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 ‘tips’ Category

postheadericon A Few tips on living gluten-free

I’m writing a series on Celiac disease/food allergies/food intolerances over at BostonNow. Much of what I have written is things I’ve said in many different ways here, but the articles might be helpful for some of my readers.

Starting to eat a Restricted Diet – Part 1 in a series Is tasty food too much to ask?

There has been a rise in awareness and diagnosis of Celiac Disease (an auto-immune disease that requires a diet free of gluten- the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats), as well as a rise in awareness and diagnosis of food allergies and food sensitivities. There are also many families who choose a gluten-free/casein free or gfcf (no gluten, no milk) diet to help treat Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Combine all those groups, and you have a large population looking for food that is free of various ingredients. Many of those people are also looking for food that tastes good, too! Read More …

I don’t have time to cook! Tips for healthy eating with food allergies
Part 2 in an ongoing series

In part one, we talked about making food that is safe for restricted diets taste good. What can you do if you’re on a restricted diet due to Celiac Disease, food allergies, or food sensitivities and you (sadly) don’t have a significant other who is home all day to cook for you, nor are you home all day. You don’t like eating out all the time, because as much as restaurants try to get things right, they can make mistakes, and then you get sick. What’s the solution?

I am the significant other at home all day (ostensibly) cooking, but I have chronic pain, I’m homeschooling 3 young children, and we also have several other activities in our life besides cooking! I’ve assembled a few tips and tricks that have worked for us – eating food that is safe for you and won’t make you sick, while still continuing your busy life. Read More …

postheadericon Roasted Veggie Tips

Almost any vegetable seems to taste better roasted. This winter we have roasted green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, parsnips, leeks, broccoli, and of course, our favorite brussels sprouts. This is an easy way to add veggies to a dinner when you are already using the oven.

Roasted Broccoli

First tip: preheat oven to 400+ (temp can vary a bit depending on the other things you are cooking. Toss the veggies in olive oil and sprinkle a little kosher salt over the top. You can add some minced garlic or not, depending on time available & your taste. Roast for about 20 minutes, shaking a couple times.

Second tip: Try this with frozen veggies – it works great with frozen green beans, and then you don’t have to take the ends off! It really makes frozen veggies taste less like frozen veggies, too!

Third tip: Make more than you think you’ll need. I’m amazed at how fast the kids eat the roasted veggies, they’re sweeter somehow. mmmm… And you can tell them the beets are candy! ;)

Fourth tip: Try to roast vegetables the kids (or other adults) haven’t liked served other ways. Almost everyone who says they “hate brussels sprouts” has made an exception for my roasted brussels sprouts

postheadericon Faux Cream Cheese Frosting

When I make Carrot Cake or Eggless Carrot Cake, it deserves a cream cheese frosting. This is close, and doesn’t have the aftertaste I get with commercial dairy-free cream cheese. It can also be soy free.

  • 1 stick margarine, softened (or 1/2 cup Spectrum shortening)
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 TBS milk sub (or water)
  • 1 TBS lemon juice

Beat margarine in stand mixer. Add lemon juice.

Alternate 1c powdered sugar with 1 TBS milk sub until the desired taste/consistency is reached.

Frost like any buttercream-ish frosting

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 Basic Dairy-Free White Sauce

This is the basis for so many dishes – it can act like melted cheese on lasagna, an alfredo sauce, the basis for a sour-cream stroganoff, or any dairy-free alternative for a cream-of soup. This entry is linked innumerable times, and its uses are really only limited by your imagination!

You will note that this is made using coconut milk. If needed, it could be made using any other milk substitute, but the texture is best with coconut milk. It does not taste like coconut – for some reason savory dishes using coconut milk have no residual coconut flavor. Many, many people have eaten dishes that include this recipe, including people who profess to dislike anything coconut, and none of them ever guessed!

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 vegetarian/vegan recipe.

Dairy-Free White Sauce


  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk

  • 3 TBS margarine or cooking oil
  • 3-4 TBS arrowroot, corn, or tapioca starch
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • additional seasonings as desired – we like Italian seasoning, Herbes de Provence, or Tony Chacheres Cajun seasoning
  • 1 small onion, a few mushrooms, 1 stalk celery, or other desired vegetable, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine, broth, or other liquid

Melt margarine or heat oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add minced garlic (and any other vegetable you need – ie: mushrooms for cream-of-mushroom soup substitute), and sauté until tender.

Mix 3 TBS starch into the saucepan, it should become a thick paste. If it’s runny, add a bit more starch until it’s thick.

Whisk in the white wine, broth, or other liquid. Continue whisking, and pour in the coconut milk.

While whisking the sauce, add salt and any spices. Continue whisking over medium heat, as the mixture comes to a low boil and thickens.

Once the sauce thickens, use in any recipe as directed.

postheadericon Young Chefs

I’m still dealing with fibromyalgia-like symptoms because of Chronic Lyme disease. I’m being treated, but the effects wax and wane – some days are better than others.

This evening, I couldn’t move my right arm or bend over, so the girls helped me with dinner made dinner while I supervised. Since they are 9, 7, and 4, we made an easy dinner. However, since they are also children living with a chronic illness that is only treatable with food avoidance (Celiac disease avoiding wheat, rye, oats, barley), plus other food allergies and sensitivities, they need to know how to cook and they help out a lot.

Young Chefs make dinner

They made one of our “all in the oven” meals – set the oven for 350 and put in:

  • Roasted frozen green beans (ok, that was really easy – dump frozen green beans in a oven-safe pan, drizzle oil over them, sprinkle with kosher salt)

  • Chicken with BBQ sauce (Gluten-free store-bought bbq sauce mixed with splashes of cider vinegar, brown sugar, and rum then drizzled on top)
  • Cornbread, using our favorite recipe

I helped reading the recipe, but they measured, read the fractions, and mixed it all well. We’re looking forward to a yummy dinner!

I really think that it is very important for kids to learn how to cook (kids with food allergies and kids without) – as much as it can be annoying having 3 people in the kitchen with me, the more they know how to cook, the better. Often, when kids are involved in the cooking, they’re more willing to try new meals. Plus, nothing warms your heart like hearing “Mommy, save this recipe so I can have it when I grow up!”

postheadericon Review: Domata Living GF/CF Flour

The nice folks at Domata Living GF/CF Flour sent me a 5 lb bag of their all purpose flour to try and review.

I do my best to give fair reviews, and want to disclose that these folks have purchased a text ad on my recipe site.

I was excited to receive a bag of all-purpose flour – I usually grind and mix my own flours, so it was very handy to have the flour premixed for me! Their mix (unlike most other gluten-free flour mixes) includes xanthan gum, which makes it a great mix for folks who are new to gluten free and/or gfcf cooking – they don’t have to buy the flour AND buy the xanthan gum to keep their cooking from falling apart. Additionally, their pricing is more affordable than most other GF options.

Read the rest of the review…

postheadericon Sending you elsewhere for a moment

My main blog is having a Health Week this week, and today’s entry about Celiac Disease.

EnjoLife Foods sent us a great box of their new products to try. Yum! Our Spotlight Reviews has a review of their trail mix, called Not Nuts. It’s a great trail mix for anyone, but especially anyone going to a no-nuts camp, daycare, school, or activity!

Last week I was lucky enough to participate in a conference call hosted by Revolution Health with a half-dozen bloggers and a few experts about Celiac Disease to raise awareness about the disease and about The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. You can hear our discussion right here. Excuse me as I squirm thinking of people hearing me talk!

Don’t forget to check out the Revolution Health Online Health Fair, and their Celiac Page, which has the video from The View on Celiac disease, plus a Celiac PSA from CNN anchor Heidi Collins.

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