Gluten Free Friday – Bacon Cheeseburger Parfait

Oh Gluten Free Friday, how I have missed you…

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I had something totally different planned for today, but then came across this awesome recipe by Hungry Girl (LOVE her!!), and I knew I needed to do this immejietly.  There is nothing I love more than naturally gluten free meals that Skylar and I will both eat, with the bonus element of fun.  After you excuse my unedited photos (my computer was giving me attitude, and I couldn’t wait to share this one), I give you the Bacon Cheeseburger Parfait:

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cbparfait

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OH. MY. GOSH. THAT’S. SO. COOL! (as stated by Skylar)

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We don’t currently own parfait glasses, so we scoured the shelves for something else fun.  Skylar chose a perfectly sized martini glass (a girl after my own heart), and I picked a larger sangria glass, because I wanted a bigger portion.

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The absolute best part of this meal is the customizability (new word?).  Just as you would with a normal burger, you can throw whatever toppings you want in here.  We both wanted bacon.  I mean, who wouldn’t, right?!  After checking around, we found that these “Real Bacon Bits” contain no gluten ingredients.  You can find them with the other bacon bits in the non-fridge aisle.  They are a little soft, so we decided to toast them up for crunch.  This is a great alternative to making a big ol’ mess trying to fry up bacon slices just for a little bacon crumble.  Plus they jumped and danced in the pan, which was fun to watch.

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Ingredients (for approx 4 parfaits) (Adapted from Hungry Girl)

  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • salt/pepper/burger seasoning to taste
  • 1 small/medium sweet onion, diced (set some aside if you want raw for toppings)
  • 4 slices of american cheese
  • Instant mashed potatoes (enough for a serving of 4), with all ingredients to make it
  • Burger toppings of your choice: ketchup, mustard, A1, BBQ sauce, pickles, tomato, bacon, avocado, lettuce, raw onion, relish, sautéed mushrooms, ect, ect, ect…

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Directions

  • Gather, chop, peel, saute, and lay out all of the optional toppings.
  • Put beef, seasoning, and diced onion into a pan, and cook until the meat is brown and the onions are cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, cook the instant mashed potatoes as directed on the box.  When you mix everything together at the end, add a little extra flake to make it a nice thick batch.
  • Start to layer in your glass.  First the meat mixture, covered with a few ripped off pieces of American cheese.  Then add your choice of toppings, and a layer of potatoes to fill the glass halfway.  Repeat to fill the top half.
  • Garnish the top layer of potatoes with a few of your ingredients.
  • Enjoy!

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Skylar went simple with hers: Cheese, bacon, and pickles.  I, however, went a little on the fun side with cheese, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, avocado, tomatoes, and A1 sauce.

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Total success.  We will definitely do this again.  This would be a great alternative for someone GF at a BBQ.  You could even take a burger from the grill, chop it up, and throw all of this in a bowl. Yum.  Everyone will be jealous.

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Will I see any of you at the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo this weekend?!  I went to this last year, and it was amazing!  I couldn’t believe not only how many great companies were there sharing their products, but also how many people attended.  They’ve moved it to the Schaumburg Convention Center this year, which is a much larger venue, so I’m sure there’s going to be a ton of great stuff to check out. Woohoo!

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Have a wonderful Friday Everyone!!

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Lizz

Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, Chicago 2013

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Hello again Friends!!

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I am so excited to announce that I have been given the opportunity to be an Official GFAF Expo Blogger!!  The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo will be in the Chicagoland area on April 20th & 21st at the Schaumburg Renaissance Convention Center. I attended this Expo last year, and I have never seen anything like it.  So many amazing vendors, so many amazing products, and so many amazing people sharing in their gluten free-ness.

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As many of you know, my kiddo was diagnosed with Celiac just under 2 years ago, so we are pretty well versed in the gluten free lifestyle.  As luck genetics would have it, I myself have just recently received my own Celiac diagnosis.  So my return to blogging is kick-started a combination of my need/desire to learn how to go GF as an adult and an amazing expo filled with answers.

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I think I am most excited to check out some of the classes being offered this year.  There are some really great topics this year, ranging from eating out safely to cooking for teens to autism and ADHD.  For a full schedule of classes at this year’s Expo, CLICK HERE.

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So….Who’s with me?  GFAF Expo or BUST!!!

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I missed you all, so happy to see you again…

Lizz

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P.S.  Be sure to check back here after the Expo for a special Gluten Free Friday with my review of the weekend.

Gluten Free Friday – Rock Candy

Happy Friday Everyone!!

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Just because you have to eat Gluten Free does not mean you can’t have a sweet treat now and again.  Rock candy certainly fits the bill!  Skylar and I decided to make our own one day, and we had a great time watching our efforts grow into a yummy crystal candy.  This project requires some advanced planning, as the candy will take about a week to grow.  Check it out…

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(Remember, if you children are helping here, make sure they are aware that this is very very hot, and to be careful not to splash when mixing)

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You will need to start by making a sugar solution.  Boil half a pot of water and slowly mix in sugar until it is fully saturated and the sugar will not dissolve.  You will have a clear liquid that is the consistency of thin syrup. (Beware:  This is going to use a lot of sugar {shutter})

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Drop a few drips of food coloring into a glass jar, then pour the sugar solution into it.  Be VERY careful!!  I used a funnel to make sure I didn’t accidentally pour hot sugar all over the place.

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Then, we dipped bamboo skewers (with the sharp tip cut off) into the liquid, and rolled it in granulated sugar.  This is important as it will get the rock candy started.  Gently place the skewer into the liquid.  Be careful not to shake it too much, or the sugar will fall off the stick.   Then we used large clips to keep the stick set up.  Make sure the stick is not near the bottom of the jar (give it about inch or two), or it will eventually become attached when the crystals start growing, and you will not be able to get it out.

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Set the jar aside and wait.  For about a week.

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Day 1

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Day 3

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Day 7

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Finally ready!  Use a knife to help break up the layer of crystal that has formed at the top of the jar.  Be very careful not to hit the stick, or you will break up the rock candy.  If everything goes as planned, you will be able to pull the stick out easily.  About half of mine were stuck to the bottom, and I couldn’t remove them without breaking them.  Glad we made so many!!)

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Set them aside to dry a bit.  Then they can either be eaten right away, or wrapped up for gifts.

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We had a lot of fun making these, and watching them grow.  They were pretty darn tasty too!

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Hope you all have a great weekend!

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Lizz

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Would you like to pin this on Pintrest? Click here:

St Patty’s Revisit

Since we did so many St Patty’s Day projects last year (and I couldn’t finish my project for today’s post!), I thought I would show you some of those projects again. If you are looking for a fun last minute project, we have lots for you to try!

(just click the photo to see the original post with instructions)

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Make your own St Patrick’s Day shirt using freezer paper

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Make a leprechaun sundae

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Make a leprechaun trap

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Enjoy a St Patrick’s Day muffin tin meal

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I hope you found something you might want to try!

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Make sure to come back tomorrow for a special St Patrick’s Day themed Gluten Free Friday!

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Have a great day everyone!

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Lizz

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For you Pintrest fans out there, if you are loving what you see, click the link below to pin your favorite project(s):

 
Make a Shamrock t-shirt

 Leprechaun Sundae

 Leprechaun Trap

 St Patrick’s Day Muffin Tin Meal

Rainbow Fruit Skewers

This past weekend, Skylar and I were invited to a St Patrick’s Day party.  We love a good themed party, and we were really excited to join in the festivites.  When I asked what dish I could bring, I was given instructions to bring whatever.  Oh, the possibilites are endless!

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I knew there would be a lot of kids at this party, so I opted to make something on the healthy (and gluten free) side that everyone would enjoy.  And, of course, it must have a St Patty’s theme!  Enter Rainbow Fruit Skewers…

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Don’t those just make you feel like there’s a pot of gold somewhere close?!

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After choosing our fruits of many colors, I cut them into similarly sized pieces, then laid everything out for a bit so it wasn’t super super moist.

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I put them onto the skewers, and Voila!  A beautiful rainbow of a healthy treat!

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Stay tuned for more St Patty’s Day fun!!  If you want to see the fun things we came up with last year for this jolly green holiday, Click Herefor all of our St Patty’s Day posts.

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Have a great day everyone!

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Lizz

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If you would like to add this post to your Pintrest page, Click here to Pin It

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes – Improv Cooking Challenge

Today I have the pleasure of sharing a recipe with you that I made for the Improve Cooking Challenge!  Every month, two ingredients are chosen and all of the participating bloggers create a new recipe that includes the two chosen ingredients.  Then we all post our recipes at the exact same time.  So Fun!

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The ingredients for our November Improv Cooking Challenge were….

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Pumpkin and Cream Cheese!!!

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And…My chosen recipe is Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes!! (Gluten free for us, of course!)

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Super easy.  Super Yummy.  This dense pumpkin flavored cupcake with whipped cream cheese frosting was a delicious instant hit.  For the cupcakes, I used an awesome recipe that includes just 3 ingredients.

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Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix, 18.5 ounces (in our case, the gluten free cake mix only had 15 ounces, so one and a half boxes was required)
  • 1 can of pumpkin
  • 1 cup of sugar (optional)

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Directions:

Mix everything together until well incorporated.  You will not need to add anything else that the box mix asks for (eggs, oil, ect.), but getting this well mixed may take a little muscle.

Line a muffin tin tray with cupcake liners.  Fill each cup almost full.  I find that these cupcakes do not rise much, like regular cupcakes, so you can fill each cup a little more than normal.  (I’m not sure if that’s a gluten free thing, or a pumpkin thing)

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Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

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Set aside to cool completely.

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Once cooled, it’s time to make the awesome Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting.  I didn’t take any process photos, but it’s really easy.  I slightly modified a recipe I found at Not so Humble Pie.  It was being used to top cinnamon rolls (Yum!), and sounded like a perfect light and fluffy way to top these cupcakes.

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Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 16oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2  teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream

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Directions:

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  In a separate bowl, make whipped cream (my first time ever!).  Simply whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks are formed.  Then scoop the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.  Quickly beat to combine, but don’t overdo it.

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I used a ziplock bag with the tip cut off to pipe some frosting on top of our cooled cupcakes.  A little orange sugar sprinkled on top, and check out the fabulousness….

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And of course, the ultimate test of a good gluten free recipe…Did Skylar like it?

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“It was great.  Then excellent, and very very very good”

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I will take that glowing review!

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I would like to extend a huge thank you to Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for hosting this Improv Cooking Challenge!

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Improv Challenge

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If everything goes as planned, you should be seeing all of the other recipes from this month’s cooking challenge below. (If you are reading this in an email, you will need to click *here* to see this page online)  Please feel free to click on any of the links and check out some of the other amazing recipes.

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Thanks for stopping by!

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Lizz

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Wanna Pin this on Pintrest? Just click here:Pin It

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It seems that my blog doesn’t want to work properly with the party link, so in order to see the other fantastic recipes for this month, just click on the cute frog face below.

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Muffin Tin Monday – Finger Foods

For this week’s muffin tin, it felt like we really needed something simple and easy.  We decided to make a meal of all things you can eat with fingers or food picks.  It was fun to figure this one out.  Here’s what we came up with:

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Top Row (left to right): cucumbers with ranch, frozen black cherries, watermelon gummy rings

Bottom Row: GF barbeque almond nut thins, pepperoni and mozzerella picks, grapes

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Skylar ate every single bite!  Success!

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The crackers she had were new for us, and they were really tasty.  These almond nut thins come in a variety of flavors, and make a great crunchy snack for anyone who needs a GF treat.

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(source)

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I hope you enjoyed this quick and easy tin.  To see some of the other great tins that were made this week, check out Muffin Tin Mom’s site.

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Muffin Tin Monday at Muffintinmom.com

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Have a great week everyone!

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Lizz

Apple Picking 2011

It’s official!  Fall is here!!

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And this year, we were determined to be on top of the apple picking.  We always seem to get there at the last minute, or even after the apples are already gone.  Not in 2011 my friends!!  We chose the first weekend of Fall to take care of business.

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We went back to an orchard we really enjoy called Woodstock Country Orchard.  We like this place very much because it’s simply an orchard.  It doesn’t have all the rides and games and petting zoos, ect.  Some of these other bigger places nickel and dime you to death.  They charge you to park, charge you to get in, charge you to ride said rides, charge you (a lot) to go apple picking… Sigh.  Pretty soon they are going to start charging for the bathrooms, and charging to leave.  Woodstock Country Orchard has free parking, and reasonable upick prices.  Plus donuts and locally made honey.  Love it!

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So, here’s a ton of pictures showing some of the things we did that day:

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We were surprised that they had raspberry picking, but took advantage and picked us some fine red berries!

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There were lots of bees milling around the raspberry bushes, but we also found some other friends.  Can you see him?

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Some of us got to sit back, munch, and take a ride…

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…while some of us did all the work!

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These kids were picking apples faster than we could get them into the bags!

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“Skylar, point at that apple again.  Don’t make it look obvious that I asked you to do it again.  Uh, okay, good job.”

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The best apples are at the top of the trees.  I recommend shoving a small child up there in order to reach them.

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We found lots of lovely (empty) nests.

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She had such a good time!

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My favorite shot of the day.

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After apple picking we found this random upick vegetable farm.  Check out all those peppers!

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I’m not sure I’ve ever held an eggplant before, let alone picked one off the vine.

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This was an amazing score!!  This whole basket cost a whopping …(brace yourselves)… $9!!!!

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These guys were so proud of all the hard work they did.

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Such a fun day.  I highly recommend doing any sort of upick adventure you can find.  Not only is it a ton of fun, you come home with so much fresh food and a new appreciation for how it gets to your plate.

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Have a great day everyone!!

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Lizz

Gluten Free Friday – Magic Milk Straws

Welcome to Gluten Free Friday!

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I have a fun little thing to share with you today.  I recently came across a fun new(ish) way to drink milk.  Magic Milk Straws!

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So what’s so magical about straws?  Well, these straws have a little surprise inside…they actually flavor your milk as you drink it!  So fun!

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I had found a ton of 6 packs in a wide variety of flavors (including some I would have never thought of like wild berry and chocolate peanut butter), but I loved the idea of this family pack, which offered us 4 basic flavors: Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla, and Cookies & Cream.

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I couldn’t wait to get these home to share with Skylar.  And, as always, she didn’t disappoint.  She jumped around and immediately asked for a glass of milk.  You want a little dairy?  No problem!!

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We opened the box, and got a nice surprise: they are all individually wrapped.  That could be so nice for lunches or traveling.  Then we got to inspecting.  We found that the straw is filled with little flavored balls, and it has a sort of valve at each end to keep those in while the milk goes through.

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(oops…forgot to use a vanilla straw for this pic!!)

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I could go on and on about how cool I think these are, but really, there’s just one person’s opinion that matters.  So, Skylar, what do you think?

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Ha!  She really does love them, but drinking out of a straw is one of two things that I think nobody looks cool doing.  (the other is running with a backpack on)  What does look cool?  Magic Milk Straws in a muffin tin meal!  Did you see this one from last week?

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(If you want to check out all of our muffin tin meals, *click here*)

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So why did I use an entire Gluten Free Friday post to talk about straws?

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See that?  Gluten Free!  Right on the package.  As Skylar and I now say, those are our favorite words to see.

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Have you found a fun GF treat you would like to share?  We would love to hear about it!

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Thanks for stopping by for Gluten Free Friday!

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Have a wonderful, yummy, chocolatey/strawberry/vanilla-y/cookies & creamy/wild berry/chocopeanutbuttery milky day!!

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Lizz

Muffin Tin Monday – Up

I asked Skylar what them she thought would be fun for our muffin tin this week, while she was watching the movie Up. (If you have not see this movie yet, you really should, it’s lovely)  She decided we should do things that are up in the sky.  Great idea!

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Top Row (Left to Right):  orange sun (with choc chip face, and GF brown rice spaghetti rays), a peanut butter nutella sandwich kite, night sky with stars

Bottom Row: Pirate Booty clouds, milk straw kite string, grape balloons

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We thought this tin turned out super fun!

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The night sky was a little different for us.  I used a piece of grape fruit leather (since it’s the darkest), and pushed in a few of these little rock candy pieces that we got at the asian food market.

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Cute, crunchy, and yummy!

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The milk straw is something that I will be posting about this week for Gluten Free Friday, so come back to check it out!

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We will be sharing this, as always, at Muffin Tin Mom’s Site.

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Muffin Tin Monday at Muffintinmom.com

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Have a great weekend everyone!!

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Lizz