Fry for 2 minutes, then flip. Fry for 2 more minutes, then place on a cookie sheet in the preheated oven. Repeat until all the patties are cooked. Bake for about 10 more minutes.

OR Bake on a non-stick cookie sheet/Silpat for 30 minutes (with no pre-frying), flipping after 15 minutes. Be very careful when flipping, as the Crabbie Patties are still a bit fragile.

These are great served with a whole finger food meal, or as a lunch with a salad and french fries, or as an appetizer. Some may like them plain, some with tartar sauce, and some with cocktail sauce.

postheadericon Gluten Free and Dairy Free Buffalo Wings

My kids love buffalo wings, but they can’t have them in most restaurants because they are coated in flour, and the sauce is made with butter. However, I’ve discovered that they are remarkably easy to make. The fun part is telling the kids that the Buffalo they see in paintings have no wings because people ate them! 😉

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, and top 8 allergen free, recipe.

Buffalo Wings


  • 3+ lbs wing sections
  • 2 TBS hot sauce (we like Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 2 TBS cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup margarine (we use Fleishmann’s unsalted)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup hot sauce (depending on how hot you like them)
  • 1/3 cup gf flour or starch of choice

A few hours before you want to serve these, marinate the wing sections in a large zip-top bag with the 2 TBS each of hot sauce and vinegar. Ask a child to shake it well so they are all covered. Refrigerate.

When you are ready to bake them, preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the hot sauce and flour. Melt the margarine in the microwave, then whisk that into the hot sauce and flour mixture.

Lightly oil or line a 9×13 baking pan. Dip each wing section into the flour/hot sauce/margarine mixture, and place in the baking pan. Repeat over and over again, until all wing sections are finished.

Finger Food Dinner

Bake at 425 for 45 minutes. Serve as an appetizer, snack, side dish, or as one of several entrée choices in a finger food dinner.

Don’t forget to save the bones for stock!

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