Archive for Kid-friendly

Aug
01

Fruit Pizza Dessert

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Every year, we get together with family to celebrate all the summer family birthdays. Most years, each person has already had a birthday cake to celebrate on their special day. So, when we finally all get together with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, we often do something other than birthday cake for the dessert. Last year, we had chocolate fondue for dessert. This year, I decided to make a dessert pizza with fresh fruit.

It was a busy weekend for us, and I actually decided last minute what I was making, so I took a short cut and used Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix for the crust. (FYI: The mix can be made egg-free, dairy-free, and peanut-free.) I combined two mixes to make a 16″ pizza crust. Then, I made a simple cream cheese spread to cover the huge sugar cookie crust, and topped it with slices of fresh fruit. It’s a simple and easy dessert, but very satisfying and pretty. You can use whatever fruit you have available. Make a design with the fruit, like I did, or simply pile it all on.

Gluten-Free Fruit Pizza Dessert

Ingredients:

Sugar Cookie Dough (2 Cherrybrook Kitchen mixes, 1 Cup margarine or Earth Balance dairy-free substitute, 1/2 Cup almond milk, 5 tsp vanilla)
8 oz. cream cheese [I use Tofutti's dairy-free Cream Cheese to make this dairy-free.]
1/2 Cup powdered sugar, sifted
Variety of fruit, sliced (I used 3 kiwis, a pint of strawberries and a handful of blueberries.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Make the sugar cookie crust. Follow the recipe as usual for the sugar cookie dough. (I combined two mixes with 1 Cup melted butter, 1/2 Cup almond milk, and 5 tsp vanilla.)
  3. Place the dough on a large sheet of Parchment Paper and top with a large sheet of plastic wrap. Then roll, or press, out the dough to a 16″ round. Remove the plastic wrap and slide the parchment paper with dough onto a Pizza Pan or cookie sheet.
  4. Place the large cookie dough into the oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until it starts to brown around the edges.
  5. Remove the pizza crust from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack. The parchment paper will make it easy to slide the crust off the cookie sheet and onto the wire rack.
  6. Mix up the cream cheese spread by thoroughly mixing together the cream cheese and powdered sugar.
  7. Once the crust is completely cooled, spread the cream cheese/sugar mixture evenly over the top of the crust.
  8. Now add the sliced fruit to the pizza. If you are going to make a fun design, I suggest you start in the middle and work your way out to the edges.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until time to serve.

Additional Notes:

  • We cut our pizza into 16 large servings.
  • Each Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix makes about 20 cookies.
  • One batch of homemade gluten-free sugar cookies works for the crust, too!
  • Feel free to use any variety of fruit: berries, peaches, nectarines, mango, cherries, etc. You can also use bananas, but remember they will brown so add them right before you serve it.
  • Want more fruit? Cut thick slices, overlap the fruit, or just pile it all on. Get creative and have fun!RedWhiteBlue
  • You can also use canned fruit, but be sure to drain any sauce or liquid completely from it, so it doesn’t make the pizza soggy.
  • Some of our family members added a scoop of vanilla ice cream to top their pizza slice. I don’t think it needs any topping, but if it sounds good to you, you may also consider topping with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or a simple glaze.
  • You don’t have to make this as a round pizza. Use a baking sheet/jelly roll pan for the crust. Then, cut into squares for serving. fruitsquaresOr, halve the recipe, press it into a 9×13 pan, and bake it for about 15-20 minutes.
  • This is such an easy dessert to make, it would be a great project for the kids to make.

Notable Links:

Earlier this year, while visiting family in Omaha, we celebrated three different birthdays. Both my mom and sister bought gluten-free cakes at the Cupcake Island so we could enjoy their birthday cakes with them. The gluten-free cakes and cupcakes were delicious and decorated perfectly for the occasions. I hadn’t really investigated getting gluten-free cakes from local bakeries in Virginia. But when I came home, I thought I’d see if a local bakery could make a gluten-free cake for my daughter’s birthday. Surprise! Cakes by Happy Eatery in northern Virginia makes gluten-free cakes. Unfortunately, my daughter was having a lot of friends at her party, and the cake large enough to accommodate was going to cost $85-100. I just didn’t think that would fit into my budget. So, I made the cake myself.

I enjoy decorating cakes, but I was short on time this year. Rather than make the cake from scratch, I took the short cuts: Betty Crocker gluten-free cake mixes and frosting. I used four cake mixes. For the bottom layer, I combined two yellow cake mixes and baked them for about 50 minutes in a 9″x 13″ pan. For the top layer I did the same thing with two chocolate cake mixes. I used chocolate frosting between the layers, and vanilla frosting tinted green to cover the top and sides.

Now to decorate. My daughter wanted a Princess and the Frog birthday cake because Tiana is her new favorite princess. I bought the little Princess Tiana dress-up doll set that came with the frogs and firefly to help decorate the cake. That way I could quickly create a swamp and lily pads for the frogs. My daughter was pleased, and I got it done without too much time and drama.

Some of the tools I used to decorate the cake:

Want to purchase a gluten-free cake or cupcakes, instead?
Give these bakeries in the DC/MD/NOVA area a try:

More Notable Links:

  • Don’t forget to visit The Gluten-Free Homemaker this week for the Cake Challenge. Lots of great gluten-free cake recipes are linked up.
  • Celebrate It! is hosting this week’s All Things Family blog carnival with a roundup of summer party and craft ideas.
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Mar
24

Chocolate Eggs in a Cookie Basket

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img_1995xThis is one of my favorite Easter treats to make for the kids. OK, it’s really a treat for me, but don’t tell them that. :o) Chocolate eggs in a “basket” made of chocolate chip cookie dough — what could be better? You will need an Individual Tart Baking Pan (also known as a tartlette pan). You may also be able to use a Mini Muffin Pan or muffin-top pan, but I’ve always used my non-stick tart baking pan. I think it makes just the right shape for the basket.

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Chocolate Eggs in a Cookie Basket

Ingredients:

Chocolate Chip Cookie dough (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix.)
Candy-coated chocolate eggs (I used Cadbury Mini Eggs, but you can use M&M’s Chocolate Eggs, too.)

Directions:

  1. img_1985xxMix up chocolate chip cookie dough according to directions, and drop a large mounded tablespoon of dough into each tart impression in the pan.
  2. Bake cookies in the tart pan according to the recipe directions.
  3. When cooking is done, remove pan of cookies from the oven and press chocolate eggs into the center of each cookie tart. Leave in the pan for 5 minutes.
  4. After 5 minutes, gently remove the cookies from the pan by grabbing the edges of the cookies and pulling out with a slight twisting motion. The pan will still be hot, so be careful not to touch it with your fingers!

Additional Notes:

  • If the cookies start to come apart while trying to remove, they are probably too soft and warm. Let them cool down for a few more minutes. If the cookies won’t move at all, they are probably too cool. Set them back in the oven for a couple minutes to warm them up. They should now release easily from the pan. (I’ve never had to spray my non-stick pan, but if yours isn’t a non-stick type, you may want to use a non-stick spray before dropping the cookie dough onto the pan.)
  • If you can’t get the chocolate eggs, or want to make these for another occasion, try using a different chocolate candy. These are really good with Reese’s Miniature Peanut Butter Cups or Hershey’s Kisses, too!
  • One batch makes about 24.

Notable Links:

Mar
16

Party Dogs!?

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Pigs in a blanket, or hot dogs wrapped in dough: Whatever you call it, they are sure to please taste buds of all ages. This idea came about as an afterthought. I was trying out Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix. I followed the directions on the package for making the crust. The recipe says it makes two 12″ pizzas or one 16″ pizza. Well, my 16″ pizza turned out to be more like 14″. So, I had dough leftover. Since my daughter doesn’t like pizza, I decided to use the dough for hot dog buns. I cut the remaining dough into four rectangles and wrapped them around uncooked hot dogs. Then, I put them onto a lightly greased baking sheet and baked them for about 15 minutes. (No pre-baking was necessary.) They turned out great. And, how did my daughter like it? Well, let’s just say she’s used to eating hot dogs without buns. :) My husband and I thought they were delicious. We’ll definitely make them again. I think next time I’ll try some with a slice of cheese in them, too.

I wanted to share this because I thought it would be a great idea for a kid’s (or grown-up’s) gluten-free birthday party. Make the dough in advance, and have the hot dogs wrapped with the dough, covered on a baking sheet and waiting in the refrigerator until the guests show up. Then, pop the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. You could have a whole tray of these cooked and ready to serve while the kids play games, open presents, etc.

I should also mention that the pizza crust turned out very good, too! But somehow, I forgot to take a picture of the pizza we made. It was devoured way too quickly for me to even get a shot of it. ;)

Notable Links:

Mar
12

Make Your Own Snack Mix – GF/EF

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Due to all the snow days we’ve had this winter, my son just hit his 100th day in school last week. His teacher planned all kinds of fun counting activities for the kids to mark the 100th day. The week before the activity, the teacher emailed me saying that she wanted to have the kids each make their own trail mix snack. They would each count out 10 pieces of 10 different food items and combine them to come up with 100. So, she gave me a list of snack foods that she has used in the past for this activity, and asked me what we could do to make sure it was gluten-free. There is another student in the class that has an allergy to eggs, so they needed to be egg-free, too. I was surprised how quick and easy it was to come up with a list of items.

The teacher was able to find 9 different items at her local grocery store with no problems. I provided the 10th item, a bag of small pretzel twists for the class because I had a spare bag in the pantry. Glutino makes great pretzels that are gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, casein-free. If you haven’t thought about making a trail mix for snack foods, here’s a list of items to get you started. Choose two, three or ten! items to create that perfect snack for you and your kids. Obviously, you can make it as healthy or unhealthy as you like. And, of course, check labels to make sure that the items you are buying are gluten-free (and egg-free if you need it to be egg-free as well).

This is a great activity for the kids. It certainly makes a good counting activity, but also encourages them to prepare their own nutritious snacks. Give them a choice of appropriate snacks to choose — maybe one of each of the categories below. Whatever works for you and your family, just have fun and enjoy eating gluten-free!

Cereals:

Dried Fruits:

  • raisins
  • cranberries/craisins
  • blueberries
  • yogurt covered raisins

Protein:

  • Peanuts
  • Cashews, almonds, or other tree nuts
  • Sunflower Seeds

Snacks:

Sweets:

  • Mini marshmallows
  • chocolate chips
  • M&Ms
  • Skittles
  • Fruit snacks
  • Gummy bears

So, I’m sure I’ve missed some snack ideas. Do you have any to share? What do you put in a snack mix?

Notable Links:

Categories : Kid-friendly, Parenting
Comments (17)