Favorite Peanut Butter Pie Recipe

pieWe made our favorite peanut butter pie again for family game night at Aunt Kate’s last night. We thought we’d send the Olympics off in (our own casual) style by making the 5 Olympic rings out of M&M’s on our pie. I just found a jar lid that would work in size and lightly marked where the rings should be, then stuck in M&M’s sideways instead of laying them flat. It was surprisingly easy! I was just going to post it on Facebook and link to the recipe, when I realized that I have yet to post it other than on our recipe PDF. So, here you go!  Recipe is below, followed by photos of a few different ways we have topped our pies. These are a local hit with lots of friends and family making this same recipe, most of them not even gluten-free themselves. Enjoy!

Screen shot 2014-02-22 at 1.25.26 PMIMG_1718IMG_1180regpieIMG_4936

Valentines for g-free kids

IMG_0224

Here are 4 little Valentine’s Day cards that I drew a few years ago — made especially for all the g-free kids out there. You can download the PDF here: 4VcardsHR, then print out copies for your child. He or she can color the cards, glue them onto colored construction paper and give out for Valentines — or just hang them in their room or on the fridge, or use them as bookmarks. (*Please note: the below preview won’t print out large enough — click on the blue link four lines above this for the printable PDF).

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Feel free to post a picture of your g-free kid with his or her completed cards on my Facebook page. Keep coming back for more ideas for g-free kids, and don’t forget to check out the
photo album and kids’ stuff page!

Gluten-Free Cheese Ball

IMG_1221

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know we are big fans of Snyder’s of Hanover’s Gluten-Free pretzels. Well, we discovered a new way to use them that really adds some zing to an already tried & true cheese ball recipe. It’s the same recipe that my Mom has made for every family party (ever) and it’s an appetizer that is always devoured straight away…

IMG_0567For years she coated her cheese balls with crushed peanuts, but once we discovered a peanut allergy in the family, that part of it was quickly (and understandably!) abolished…

Well, we finally figured out a way to put some crunch back into it, and with more flavor than ever — coating the cheese balls with crushed Snyder’s Gluten-Free Honey Mustard & Onion pretzels!  We tried this for Christmas and it was a big hit which will be repeated very soon. Here’s the recipe:

• 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
• 2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
• 1 – 2 T milk (or coconut milk, rice milk, etc.)
• 1 T. onion, minced or diced
Directions:  Mix all ingredients together, form a ball, wrap in wax paper to chill for a few hours, then roll in crushed Snyder’s Honey-Mustard & Onion pretzel sticks.

Try it with your favorite gluten-free crackers. If you want to add more spice to your cheese ball, try Snyder’s Hot Buffalo Wing flavor instead!

Enjoy — and Happy New Year!

Kid-sized Peanut Butter Cups for Christmas

IMG_0731I was looking for something different — yet easy — to make my g-free girls for a holiday treat….I ended up looking no further than one of my all-time favorite cookie recipes: this one in particular.

To make these perfect, kid-size peanut butter cups, you just preheat your oven to
400 degrees, then use this simple cookie recipe:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg

Mix 3 ingredients together, and press cookie dough into greased mini cupcake tin openings. Be sure to press it evenly inside each opening — the same thickness on the bottom as it is along the sides—to ensure even baking, leaving an indentation in the middle for filling later on… The dough should come up and around the edges of each opening, which is where you add fork marks. Then you pop them into the oven and bake for about 9 minutes (watching them so they don’t burn around the top edges)  After they are cooled completely, twist each one by its edges until they loosen, after which they should pop right out, nice and sturdy.

(Note: I have had a few “duds” in the past which didn’t come out in one piece, because I made the indentation down too far which made the bottom thinner than the sides.)

IMG_0735For filling, I just used chocolate frosting piped through the corner of a plastic bag. (I’m sure it can be done much better than I did), or use vanilla frosting, Nutella, a Hershey’s kiss, etc. No matter how you fill them or top them, they are the perfect kid-size peanut butter cups!  Try them with Sunbutter, too…

Enjoy!

Mini Gluten-Free Easter Baskets

Easter is coming soon so I wanted to give you this idea for something fun and easy to make with your g-free kids. I have shared this before, but it’s a favorite of my girls, so I’m putting it out there again since it’s a keeper!  :)

To make them, you will need:
– gluten-free ice cream cones with flat bottoms
– sugared gummy worms
– gluten-free frosting (we used Pillsbury)
– regular size marshmallows
– gluten-free jelly beans
– sweetened coconut
– food coloring

And here is how you make them…

The first thing you do (to make the shorter baskets shown above) is to take a sharp knife and cut off the top portion of the cone, so that it looks like the photo below. It doesn’t need to be perfect since the frosting and coconut will cover the edges… Then you pop a regular sized marshmallow inside the cone and tuck a sugared gummy worm in around the edges, as shown below. This gives you a surface to frost on and keeps the “handle” of the basket snugly in place…

After that, you just frost the top with vanilla frosting (plus a drop or two of food coloring) and then add coconut and three jelly beans. We made four different frosting colors and four matching coconut colors (sweetened coconut with a drop or two of food coloring mixed in) so they were coordinated.

We also discovered something fun afterwards, when we mixed the remaining coconut colors together: rainbow-colored coconut!  Here it is on a full-sized basket, without the top cut off, in case you choose to do it that way. (I just think the shorter ones look more proportional, and this one needs 2 marshmallows inside the cone). As you also may notice, the gummy worm’s pattern makes it look even more like a basket handle when the lined side is facing out like this:

Either way (short or tall) these Easter baskets are sure to be a hit — whether you make just a few for your family, or make a lot for a school party or church brunch. We kept them in an air-tight container and they tasted great even days later.

For more sweet ideas, check out our Chocolate Peeps Eggshells and Muddy Bunnies at this link.

Enjoy and Happy Easter!  ~Katie

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For much more in between posts, follow me on Facebook and Twitter,
and be sure to check out the online photo album of g-free kids and g-free kids’ stuff page.

Gluten-free St. Patrick’s Day treats: County Cork Cake Pops, Lil’ Leprechauns and Emerald Isle Cakes

It’s St. Patrick’s Day week….a busy one for families like mine who have Irish dancers jigging their way through shows well past the upcoming weekend. But as the luck of
the Irish may have it — there’s still time to make some festive green treats with your
g-free kids!

In my previous post, I shared some healthier ideas such as a veggie platter in the shape/colors of the Irish flag, and shamrock-shaped pizzas and “Dublin Dragonflies.”

Now, here are some naughty treat ideas….

We attempted to make “County Cork Cake Pops” for the first time last year. (What can I say? Part of the fun of making new things is coming up with fun names for them!)  Here are some finished examples:

3cakepops2Allow me to give you the following tips that we learned, as cake pops are not quite as simple as they say…
(1) Don’t make the balls too big. Once you dip them in the candy coating, it makes them heavy. The weight makes the whole ball slide down the stick so that the stick pops right through the top. Go for a small, super-ball size.
(2) Melt a lot of candy coating…don’t skimp or you’ll be melting it again halfway through the dipping process.
(3) Improvise. If all else fails, make something up. After too many sticks poked up through the top, I tried “blocking” the sticks with these mint nonpariel candies I had. My girls
said they looked like hats so we stuck a few other candies on and called them our
“Lil’ Leprechauns”…

LwLeps2(“Lil” as in “too little to grow beards” even though the truth was “mommy didn’t feel like making beards.”) For those of you Moms out there who are willing to take these leprechauns a lot further than I did: go for it — I could see someone adding candy hair, a beard, more detailed features, etc. I, personally, don’t have the patience or motivation. Especially since my girls thought they were cute enough at this stage.  :)

For those extra-motivated Moms: I saw other “leprechaun pops” recently: much fancier than mine, from the ultra-creative Jill over at Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons. So, knock yourselves out!

(4) Another idea is to try them without sticks. They’re even easier to make and eat that way anyhow! We’re calling them “Emerald Isle Cakes” but it’s another thing you can take further than we did…

cakeballsonplate2Can’t you see them as leprechauns’ pots of gold?  Maybe yellow m&m’s for the gold or rainbow nonpariels for the treasure? And shape the cake a little more so it looks like a pot? See what ideas your child comes up with for these little cuties…

cakeballsinhands2These cake balls also easier for kids to help with than cake pops. After these had hardened, I called my girls back down to hold them so you could see their size here.
(They were playing “rock star” or something at the time so excuse the get-ups.)

Directions: For both the cake pops and cake balls, all I did was to mush together what was left of a frosted vanilla cake (about 2/3 of it) from a party the day before. The cake was made with Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake mix and Pillsbury vanilla frosting. I didn’t add anything else. Let your kids mush up the cake, roll into tight little balls, then cover with candy coating. I used Make n’ Mold candy wafers for the coating. They were really delicious. To me, they tasted just like “donut holes” that we used to eat before going GF.

If you would like to follow more detailed instructions & tips, here are a few helpful links, which I didn’t see until after I had already “winged it”:

Last, but not least, I want to share (again) this gluten-free coloring page I created for your g-free kid to enjoy. (Print from the link — not from the preview below.)Have you tried anything from my St. Patty’s Day posts?  If so, please feel free to upload a picture of your child with his or her finished product on my Facebook wall. I would love to see it!

New to this site? Be sure to see the photo album of g-free kids and g-free kids’ stuff page.
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And for much more in between posts, follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Gluten-free Valentine’s Day cards plus 3 treat ideas

Valentine’s Day brings plenty of opportunities to make your g-free kid feel extra loved — as well as show love to others — around the clock. Here are a few ways to make things seem “Valentinesy” (as we say) for the weeks surrounding the big day:

IMG_0224G-free V-day cards!

Last year I drew these 4 little Valentine’s Day cards — made especially for all the g-free kids out there. You can download the PDF here: 4VcardsHR, then print out copies of it for your kids to color, glue onto colored construction paper and give out for Valentines — or just hang in their room or on the fridge. (*Please note: the below preview won’t print out large enough — click on the blue link four lines above this for the printable PDF).

V-day G-free treat ideas

1.  For those of you who are “regulars” here, this is no surprise……but, one of our “go-to” treats — for any occasion — is chocolate dipped marshmallow pops. All you have to do is stick a skewer into each marshmallow (or do it without skewers), dip them in melted chocolate, add sprinkles, put on wax paper and set in the freezer. Allergy-friendly and always a hit with school parties!

2.  With your handy-dandy cookie cutter, make heart shaped pizzas. For these we just rolled out part of the dough and cut them out, then topped them individually. Or even easier — just make regular pizzas and use a cookie cutter after it’s cooled. Moms like me are always happy to eat the leftover scraps!

3:  Make simple peanut clusters. Just fill cookie cutters up partway (depending on how thick you want them) with melted chocolate mixed with peanuts, decorate with sprinkles if you’d like, then let them set in the freezer for a while before you pop them right out.

Remember and repeat:  Life is not all about food!

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Favorite gluten-free holiday treats, from our family to yours

Every year there are a few tried and true treats that we love to make in December. I’ve made these recipes so many times that I could do them in my sleep… Even in the midst of this crazy month, I’m always happy to whip up these goodies, as they’re easy, fun and always worth the little bit of effort I have to put into them. If you’ve been following for a while, some of these ideas will be familiar to you. Even though we’re not breaking any new g-free ground here, I still wanted to put our holiday favorites together in one post. Hopefully they become your family’s favorites as well!  Enjoy…

Looking for a g-free treat to send in for a class party?  Every year I make about 100 of these for my girls’ holiday parties in December and every year they are a big hit. They’re a go-to party treat (for other holidays, too — just change the sprinkles!) as all the kids love them and they’re allergen-free. Just poke sticks of some sort through marshmallows, dip in melted chocolate, add sprinkles and put on wax paper. Freeze for a bit to set, then refrigerate if using them soon. If you’re making them ahead of time, you can just freeze them in an airtight container and let them thaw out in the fridge the day before, or just on the counter the morning of the party. You could also use mini candy canes instead of sticks, or crushed candy canes instead of sprinkles, etc….anything goes!

IMG_9396Want a simple candy recipe that will tempt both young and old alike?
Then try our longtime family favorite “Buckeyes” recipe —
• 1 cup peanut butter
• 8 T butter
• 3 cups confectioners sugar
• chocolate chips or melting chocolate disks
(I always double the recipe which makes about sixty 1″ balls). Cream 1st three ingredients together and roll into balls. Melt chocolate and dip the balls in, then set them on wax paper. (We dip them only halfway into the chocolate: it’s not as messy as covering them all over.) Freeze them in single layer until hard, then store in fridge or freezer (depending on how soon you’re going to share them). Either way, keep them out of sight or they’ll be gone before you know it…

395137_320839607941299_819685579_nTrying to find a sweet gift idea that your kids can help with? Then whip out your holiday cookie cutters, some peanuts, chocolate chips and sprinkles. Instead of your classic, free-form peanut clusters, just melt chocolate and mix with peanuts til they’re coated, and spoon the mixture inside cookie cutters til all the spaces are filled. Then add holiday sprinkles, freeze til solid, then pop them out of the cookie cutters and put a few into a festive cellophane bag with a ribbon to give as gifts to neighbors, the postman, etc.

IMG_9392Want a quick, refreshing dessert idea to surprise your family? Then make these mini ice cream sandwiches, using Pamela’s Products cookies filled with ice cream. Get crazy and roll the edges of the ice cream in holiday sprinkles or crushed candy canes for extra color.  Any flavor ice cream and cookie will work!

icecreamsandLooking for a finger food that is sure to be a big hit? Then make these mini pigs-in-a-blanket, using Chebe bread mix (you can use their regular bread mix, cheese bread or breadstick mixes). Just make the mix according to directions, roll out and wrap pieces around GF mini hot dogs, and cook according to directions for mix. So savory and so good…if you’re lucky enough to have any left, they reheat very well, too.

401759_325149900843603_1398804214_nOr maybe you’re looking for a killer appetizer dip for an upcoming party? Look no further. Ask anyone who knows me what I always bring to parties (usually by request) and “feta artichoke dip” (said with a dreamy smile) will probably be the answer. And since I love this dip, myself, I’m always happy to comply. Please excuse the poor photo — it’s much better than it looks below, as many can attest to.  :)

feta2Hot Feta Artichoke Dip
• 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
• 6-8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
• 1 cup mayo
• 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
• 1 clove garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients and spoon into 9″ pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Garnish with chopped tomato and green onions if desired. Serve with G-F tortilla chips.

Hope you’ve enjoyed our holiday family favorites. I have some more recipes to come soon, which are a little more time-consuming than these, but worth the time if you have it. In the meantime, if you’d like to see 27 more of our favorite kid-friendly recipes, you can download a free PDF at this link.

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For much more in between posts, follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Mini Gluten-Free Easter Baskets, Plus a Giveaway!

I just can’t seem to get this song out of my head…. Partly because my girls’ weekly piano lessons are today (and I’m thinking of teaching them a simpler version of this tune) and partly because I am so excited about these cute, little Easter basket treats we created a few days ago!  Gluten-free, of course!

One “replacement food” my family is thankful for is gluten-free ice cream cones, especially around holidays when it’s fun to create kid-friendly goodies with them. A local gourmet food shop owner started a gluten-free section in his store a few years ago, after he heard that my daughter and I were diagnosed with celiac. One of the products he started stocking (to my family’s delight) was Goldbaum’s gluten-free ice cream cones — both sugar cones and cake cones.

We’ve bought many boxes from his store — especially the sugar cones, which have always been our favorite. Besides just using them as normal ice cream cones, we often crush them up and mix them into our ice cream, along with chocolate sauce and nuts to get that “Nutty Buddy” flavor. We even gave two local ice cream shop owners the idea to buy a few boxes of Goldbaum’s cake cones to keep in stock in case of any gluten-free customers. To us, they literally taste just like regular ice cream cones. Goldbaum’s cones are just as tasty, crispy and sturdy as cones I remember eating when I was growing up. We wouldn’t change a thing about them…

Looking at the cake cone box (they call them “cups”) the other day, it just said “Easter baskets” to me. I could picture them in my mind, yet I had doubts about how I would pull off the handle. Thankfully everything came together just perfectly and it was a big success.

To make them, you will need:
– Goldbaum’s gluten-free cups (I call them cake cones)
– sugared gummy worms
– gluten-free frosting (we used Pillsbury)
– regular size marshmallows
– gluten-free jelly beans
– sweetened coconut
– food coloring

And here is how you make them…

The first thing you do (to make the shorter baskets shown above) is to take a sharp knife and cut off the top portion of the cone, so that it looks like the photo below. It doesn’t need to be perfect since the frosting and coconut will cover the edges… Then you pop a regular sized marshmallow inside the cone and tuck a sugared gummy worm in around the edges, as shown below. This gives you a surface to frost on and keeps the “handle” of the basket snugly in place…

After that, you just frost the top with vanilla frosting (plus a drop or two of food coloring) and then add coconut and three jelly beans. We made four different frosting colors and four matching coconut colors (sweetened coconut with a drop or two of food coloring mixed in) so they were coordinated.

We also discovered something fun afterwards, when we mixed the remaining coconut colors together: rainbow-colored coconut!  Here it is on a full-sized basket, without the top cut off, in case you choose to do it that way. (I just think the shorter ones look more proportional, plus you only need one marshmallow inside the cone). As you also may notice, the gummy worm’s pattern makes it look even more like a basket handle when the lined side is facing out like this:

Either way (short or tall) these Easter baskets are sure to be a hit — whether you make just a few for your family, or make a lot for a school party or church brunch. We kept them in an air-tight container and they tasted great even days later.

And now for the giveaway:  Goldbaum’s has generously agreed to send three, lucky, randomly-drawn winners the following prize: 1 box of sugar cones, 1 box of regular cone cups and a few other Goldbaum’s gluten-free products which will remain a mystery!

To enter, please leave a comment below, letting me know how you make Easter special for your g-free kid:  Do you re-make favorite recipes gluten-free? What special things do you put in their Easter baskets? How do you make sure they are included in the big family meal?  Any other ideas you can share?

Giveaway ends at midnight on Thursday, April 5th. Then the 3 winners have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise new names will be chosen. U.S. Residents please. Good luck!

Now get out there and buy yourself some cones so you can make these baskets with your kids in time for Easter!  When you try them (you just have to — they are SO easy!) feel free to post a photo on my Facebook page. And in case you missed our Chocolate Peeps Eggshells and Muddy Bunnies, just click this link or see the post below this one.

Enjoy and Happy Easter everyone!  ~Katie

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For much more in between posts, follow me on Facebook and Twitter,
and be sure to check out the online photo album of g-free kids and g-free kids’ stuff page.

Dublin Dragonflies, County Cork Cake Pops, Lil’ Leprechauns and Emerald Isle Cakes

It’s St. Patrick’s Day week….a busy one for families like mine who have Irish dancers jigging their way through shows well past the upcoming weekend. But as the luck of
the Irish may have it — there’s still time to make some festive green treats with your
g-free kids!

In my previous post, I shared some healthier ideas such as a veggie platter in the shape/colors of the Irish flag, and shamrock-shaped pizzas. Before I get to the naughty treats, let me share one more, which my girls call “Dublin Dragonflies.” They aren’t big raisin fans (think “ants on a log”) so I used Snyder’s gluten-free mini pretzels for wings and peanut m&m’s for eyes. If your celery is too narrow, just use plain m&m’s.

My girls enjoy being able to help make these (I just spread the PB as they aren’t very adept at that yet) and they add the other stuff. Those with nut allergies can just substitute Sunbutter and use chocolate chips for eyes.

Okay, on to the naughty treat ideas…

I attempted to make “County Cork Cake Pops” for the first time last week. (What can I say? Part of the fun of making new things is coming up with fun names for them!)  Here are some finished examples:

Allow me to give you the following tips, as cake pops are not quite as simple as they say…
(1) Don’t make the balls too big. Once you dip them in the candy coating, it makes them heavy. The weight makes the whole ball slide down the stick so that the stick pops right through the top. Go for a small, super-ball size.
(2) Melt a lot of candy coating…don’t skimp or you’ll be melting it again halfway through the dipping process.
(3) Improvise. If all else fails, make something up. After too many sticks poked up through the top, I tried “blocking” the sticks with these mint nonpariel candies I had. My girls
said they looked like hats so we stuck a few other candies on and called them our
“Lil’ Leprechauns”…

(“Lil” as in “too little to grow beards” even though the truth was “mommy didn’t feel like making beards.”) For those of you Moms out there who are willing to take these leprechauns a lot further than I did: go for it — I could see someone adding candy hair, a beard, more detailed features, etc. I, personally, don’t have the patience or motivation. Especially since my girls thought they were cute enough even at this stage.  :)

In fact, for those extra-motivated Moms: I was about to post this when I saw other “leprechaun pops” come across Facebook: much fancier than mine, from the ultra-creative Jill over at Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons. So, knock yourselves out!

(4) Another idea is to try them without sticks. They’re easier to make and eat that way anyhow! We’re calling them “Emerald Isle Cakes” but it’s another thing you can take further than I did…

Can’t you see them as leprechauns’ pots of gold?  Maybe yellow m&m’s for the gold or rainbow nonpariels for the treasure? And shape the cake a little more so it looks like a pot? See what ideas your child comes up with for these little cuties…

These cake balls also easier for kids to help with than cake pops. After these had hardened, I called my girls back down to hold them so you could see their size here.
(They were playing “rock star” or something at the time so excuse the get-ups.)

For both the cake pops and cake balls, all I did was to mush together what was left of a frosted vanilla cake (about 2/3 of it) from a party the day before. The cake was made with Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake mix and Pillsbury vanilla frosting. I didn’t add anything else. Let your kids mush up the cake, roll into tight little balls, then cover with candy coating. I used Make n’ Mold candy wafers for the coating.

If you would like to follow more detailed instructions & tips, here are a few helpful links, which I didn’t see until after I had already “winged it”:

Last, but not least, I want to share (again) this gluten-free coloring page I created for your g-free kid to enjoy. (Print from the link — not from the preview below.)Have you tried anything from my three St. Patty’s Day posts?  If so, please feel free to upload a picture of your child with his or her finished product on my Facebook wall!
I would love to see it!

In case you missed it, check out these sweet & salty treats for St. Patty’s Day,
and be sure you see the photo album of g-free kids and g-free kids’ stuff page.
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For much more in between posts, follow me on Facebook and Twitter.