Cinnamon chips: a GF recipe from school!

IMG_6752Yep, this recipe for “Cinnamon Chips” actually comes from my daughter’s 6th grade “Home & Careers” class, although I’d say kids ages 3+ could help make these. Of course, it wasn’t originally gluten-free since it called for flour tortillas, but by easily switching them to corn tortillas, we’re all set! My daughter made these at home today and they were awesome!  I was totally surprised by how crispy and tasty they were. Since corn tortillas are smaller we felt like 2T of sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon was way too much for this little tortilla, so instead we used this perfect-for-the-occasion Cinnamon Sugar Grinder from Trader Joe’s. Your g-free kid is sure to love cranking the grinder to cover it w/ the sweet mix and cutting it with the pizza cutter. Original recipe is below. Have fun!

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P.S.  We didn’t use parchment paper and she brushed on the water with clean fingers since we didn’t have a pastry brush. Such an easy, fun recipe for kids!  :)

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Tried & True Sugar Cookie Recipe

Something possessed me to make sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day, and I’m so glad I did. The recipe is below. It’s the same one my Mom used when I was growing up — the only thing I substituted was the flour….These cookies are light tasting, yet durable and have the same great taste I remember as a little girl — many years before going gluten-free. I hope your family will enjoy them as much as ours does!

11107_827108964027722_5543272435459073473_nSUGAR COOKIE RECIPE:

Cream together:
• 1.5 cups confectioner’s sugar

• 2 sticks softened butter

Then add the following:
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1/2 tsp. almond flavoring

Mix together and gradually mix in:
• 2.5 cups GF all purpose flour (Robin Hood or Tom Sawyer brands work well)
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1 tsp. cream of tartar

Combine well and refrigerate dough in ball for 2-3 hours.
When ready, preheat oven to 375.
Roll out chunks of the dough between wax paper, cut out the shapes and place them on lightly grease cookie sheets or parchment paper. Bake for about 8 minutes or until edges start to brown. Let cool completely on baking sheet and carefully remove w/o breaking them. What worked best for me was a quick motion underneath the cookies w/ a very thin spatula.

After they cool completely, make frosting by mixing confectioner’s sugar w/ a little milk and adding a little almond flavor to taste. Add more confectioner’s sugar to thicken. Mix until just spreadable. Enjoy!

Fudgy Peppermint Ice Cream Pie

IMG_6046It seems we’ve put a little twist on a classic ice cream pie recipe, and this one’s a keeper!

We made a different type of ice cream cake a few years ago in a loaf pan that looked like this:

IMG_8780It was two types of ice cream separated by a mixture of (cold) hot fudge and chocolate cookie crumbs. It was really good but the slices were messy, as you can imagine. If you don’t have a ready-made GF pie crust, go with something like this.

But if you can locate all of these ingredients, or similar brands of the same items (mint ice cream, Cool Whip, hot fudge, ready-made crust and crushed candy canes) I’m going to highly recommend you try it another way…

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This Mi-Del crust is really wonderful. I have never used a ready-made GF cookie crust before, and now I am hooked. I usually make my own by crushing nuts or cookie crumbs and sticking them together with melted butter. These homemade crusts taste great, but they are also messy. With this Mi-Del crust, I easily popped the entire finished pie out of the foil pan and sliced it on a cutting board like so…

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The pieces stayed together really nicely and there were hardly any crumbs.

My little twist was adding a layer of hot fudge (don’t warm it up) on the bottom of the crust which gives this pie an extra layer of awesomeness.

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DIRECTIONS:

Soften half a container of Cool Whip and half a container of peppermint ice cream (you could also use mint chocolate chip or whatever), mix the two together until blended, and pour over the hot fudge. Smooth it out and sprinkle with crushed candy canes for a little crunch. That’s it. Freeze it for a few hours and then enjoy, which goes without saying.  :)

 

 

Sweet ways to surprise a g-free kid this holiday season

Supporters, this one’s for you!

Is there a g-free kid in your life?  Are you this child’s teacher, “Room Mom”, aunt, uncle, neighbor, Sunday School coordinator, friend of the family, or relative?  Well, all it takes is a little bit of effort on your part to make this g-free kid feel welcome, valuable, and loved for that upcoming school, church or family party.

Your event is likely just one of many that he or she will attend this month, and I can almost guarantee that many other party planners will not think ahead to include gluten-free treats. Sure, there may be fruit, veggies and other naturally g-free foods — which is great — but kids are kids, and a sweet, safe, great-tasting treat is always a welcomed sight. Especially when the “other kids” are gushing about how amazing the donut holes, cupcakes and cookies are, while all the g-free kid is allowed to put on his or her plate is the healthy stuff…

This is where you come in — to light up that g-free kid’s eyes, and to see the gratitude come shining through… So take a bit of time and a few dollars and be the one to make that kid’s day!

Most likely, there is a gluten-free section at your local grocery store. If so, check it out. This time of year there are multiple seasonal offerings that you can pick up, such as these ready-to-enjoy treats:

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There are also several brands of peppermint & chocolate-drizzled popcorn available right now, and plenty of other year-’round goodies. These types of ready-made treats are your safest bet, as you can bring in the package for the child or their parent to read, so they can feel secure that they can indulge safely. Make sure you see the words: “certified gluten-free” or “gluten-free” on the label. Whatever you end up buying, please remember to bring the packaging, as many g-free kids are (understandably) wary of eating anything they can’t prove is gluten-free.

If you’d like to add a little something extra to a plain food, just clean your countertop, spread out some wax paper and drizzle chocolate over plain Snyders of Hanover GF pretzels, “Boom-Chicka-Pop” popcorn, or dip marshmallows in chocolate (you don’t need sticks) and decorate with sprinkles, like you see in the next three photos:

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If you’d like to take it to the next level and bake them something, it’s probably best to check with the g-free kid’s parent first to make sure you do it safely. There are things you need to know and certain ways of doing things in order to make the end result a safe bet. And, no, these are not hard things to do… Things like cleaning your counter work space well of all crumbs before you start the recipe. And using wax paper, aluminum foil or parchment paper on your cookie sheets, so you are not baking where wheat ingredients just were. (Yes, believe it or not, even a small amount of cross contamination can really make some kids sick, so please trust in simple measures and go along with it.) Use squeaky clean bowls & utensils for mixing, scraping and removing cookies after baking. Here are some more tips on avoiding cross-contamination. Read it over and let the g-free kid’s parents know you understand the importance of following these measures, or whatever additional measures she requests. As one of these parents, I can tell you how uncomfortable and awkward it is to ask other adults to do these things, and how much easier it is when someone shows that they are happy to do whatever it takes for their awesome, generous & thoughtful gesture to work out in the end.  :)

If they give you the go-ahead, here are 3 super-easy, gluten-free cookie recipes:

3cookiesA) Four ingredient cake mix M&M cookies (You just need GF cake mix: Aldi’s Live G-Free brand is good and cheap, eggs, butter and M&Ms)

B) Flourless Fudge Chunk Cookies (Calls for dark cocoa powder, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract, egg white and choc. chips)

C) Three ingredient peanut butter cookies (peanut butter, eggs and sugar) (not for school parties, for obvious reasons)

There are many things you can do beyond these ideas to make that g-free kid in your life feel special, and to bring a tear of gratitude to their parents’ eyes. Whenever anyone in our lives does any of these things for my g-free girls, they earn some serious bonus points from all of us, and we appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts.  :)

Any more ideas or tips?  Feel free to comment….

Get outside with your g-free kids and LÄRABAR (giveaway, too!)

IMG_5470Get outside?  No one needs to tell us that — we get outside every chance we get —especially in Autumn, our favorite time of year, which doesn’t last nearly long enough…

Did you know that Monday, November 17th is National Take a Hike Day?  If it were up to me, I would dub every Saturday just that. Unfortunately, life and bad weather get in the way far too much, and we end up having to carve out time for exploring new nature trails and hiking areas much less often than we would like to. Our family bond is at its strongest when we are out in the woods together, having left behind all thoughts of homework, upcoming irish dance competitions, electronics, housework, to-do lists, and other distractions.

IMG_5408My dog is usually pulling my husband off ahead, while my daughters and I take our time, usually stopping just about every minute to get a closer look at mushrooms, fungi, acorns, tiny saplings, tree bark patterns, leaves of every shape, size and color, and seemingly every other bit of nature we pass by.

IMG_5518If we hike near any sort of creek or pond, my daughters can’t resist lifting up every rock, in search of crayfish, salamanders, frogs, minnows, dragonfly nymph or whatever creature they can find and manage to hold for a few seconds…

4creaturesOur hikes aren’t the long, arduous ones my husband and I used to take back in Colorado or New Hampshire pre-kids, but our current hikes allow our girls the downtime they need to get their hands dirty, feet muddy and wet, and to just be out in nature and enjoying God’s creations without having to rush.

Knowing we’re going to be outside for hours on end, we have learned to come prepared with plenty of water and g-free snacks. When LÄRABAR recently contacted me to see if I would like to try some samples of their bars and new grain-free granola, it seemed like the perfect chance for our family to sample the rainbow of flavors they offer.

IMG_5325As you may or may not know, I have been grain-free for the past 6 weeks and have never felt better. I have left behind all of the nausea I’d been feeling for months, the accompanying stomach distress, and as a bonus: about 10 pounds as well! I’ve never felt healthier — along with less bloated, much less gassy and so much cleaner in my diet.  The “old me” would have packed up a few Diet Dr. Peppers, juice boxes and bags of Cheetos & Doritos for a roadtrip (no lie) but the “new me” only craves healthy, whole foods & clean eating. Since I’m the one packing this stuff, the rest of my family benefits as well.

IMG_5332LÄRABAR is the absolute perfect fit with my new healthier lifestyle, as their products are made from quality stuff and the best ingredients we can put into our bodies. Although these bars seem like they are a modest size, they really pack a punch when you consider how filling they are, and how much protein, vitamins and long-lasting energy they provide. Perfect for that extra fuel my family and I often need on our hikes.

IMG_5339Each LÄRABAR contains 1/4 cup of fruit or more, and they’re made from whole foods which makes them perfect for g-free snacking on the go. Check out all of the many different flavors on their product page. So far our favorites in the following order are: Banana Bread, Key Lime Pie, Cherry Pie and Blueberry Muffin, but we have a bunch left to try still. Previously I had only tried LÄRABAR a few times years ago, back before I was thinking about what I was eating and too cheap to pay for the good stuff. But, thankfully, I have matured and learned to care much more about my diet, and prefer to buy minimally processed foods with the shortest ingredient lists nowadays. Take our favorite LÄRABAR flavor for instance, made from just bananas, almonds and dates:

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And as it turns out, LÄRABAR’s founder, Lara Merriken, came up with “a mountain of an idea back in 2000: to combine wholesome ingredients such as fruits and nuts to create a food product that’s tasty, healthy and convenient.” All of LARABAR’s products are made from 100% real and wholesome ingredients. Everything they offer is g-free, non-GMO and Kosher, with most everything being soy-free, dairy-free, and vegan as well.

IMG_5348Besides being able to sample all of these bars, you can imagine how psyched I was (yes, there is still an 80’s girl inside of me) when I discovered that they also have a new grain-free granola called RENOLA. It comes in 3 flavors – Berry, Cinnamon Nut and Cocoa Coconut — and is a tasty mix of fruits, nuts and seeds.

IMG_5345After trying our samples, we were hooked — especially me, since I’m not eating grains right now, including g-free grains. I love all three flavors and really appreciate how small the pieces are, so I don’t feel like I’m going to break a tooth like I do with other g-free granolas. I also love the individual serving size bags, which contain the perfect amount of RENOLA to give that long-lasting energy needed for dance, sports, or a hike. You can bet that RENOLA will be on my grocery list over and over again, no doubt…

IMG_5358I was really impressed by all of these products, and LÄRABAR has definitely become my go-to brand for g-free snacking on the go. They are so easy to take on family hikes, or to just toss in my bag in case I get hungry when I’m out and about so I can stay on my grain-free diet and keep feeling good 24/7.


As a special offer for you (on top of this awesome giveaway) LÄRABAR is giving gfreekid.com readers $0.50 off the purchase of any LÄRABAR. Get your coupon here. don’t know where to get em? find out here.


Remember: Monday, November 17th is National Take a Hike Day. Join me and LÄRABAR by getting outside with your g-free kids and enjoying the gorgeous fall weather in your neck of the woods. Trust me: you and your kids will be glad you did.  You can join in on the conversation by hashtaggin’ #getoutside and #eatclean.

IMG_5380Want to win a LÄRABAR Prize Pack?

Is all this talk about LÄRABARs, RENOLA and hiking making you hungry?

Here’s your chance to win an awesome prize pack from LÄRABAR, including a variety pack of 16 assorted LÄRABARs and all three flavors of RENOLA.  All you have to do is answer the following 2 questions and comment below with your answers…(anyone failing to do the following will not qualify to win.)

(1) Leave a comment on this post with the LÄRABAR flavor and RENOLA flavor you’re most interested in trying (take a quick look at the product page before you answer) and (2) how we have inspired you to #getoutside and #eatclean with your g-free kid and LÄRABAR!  Couldn’t be easier to enter!  :)

Open to 18+ year old U.S. residents only. Randomly chosen winner will be picked Monday, Nov. 10th at midnight & will be given 24 hours to respond before being replaced by another winner.

Thanks to LÄRABAR for sponsoring this post and giveaway, and for fueling this hike and many in the future. HONEST opinions are completely from me and my family. 

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Grain-free pumpkin pancake muffins

IMG_5186Here is a recipe that my daughter and I created yesterday on an unexpected rainy, fall morning…

I have been grain-free for almost a month now (never felt better) and have been craving some kind of paleo baked good to have for breakfast. My morning apple just wasn’t cutting it any more, so we came up with these pumpkin pancake muffins which really hit the spot!  They are super-moist, soft and delicious….

Grain-free pumpkin pancake muffins:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin tin with Pam. Then mix together:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup 100% pumpkin puree
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of ginger & cloves, or whatever spices you like in pumpkin pie
  • dash of salt
  • diced walnuts
  • mini chocolate chips

IMG_5188Batter will be thick. Divide equally into a 12-muffin tin and smooth tops over with a spoon. Bake for 15-20 minutes until done (ours took 18 minutes). Cool a bit, loosen edges and put pancake muffins onto a wire rack to cool.

My girls love them with whipped cream and say they taste just like pumpkin pie. These will be impossible to keep to myself.  :)  And that’s okay — we will just have to make more!

Late Summer Zucchini Bread

IMG_3433I know I haven’t posted much in the past few months but life rolls along way too quickly sometimes. Meals come and go with no time or desire to get that perfect photo of whatever you’re about to eat…until after you’re done eating and it’s too late.

However, there are a few things I managed to record this summer, which I want to share with you in the next few posts. Starting with this wonderful zucchini bread, made from zucchinis my Dad grew for me in his garden…

I used the recipe my Mom always used when I was growing up, but subbed out the flour for Cup4Cup Gluten Free multi-purpose flour, with excellent results, if I do say so myself. Here is the recipe:

IMG_3435Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread

First, preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×13 pan.
Then, mix together these ingredients in a large bowl:
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 cups packed grated zucchini, including outside dark green layer
• 1 cup oil
• 1 Tbsp. vanilla

In a separate bowl, mix together:
• 3 cups GF flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. salt
• 3 tsp. cinnamon

Add dry ingredients to wet mixture, then mix in:
• 1/2 cup of diced walnuts (optional)
and pour into greased pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until done.

IMG_3437I made a few batches this summer and froze square pieces in freezer bags. They reheat so well and are always a much requested & very welcomed sight on my daughters’ breakfast plates. Sometimes they slice them in half across the middle and eat them with whipped cream on top.

This bread is absolutely delicious and gives long-lasting energy as well. So snag those end of summer zucchinis from your local farmer’s market and get baking! Your g-free kid will be glad you did…

~Katie