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 ‘etcetera’ Category

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 Green Stuff, or Green Jello Salad

Green StuffMy Aunt Mary made this and brought it to every family gathering, calling it Green Stuff. She and her husband, my Uncle Walt, only had one child, and he didn’t live nearby, so they would come to my grandmother’s house for family holidays. Uncle Walt was Nana’s oldest brother, and he was born in the very early 1900s. His stories of life back in the day were wonderful – he delivered milk and all kinds of things.

I made this recently for Thanksgiving, and about half of it was eaten. Which is half more than I thought would eat it. It’s definitely a nostalgia food for a lot of people over 40.

This is a fun, gluten-free recipe! I can’t guarantee it’s family-friendly, as none of the kids would try it. It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, soy free, egg free, peanut free, fish free, and shellfish free recipe.


  • 1 16oz crushed pineapple, juice drained and reserved
  • 1 pkg lime Jello gelatin
  • 1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 TBS of the reserved pineapple juice
  • 1 cup water, boiled
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Green Stuff 2Method:

Boil 1 cup water. In a large bowl, dissolve Jello in boiled water, whisking for a couple minutes. Whisk in cold water and pineapple juice. Blend cream cheese into Jello mix until well combined.

Let chill in bowl for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, until thickened, but not set.

Spray a silicone bundt pan with cooking spray (I like Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray).

Fold in walnuts and crushed pineapple, and pour into bundt pan mold. Chill until set – 2 hours or overnight.

Unmold by turning over onto a serving plate. If it doesn’t immediately pop out, run under hot water for a second, then try again. However, this is why silicone is lovely – it’s a lot easier to unmold anything if you use a silicone mold.

Serve. Either try to avoid bringing up the dishes coming to life in Better off Dead, or embrace it!


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postheadericon A Wonderfully Creamy Kale Smoothie

Kale smoothieWhen my cousin offered to make me a kale smoothie, I was skeptical. Very skeptical. But it was pretty good! Then I went home and tweaked it over a few months. Now I make it for breakfast every morning. I don’t even feel guilty when I eat a cider donut with it, it makes me feel that virtuous!

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 stalk celery, cut into chunks
    • 3 cups kale, packed
    • 1/2-1 inch ginger paste, or 1/2-1 tsp grated ginger
    • 4oz frozen pineapple chunks (I like to get the 4 pack of pineapple tidbits that are prepackaged. I then freeze them in their containers. However, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple or 1/2 cup pineapple chunks & juice that has been frozen works well)Kale
    • 1 TBS Chia seed (I prefer to buy my chia seeds via Amazon’s subscribe and save, but Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods often have good deals as well)
    • 1 heaping TBS protein powder (I’ve really liked the vanilla Designer Whey protein powder, there’s no grit or aftertaste, but it’s obviously not dairy-free)
    • 1 1/2 cups milk (I prefer soy or almond, but any milk or milk substitute will work)Ginger pastePineapple tidbits



Kale smoothie ingredients

Put the above ingredients into the blender. I do it in the order listed above. Turn your blender on low and start blending. You may need to stop and stir the ingredients as the blender gets going, depending on the strength of your blender. (A Vitamix will finish this off in the blink of an eye, but the average blender, like the one I own, will take a bit longer.)

Pour into a glass and enjoy! This will serve 1 or 2 people depending on how hungry/thirsty they are.


postheadericon Fudgy Frosting

Harry Potter lunchThis is now one of my two go-to frostings. If a cupcake is going to have chocolate frosting, it’ll have this fudgy frosting. If it’s going to have a vanilla frosting, it’ll be buttercream. My dear chocoholics love this, and find chocolate buttercream less satisfying.

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, top 8 allergen free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.


  • 1 cup chocolate chips (Enjoylife are dairy, soy, gluten, nut, peanut, and mostly allergen-free, almost all chocolate chips are gluten-free)
  • 2 TBS butter or dairy-free margarine
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 TBS milk or milk substitute (soy, rice, coconut, etc)


Kitten lunchIn a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the chocolate and butter/margarine. When it’s melted, whisk in the milk and confectioner’s sugar. The result should be a thick, fudgy frosting. If it’s too thin, add a tablespoon or two of confectioner’s sugar. If it’s a little too thick, add a teaspoon or two of milk.

Frost any cupcake with this frosting – chocoholics will approve! You can also add a simple fondant decoration to go along with a lunchbox theme.


postheadericon Gluten-Free Cheese Crackers (goldfish-style)

This is inspired by the Smitten Kitchen Whole Wheat Goldfish recipe.

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, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegetarian recipe.Goldfish


  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, ideally an orange cheddar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour (I’ve used brown rice with a bit of amaranth. I wouldn’t suggest a bean flour, as it’s too heavy for a cracker)
  • 1/4 cup starch (I’ve used white rice flour and tapioca starch – both worked well)
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder (not onion salt!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • (optional: add 2 drops orange gel food coloring if your cheese isn’t orange)

Goldfish ingredientsMethod:

Using a food processor, combine all the ingredients. Let run for around 2 minutes, until it all comes together in a ball.  I have a small Cuisinart, and it’s still large enough for this.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, or put it in a plastic bag, and place in the fridge. Let it chill for 30+ minutes, until firm.

Preheat oven to 350F when you take the dough out of the fridge.Chilled dough

Place a sheet of plastic wrap on your counter or other surface. Plop the dough in the middle of the plastic wrap. Put another sheet of plastic wrap on top, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/8th of an inch. Gluten-free dough requires slightly different handling for rolling out, and the technique that’s worked the best for me has been rolling out between layers of plastic wrap.

Use cookie cutters to cut shapes and transfer to cookie sheets that are either lined with parchment paper or Silpat (I occasionally sprayed my cutters with Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray, but another spray would also work). When laying them out, leave about 1/2 inch between crackers so they can spread. Use a toothpick or a bamboo skewer to poke eyes into the crackers. I also used the toothpick to make mouths on the fishies, but I’ve left the other critters mouthless. (I found my mini-fishie cookie cutter on eBay)Lots of goldfish

Let bake for 10 minutes, then check for done-ness every 2 minutes. Crackers are done when there’s just the slightest browning on the edges. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and let cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. When cool, transfer to an airtight container. Serve as a side in lunchboxes or as a snack any time.


postheadericon Cornbread Biscuits

We love our delicious cornbread, but recently we started playing around with the recipe a bit, and found that a few tweaks made the cornbread even better. One variation includes dairy, and the Cheesy Cornbread Biscuits are delicious, but the Cornbread Biscuits without cheese are yummy, too!

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, vegetarian, vegan, and top 8 allergen free recipe.

Cornbread biscuits ready for the table


  • 1/4 cups fine cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup millet, brown rice, or other pale flour
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum
  • (if not gluten-free, just use 1 cup flour and omit the xanthan gum)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder (1 TBS if not using eggs)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs (or 1/3 cup applesauce)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 can creamed corn (14-15 oz)
  • Variation: If you can eat dairy add 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese


Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with Silpat or Reynold’s Release foil. Preheat oven to 350.

Cornbread biscuits straight from the oven

Whisk together ingredients from cornmeal to salt in a medium bowl

Add wet ingredients to the bowl, and mix until just blended. It will look something like brownie batter.

If you can eat dairy, add the cheese at this point. Mix for just a moment, until the cheese is mixed through the batter

Using a small cookie scoop/ice cream scoop, scoop balls of batter onto the prepared cookie sheets. Leave at least 1″ between each biscuit to allow for them to expand while baking.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until the top is firm and lightly brown. Serve warm with some butter or butter substitute.

This goes great with ham, bbq ribs, chili, bbq chicken, ham and bean soup, or anything with a Southern flavor. This is a wonderfully moist cornbread biscuit that gets devoured in our house and tastes equally good without eggs.

postheadericon Mackenzie’s Chicken Roulades with Chives

One afternoon my daughters wanted to cook dinner for the family. The younger two wanted to make desserts, so my youngest made GF GrapeNut pudding, my middle daughter made a fudge pie from the Joy of Cooking, and my oldest decided to make the main course, with a side of pasta.

After much searching for the perfect recipe to make for dinner, Mackenzie found a Chicken and Chive Roulade recipe in the wonderful Silver Spoon cookbook. We made some adaptations to add a bit more flavor and to make it gluten-free, as well as creating more detailed directions.

This recipe is not dairy-free This is a delicious gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It is also (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, and shellfish free recipe. This recipe is Faux Fast Food, and can be made in under 45 minutes.

Dinner, made and served by the girls


  • 4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts

  • 1/4 cup butter and 2 TBS butter, separated
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh chives (they’ve popped up in the garden already this spring!)
  • 8 tsp cream cheese with chives
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup gf flour
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 TBS olive oil


Chicken ready to be pounded

Have a large skillet with a cover ready, as this cooks on top of the stove. You will also need 8 toothpicks.

Cut each chicken breast in half length-wise. Lay between two sheets of wax paper and pound each one with a meat mallet to approximately 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick.

Divide the 1/4 cup butter into 8 equal pieces. Lay out every piece of pounded chicken breast on a piece of wax paper or a cookie sheet. On each place 1 piece of butter, 1/8th of the chives, and 1 tsp chive cream cheese.

Roll each piece of chicken length-wise, and secure with a toothpick.

In a bowl, combine flour, parmesan, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Dust each roulade with the flour mix, and then dredge the bottom of each piece of chicken with the flour mixture as well.

Melt the remaining butter and the olive oil in the large skillet over medium-high heat. Place each piece of chicken in the skillet. Cook until browned (about 2 minutes), then flip. Cook each side for 2 minutes, until browned on all sides.

Sprinkle the chicken with any leftover chives when serving. Serve with pasta (Mackenzie tossed her pasta with butter and parmesan), quinoa, or potatoes and a roasted vegetable (we had roasted broccoli and asparagus).

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 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

postheadericon Creamy Rice Pudding, hold the cream

I love rice pudding, it is so incredibly soothing and delicious. It’s also very creamy, and it took me some time to get a rice pudding recipe that I thought was creamy enough without using dairy. This is the recipe I’ve been making for a while, and it’s one that my oldest daughter, Mackenzie, will sometimes make on her own.

Rice pudding with cinnamon sugar on top

I’m not a fan of raisins, but some dried cranberries can be a nice addition at times. Sometimes when I use coconut milk I’ll add some flaked coconut, too. There are plenty of variations possible, depending on your mood – my middle daughter puts chocolate syrup on top when she eats it!

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.


Bubble Bubble rice pudding pot
  • 2 cups basmati rice (brown or white)

  • 1 plain quart milk substitute, (2 cans of coconut milk is our favorite, but 1 quart of soy, hemp, rice, almond, etc milk works well too)
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup white or brown sugar
  • optional add-in ideas: 1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries, other dried fruit, chocolate chips, slivered almonds, pecan pieces, flaked coconut, or 1 tsp cinnamon

In a medium pot, combine salt, rice, and milk substitute. Stir well, and bring to a boil on high heat.

Stir well once it is boiling, bring heat down to low, then cover and set the timer for the cooking time recommended on the rice packaging.

Don’t leave the rice to simmer unattended! When using a milk substitute rather than water, the rice tends to clump, so stir it about every 5 minutes while it cooks.

When the timer goes off, test the rice for done-ness. You may need to cook it for 5-10 more minutes than usual.

Completed rice pudding

When the rice has finished cooking, take it off the heat, and add the vanilla and sugar. Use a silicone spoonula or something similar to gently but completely combine. Once the sugar and vanilla is assimilated, stir in any desired optional add-ins.

Cover again, and let the flavors meld and the rice pudding cool for about 15 minutes, then spoon into a ramekin and eat warm. Yum! What a delicious, creamy, and soothing comfort food! This is also great for kids with a “crummy tummy”, or any day when you want food that feels like a warm hug. Refrigerate any leftovers, then warm individual servings in the microwave or on the stovetop. Serve as is, or with a bit of cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top, or with a bit of any of the suggested add-ins.

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