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
• 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!

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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Easy Chocolate Hearts

IMG_1516Here’s a fun thing for your g-free kids to help make this Valentine’s Day season, which for us, lasts throughout the month of February…

All you need are cookie cutters, chocolate chips or chocolate disks to melt, and toppings. This time we chose to use healthier options such as dried fruit, nuts and coconut, but you can also use sprinkles, M&M’s, etc.

IMG_1479Start with a tray that will fit into your freezer, lined with wax paper. Just place your cookie cutters onto the wax paper, melt the chocolate and (while holding the cookie cutter down with one hand) spoon it into each shape, pushing it around a little to fill the entire cookie cutter. Make the chocolate as thick as you want, then drop your toppings onto it, creating patterns if your g-free kid feels like it… After it hardens in the freezer, just pop each heart out of its cookie cutter and enjoy. These also make sweet gifts for grandparents, teachers and other family and friends.

Artichoke Lover’s Lasagna (gluten-free, of course!)

Here’s to a lack of ingredients and creative thinking!  A new recipe was created because of this combination… Hope you like it as much as we do…

IMG_1532Ingredients:

  • 12 GF lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 cans (13 oz) artichoke hearts, rinsed, fully drained and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic (1 tsp crushed garlic)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 4 cups (2 jars) pasta sauce

Directions:

  • Boil noodles for 10 minutes, carefully rinse and drain noodles
  • Set noodles side by side on tin foil or parchment paper to cool
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix together all above ingredients except pasta sauce to make filling mixture
  • Spray pan with Pam cooking spray
  • Divide filling mixture roughly into thirds
  • Pour half a jar of pasta sauce onto the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish
  • Put 3 noodles on top of sauce for your bottom layer
  • Spoon 1st third of mixture onto noodles and spread around evenly, followed by 1/4 jar of sauce on top
  • Put a second layer of 3 noodles on top of that and spread the 2nd third of the filling mixture evenly on top, followed by 1/4 jar of sauce on top (that will use up your first jar of sauce)
  • Put third layer of noodles on top of that and spread the 3rd third of the mixture evenly on top, followed by 1/2 jar of sauce on top
  • Put fourth layer of noodles on top, cover them & all noodle edges up with remaining 1/2 jar of pasta sauce, plus sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top
  • Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes, then uncover and bake another 5 minutes
  • Allow time for it to cool and firm up before cutting
  • Even better if you can make it the day ahead…the flavors of any lasagna seem to mesh even better when you put it in the fridge for a day. Leftovers are awesome, too, and can easily be frozen and re-thawed for a busy night.  Enjoy!

Restaurant-Style Mexican Meals, Made Right at Home

Here are two simple, gluten-free meals that your g-free kids are sure to love, right at home:

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Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to eat out…  Maybe I don’t feel like explaining our dietary needs to the waitress, or asking to speak with the manager while everyone around us listens in…  Or maybe I don’t feel like wondering if the kitchen workers are wearing clean gloves or preparing our food free without cross contamination… or maybe it’s just too darn cold to go anywhere…

Whatever the reason for staying home, our kids really enjoy when we make a restaurant-style meal. We most recently made these “taco boats” which everyone loved, using Yellow Corn Ortega Fiesta Flats (Flat Bottom Taco Shells)

IMG_1314Just heat the Fiesta Flats up in the oven for a few minutes, then fill with your favorite taco ingredients. To season our taco meat, we use Simply Organic Southwest Taco seasoning, then we just added shredded lettuce, mexican cheese, green onions and tomatoes.

A regular go-to meal of ours is quesadillas. We usually add grilled chicken to ours and sometimes just serve them plain alongside mac & cheese and veggies.  But, the simplest way to make quesadillas seem “restaurant-style” is by just arranging them in a design and adding condiments like homemade guacamole and (our favorite) Green Mountain Gringo mild salsa!  We use Chi-Chi’s, Mission or Wegmans brand soft corn tortillas.
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Here is my recipe for guacamole, which can also be found here with our other favorite recipes.

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Note:  I often make guacamole the same way as above, but without cilantro & tomatoes. And if I only have 1 or 2 avocados on hand, I just add a little minced garlic, onions, salt and a dash of lime juice to taste. Just wing it.  I’ve never made a bad guacamole…

Also note:  We do eat out regularly and usually successfully. It’s just that once in a while we parents don’t feel like it, so we fake it with meals like these.  🙂

Disclaimer: Nothing to disclose. I bought these products myself, none of these companies even knows I’m writing about their products, and honest opinions are from my family & me.

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!