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.

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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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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Gluten-free Mini 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 for new followers since it’s such 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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and be sure to check out the online photo album of g-free kids and g-free kids’ stuff page.

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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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!

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.

Snyder’s of Hanover New Flavors Review and Giveaway

IMG_0567When Snyder’s of Hanover contacted me about sampling some of their newest pretzel flavors, I was all over it. I’m a Snyder’s pretzel lover from way back in 1989 when my husband and I were first dating and used to dip pretzels into salsa for a late night snack. Once I was diagnosed w/ Celiac in 2007, I discovered Snyder’s gluten-free pretzel sticks and have been eating them ever since, plus their twists which were recently introduced. But I never dreamed I’d be once again eating flavorful seasoned pretzels like the flavors they just came out with!

IMG_0574IMG_0551My girls & I LOVE the new Honey Mustard & Onion flavored sticks. What an awesome flavor combination! My girls ask for these all the time, but we stick with eating them at home. That way their bad breath won’t be making other kids back away at school.  🙂  We think these are the perfect pretzel to make “The Big Game Chex Mix” with, using all GF Chex cereals, of course…

We liked the Hot Buffalo Wing flavor, too, although it was a tad spicy for us wimps at first….but once we dipped them into blue cheese (or ranch) dressing, that was the ticket. It cools them off nicely and the combination of the two flavors & textures is sure to be a hit. These would be great to use in the “Buffalo Chex mix“, also substituting GF cheese crackers, using all GF cereals and omitting the hot sauce since these will already be adding a certain amount of spiciness.

IMG_0625Another way we used these pretzels is crushing them up, adding a little parmesan cheese and coating chicken with them. They are the best eaten right away while the pretzel pieces are still crunchy. We crushed both flavors separately and dipped them into blue cheese dressing (or honey mustard or ranch dressing or whatever your g-free kid prefers)….what a simple and convenient way to make a flavorful meal.

I ask you:  Who better than Snyder’s of Hanover to make these great new flavors for g-free pretzels? Which other company makes gluten-free pretzels right here in the good ol’ U. S. of A?  None that I know of — other brands are imported. The fact that they are Certified Gluten Free (with that sight-for-sore-eyes logo printed right on the bags) is a huge plus, too, and I commend them on making the effort.

Have you seen these new flavors in stores yet?  Below is a list of the retailers that have approved placement so far. If your favorite store isn’t on the list, contact them to ask them to carry these awesome pretzels…

Wal Mart • Weis • Tops • Shoprite • Shop N Save • Price Cutter • Piggly Wiggly • Mars • Lowes • Harris Teeter • Ingles • Giant Eagle • Great A & P Tea Co • Albersons
Also available through Snyder’s online store.

By the way, please be sure to tell your child’s supporters how readily available and inexpensive (plain ones are $2.99 for an 8 oz. bag at my Wegmans) Snyder’s gluten-free pretzels are. I don’t know how many times my kids have been to parties where regular pretzels are sitting out as a snack, when (had the host known about Snyder’s GF) maybe they would have been willing to just put GF ones out instead. It’s a simple way to make g-free kids feel “thought of” and included.  🙂  I even know some non-GF kids who prefer GF Snyder’s over regular pretzels, believe it or not!

Below, my pretzel hounds are putting on their serious faces, to show that they are pulling for Snyder’s to make gluten-free pretzel rods next!  (hint, hint)

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Now for the giveaway: Snyder’s of Hanover has generously agreed to give away 1 full-size (8 oz.) bag OF BOTH FLAVORS to TEN lucky, randomly-drawn winners. All you have to do is comment below, saying why you and your g-free kid are so excited about these new flavors and what you plan to do with them if you’re a winner. Let’s share some ideas and inspiration — and if you’re already a Snyder’s fan, feel free to add reasons why you prefer their pretzels over other brands. Giveaway ends at midnight on Monday, December 9th. If any winners don’t respond by Tues. December 10th, new winners will be picked to replace them. Good luck!  -Katie

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Keep coming back for more things for g-free kids, and don’t forget to check out the photo album and kids’ stuff page!

[ Disclaimer: Snyder’s sent me free samples of their new pretzels, as I could not find them available in stores at the time. The opinions I expressed are my own, honest feelings about their products and I was not coerced into writing a positive review.  🙂 ]

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Gluten-free Pumpkin Cheesecake

IMG_0275Last week I had a can of pumpkin in my pantry that wasn’t yet spoken for, so I asked people on my Facebook page what they thought I should make with it. One idea from Kate B. really tickled my fancy, especially since she included the recipe, so I tried it the other night. My whole family went crazy for it — plus my brother-in-law, who is a cheesecake fanatic. It’s the perfect blend of pumpkin pie and cheesecake flavors, and was gone before we knew it…

The original recipe was for this double layer pumpkin cheesecake from AllRecipes.com, but I made some changes to it, which you will see noted below in bold type:

INGREDIENTS YOU WILL NEED:
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust (To make a gluten-free crust, I used an entire bag of Pamela’s Extreme Chocolate Mini Cookies, crushed, plus 2T butter and a sprinkle of sugar, mixed together and patted into place. You can do the same thing using GF graham crackers if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg (I used ginger instead)
  • 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed (I just put a dollop on each piece for those who wanted it, as opposed to covering the whole thing)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside. (I didn’t do this last step — I just mixed the batter all together w/ the below ingredients, instead of removing a cup and putting a white layer on the bottom. Either way will work.)
  3. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool (very important) then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

This is the first cheesecake I ever made, and I couldn’t believe how easy it was and how well it turned out. Will definitely make this again….  Enjoy!