Shortcut Shortstacks for Shrove Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday. And it coincides with Pancake Day. I read, today, that people who would be giving up sugar, eggs, and/or milk for Lent would feast on pancakes the day before Ash Wednesday in an effort to rid their pantries of those ingredients so that they would not go bad. Is that as fascinating to you as it is to me? What are you giving up for Lent? I have decided to give up desserts (save for a few pieces of birthday cake for a few important birthdays). #amicrazy #yes

To keep with this newly found (to me) tradition, I made gluten and dairy free pancakes for dinner tonight, with a fresh strawberry sauce and creamed honey (from Trader Joe’s – one of the best purchases of my life).

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I used a shortcut King Arthur Flour GF pancake mix and made it even better.

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These were SO good. I am embarrassed to say that I allowed my Bigs to eat, um, eight of these. Smalls ate a few less and without strawberry sauce (he is on a no strawberry kick).

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Gluten & Dairy Free Shrove Shortcut Shortstacks

1 pkg King Arthur Flour GF pancake mix (15 oz.)

2 large eggs

4 T coconut oil (you can use other oils or 6 T melted butter)

2 C milk (I used 1 C cashew milk, 1 C coconut milk)

1 T vanilla bean paste

2 t almond extract

Whisk together the eggs, oil (or butter), and milk. Whisk in the mix. Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes.

Preheat your griddle pan to 350F. Scoop out the batter and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side (look for bubbles to pop).

Serve with fresh strawberry sauce.

Fresh Strawberry Sauce

2 C fresh or frozen strawberries (I used frozen)

Place in a saucepan on medium heat, until softened. Put into a food processor and whiz until fully processed. Strain to get the larger unprocessed chunks out. Place back in saucepan to thicken.

EAT.

Happy Lent!

Kristin

Pet Week – Bunny VPK School Lunch

Tomorrow’s pet-themed lunch could put a spring in your step…bunnies!

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I made a bunny-shaped PB&J, and added some pink and black details. For dessert, Bigs can eat this sweet bunny’s fluffy marshmallow tail (I affixed it with peanut butter). I’d have packed some carrots, but they probably would have gone mostly uneaten. So instead, I packed some colby jack cheese, the sandwich scraps, grapes, strawberries, some little pretzel nuggets (not to be confused with bunny nuggets, you know the kind), and dried cranberries. And I decorated with a few teeny bunny sprinkles.

Boing!

*This would also make for an adorable Easter school lunch*

Kristin

Pet Week – Turtle VPK School Lunch

Tomorrow begins Pet Week for my Bigs’ class. How exciting! They get to learn all about pet-type animals and vets, and will end the week with a pet parade.

For tomorrow’s lunch, I went with the turtle theme (I should have titled this, “Crooked Turtle” – I realized too late that my picture was off…by a lot. #gotnotimetofix):

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I made a turtle-shaped ham and mayo sandwich. I made his creepy little smile with my Food Writers. I also packed the scraps as his turtle hill (can turtles even go up hills, I need to know), cheese, grapes, strawberries, pretzels, and one gummy worm. I feel like turtles eat worms. (do they, I need to know).

Kristin

(late) Valentine’s Desserts

Last week was full of Valentine’s activities and special treats. I was so busy, that I wasn’t able to get the dessert recipes up, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me, right? You can make these any time. So get on it. Or tuck these away for Valentine’s Day next year….it never hurts to be prepared!

First up, Dark Red Velvet Cookies. Oh yes, boy.

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These were chewy and cocoa-y, and filled with milky, melty chocolate.

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Such a fun treat for the lunchboxes!

Dark Red Velvet Cookies

Recipe adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction, Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies

1.5 C + 1 T AP flour

1/4 C dark cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)

1 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1/2 C unsalted butter, softened

3/4 C brown sugar

1/4 C granulated sugar

1 egg, at room temperature

1 T milk

2 t vanilla extract

1.5 T red food coloring

1 c milk chocolate chips

Toss together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.

With a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter, in another bowl, on high speed until creamy. On medium speed, add the sugars and beat until combined. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla extract. Once mixed, add the food coloring and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Slowly beat until a very soft dough is formed. Beat in more food coloring if you’d like the dough to be redder. On low speed, beat in the chocolate chips. The dough will be sticky.

Cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour (up to several days). Thaw, as needed, before baking.

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

Scoop the dough and roll into balls. Bake each batch for 10-11 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Switching directions to gluten and dairy free –

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I’ve made these GF DF peanut butter cookies many times. They always come out perfectly.

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They have all the ingredients needed to make for an old-fashioned peanut butter cookie feel.

I also added raspberry jam to a few:

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I love how these came out. The jam added a chewy goodness to them. I can’t even. Actually I could. And I did.

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/gluten-free-peanut-butter-cookies

And lastly, but still gluten and dairy free – Chocolate Torte!

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This thing is a showstopper. It’s super glossy in the picture, because I had just poured my cashew milk ganache on top.

Yes. Cashew milk ganache. And it’s ridonkulously easy.

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Look at that freshy.

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Torte

Recipe adapted from: King Arthur Flour, Flourless Chocolate Cake

1 C semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 C (8 T) unsalted butter

3/4 C granulated sugar

1/4 t salt

1 t vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan. Fit a piece of parchment paper in the bottom. Grease that as well. 

Put the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the butter is melted and the chips are soft. Stir until the chips melt, reheating briefly if necessary (you can use a double-boiler if preferred). Transfer the melted chocolate/butter to a mixing bowl.

Stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add the eggs, beating briefly until smooth. Add the cocoa powder, and mix just to combine.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 25 minutes; the top will have formed a thin crust.

Remove it from the oven, and cool it in the pan for 5 minutes.

Loosen the edges of the pan with a table knife and turn it out onto a serving plate. The top will now be on the bottom; that’s fine. Also, the edges will crumble a bit, which is also fine. Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze: Combine one cup of semi sweet chocolate with one half cup of non-dairy milk (or cream, if you want dairy) in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the milk is very hot, but not simmering. Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is completely smooth.

*I have used both cashew and coconut milks for this and they both turn out beautifully.*

Spoon the glaze over the cake, spreading it to drip over the sides a bit. Allow the glaze to set for several hours before serving the cake.

EAT.

Enjoy these sweet treats!

Kristin

Happy Valentine’s Day VPK School Lunch

And alas, tomorrow is my Bigs’ Valentine’s Day party in school, and thus, his last Valentine’s Day lunch.

So, here it is:

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I made a gold PB&J heart. I also packed whole wheat pretzel nuggets, a mandarin orange, blueberries, strawberries, and one homemade red velvet cookie.

I’ll be posting some yummy dessert recipes soon, too (a few repeats), two of which are both gluten and dairy free!

Happy Friday,

Kristin

Bee Mine VPK School Lunch

Here is tomorrow’s lunch for my Bigs:

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I made three little pancake PB&J (I used peach jelly this time). My boys love these little sandwiches. I also packed a few pretzel nuggets, a mandarin orange, blueberries, one heart shaped strawberry, one homemade dark red velvet cookie (recipe still forthcoming #imbusy), and two little conversation hearts, about which I know my buddy will flip. I also used a little “Bee Mine” bee ring and a heart pick as decoration.

Here is my Smalls lunch:

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I also packed three little pancake sandwiches, a mandarin orange, a few pretzel nuggets, one dark red velvet cookie, and one conversation heart. Per his request, I also added vanilla yogurt (with a few sprinkles), and applesauce. He does not get decorations yet because he eats them. #iknowthisfromexperience

Have a great Thursday!

Kristin

XOXO VPK School Lunch

Here is tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day lunch for my buddy:

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I made an “X” and an “O” ham, cheese, and mayo sandwich. I also packed pretzel nuggets, blueberries, strawberries, and a homemade red velvet chocolate chunk cookie (recipe upcoming). I used some “XOXO” cupcake picks for decoration.

XOXO,

Kristin