Gluten Free Party Mix

Image This is just one of those crunchy, salty, savory treats that I crave; and listen, we all have to treat ourselves now and again, right?  As easy as it  can be to purchase a bag at the store there are a few reason I try to avoid doing so: 1) there is so much gluten and so many preservatives in the store bought variation it is INSANE 2) nothing tastes quite as good as a homemade version of this party snack…especially warm out of the oven 3) when I make it at home I have complete control over what goes into it 4)  it’s a really fun way to get the kids in the kitchen…measuring, pouring, stirring; all just perfect for those sweet little hands This is about the most simple recipe there is out there.  I love to make a batch and store it in the freezer in plastic freezer bags (thanks, Mom 😉 )…it’s so simple to pull out and serve when unexpected company stops over.  And let me just tell you….pair this with a Saturday football game and a cozy couch with blankies; holy cow now thats my idea of a party! Image Gluten Free Party Mix

Ingredients

1 Box (9 cups) Corn Chex Cereal

5 Cups Rice Chex Cereal

4 Cups Unsalted Peanuts

3 Cups Gluten Free Pretzels (available in the health/GF aisle of every market I’ve been to)

8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

5 Tablespoons Low-Sodium Tamari (available in Asian section)

3 Teaspoons Seasoning Salt

1 3/4 Teaspoons Garlic Powder

1 1/2 Teaspoons Onion Powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 and place both cereals, peanuts and pretzels in a large roasting pan.  Melt butter on the stove or in the microwave and then stir in Tamari, seasoning salt, garlic powder and onion powder.  Drizzle the mixture over the dry ingredients and gently stir until the dry ingredients are well coated.  Bake, uncovered, for one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes.  Store in airtight container.

Vanilla Spice Cookies

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I know, I know, this is not a “mom blog”.  But this little cookie date was too much wonderfulness not to share with all of you.  Below meet Hadley, my beyond dear friends adorable little lady.  We had a plan to head to the park but the weather was pure gloom so we made a cookie date out of it instead.   I think all were happy about the decision…including the mothers who have ingested 98.7% of the results.  I was going for a take on an animal cracker but calling these a cracker would be selling them far too short.  They are so simple tasting but so addictive; the hint of vanilla and spice are perfect and that tiny bit of salt hits you right at the end.  The plan was to make these into number shapes but we were working with two toddlers.  Who both liked stars.  Clearly the stars won, but any shape cookie cutters would do.  Such a fun treat.

The method is as simple as it gets.  Measuring the ingredients is the most difficult part

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And cutting out the shapes is the perfect job for the kiddos.  Look at that teamwork

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Tasting their blood, sweat and tears

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Taste test approved.  They were so good high fives were given

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Vanilla Spice Cookies

adapted from this recipe

note:  I chose to use gluten free flour in this recipe  but any all purpose flour would do.  Also, butter can be substituted for the coconut oil, so you would be using 1/4 cup total butter.  If you are using coconut oil you can zap it in the microwave for a couple seconds to melt it.

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups Gluten Free Flour (xanthan gum included)

1/2 Cup Oats

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/4 Cup Melted Coconut Oil

4 Tablespoons Chilled Butter, cut into cubes

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

1 Large Egg

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.  Add flour, oats, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar to the food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine.  Add butter and pulse until it is broken up into little pieces, about 10 pulses.  Add coconut oil, butter, vanilla and egg and pulse until a dough ball has formed.  Remove dough from processor, pat into a firm ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.  Remove from wrap, place on a floured surface and roll out until dough is about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out shapes, place on a greased cookie sheet and bake 12-15 minutes or until bottoms are just golden.  Makes 45-55 cookies.

Hadley thanking Georgia for the fun morning.  And baby Will wondering how he got screwed out of the cookie deal

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Two words.  Heart Melting.  xo

Whole Wheat Cheddar Crackers

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I am all about getting our kids in the kitchen.  I believe we have a responsibility, as parents, to show our kids where our food comes from; that it is something to respect.  I also feel that getting our littles involved in cooking ensures them to be more engaged in trying new foods and being open to different tastes.  If they are a part of the process, they are more likely to take interest in the final product.  No matter their age, we can make them a part of it.

These crackers were our project for the morning.  It took a whopping 40 minutes from start to finish…and was definitely time well spent for my toddler and I.  I find it safe to say that most kids love those little goldfish crackers, mine included.  This is a great take on that concept…for a fraction of the price.  Have you ever peeked at the ingredient list on those little fishies?  I am guilty of treating my child to them on occasion but I always cringe at the thought of what is in them.  It’s so gratifying to know that you can accomplish the same result in your own kitchen, with nothing but whole grains and real ingredients; no additives, MSG, dyes…and a list of other things I cant pronounce;)  I would encourage you to gather your kiddos and make this your own project on the next rainy or snowy day…you’ll have a blast and your kids will feel so proud of their accomplishment!

Whole Wheat Cheddar Crackers

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cup Fresh Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

4 Tablespoons Butter, cut into 16 cubes

1/2 Cup Whole Grain Whole Wheat Flour + more for rolling dough

1/4 Cup Almond Meal or Flour

1/4 Teaspoon Onion Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Directions:

First, gather your ingredients.  I had a lovely assistant to do that job for me

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Preheat oven to 350.  Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process for 4 minutes.  Turn off the motor, stir the loose dough to combine and firmly press it together with your hands, forming a ball.  Place dough ball in plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.  My sous chef gets a kick out of the food processor

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Remove from refrigerator and allow to stand at room temperature for five minutes.  Sprinkle surface with a liberal amount of flour and place dough on top.  Firmly pat the dough out with your hands, just like this

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Sprinkle top of dough with flour and roll out until it is 1/8 inch thick.  Next, use your favorite mini cookie cutters and make as many imprints as you are able to fit into the dough, like this

ImageNext, take a small spatula and scoop up as much dough as you are able to fit onto the spatula.  Remove the excess dough around the shapes so that all you are left with is the shapes you’ve cut out, like this

ImagePlace cracker shapes onto a non greased baking sheet, 1/2 inch apart.  Gather the scraps and form into a ball and repeat the patting, rolling and cutting out process.

Bake crackers for 10 minutes, or until they are firm to the touch on the outsides and a tiny bit soft in the middle.  Cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.