Archive for the ‘tips’ Category

postheadericon Gluten-Free Gingerbread house

Gluten-Free Gingerbread house

This year was our first year making a gluten-free gingerbread house. It’s one of those things I had always intended to do, but never quite gotten around to doing.

This year we had a collaborative effort – I made the gluten-free gingerbread cookie batter, my mother cut out pieces according to a template and made the frosting “glue”, then my three daughters decorated.

My daughters are now able to have dairy, which meant we had more variety available for our decorations, but there are a lot of gluten-free and dairy-free candies that make great decorations – gumdrops, sour watermelons, and mints were some of the favorites here. Candy canes would’ve been a good addition, too.

Munch, munch, munch

The best part, though, is that the gluten-free gingerbread cookie recipe makes delicious cookies, so after we smashed the house for the New Year, we all dove in and started munching on the pieces of house. Yum!

postheadericon Brownie-Mallows

Gooey Goodness

My daughter heard that her friend’s mom made brownies with fluff on top, and had to have them right away. We came up with this recipe, which is delicious. When we told her friend about it, it turned out that my daughter had misunderstood, and her friend’s mom doesn’t make these, so it’s now our special recipe. They are gooey and good, but they need to stay chilled or they get very, very sticky!

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. Unfortunately, my brownie recipe doesn’t work well without eggs, so this is not vegan or egg-free.


A Batch of Brownie-Mallows

Follow the recipe for the super-easy brownies. Let them cool completely

Spread Marshmallow Fluff over cooled brownies, making an even layer.

Layers of goodness

Mix together margarine and chocolate chips in a bowl, then microwave in 60 second intervals, stirring until well combined.

Pour chocolate mixture over fluff, and spread with a spatula until you have an even layer of chocolate.

Place the entire pan into the refrigerator for at least an hour to chill.

Slice into 1 1/2 inch squares. Serve chilled.

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 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 Memorable Meals

Everyone has influences on their cooking. One of my biggest influences is my Nana, who taught me how to make ravioli and many other things. Don’t forget to write down notes and recipes from your biggest influences, as you never know what the next day will bring.

I have come to stay with my grandmother and her husband to help them as she starts recovering from her stroke. Her prognosis looks good, but every difference between “before” and “after” is difficult. They need love, meals, some help here and there (especially with the stairs) and someone under 80 driving to run a few errands. :)

Being here feels very right. My heart is full, and I look forward to filling their fridge and freezer in return.

Internet connectivity is spotty, as is email, but I’ll be back on Monday with book reviews, reviews of some new Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free products, recipes, a review of a Solar Science lab, and more random musings. Go hug your grandmothers, and jot down their recipes. My oldest daughter is carrying on the tradition of good food in the family by making my grandmother’s cole slaw recipe for dinner with her grandmother.

postheadericon Summer camp when you can’t have a sandwich

This week is Food Allergy Awareness week, and this month is Celiac Disease Awareness month. To honor both of these, we are participating on the bi-weekly Food Allergy carnival and talking about summer camp despite food restrictions

Our family has Celiac Disease, an intolerance to dairy, and LG has a severe berry allergy. We bring our own food to birthday parties, parks, and playdates, but I never wanted the dietary restrictions to restrict the girls’ access to activities. Occasionally an event is so food-centered that we can’t participate, but as food restrictions become more well-known, we can go to more and more events without risking a reaction.
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postheadericon Are you getting ready for the holidays?

First, an apology – we’ve had some site-wide downtime and snafus when we needed to switch web hosts this weekend. We are sorry for any inconvenience, and will be posting extra recipes this week to make up for it.

The Food Allergy Carnival was posted Friday. Over at A Gaggle of Girls, we contributed a piece about planning in advance for the holiday.

Meanwhile, there’s about a month before Passover. Are you stocking up? Remember that many foods that are “kfp” or Kosher for Passover are also safe for a wide variety of allergens. During Passover, most Jews avoid wheat, soy, and corn, in addition to leavening, though some food has matzoh. You want to look for Kosher for Passover labeling (get your corn-free Coke!) and the words “non-gebrokts”, which means there is no matzoh.

We’ll be posting a review soon of Susie Fishbein’s fabulous cookbook Passover by Design, which includes 160 recipes, of which 130 are non-gebrokts, and many of the remaining 30 can be easily adapted to be gluten-free, if not safe for Passover. As a bonus, most of the recipes are also dairy-free, and there’s even a gluten-free, soy-free, passover-safe teriyaki sauce! That’s worth the price of the book in and of itself! ;)

postheadericon More gluten-free and allergy-friendly goodness

I joined Foodie Mama today, and have posted two articles – you can check my articles out via my GF Gaggle profile. You may, of course, leave ratings for the articles and recipes…

Today, I posted an article about raising allergy-friendly kids, and the incredibly easy kids-cooking Revolutionary Pumpkin Custard. There are some other great recipes including Vegan Chocolate Cake, which we make gluten-free and vegan, calling it Wacky Cake. I’m glad to see there are other allergy-friendly recipes there!

If you were going to read articles on healthy and allergy-friendly living, what kind of articles would you like to see?

postheadericon New Allergy-Friendly Foods

Last week I had the opportunity to review a new juice called Froose. It’s a mix of whole grain brown rice and juice, and is gluten-free, kosher pareve, dairy-free, soy-free, and sweetened with brown rice syrup instead of corn syrup or sugar. Please check out our review and check out Froose for yourself. We really like the peach!

We were also lucky enough to receive a sample of some new gluten-free and dairy-free treats from Amy’s Kitchen! They sent us my favorite enchiladas, plus the new gluten & dairy-free pizza, ziti, cream-of-rice.  Yum!  They’ve added a delicious-sounding tamale, and a ziti kid’s meal to their product line, too. Check out the labeling at Amy’s Kitchen – it’s really easy to see what items will fit with your dietary restrictions.

I haven’t seen my kids looking forward to lunch this much for a while!  However, I doubt that when Amy’s Kitchen created their vegan and gluten-free pizza they intended for kids to dream of adding meat-filled pepperoni!

postheadericon Dairy-free and Soy-free baking tips

In general, I find baking dairy-free reasonably easy – there are a lot of alternatives out there, and in general dairy-free baking doesn’t alter the recipe – be it Gluten-free or not. Eggs are another story, but we’re not going there today! I use Fleishmann’s Unsalted margarine (Kosher Pareve, no dairy, no casein) as a 1:1 substitute for butter when I bake. I use Soy Garden or Earth Balance tubs (both Vegan and Kosher Pareve, no dairy, no casein) margarine in place for butter in stove-top cooking. I use Spectrum Shortening for any shortening needs, but Crisco is also dairy-free.

I use rice milk, soy milk, water, or coconut milk (usually the latter) in place of any milk in baking. To make “sour cream” or “buttermilk” or even “yogurt” when its called for in recipes, I add 1TBS of lemon juice or vinegar per 1 cup “milk”, and it works just right in baking. Coconut milk works especially well for anything that needs more substance – ie: sour cream or yogurt substitutes. If you need “cream”, you can chill a coconut milk can, which separates it into a solid and a liquid. Scoop out (and heat) the solid, and you have the texture of cream, as well as the fat to carry flavor. Savory foods won’t taste coconutty, but sweet foods will have a bit of coconut taste, depending on the amount used (ie: if you use 1/4 cup coconut milk to 2 cups chocolate, no one will notice).

Once you are soy-free, things become more complicated. The liquid changes are the same, but the margarine changes aren’t. In some areas, Fleishmann’s sells a tub-product called “Fleishmann’s Light”, and it has no soy or dairy. The Fleishmann’s Unsalted that I currently use has soy oil, which is OK for some people who are avoiding soy, and not OK for others. If they aren’t available in your area, you can order them at

For soy-free baking, I use Spectrum Shortening in place of butter/margarine. Spectrum Shortening can be found in most large grocery stores in the Health Food aisle, or in any health food store – including Gluten-Free Mall online. It worked well for me in baking and cooking, but it doesn’t have quite the same flavor, and is most definitely not a table spread. Flax oil worked as a “liquid butter” topping for my kids, but that might not work for everyone.

For a completely dairy-free and soy-free margarine, you want to start keeping your eyes out for Kosher grocery stores and even some Kosher delis. At Passover, they will sell Mother’s Margarine (Passover Version), which uses cottonseed oil as a base. It’s not an optimal oil in general, but it is allergy-safe. Many Kosher grocery stores keep the Kosher for Passover Mother’s Margarine in stock year-round. You can also order it online at various Kosher supply stores such as As we get closer to Passover, it will be easier to find.

Chocolate is another one thats difficult if you’re soy-free. Most chocolate has soy lecithen, which is like soy oil – safe for some and unsafe for others. The EnjoyLife chocolate chips are soy-free, and most health food shops stock them – including Gluten-Free Mall online. This is another area where Kosher for Passover comes in handy – if you live in an area with Kosher grocery stores, you can get soy-free chocolate during the Passover season. Chocolate Emporium has lovely Dairy Free and Soy Free (and Gluten-free) treats near Passover – usually their treats have soy lecithen, but they are soy-free during Passover for religious reasons.

I need to edit some recipes to link back to this, and explain the substitutes that have worked for me over the years. We have now been at least somewhat dairy-free for 9 years, Gluten-free for 5 years, and during those 5 years we have been (at different times) soy-free, egg-free, corn-free, and now berry-free.

Do you have any dairy- and soy-free baking/cooking tips? What did I forget?

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