Gluten-Free Holiday Treats That Are Quick, Easy And Kids Will Love

Are you looking for ways to keep your children busy during holiday break? One great way, is to have them contribute to the holiday festivities.  How?  Have them help make holiday treats.

In many families cookies are an important part of the holiday tradition. Even if your children aren’t able to bake yet, they can help decorate. Here are a few quick and easy holiday treats your kids will love.

#1 Rice Crispy Treats

Rice Crispy treats are no-bake snacks that can be ready in a matter of minutes. You can find the recipe on the side of any rice cereal box, and now that Kellogg’s has started making gluten-free Rice Crispies, anyone on a gluten-free diet can once again enjoy them.  You need a box of gluten-free rice crispy cereal, a bag of marshmallows and butter. Once the treats are made, you can use cookie cutters to shape them into holiday decorations.

One easy shape for younger children is to cut the treats into circles and decorate them to resemble tree ornaments. You can use basic colored gel frosting, (check label for hidden gluten),  found at the supermarket, or make your own butter cream frosting and color it with food coloring to match your desired decorating style. Let your little ones express their creativity by decorating the treats.

#2 Sugar cookies

There are many different kinds of gluten-free sugar cookie mixes on the market, which will help to shorten the time.  Round sugar cookies can be made and decorated like holiday ornaments. Or you can roll them out and use various holiday cookie cutter shapes to get more creative. This is particularly fun for older children who may enjoy more complicated decorating tasks. Additionally, older children can bake the cookies.

#3 Peanut butter balls

Another no-bake cookie that’s fun to make are peanut butter balls. They’re also called buckeyes. Basically, you blend peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar into a gooey mess. You then roll the peanut butter mix into melted chocolate, let cool and enjoy. Here’s a quick and easy recipe.

* 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
* 4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a waxed, paper-lined cookie sheet. Chill for thirty minutes in your freezer. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in your microwave. Stir frequently until smooth. Dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate. Leave a small portion of peanut butter showing at the top. Place back on wax paper and store in refrigerator.
If you have family recipes, invite your children to help bake. Getting your children involved in the holiday preparations accomplishes many beneficial things. It helps them feel valuable. They learn new skills. Additionally, it helps them stay busy during time off of school. They’ll be able to grow up and share their joy of holiday baking with their own family.

Gluten Free/Allergy Free Halloween Candy List

It’s hard to believe that you have to worry about gluten in your child’s candy, but you do.  This was driven home to me last year at Christmas time. 

My husband and I own and operate a Locksmith business and at Christmas several of our suppliers send “gifts”.  Mostly stuff I can’t eat, like boxes of cookies, and tubs of pretzels, but one of the police officers of the town our store is in came by last Christmas with little boxes of chocolates.

WHAAWW!  Chocolate, WooHoo!  Now we’re talking, something I can eat.  Three different kinds too.  I took it into our little kitchenette, opened up the pepperment kind, took one piece out and took a bite. 

As I’m chewing this delectable delight, I’m reading the ingredient list.  (I know after all these years of being a Celiac you would think I would have read the label first.)  As I read down the list,the last word jumps off the page at me…WHEAT.

Are you kidding me?  I run over to the trash can and spit out that glorious tasting chocolate.  Quickly go over to the sink and get a glass of water to wash out my mouth, then brush my teeth.

I know what you’re thinking, “Okay Mary, what the heck does this have to do with a Halloween candy list?”  Well I’ll tell you.  I wrote a blog post two years ago with a short list of gluten-free Halloween candy.  You can read that here.

But while I was searching the web this year I found a more complete list over on Sure Foods Living.  Alison has not only an extensive gluten-free candy list, but also a gluten-free candy quick list and an allergy-free candy list.

You can find those lists here:

Halloween Gluten-Free/Allergen-Free Candy List

Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Quick List

Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Quick List

The only down side is that these lists are from 2011.  So you will need to read labels or contact the company if in doubt  that the product is still gluten free.

Alison says that she doesn’t have time to update the list this year, but I think this will give you a good place to start your journey into gluten-free candy land.

Are School Art Supplies Gluten-Free?

I wrote about this last year in September, but I think it is important enough to bring it up again.  If you have a gluten-free school age child or children, you may not be aware of the fact that a lot of school art supplies are laden with hidden (or not so hidden), gluten.

You might say, “So what?  Gluten molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin.”  And you’d be right, but think about this, what if your child goes from playing with glutenous Play-Doh to eating a snack without washing his hands?  I know, your child always washes her hands, but what if she doesn’t.  Yep!  That gluten-free apple, just became glutenized with your little ones Play-Doh’ed hands.

This doesn’t just happen with small or preschool age children.  Older children inadvertantly put their hands or fingers in their mouths too.  For that matter my dear hubby puts his fingers in his mouth.  Gross!  He’s a nail biter and I’m always yelling at him, but that’s another story.  The point I’m trying to make is this, people, both children and adults forget and put things in their mouths that they shouldn’t.

You can read my original article here.  You can find a printable list over at Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom.  This printable list would be good to give to your childs teacher.

Keeping Your Childs Gluten-Free Lunch Safe

If you have a gluten-free young school age child, you know that you will be packing their lunch everyday, because you can’t be sure that the school lunch program will have gluten-free choices for him or her. 

You also know how  important it is to keep your children’s food safe if you send lunches with them to school.   But sometimes accomplishing that safety isn’t easy to do.  And depending upon the foods they have in their lunches, it may seem almost impossible. These lunch storage and cooling ideas will help you maintain the safety of your children’s school lunches.

One of the easiest ways to keep food safe is by using a thermos.  Prepare a thermos meant for hot food by heating the inside with hot water prior to adding the hot food, and pre-cool with ice water when it will be used for cold food.  This will allow you to keep the hot food hot which means bacteria can’t begin to grow in it.  A thermos can also keep cold foods cold enough you can send frozen fruit sorbet and be confident it will still be frozen when your child gets to it.

To help keep food cold, freeze bottles of water, juice boxes or other containers overnight and place them in your child’s lunchbox in the morning.  The frozen liquid will thaw over time and keep your child’s food cool and safe.  Ice packs will also perform this same function, both ideas have an upside and a down side.   If it is very warm outside your frozen bottles will create condensation as they melt, making everything else in their lunch wet,  but using a frozen beverage means there will be more room for other healthy choices. 

My daughter found a really cute Hello Kitty lunch bag   for my granddaughter.  It has a separate compartment on the bottom to keep the ice pack in.  That way your childs food stays cold, but doesn’t get wet from the condensation. 

It’s one of the new insulated lunch bags that contain cold gel packs which will keep the food at the proper temperature.  You can find them in all shapes and sizes; some come in ‘blankets’ of smaller packets which can be cut apart to fit the lunch container your child has.

Avoid foods which are unsafe in warmer temperatures. Mayonnaise and dairy products are generally considered unsafe unless you can guarantee they remain below 40 degrees. Raw fruits and vegetables may seem like a good idea but peeling and cutting these items may allow them to spoil more easily unless they are kept very cold.

Cherry tomatoes and whole fruit are good choices for warmer weather. You can also pre-freeze canned fruit and allow it to thaw in your child’s lunch. This will act much the same as the frozen beverages by keeping other foods in their lunchbox cold.

If your child take items which could break such as baked chips or gluten-free crackers, find small plastic containers which will fit a serving and pack those in your child’s lunch. This will keep these items from getting broken and make them more appealing to your child.

Just remember to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold to ensure your child’s safety while preparing their lunches for them. Get your child to help you choose the items to put into their lunch.  Just make sure they’re healthy choices.

Is There Gluten in my Child’s Art Products?

So yesterday I talked about sending children back to school and ways to help keep them gluten-free.

Today I want to talk about Art class.  You’re probably thinking, What does art class have to do with keeping my child gluten-free?.   I’m about to tell you. 😉

Gluten can be found in: Continue reading →

Living Without…Gluten, Milk, Eggs, Cheese, and Peanuts

I’m sure you’re wondering about the title to this post today.   If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that Courtney, my 7 year old granddaughter, was diagnosed back in December as gluten intolerant.  You can read about that here.

Well, Courtney came to visit from Kansas for 2 weeks at the end of July, and as it turns out she is not only gluten free, she is also lactose intolerant, and has an allergy to peanuts,  (fortunately, not as bad as some children that could die from peanuts), but bad enough that she cannot eat them at all.  So I had to go back to seriously “reading” labels, not just checking to make sure nothing had changed.

I have to say, that I think breakfast was by far the hardest meal to make.  I live on 10 acres, with 10 chickens and 1 rooster, so breakfast at our house is usually eggs, and before she was diagnosed, Courtney loved having the farm fresh eggs for breakfast.  Yeah, I could have fallen back on the cereal and Lactaid milk for breakfast, (and some mornings that is what she wanted), but I really wanted to give her something yummy. 

I actually found some frozen waffles (Van’s) that were gluten, milk, and egg-free.  They were really tasty. 

For lunch we had corn tortilla wraps.  I would steam the tortillas to soften them up and then top them with a variety of things.  One day we had chicken salad made with vegan mayonaise.  Yum!  I usually use Kraft Miracle Whip, but the last ingredient in that is…you guessed it, egg yolks.

I’m not a huge fan of peanut butter, but we always have it in the house.  (My hubby loves it on a spoon, and Charlie, my lab, likes it in his Kong).  Courtney of course couldn’t have peanut butter but she asked for Almond butter.  If you haven’t tried Almond butter yet, you have got to try it.  We had wraps with almond butter.

I made a gluten free/milk free, cream of chicken soup for my crockpot chicken dinner with Lactaid milk. 

Wow!  You parents that have gluten free/casien free children, my hat is off to you.  This is definately not easy. 

I’ll have more info about making food for Courtney coming soon, including a gluten free/milk free/egg free, ice cream recipe coming for you soon.

Gluten Free Easter Salad

I’m back today with another recipe for you. 

Are you having kids at your Easter dinner this year?  If you are here is a great little salad that is perfect for all the little bunnies. 

These are cute little salads that can be placed at any child’s place setting.  They’ll get a giggle out of seeing the Easter bunny at dinner. 

This salad is naturally gluten free, so your gluten free child doesn’t have to feel different.


Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton Tail and Peter Salad Continue reading →