Tag Archives: kids

The Best Gluten Free Christmas Sugar Cookie (Cut-Out Style) Recipe

The Best Gluten Free Sugar Cookies from https://jenfongeats.wordpress.comI’ve now been gluten-free since April, and have lost 2 sizes since I made the switch. I’ve experimented with lots of gluten-free cooking and baking, and have found a lot of recipes that I really like. The toughest thing, though, is gluten-free baking. Getting the right mix of flours to simulate wheat has been tricky at best, with each combination “almost” there, but not quite. I’ve enjoyed being able to make baguettes and such, but I’m still working on a recipe that is, in my opinion, ideal.

Now that the holidays are here, I was wondering how I was going to make Christmas cookies. Every year my kids and I have made sugar cookies…you know, the kind you roll out and decorate. We always leave some out for Santa. And I wanted to find a batch this year that we could all eat, that tasted as good as I remember.

The Best Gluten Free Sugar Cookies from https://jenfongeats.wordpress.comFriends, I’ve done it. I found the perfect recipe. This is one that we will make forever. I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do. (Note that this recipe is not refined sugar-free. Although I usually cook without refined sugar, this recipe is an exception.)

It starts with an all-purpose gluten free flour mix I developed. Make this first, and you can use it in other recipes as well.

Jen’s Gluten-Free Pastry Flour Mix 

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup dry milk
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum

Combine all ingredients in an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator.

The Best Gluten Free Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipe

The Best Gluten Free Sugar Cookies from https://jenfongeats.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) organic unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup organic pure cane sugar
  • 1 large organic egg, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Jen’s Gluten-Free Pastry Flour Mix
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour (Honeyville brand is best)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Here’s What to Do:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using a hand or stand mixer.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing until fully incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and blend on low until fully combined.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour or until firm.
  6. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  7. Take dough out of refrigerator and place on a (gluten-free!) floured surface. (Use the all-purpose mix, or rice or tapioca flour.)
  8. Slowly roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thick, repairing cracks as they appear. The key here is to go slowly.
  9. Use cookie cutters to cut dough into desired shapes, and place on parchment paper covered cookie sheets. Decorate as desired.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, just until bottoms are starting to brown. Do not overbake.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Enjoy!

Here a batch my kids made. Poor arm-less cookie man. 🙂

The Best Gluten Free Sugar Cookies from https://jenfongeats.wordpress.com

The Best Gluten Free Sugar Cookies from https://jenfongeats.wordpress.com

What kind of cookies do you like to make with your kids? How have you adapted your traditions to a gluten-free lifestyle? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Gluten Free School Lunches for Kids

My Kids on the First Day of School

I’m trying to reduce the amount of wheat I send in my kids’ lunches. While I’ve always tried to include milk and a vegetable, reducing the wheat is even more of a challenge, because it affects the easy sandwich. While I can use gluten free bread, I’m also trying to be a bit more creative and up the protein quotient.

Here are the parameters I set when packing school lunches:

  • No peanuts (although my kids aren’t allergic, there are kids in their school with life-threatening allergies to peanuts and I don’t believe that peanuts have any place in schools where this is the case.)
  • Must include milk
  • Must include a vegetable and a fruit
  • Must include a protein
  • Something sweet is nice to end the meal with

I have plastic sandwich boxes for each of the kids (no waste) and last year I purchased silicon cupcake cups by Wilton that fit inside the sandwich boxes and serve as flexible partitions for various foods.  I also have a few convenience products for the sweet/fruit component of my kids’ lunches, but they are all organic and pure.

Here are some of the lunches I’ve sent with my kids.

French Toast Sticks (made with Udi’s Gluten Free bread) and Homemade Breakfast Sausage (just meat and spices)

Served with 100% maple syrup for dipping, organic apple slices, organic yogurt, organic fruit & veggie shredz, and organic milk.

Another Variation…Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Waffle Sticks with Mixed Dried Fruit (no sugar added)/Nuts and Homemade Sausage

Homemade Chicken Nuggets (made with almond flour and coconut oil)

Served with organic ketchup for dipping, organic carrots and cherry tomatoes, organic apple slices, yogurt (not organic this time…my mother in law bought it), dark chocolate square, and organic milk.

Plain Organic Unsalted Brown Rice Cake with Sunbutter for Spreading

Served with an organic apple, organic yogurt, seed/dried fruit mix, and organic milk.

Brown Rice Cake and Cheese

Served with organic carrot sticks, baby sweet pepper, Laughing cow cheese for spreading on the rice cake, string cheese, cashew and freeze-dried strawberry mix, organic fruit and veggie smoothie, and organic milk.

Organic Brown Rice Cake (Tamari with Seaweed Flavor)…can you tell my kids like rice cakes?…with Turkey Pepperoni and Cheese

Served with dill pickle (from the farmer’s market), cheese (from the farmer’s market), Laughing cow cheese for spreading, organic fruit and veggie smoothie, dark chocolate square and organic milk.

Gluten Free Pizza Bagel (made on Udi’s Bagels)

Served with turkey pepperoni, organic carrots, organic fruit and veggie smoothie, homemade fruit sweetened brownie (adapted from this recipe), and organic milk.

When All Else Fails…GoPicnic

Sometimes I don’t have time to make lunch. And my kids think these GoPicnic gluten free lunch boxes are a real treat. They only get them for special occasions (they’re $4 a pop). I also give them a choice between buying pizza lunch at school on Fridays or a GoPicnic box. They choose this about 50% of the time. These are their favorite flavors:

Now obviously some of these lunches (but not all!) require some forethought. I tend to cook up a large batch of pumpkin waffles or french toast and chicken nuggets on the weekend, and freeze some for lunches for the week. Pizza bagels can be made in the toaster oven in the morning.

What do you send with your kids for lunch?

6 Halloween Candy Alternatives That Aren’t Lame

It’s the beginning of October. That means my kids are eagerly making their plans for the sugarfest more commonly known as Halloween. I live on a street that sees a LOT of kids on the 31st of October, and most houses are well stocked.

When the kids come home with their loot, we carefully ration it out so that they  don’t overload in a couple of days, but rather make it last for months. But even so, there’s a part of me (the part that doesn’t buy candy for my kids) that doesn’t really want to hand out candy. I don’t want it in my house, and the kids in the neighborhood are going to get more than enough of it.

But I still want to participate in the fun, and I also don’t want my kids to have to deal with the reputation of being the house that hands out toothbrushes. So here are some suggestions for things you can hand out on Halloween that aren’t candy, but also aren’t lame, so your kids can show their faces in school the next day.

  • Helium balloons. I still remember the one house we always tried to hit in our neighborhood on Halloween when I was a kid. They rented a big helium tank and handed out black and orange helium-filled balloons. A glance into their house showed that they had balloons floating all over their living room. And you could tell every kid that had been there because they all had their balloon while they were trick or treating in the rest of the neighborhood. What a fun idea!
  • Glow novelties. This is one I’ve done a few times, and it’s always a hit with the little kids, as well as the teenagers! I buy a bulk pack of glow necklaces, bracelets, or whatever I can find, and crack them so they glow right before trick or treating begins. I’ve even seen glow in the dark vampire fangs! It’s especially nice at night, and gives a little more safety to kids as they wander the streets after dark.
  • Organic fruit shreds. Now I don’t mean organic sugar sweetened gummies. But the ones that are basically organic fruit puree and nothing else added rank right up there with handing out gummy bears, in my opinion. I like this kind.
  • Bubbles. Now this may go over better with little kids than big kids. But those little bottles of bubbles (same size they use at weddings) can be tons of fun.
  • Coins. There’s one house I know of where they save up their loose change all year, and then hand it out at Halloween. Now this isn’t one you can use for self-serve. But if you’re willing to dole it out to each goblin at your door, this is always a good one. And if nothing else, you’re prepared for the kids that trick or treat for UNICEF.
  • Individual sized microwave popcorn. Now I’m a little bit torn on this one, because I’m not super fond of all the chemicals in microwave popcorn, not to mention the fact that corn in the US is genetically modified. But if you’re trying to avoid sugar, we’ve done this in the past and it’s been well-received.

What do you hand out at Halloween? Do you have additional suggestions? Please share them in the comments below!