A Quick & Healthy St. Patrick's Day Snack for Kids {+ adults}

With St. Patrick's Day next Tuesday, I wanted to share a super quick and healthy snack your kids will love {and I'm sure parents wouldn't mind snacking on either}. It's edible shamrocks and gold coins made simply by using a mini Shamrock cookie cutter with fairly thick slices of cucumber and then cutting out small circles of cheddar cheese. I used the end of a frosting tip for my small circles - using what you have on hand always works. :) You can serve the "shamrocumbers" with any dip of choice. I used ranch dressing and took a large slice of cucumber that I scooped out with a melon baller to make a serving bowl. Your kids will love this healthy snack to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with.

Funfetti Cake Batter Truffles {recipe}

When I created this recipe back in November for my daughter's My Little Pony birthday party, I also took some fun photos of the sprinkles in a glass bowl for an idea I had in my head. Over the holiday break, I was finally able to create what had been on my mind ever since. This Friday, you will see a fun printable that will be available in my etsy shop for instant download. It's bright and cheery and sure to bring a smile to your face. In the meantime, here is a super fun and DELICIOUS recipe for Funfetti Cake Batter Truffles {modified to be gluten free from a recipe I spied over at Lauren's Latest from a few years back}.

please note: my recipes are made to be gluten free and nut free, but you can easily substitute regular flour for the gluten free flour in the ingredients

Funfetti Cake Batter Truffles

Ingredients

1 cup white cake mix {I used Betty Crocker's Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix}
1/2 cup all purpose gluten free flour {I only use King Arthur's Gluten Free Flour now}
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk {your choice}
1 tablespoon sprinkles + more for decoration {any color combo you like}
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips {I used Chadwick's brand - they're gluten free + nut free}

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix, flour and sugar. Stir in the melted butter, vanilla, milk and sprinkles. The mixture should be moist and able to hold its shape easily when formed. Using a small spoon, form the mixture into even balls and refrigerate 20-30 minutes.

While the cake batter balls are cooling, melt the white chocolate in a glass bowl on top of a pan filled with a small amount of water over medium heat. Continue to stir gently until all the chocolate has melted. This next part gets a bit messy and not all the cake balls will remain perfectly round, but I was totally ok with that. Once the chocolate has melted, drop one of the cake batter truffles into the chocolate and roll around to coat {a fork is usually the best so any excess chocolate can drip off}. Once you have dipped the truffle, transfer it to a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Top with more sprinkles and place all of the truffles when completed into the fridge.

I suggest removing the truffles from the fridge a few minutes before you wish to serve them so the chocolate has a little time to soften. These confetti cake batter truffles were a hit at the party and I was so bad after the party as I had quite a few leftover. I would often find myself walking past the fridge later that night as well as the next day and sneaking one {or two} in. I LOVED them!

Gluten Free Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough {recipe}

A dessert that's ready to eat & enjoy in under 10 minutes

Last night I was in the mood for edible chocolate chip cookie dough and as soon as I said that, my oldest daughter {8} said "YES" right away! Little did I know that our youngest {2} would also love it. She's tried it before but handed it right back to me. I quickly made up a half-batch and handed a scoop in a bowl to each of my girls while they watched the Charlie Brown Christmas Special on tv. They were so cute laying side by side on the floor by the fire watching the show and eating their cookie dough. Shortly after, the little one wanted "more" and then her sister came back for more. It's so yummy! Today I'm sharing with you the recipe for the gluten free edible chocolate chip cookie dough that I absolutely LOVE!!!

please note: my recipes are made to be gluten free and nut free, but you can easily substitute regular flour for the gluten free flour in the ingredients

Ingredients

    12 tablespoons brown sugar
    4 tbsp butter {softened}
    1/4 tsp vanilla extract
    4 tbsp milk
    1 cup gluten free flour {blend of your choice}
    pinch of salt
    1/2 cup gluten free mini chocolate chips {I always use Enjoy Life for this recipe}

Directions
Simply combine all ingredients in a bowl, minus the chocolate chips. I usually use a fork to mix everything together. Once well blended, stir in the chocolate chips and then it's ready to eat.

Fudge-Like White Chocolate Brownies {topped with Handmade Chocolate Pumpkins}

These brownies are so delicious and topped with the chocolate pumpkins, they are the perfect fall dessert. When my daughter came on a recent grocery shopping trip with me, we both almost did a happy dance in the baking aisle. Our local Price Chopper had white chocolate chips from Chatfield's that were made in a nut free facility {and were also gluten free}. I was thrilled to find them as I knew they had to exist I just didn't know where to find them {besides online}. I immediately knew I had to find a yummy recipe to make using them and these brownies were just perfect. I've since even made White Hot Chocolate, LOVE! {recipe soon for that as well}

please note: my recipes are made to be gluten free and nut free, but you can easily substitute regular flour for the gluten free flour in the ingredients

Ingredients

    6 tablespoons butter {I use Earth Balance}
    1 cup white chocolate chips
    3/4 cups granulated sugar
    2 eggs
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup gluten free flour blend of  your choice

Directions
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees
• On low to medium heat, place a glass bowl to rest in a pan filled with a small amount of water. Melt the butter with the white chocolate and stir until smooth.
• Once smooth and melted, remove from the head, add sugar and mix well with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula {this is my preference}.
• Mix in the salt, vanilla, and eggs until incorporated. Stir in flour until well combined, scraping the sides often.
• Spread the batter into a greased 8" pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. You may need to rest some aluminum foil over the brownies so they don't brown too much while baking. Let the brownies cool a bit before cutting into squares as brownies taste best when they're still a little warm.

MY PRESENTATION TIP: I found silicone ice cube trays at the $1 store in the shapes of pumpkins. I melted chocolate chips and poured them into the molds. I put them in the fridge to harden and they were ready to pop out after about 3 hours. If you need them sooner, you can always pop them in the freezer. Before serving the brownies, place a molded chocolate pumpkin on top {I used a little leftover frosting I had to hold them in place, but this isn't necessary}.

recipe adapted from one featured on backforseconds.com

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Tis' the season for all things pumpkin and these pumpkin cupcakes are AMAZING!!! I made them for my daughter's 2nd birthday three weeks ago and everyone loved them. The birthday girl certainly loved the frosting as that was licked right off. Below is the recipe . . . you may just find yourself having one for breakfast even, they're that good {my older daughter did}. Her birthday was train themed as she loves Thomas the Train so I topped each cupcake with a railroad crossing sign I made.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cupcakes

Ingredients for the Cupcake

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
    (including ingredients listed on back, minus the water)
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 – 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

Ingredients for the Frosting

  • 1 – 8 oz PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese {1/3 less fat}, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners
• Prepare cake mix as directed on box BUT add pumpkin pie spice and substitute pumpkin puree for the water
• Pour batter into cupcake liners in muffin tins {I spray a little cooking oil into the bottom of liner for easier release}
• Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean
• While you let the cupcakes cool, you can make the frosting
• Combine all frosting ingredients in a medium bowl and using a hand mixer, combine until smooth and don't be afraid to taste - this frosting is delicious
• Spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes and ENJOY!!!

This recipe was adapted from one featured on Lil’ Luna
— http://lilluna.com/easy-pumpkin-cupcakes

S'mores Chocolate Ice Cream | Gluten Free + Dairy Free {recipe}

You will never believe this recipe. It's ice cream that doesn't require an ice cream maker {which is perfect for me as that's one of the things I don't have in my kitchen}, it's gluten free, dairy free and calls for avocados. What? Avocados and Chocolate? I have to say - they pair together perfectly. I once made a pudding with cocoa powder and avocados - it was amazing!

S'mores Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients for Ice Cream:

  • 2 avocados, cut into wedges
  • 3 large ripe bananas, cut into slices
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup milk {your preference, I used lactaid fat-free}
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1-2 tbsp honey

Yummy Mix-Ins:

    Directions

    1. For the ice cream, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth
    2. Pour into the container that you will freeze the ice cream in and add the mix-ins. Stir to combine and place in the freezer for about 3-4 hours or until it's set. {note: The ice cream becomes very hard after 4 hours, so you might want to take it out part way through dinner so it has time to thaw before enjoying.}
    this post contains links to products via an affiliate link - these are the actual gluten free products that I used in this recipe and the ones that I always keep stocked in my pantry

    Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Brownies {recipe}

    The weekend before this past one, our neighbor surprised us with 3 HUGE zucchini's from their garden. I immediately knew I had to bake something with them and thought about the typical zucchini bread. But, decided to make a gluten free version of a chocolate zucchini brownie. The result was a fudge-like brownie that we all LOVED - even our 22 month old got excited when I placed little squares of the brownie in-front of her for dessert. I served our brownie pieces with my homemade hot fudge sauce on top and even with whipped cream too one of the nights.

    Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

    Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups gluten free flour of your choice {I used Domata Flour}
    • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/4 cup apple sauce
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 2 cups shredded zucchini {liquid squeezed out}

    Directions:

    Sift together all the dry ingredients and then mix in the liquid ingredients into the same bowl. Once, combined, pour into a greased 9x13 glass baking dish. Bake for 35 mins at 350F or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool a bit and then serve as brownies are amazing when they're still warm from the oven :)

    Edible : Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

    There's a wonderfully sweet new cookbook out and it's called . . . Sally's Baking Addiction : Irresistible Cookies, Cupcakes & Desserts for your Sweet-Tooth Fix. There are so many super scrumptious recipes in this book from Sally McKenney of SallysBakingAddiction.com that I'm not quite sure which one will be my first to try. I'll of course have to convert a few of the ingredients to be gluten-free and nut-free {some of the recipes are actually already labeled gluten free or vegan}. Each recipe in this cookbook features a full-color photograph which is something that makes me love a cookbook even more. I always love seeing what the end result will look like. Inside this cookbook you will find recipes for Breads & Muffins, Breakfast, Brownies & Bars, Cakes, Pies & Crisps, Candy & Sweet Snacks, Cookies, Cupcakes, and Healthier Choices. Today, Sally is here to share her recipe for Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies {which also happens to be featured on her cookbook cover}. YUM!!!

    Prep time: 20 minutes • Total time: 2 hours, 40 minutes • Makes: 24 cookies

    1 1/4 cups (190g) yellow or white boxed dry cake mix
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    3/4 cup (11/2 sticks or 170g) butter, softened to room temperature
    1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
    1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
    1 egg
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 cup (90g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup (90g) white chocolate chips
    1/2 cup (80g) sprinkles

    1. In a large bowl, sift the flour, cake mix, and baking soda together. Set aside.

    2. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together in a large bowl on medium speed until creamed, about 2–3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, scraping down the sides as needed. Using the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Do not overmix. With a large spoon or rubber spatula, fold the chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and sprinkles into the dough. Cover the dough and chill for at least 2 hours (or up to 3 days).

    3. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and allow to soften slightly at room temperature for 10 minutes. 

    4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. 

    5. Roll the dough into balls, about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough per cookie. Roll the cookie dough balls to be taller rather than wide. Place 3in apart onto each cookie sheet and bake each batch for 10–12 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days.

    Sally Says: Dry cake mix is used to replace flour in this recipe to give the cookies their distinct “cake batter” taste. Make sure you sift the dry cake mix in with the flour and baking soda—cake mix tends to be lumpy, and the last thing you want are powdery lumps in your baked cookies. Trust me, it’s not pretty!

    You can Purchase Sally's Baking Addiction Cookbook Here

    DIY : Fresh Fruit Drink Stirrers + a Watermelon Printable Invitation

    I've been seeing drink stirrers everywhere lately - so I figured why not create edible drink stirrers that your party guests {both kids and adults} will love. I only had watermelon and blueberries on hand this weekend - but the ideas and colors for this are endless. {think cantelope, honeydew, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc}. Simply cut the melon fruit into slices and then use a cookie cutter in the shape{s} of your choice. You could even use a melon baller if you wish. Berries wouldn't need any cutting. Bamboo skewers or plastic stirrers are great options to hold your fruit. Amazon has many choices for drink stirrers{and in colors} to choose from.

    DIY Fruit Drink Stirrers | as seen on www.Best-BabySites.com
    DIY Fruit Drink Stirrers | as seen on www.Best-BabySites.com
    DIY Fruit Drink Stirrers - use any seasonal fruit you like and match your party colors | as seen on www.Best-BabySites.com
    DIY Fruit Drink Stirrers - use any seasonal fruit you like and match your party colors | as seen on www.Best-BabySites.com

    And, since you will need to send an invitation to have your guests over to celebrate, how about this brand new one I've added to my etsy shop? It's a print-at-home invitation that is available as an instand download. You simply purchase, download and print away. There's 4 invitations to a single 8.5x11 page, so if you only need 24 invitations - you only need to print 6 pages. You can even import the file into a photo editing program if you choose to type in the party details. Purchase your Summer Celebration Invitation Here and get ready to have lots of fun in the summer sun. And, remember, you don't necessarily need a specific reason to party. Even having family and friends over for a casual get together can be made even more exciting by sending an invitation via snail-mail.

    Printable Summer Party Invitation with Watermelon
    Printable Summer Party Invitation with Watermelon

    PS: the envelope featured above does not come with the invitation template. Any A2 size envelope will work, but you can definitely find colored envelopes at Amazon.

    Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce Your Kids Will Love

    It's the season for ice cream and this past weekend, a banana split was calling our names. My husband wanted to get all the fixings for us, but I knew I've never seen a natural hot fudge sauce in our area stores. In particular, one that didn't contain high fructose corn syrup and wasn't made on shared equipment or in a plant with nuts {our older girl has a gluten and nut allergy}. So, I went pinterest searching and made the most delicious and easy hot fudge sauce recipe that my daughter LOVED along with myself and my hubby {thank you Mama Ging}.

    Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce
    - 1 cup sugar
    - 2 tbsp corn starch
    - 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
    - 1 cup milk
    - 2 1/2 tbsp butter {I used Land O'Lakes Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil}
    - 1 tsp vanilla extract

    In a saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch and cocoa. Add milk and butter. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, removed from heat and stir with whisk for 1 minute. Now add vanilla and stir to combine. Let cool a bit before eating {if you can}. Makes approx  1 1/2 cups of sauce. {this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if needed}