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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postheadericon Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Smoothie ingredients 1I know it’s spring. Really, I do. But I fell in love with this smoothie in the fall, and I can’t get enough of it. I’m sure I’ll want my yummy kale smoothie again, but for now, I want my pumpkin spice smoothie.

This is a delicious gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (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.


  • 1 cup cashew milk, almond milk, soy milk, or other milk/milk alternative
  • Smoothie Ingredients 21/4 cup plain greek yogurt (optional, omit if you can’t have dairy)
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (the thick part of the coconut milk, not the sweetened cream of coconut) or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling, just canned or fresh pumpkin puree)
  • 1 TBS maple syrup and/or 1 TBS honey
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (store bought, or make your own)
  • 1 TBS chia seeds (you could also add flax or hemp seeds)
  • 1 TBS protein powder (If you can tolerate dairy, I really like Designer Whey, it’s not gritty)
  • 1/2 banana, frozen
  • 6 (or more) frozen mango pieces


Blenderizing SmoothieIn my opinion, the easiest way to measure the top 4 ingredients is to use displacement with a 2 cup measuring cup. I pour the cashew or almond milk in first, then plop the yogurt in until it’s at 1 1/4 cups, and the same for the coconut cream and the pumpkin. Pour the whole thing into the blender. Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Using my blender‘s “smoothie” setting, this takes less than a minute. My old, sturdy $20 blender took only a little bit longer.

postheadericon Pumpkin Pie Spice

Why spend $4 on a 2 ounce jar of pumpkin pie spice? Mix up your own for less, and be certain there are no hidden fillers or allergens.

This is a delicious gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (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.


  • 6 TBS ground cinnamon (or 1/4 cup plus 2 TBS)
  • 4 tsp ground ginger (or 1 TBS plus 1 tsp)
  • 4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (or 1 TBS plus 1 tsp)
  • 1 TBS ground allspice
  • 1 TBS ground cloves


Combine all of the above into a small bowl and whisk together until well blended. Once it is well combined store in a spice jar or another lidded container.

This makes a little under 3/4 cup. You can halve the recipe easily, but I prefer to make a larger batch so I have to make it less often.

postheadericon Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies

Cookie JarOats are tricky if you have Celiac disease or are gluten-intolerant. Oats are contaminated by wheat during harvesting, with wheat and oats harvested together and transported on the same truck. When we began our gluten-free journey almost 11 years ago there were no certified gluten-free oats, so people made faux-oatmeal cookies using quinoa flakes and other ingredients. Now, however, Bob’s Red Mill, among others, has certified gluten-free oats in every grocery store and health food store (plus on Amazon). Some people with Celiac/gluten-intolerance are also intolerant to the very similar protein found in oats, but my daughters and I aren’t among those. If you haven’t had oats since becoming gluten-free, please be cautious and try just a little to determine if you are sensitive to them.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, dairy-free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, corn free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen-free,  and vegan/vegetarian recipe.

OC CreamingIngredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or dairy-free margarine
  • 1 egg or egg replacer
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free flour (amaranth, millet, or brown rice)
  • 1/4 cup starch (tapioca, white rice, arrowroot, corn)
  • Adding oats & chips1 1/2 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups mix-ins (chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, mini MnMs, craisins, raisins or a mixture)


Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat.

In a stand mixer, cream softened butter and sugars until fluffy.

Add water, egg, vanilla to creamed mixture, and beat until well combined.

In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine flour and dry ingredients, and whisk together.

Add flours to the creamed mixture and stir until just combined.

Oatmeal cookies ready for ovenAdd oats to the mixer bowl, and again stir until just combined. Don’t over-work.

Add the mix-in (we prefer chocolate chips and mini chocolate chips), and fold into the batter.

Use a small cookie scoop to scoop out cookies, and set on cookie sheet leaving 1 1/2″ between cookies. Don’t overcrowd or you’ll end up with one giant cookie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are just becoming browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheets, then let the remainder cool on a wire rack. Eat or store in a cookie jar or airtight container until devoured. Once cooled these are sturdy and travel very well in lunches.


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postheadericon Chocolate Orange Bread

Chocolate orange breadThis is adapted from Rachael’s adaptation of a Nigella Lawson recipe, and has been made gluten-free. It’s delicious, slightly sticky, and so rich and impossible to only eat one slice. I don’t think it’s going to last very long in our house! If you like chocolate and orange together, don’t pass on this recipe!

(I should admit here that I’m not a huge fan of chocolate and orange together, and I loved it. I just remember the girls loving those Terry’s Chocolate Oranges for Christmas, and thought they’d like it. They did. The smell of this baking was also divine!)

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, dairy-free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free,  and vegetarian recipe.


photo 1Ingredients:

  • 10 Tablespoons butter, softened (or a dairy-free margarine such as Earth Balance)
  • 2 T molasses or dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup gf flour (I suggest bean, pea, amaranth, or another heavy flour)
  • 1/4 cup starch (white rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 eggs (I haven’t tested this with an egg replacer. It might work, it might not)
  • zest of two oranges
  • juice from one orange (we love the Oxo citrus juicer)

photo 2



Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper, or use a silicone loaf pan.

In a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar, and molasses/corn syrup. Grate the zest with a microplane grater into this mixture and beat (that gets it really mixed up well).

In a separate bowl combine flour, starch, baking powder, xanthan gum, and cocoa. Whisk together so it’s well combined.

Add 1/3 dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture, then add one egg, another third flour mix, another eggs, and then the rest of the flour mix. Scrape down the edges several times while doing this.

OrangesFinally, add the juice of one orange, and beat until well combined, scraping down the sides of the . It’s not a pretty batter, it’s rather a wet, messy batter.

Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes. Because the center is so moist, a toothpick isn’t ever going to come out clean. Instead touch the center of the loaf. If it’s firm, the bread is done. If it’s super moist and sticky, give it 5 more minutes, then try again.

photo 4Let cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes, then you can slice and try it. We went through several slices as soon as it was ready to cut. Yum!!


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postheadericon Gluten-Free Fool’s Toffee

FT - finalI love toffee. Making it scares me, and (quite honestly), Fool’s Toffee scares me, too. But, sometimes cravings take precedence over fear. Please take note of the fact that the toffee is HOT. As in, if you get any of the toffee on your skin, it will cause severe burns with blistering. It’s a bad, bad thing. I wouldn’t make Fool’s Toffee without an off set spatula and burn bandages. However, 11 years ago I severely burned two fingers, and then I didn’t make it again until this winter, so that might be part of my decisions.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free,  and vegan/vegetarian recipe. While this can be made dairy-free, the toffee works better if you can use dairy.

FT1 - graham crackersIngredients:


FT2 butter brown sugar


Preheat oven to 375F.

Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.  Lay out the S’Morables along the cookie sheet.

FT3 - toffeeIn a medium-sized pot over medium heat, combine butter/margarine and brown sugar. Stir as the butter melts using a silicone spatula. Bring to a boil and stir constantly as it boils for 3 minutes, then remove from heat.

FT4 spreading toffeePour toffee very carefully over the graham crackers. Spread carefully using an off set spatula, being very careful not to get any toffee on your fingers. Spread over all the graham crackers. It’s better to have some that goes beyond the graham cracker sides than to have some graham crackers without toffee.

FT5 - chocolate chipsPut the toffee coated graham crackers into the preheated oven for 5 minutes.


FT6 - spreading chocolateRemove from oven and sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Allow to sit for a moment or two, and then use the off set spatula to spread the melted chocolate chips, again being very, very careful to not burn your fingers.

FT7 - pecansSprinkle the top with chopped pecans or other nuts.

Allow the Fool’s Toffee to cool completely, then chop into rough sections using a chef’s knife. Store in an airtight container until devoured.

postheadericon Gluten-Free New Year’s Buffalo Wings

Wings platedEvery year for New Year’s Eve I make Buffalo wings, along with other yummy party food. We don’t really have a party so much as a quiet gathering of our little family, some treats, and a movie, then watching the ball drop. Buffalo wings are a must-have, though, and even my vegetarian daughter had “Buffalo tofu”. So, you can just sub tofu for the wings in this recipe, and it’s still delicious. This recipe also doubles quite well for a large group.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (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.


  • Baked wings3/4 cup amaranth or brown rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 2- 2 1/2 lbs chicken wing pieces


  • 1/2 cup melted butter or dairy-free margarine
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (we use Frank’s Red Hot)


Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly grease a glass 9×13 pan.

Floured wingsIn a gallon-size zip-top bag, combine flour through salt. Shake vigorously to make sure it’s well combined.  Melt the butter in the microwave, then combine with the hot sauce in a large-mouthed measuring cup or bowl to facilitate dipping.

Toss half the wings in the gallon zip-top bag, and shake until they are coated in the flour mixture. Shake off any extra flour, then dip each wing piece into the butter/hot sauce mixture, then lay onto the greased pan. Repeat until all wings are laid out into the pan.

Bake at 400F for 40 minutes. We prefer not to turn halfway, as the chicken wings end up being crispy and spicy and perfect if they aren’t turned.

Enjoy alone, with a blue cheese dressing, a ranch-style dressing, or just some cheese or milk/milk-substitute to cut the spiciness.


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postheadericon Quick gluten-free crackers

lunchbox crackersThis recipe is my tweaks of this MOMables recipe. Their version is dairy free, but mine has dairy, as I made it with what was on hand. The MOMables folks also have a tree-nut free alternative in their recipe. If you haven’t visited their site, I strongly recommend visiting and poking around.

This is a super-easy cracker recipe. A good one to start out your gf baking, and also a good one for the kids to make on their own. Choosing the shape of their crackers was fun for my kids. To me these taste like a mix of Mary’s Gone Crackers and what I remember of Wheat Thins.

This is a delicious gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, soy free, egg free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegetarian recipe.


rolled out doughIngredients:

  • 1/2 cup millet flour and 1/4 cup brown rice flour (or 3/4 cup brown rice flour)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 TBS ground chia
  • 1 TBS parmesan cheese
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt (Applewood Smoked Salt is amazing
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary (or 1tsp herbed salt mix)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp melted butter or coconut oil
  • ¼ c waterunbaked crackers ap


Preheat oven to 350F and line your cookie sheet with silpat, Reynolds Release, or parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl (not your stand mixer), combine everything from flour through chia seeds. Use a large fork or whisk to combine well.

Melt the butter or coconut oil, and drizzle over the flour mixture. Drizzle the water over the flour as well. Mix first with the fork, then knead with your hands to make it form a ball.

Put plastic wrap on your counter, place the dough on top of it, and place another sheet of plastic wrap on top of that. Use a rolling pin to roll it to be approximately 1/8” thick, but it can be thicker if necessary to avoid the dough ripping.

baked crackers

Use some cookie cutters to make cute shapes (I made angels and penguins as we’re in the time running up to Christmas) or use a pizza wheel or knife to make squares/rectangles or another shape. Transfer the cut shapes to the lined cookie sheet. I found it was easier to transfer the shapes by popping them out of the cookie cutter directly onto the cookie sheet.

After making one set of crackers, make a ball out of the remaining dough, re-roll, and cut another set. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

Bake on the cookie sheet for 18-20 minutes, until the edges become golden brown. Let cool, then transfer to an airtight container for storage.


postheadericon Gluten-Free Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Mac & Cheese servingThis recipe is based on Alton Brown’s Baked Mac and Cheese from his TV show Good Eats. That recipe is the most downloaded recipe on Food Network, believe it or not! I’ve made it gluten-free and tweaked a few things here and there. I love this dish, and my kids and I devour it. Yum! I want to make his stovetop mac & cheese, but keep forgetting to do so.

This is a delicious gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, soy free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegetarian recipe.



  • Whisking1 16oz bag Tinkyada Brown Rice Elbows (you could use penne, shells, or fusilli if needed, but elbows are classic)
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 3 TBS white rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard (yes, I use yellow mustard from the plastic container. You can use a similar amount of dry mustard if you have that on hand)
  • 3 cups milk (in addition to dairy milk, plain soy milk works find here, as does half & half, if that’s all you have around)
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 10 oz (2 1/2 cups) sharp cheddar
  • 2 oz (1/2 cup) sharp cheddar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt


  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1 cup homemade breadcrumbs or Ian’s gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • or eliminate the above and use 1 cup plain potato chips, smashed into tiny pieces


Preheat oven to 350F

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to package directions. It should be al dente, not squishy. I tend to cook it one or two minutes less than the directions say on the package. (Note – if using a brand other than Tinkyada, make sure you cook less than the package directions – very few gluten-free pasta brands stay al dente)

While the elbows are cooking, melt the butter in the bottom of a medium saucepan. Whisk in the white rice flour, and keep whisking for 3 or 4 minutes. Make sure that it isn’t lumpy! Just keep it moving.

CheesyAfter the 3-4 minutes, add mustard and onion and whisk again. While whisking, pour in the milk. Keep it moving, and add in the bay leaf and paprika. Let this simmer (don’t let it boil!) for about 10 minutes, then take out the bay leaf. (If for some reason you can’t find your bay leaves or paprika, don’t fret. This will still taste great without them. Just skip adding them, but still simmer for 10 minutes) After the 10 minutes, remove the bay leaf.

Use a ladle to scoop out about 1/2 cup of the milk mixture. Crack an egg into that milk, and whisk together. Then add the egg/milk mixture back into the milk mixture, whisking it together. (This is called tempering) 

Whisk in the 10oz of sharp cheddar. Whisk or stir until melty and yummy.

Toss the drained pasta with the cheesy mixture, then pour that into a casserole dish. 8×11″ works well, as does a deep 9″ or 10″ circle or square. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

CompleteIn a skillet, melt the butter, and toss the breadcrumbs in to coat them and brown for a minute or two. Or, just smash a cup of plain potato chips.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs or potato chips on top of the cheesy macaroni casserole.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then remove and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Eat – yum! This heats up beautifully for leftovers, too!


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postheadericon Nana’s Lemon Squares

Lemon squares ready to eatMy dad’s mom, my Nana, made some incredibly delicious food. Honestly, most of her best foods were desserts. Her Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls rocked, and Angel Pie is a family tradition. These Lemon Squares were another of her beloved desserts. I don’t make them often, though, as my kids aren’t big fans of them. As with my Lemon Poppyseed Muffins, that means that I share them at work or church eat them all myself.

This is a delicious gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, soy free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegetarian recipe.

I wasn’t able to make this recipe work properly when we were dairy-free. However, there are better dairy-free margarines out there now than there were the last time I tried. If I were to try to make these dairy-free/gfcf, I’d definitely use something like the Earth Balance sticks – the Fleishmann’s Unsalted failed in earlier tests. As the filling contains 4 eggs, it can’t be made egg-free.Lemon square crust



  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups brown rice flour or millet flour
  • 2/3 cup white rice flour or starch
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Lemon square fillingLemon filling:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 2 lemons (optional)


  • 2-3 TBS confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional – this usually contains corn)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lemon square crust bakedIn a stand mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar. Add 2 cups flour and xanthan gum, mixing until just combined. It will be more like pie crust, and rather crumbly. Press into the bottom of an ungreased glass 9×13″ pan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until firm and golden brown on the top. Set aside to cool.

In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/3 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice (and zest, if using). Pour over the cooled, baked crust.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the filling has started to set into a pudding-like consistency. The bars will firm up more as they cool.

Lemon square lemonyAfter they have cooled for at least 10 minutes, dust the top with confectioner’s sugar. Slice after they have completely cooled. It’s hard to wait, but the lemon filling will ooze unless it has completely cooled. Keep lemon squares in the fridge or in a cool area of the house, as they won’t keep their shape as well if they are warm.


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postheadericon Corn and Bean Quesadillas

Quesadilla lunchOnce upon a time, before we went gluten-free, I was a vegetarian. During that time, I lived in Texas, and we ate a lot of quesadillas. This is one of my favorite recipes from that time. I served it to my kids last night, after a long time, and they devoured them! This recipe barely fed my family of four, so I’d recommend doubling it if you want leftovers or if you have more than 4 hungry people to feed.

This is a delicious gluten free, family-friendly recipe that can be made in under 30 minutes and for under $10! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, soy free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, and vegetarian recipe. You could easily make this dairy-free by using a dairy-free cheese, but I haven’t tested it with dairy-free cheese. If you do that, please comment so I will know how it works!

Serves 4, easy to double

Corn & bean quesadillaIngredients:

  • 1 TBS coconut or canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 14oz can black beans
  • 1 14oz can corn (or 1 3/4 cups frozen corn, defrosted)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, clipped
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese mixture (not the kind that already has spices, though)
  • Cayenne or hot sauce (we like Frank’s Red Hot) to taste
  • 8 corn tortillas

Corn and bean quesadilla with cheeseToppings:

  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Additional cheese or cilantro


In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, warm coconut or canola oil. Saute onion for a minute or two, and add cumin so it will toast a bit in the skillet. Saute for another minute, until the onions are tender,  then add the beans and corn.

Increase the heat to medium, and stir until the mixture is warmed. Add cilantro and 1/2 cup of cheese, and stir until combined and the cheese is melty, helping the mixture stick together.

Wrap corn tortillas in a damp kitchen or paper towel. Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds.

toasted corn & bean quesadillaHeat a small non-stick skillet or two (or one large one if you have a skillet that will fit 2 corn tortillas) over medium heat, and add a bit more oil. Place one tortilla in the skillet, add a small handful of cheese, 1/4 of the corn & bean mixture, then another sprinkling of cheese before  putting the second tortilla on top. Let it cook for a few minutes, then carefully flip. Both sides should look a bit toasted, and the cheese should have melted when done. Repeat until all of the corn & bean mixture is used up.

Eat them up, yum!




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