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 Adapting your menu for allergies

(This is a portion of a longer blog post at our “A Gaggle of Girls”, blog)

Happy Celiac Disease Awareness Month!
Happy Food Allergy Awareness Week!

If you are living with food allergies, Celiac disease, food intolerances, or any other dietary restrictions, you are already used to adapting your menu. But what happens when one person wants to be a vegetarian? or you move into a home where people eat dairy? or your children have opposing allergies? or you have one kid who loves peppers and another who hates them? You learn how to adapt your menus so you can make (almost) everyone happy with one meal.

Tagging the pizza

For Mother’s Day, I made a double batch of quiches, and made them in individual sizes so each person could have the ingredients she wanted. This meant that those who like soy “cheese” could have some, and those who like bacon can enjoy without upsetting the new vegetarian. Individual pizzas, quiches, mexican pizzas (tortilla, refried beans, ground meat, salsa, soy or dairy cheese), and tacos are some incredibly easy ways of letting each child eat the ingredients she loves.

One of my favorite adaptation methods is “on the side”. I loved When Harry Met Sally, and I’m afraid I may sound like Sally when I’m in a restaurant! However, at home I have embraced that concept with my daughters. We make salads with dressing on the side, of course, but also make Pad Thai with the shrimp, limes, and peanuts on the side, a risotto with meat and/or cheese on the side, a vegetable curry with meat and some veggies on the side, or make a meal of pasta or polenta with marinara or White Sauce and sausages or meatballs on the side.

2 pizzas just out of the oven

When you start to think about meals in a new way, a way where everyone can enjoy a similar meal, you can find new ways to deconstruct dinner. A buffet of choices for pizzas or ice cream sundaes becomes more fun, not just a way to accommodate food allergies and pickiness! Shifting your perspective to fun rather than a chore can help you enjoy your meals, too – not just feel like you need to get through them somehow.

postheadericon Quick and Tasty Tea Treat

I was recently at Starbucks, and when you don’t drink coffee or caffeinated tea, AND can’t have milk, there’s not a lot of choices. I was in the mood for something warm, though, and managed to spot the “Vanilla Rooibos Latte”. Since Starbucks has soymilk, I had it made that way. Yum! Sweet and creamy, but with no caffeine to make you jittery in the afternoon!

My 3 daughters had a little sip of the little I had leftover, and loved it. Thankfully I had some Adagio rooibos vanilla in the tea cupboard at home! I brewed a pot of the rooibos vanilla, using the awesome ingenuiTEA teapot I received from the lovely Nanny Ogg, then warmed up some vanilla soy milk, and combined. Big smiles on my girls’ faces, and for a fraction of the cost of the one I bought! Additionally, making it at home means that you are not limited to soy or cow milk, as you are when out. We’ve had this several times now, and I just restocked our tea supply to make sure we’ll have plenty.

Vanilla Rooibos Soy Latte Ingredients
(but it could be a vanilla rooibos hemp latte, almond latte, or rice latte..)


  • 1 pot vanilla rooibos “tea”, I like Adagio rooibos vanilla.

  • 1/3 cup vanilla flavored milk substitute (soy, rice, almond, hemp, etc)


Yummmy herbal teas

Brew one pot of the vanilla rooibos tea (it’s not real tea, it’s a reddish needle-like leaf of a plant found in South Africa)

Warm the milk substitute in a pot or microwave.

Combine the tea and the milk substitute in a mug, with a bit more tea than milk substitute. Enjoy!

(If you’d like to try the Adagio rooibos vanilla, or another flavor, leave a comment with your email address, and I can send you a $5 gift certificate)

postheadericon Check these out…

Passover by Design

I just received Passover by Design, by Susie Fishbein; a gorgeous cookbook of Kosher delights. Kosher laws require the separation of meat and dairy, so Kosher meals are very easily adaptable for allergic cooking. When Jews are celebrating Passover, they need to avoid most grains, unless they are in the form of Matzoh.  As a result, of the 160 recipes, 130 are gluten-free, and many of the other 30 could be adapted to be gluten-free, though perhaps not passover-safe. Watch for a upcoming book review.

The great folks over at godairyfree.org are hosting a gfcf (gluten & dairy-free) giveaway – a $50 gift certificate at Namaste foods. Go check it out and enter! Namaste foods has wonderful allergy-safe mixes, free of gluten, dairy, eggs, and the other top allergens, too.

It has nothing to do with food, but I have a fun book giveaway running through Monday 3/3 that will keep you laughing in between cooking meals!

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 Food Allergy Week

FYI – this week is Food Allergy Week! Check out the information from FAAN and the Check my Tag Community.

I have written up Our Story of food allergies, food sensitivities, and celiac disease. I hope having it written down helps someone! (and that I haven’t forgotten too many things) Enjoy your allergy-safe, delicious food this week!

You might want to check out this book review – there’s a great book called The Peanut-free Cafe, which would be a good read this week!

postheadericon Thanksgiving Dinner – celiac style

Thanksgiving Food

While we wait (im)patiently for the archives to re-appear, and I try desperately to cook without my recipes, I offer you proof of a wonderful gfcf, allergy-safe, gluten-free, celiac Thanksgiving!

We had:

Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

Don’t forget dessert:

Soon this will have links to all the recipes, and even more pictures. We promise we’re working as fast as we can!

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 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 Italian Soup with Quinoa

This recipe is an adaptation of one I found online. I made several modifications, though, to make it work well for our family. Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients – it’s a very easy recipe to make. Less than 10 minutes prep time, then the rest is cooking in the crock pot. You could also simmer on the stove for a couple hours if you prefer not to use a crock pot.

This recipe is gfcf, wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, nut, peanut, egg, fish, shellfish, and corn free. Please remember to double check ingredients on all labels. This is not vegan or vegetarian, but it could be if you modify it by simply removing the ground meat and adding another can of cannelini beans – the quinoa and beans give it a lot of protein.

Tonight's dinner


  • 1 1/2 pounds extra lean ground beef/ground turkey/or TVP if veg

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 carrots — cut into circles (4 baby carrots = 1 carrot)
  • 1 medium onion — chopped
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • several grinds black pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 3 cups broth or water
  • 1 28 oz can diced or chunky crushed tomato
  • 1 14 oz can cannelini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed)
  • 1 6 oz bag baby spinach (or equivalent frozen spinach)
Italian Beef soup

Heat oil in large pan over medium heat. Saute carrots, onion, and garlic until they begin to get tender. Add ground beef and brown. Drain well.

Add all ingredients EXCEPT the baby spinach/frozen spinach to the crock pot.

Cover; cook on LOW 8 to 10 hours.

1/2 hour before serving, add baby spinach/frozen spinach and stir.

Serve as is, or with breadsticks, focaccia, or rolls.

postheadericon Sorry for the outage, folks

Things will be returning to normal soon. We hope. :)

New Server, nice people, it’ll just take a few days for the archives to come back up. Please bear with us!

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