10 Last-Minute, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free Halloween Party Treats

HallTreats2As Halloween parties lurk right around the corner, we have put together 10 last-minute sweet treats for your g-free kids and their school ghouls. Some of these goodies aren’t quite as healthy as the last 10 we posted (click here for gluten-free, nut-free, healthy Halloween treats) but they don’t take long to make, are kid-friendly and will bring rave reviews…

1)  Spooky Halloween Popcorn Hands from Yummy Healthy Easy
Kids have so much fun playing with these, plus they love the ring that they can keep…

Popcorn-Hands-32)  Peeps-topped Cupcakes from Betty Crocker
Peeps are gluten-free! Just make your favorite brand of GF cupcake and top with Peeps!

179430d8-5ba1-4ac5-af66-26ed91cae14e3)  Pretzel Bones from Simply Thrifty
I would use Snyder’s GF pretzels as they are firmer than others. Perfect for little fingers…

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4)  Macaroon Brains from Home Grown Families
Even easier: Buy already-made GF macaroons and just decorate those!

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5)  Marshmallow Pops from NJ Family
I have made these for years for my girls, minus the sticks. You can also just cover the marshmallows halfway w/ chocolate and add sprinkles. Kids adore these.

Marshmallow-Pops-e859f6fb6)  Triple Marshmallow Pops from The Cake Merchant
If you want to go an extra step and make more substantial pops, try these…

MarshmallowPops7)  Ghost Meringue Cookies from Celiac Family
These are family favorites of Heather’s, which she adapts for every holiday…

Ghostcookies8)  Strawberry Ghosts from Taste of Home
Warning: teachers might be caught sneaking these little gems…

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9)  Halloween Jello Cups from Teressa Jane
Creamy, crumbly and jiggly…what’s not to love?

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10)  Pumpkin Rice Krispy Treats from Home Stories A to Z
Is this the Great Pumpkin Patch, Linus? Set these cute little punkins on crushed GF cookies for a standout party treat…

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OR…..if you really don’t have much time, simply just bring in gluten-free candy in cute Halloween bags!  Here is a link to a 2015 PDF of safe GF candy from the Celiac Disease Foundation.

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Gluten-Free, Nut-Free Healthy Halloween Treat Roundup

HalloweenTreatsHey everyone! No need to spend hours on Pinterest looking for ideas this month…
My daughters and I gathered this collection of 10 fun, easy-to-make, healthy, kid-friendly recipes from all over the web. Perfect for those upcoming Halloween parties or just special treats for your child’s lunches or after school. There is something gluten-free here for everyone, while also keeping in mind those with nut allergies…

1) Apple Mummies, from Two Healthy Kitchens
Grab that apple peeler and have some fun!

THK-Apple-Mummies2a2) Halloween Fruit Dip, from Fork & Beans
Make sweet shapes with cookie cutters, then dunk into a fruity, mild dip…

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3) Ghost Pops, from Nugget Markets
No PB involved. Just bananas, coconut, raisins and chocolate chips. Fun on a stick!

ghost_pops4) Witches’ Broom Sticks, from Thrifty Jinxy
Use GF pretzel sticks, cheese sticks and chives for this fun treat…

Witch’s-Broom-Snacks5) Jack-O-Lantern Fruit Cups, from Janice Amee’s Gluten Free
Kids will love fishing fruit out of these adorable, fragrant pumpkins with their little fingers…

get-attachment-146) Clementine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts, from One Little Project at a Time
Perfect for little hands and little tummies…

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7) Mandarin Orange Pumpkins, from Simple Girl
Let your kids help draw all kinds of Halloween faces onto the tops of fruit cups! You could use peaches, too, in addition to mandarins…

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8) Clementine Pumpkins (unpeeled), from The Princess and the Frog
What could be simpler? Just grab that Sharpie and go!

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9) Mummy Drink Boxes, from The New Witty’s
Juice box are always a welcomed sight for thirsty kids, especially when they look like adorable mummies…

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10) Pumpkin Veggie Tray, from Taste of Home
Kids, teachers and room moms alike won’t be able to resist these little dippers…

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Do you have any other simple, healthy ideas to share?  If so, please comment below… Thanks!

P.S. If you’re not so worried about providing super-healthy snacks, here is another round-up of sweet treats, which are also gluten-free and nut free.

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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
• 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 on parchment paper or clean counter, using flour on your roller. Cut out the shapes and place them onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for about 8 minutes or until edges start to brown. Let cool completely.

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!

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. Believe it or not, even a small amount of cross contamination can really make super-sensitive kids (like one of mine) 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 — or better yet: buy and keep separate ones designated only for GF foods.

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 well in the end.  🙂  I can also tell you how extra awkward it is having to decline something I don’t trust to be safe…

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….

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!

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Gluten-Free Cheese Ball

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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!

Peppermint Stick Ice Cream Sandwiches

IMG_1101If you have followed my Facebook page and this blog the past month, you already know I have a thing for candy canes. I’ve posted countless recipes using them and have visions of candy canes dancing in my head when I consider all the possibilities…

One of the few things I really miss as a Celiac is a good ice cream sandwich. Sure, we’ve all squished some ice cream between two round, gluten-free cookies, but I miss that rectangular shape and flat, soft, thin pieces of cookie bars that come on the originals….

Pillsbury-Gluten-Free-Dough-Cookie-DoughSo when I finally picked up a tub of Pillsbury Gluten Free Cookie Dough,
I knew just what to make with it… a Christmassy version of an ice cream sandwich, perfect for this most wonderful time of the year.

Before I get into the recipe and how easy (albeit a bit messy) these were to make, let me just say that this product is perfect to share with supporters of your g-free kid, because now they can make GF cookies with much less risk of cross contamination than they would using dry mixes. This comes ready to use right out of the tub — just scoop it out, plop it down and bake. Supporters can just make a few cookies on tin foil and keep the rest in the tub for another time. Keep this in mind for grandma’s house, church coffee hour, or other get-together where it would be nice (and super thoughtful) to have a few sweet things on hand for the resident g-free kids…

Now, how to make them:
The directions on the tub only tell you how to make regular cookies, but this dough is apparently much more versatile than the package gives it credit for. Thankfully, Pillsbury has this comprehensive collection of recipes using their gluten-free doughs which proved to me that it can be used in many ways.

When I first started scooping out the dough in small pieces and dropping & flattening them down into a (greased) 9″ x 13″ metal baking dish, I wasn’t sure it would cover the whole bottom. It made a pretty thin layer which puffed back up nicely as it baked. I made it at night and covered it loosely with tin foil before I went to bed, and in the morning I easily got it out of the pan and cut it into pieces.

Of course I had to sample some, and all I have to say is, “Wow.” I was taken back to my pre-GF days of old and that classic chocolate chip cookie taste of a soft baked cookie. My husband could NOT believe these are gluten-free. Luckily we stopped eating them and managed to save some to make the recipe with…

So, anyhow, after you flatten the dough onto a greased baking dish, you just bake it for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, take it out and let it cool completely.

IMG_0836Then you cut it into whatever size and shape pieces you want (square, rectangle or use a cookie cutter), making pairs of the same shape and size as you go. I went with a variety of rectangles for old times’ sake.

IMG_0837Then I pressed them together a bit and put them into the freezer on wax paper to stiffen up enough to put the ice cream on.

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While the bars are stiffening up in the freezer, start melting your ice cream (any flavor, really, if you’re not a peppermint fan)…

IMG_1058Just mush the ice cream  between 2 matching pieces…

IMG_1064Pop ’em back into the freezer onto wax paper, as soon as each one is put together…

IMG_1079Let the ice cream harden up a bit, then clean off & straighten the edges with a knife…

IMG_1090Dip edges into a plate of crushed peppermint or sprinkles and refreeze…

IMG_1094When you feel like surprising your g-free kids with a special treat, get ready to watch their eyes light up as they bite easily into the soft Pillsbury GF cookie ice cream sandwich and realize they will want you to make these again, in whatever flavor you can get them to agree on…  😉

IMG_1114See what else you can make with all of these gluten-free doughs at the Pillsbury Pinterest board.

Are any of these gluten-free doughs available near you? Find out with the product locator.

Disclaimer: Pillsbury sent me a free product coupon for this dough and is sponsoring this post, but as always, I only post positive reviews like this when my g-free girls and I actually love a product. And we did.