11.23.2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls {dairy + gluten free} and Hallmark Ornaments

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SendHallmark #CollectiveBias

When Mason was born two weeks before Christmas almost seven years ago, the hospital gave us a gift basket that included a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament. I suppose maybe that's what they do for almost-Christmas babies. Since we did not get one this year for Dawson and our local Hallmark store closed awhile back, I was at a loss. I started looking online and realized that Walmart carries them!

I packed up my little guy and we trekked out to Walmart. I was excited to find a huge selection of Hallmark Ornaments in the Seasonal section at my local store. I actually arrived just minutes after two employees had finished stocking the shelves, so they were not picked over at all. I would recommend checking out your Walmart store's selection early so you can find the perfect Hallmark ornament for your Christmas tree, or even to give as a gift to someone you love.

I remember as a child, each year before Christmas, we would get a Hallmark catalog in the mail and would pour over the fun, festive ornaments. There were always so many new options each year and since decorating for the Holidays was one of my favorite things to do, I would imagine all of the possibilities if only my mom would let us buy one of each. Hallmark Ornaments are the perfect addition to any Christmas tree or holiday decor!

While that dream never did come true, I do remember a few specific, special ornaments that we would trim the tree with each year. The cutest ones were always the Hallmark ones. That stuck with me and I knew as an adult that I wanted to collect them for special events. Not only do I have a Baby's First Christmas ornament from Mason's birth year, but I also have one from our wedding year. These moments are so much fun to remember again when the holidays arrive!



When I found the Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart, they had several cute options. I was not prepared to have to make a decision. While I have spent the past few years trying to convert the majority of our ornaments to neutrals and metallic finishes, I try to get one ornament each year for our boys that represents something they are into at the moment. I found the cutest "Baby's First Christmas" picture frame ornament that'll be perfect for a little photo of Dawson. Mason is into super heroes at the moment, so Iron Man was very fitting for him too.



Now, I know we haven't even made it to Thanksgiving quite yet, but wandering around the holiday section at Walmart started to put me in the mood for Christmas. I could do without the cold weather, but there are so many parts of the season that I love and can't wait to experience as a family of five this year with our new little man!

I started thinking about sitting around watching Christmas movies with the kids with just the lights from the tree illuminating the room. The warm and cozy scents of the season, the holiday cheer that seems to spread everywhere you go, and the food. My goodness, the food... So many memories there!

I always try to replicate a favorite dish or dessert from my childhood, but dairy-free and gluten-free so that we can all enjoy it together. The first thing I thought of were my mom's Peanut Butter Balls that she has made every year since my childhood. While they are a simple dessert that could definitely be enjoyed any time of year, there is just something about having them at the holidays that is so nostalgic for me. 

I decided I needed to make them, stat! They're so simple that I already had all of the ingredients on hand. The only variances from my mom's recipe is that I used gluten-free rice cereal, dairy-free butter, dairy-free chocolate chips, and added a bit of coconut oil. I decided to dress them up a bit from the original recipe by adding some festive toppings. You could really use any sort of topping you would like to. It's kind of fun to switch it up a bit with the cool minty candy canes, the salty pretzels, and the sweet sprinkles. For an extra fun touch, insert candy canes in the middle to replicate a hook on your ornament! 

Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls {dairy + gluten free}

  • 3 cups gluten-free crispy rice cereal
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter)
  • 1/3 cup dairy-free butter substitute, melted
  • 1 package dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
Topping suggestions:
  • crushed peppermints or candy canes
  • decorative sprinkles
  • decorative sugar
  • crushed gluten-free pretzels
  • dairy-free white chocolate drizzle
  • caramel drizzle
  • melted peanut butter drizzle

Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Set aside.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the peanut butter and dairy-free butter substitute. Microwave 30 seconds or until butter is melted and peanut butter is slightly softened.

In a large bowl, mix together the crispy rice cereal and powdered sugar. Pour the peanut butter/butter mixture over the top and fold together until the mixture is well combined.

Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

Combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.

Assembly:

Step 1. Using your hands, scoop out a handful of the mixture and press together until it begins to form a ball. You want them to be about one inch to an inch and a half in diameter so they can be eaten in a few bites.


Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

Step 2. Set the peanut butter balls on the parchment and continue until you've used all of the mixture. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to help the peanut butter mixture set up and hold its shape. (I can usually get about 20-22 out of this recipe).
    • If you want to make them look like ornaments with hooks, BEFORE refrigerating, gently press the straight end of a candy cane into each ball. You will likely have to press the mixture around the candy cane to keep it together. (I like to break the candy canes down so they are shorter or use mini candy canes.) Remove the candy canes and when coating them and be careful not to fill the hole completely with chocolate. A little bit is okay as it will help to hold the candy cane in place. Once coated, reinsert the candy cane.
Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

Step 3. Using a large spoon or two forks, gently dunk each peanut butter ball in the melted chocolate and coat the outside completely. Gently shake them as you remove them from the chocolate to remove some of the excess.

Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

Step 4. Place each coated peanut butter ball on the parchment paper. Add toppings before the chocolate sets. Once all are coated in chocolate and toppings are added, place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to set before serving.


Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart | Making it Milk-free | www.makingitmilkfree.com

Which Hallmark Ornament will you choose this season?

Dressed up classic holiday dessert inspired by Hallmark Ornaments from Walmart.

11.21.2015

Maple Pecan Granola {gluten free + vegan}

It's no secret that one of the best parts of Thanksgiving are the leftovers. There are so many unique and delicious recipe ideas out there using everything from the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and cranberry sauce. If you are lucky enough to snag some of the leftovers, you can create delicious meals for the next few days.

Crunchy, salty and slightly sweet granola with a hint of cinnamon and maple. Perfect for layering with your favorite dairy-free yogurt for a breakfast parfait.


11.20.2015

Food Allergy Friendships (and Making it Milk-free is Three!)

I realized a few days late that Making it Milk-free turned three years old! November 11 is a special day for many reasons. It is Veteran's Day, our wedding anniversary, and the day I decided to start a blog. In all honesty, I didn't know what I was doing three years ago when I decided to start blogging. (If you followed back then, I'm sure you could guess that!) As I reflect on that time, I have discovered so much more than I ever thought I would.

Photo Credit: Food Allergy Jams

11.17.2015

Black Forest Trifle {dairy + gluten free}

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SilkDairyFree #CollectiveBias


#chocolate #cherry #trifle #dairyfree #glutenfree #dessert #silk #yogurt

I am a creature of habit in many areas of my life. Grocery shopping is one of these areas. This stems from buying foods for specific restricted diets and the many years I have spent looking for certain products and trying to find the best deals. When I do venture out to a new or different store than usual, if I find a familiar product, I often do a happy dance in the aisle. Yes, I get many strange looks but it is just so exciting! If you or a loved one has food allergies, I am sure you can relate!


11.11.2015

Caramel Apple Blondies with Caramel Sauce {gluten free + vegan}

It's no secret that apples are one of my favorite ingredients to use in recipes during the fall. Just type in "apple" in the search box over there ---> and you will see!

I have tried on a couple of occasions to make a dairy-free caramel sauce that would work for dipping apple slices in, drizzling over ice cream, or adding to baked desserts for a gooey addition. I finally had the time and patience to develop the perfect sauce and I was super excited to find a use for it. I decided the first recipe I would use it for would incorporate all three.

#glutenfree #dairyfree #vegan #blondies #apples #caramel



11.10.2015

Baked Pumpkin Spice French Toast {gluten + dairy free}

French toast is one of our breakfast favorites around here. Usually just made by dipping slices of bread into a mixture of egg, almond milk, and cinnamon, and frying it up, then served with a drizzle of maple syrup. I love the idea of baked french toast, which typically is put together the night before and refrigerated overnight, saving you time in the morning. While it sounds nice, putting the whole thing together really only takes a couple of minutes. The main reason to make it ahead is to allow the bread more time to soak up the liquid for a more custard-like texture.

#glutenfree #dairyfree #frenchtoast #breakfast #pumpkinspice

11.07.2015

Iced Animal Crackers {gluten + dairy free}

When I was a kid, animal crackers were one of my favorite snacks. My favorites were the ones in the pink bag: shortbread cookies, lightly frosted with a hardened glaze. My second favorite were the iced ones, coated in pink and white icing and topped with sprinkles. While I have been able to find one brand of the lightly frosted animal crackers that are dairy-free and safe for my little guy, I haven't found any that are free of both dairy and gluten, and also have icing.

The plain animal crackers are okay, but I'll usually only eat a couple and then be done with them. Which is probably better than eating an entire package, but where's the fun in that? Ha!

#glutenfree #dairyfree #animal_crackers #snacks

11.05.2015

Doughnut Round-up {gluten + dairy free}

Apparently today is National Doughnut (Donut?) Day. I wish I would've known this sooner as I would have made some doughnuts for breakfast to celebrate!

But I certainly believe that every day is a good day for doughnuts, so I thought I would put several of my recipes here in one place. 

Doughnut Round-up {gluten + dairy free}




11.02.2015

Easy Holiday Cleanup with Huggies®

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HuggiesforHolidays #CollectiveBias #CVSHuggiesHeroes

As the mom of a young boy with food allergies, I'm no stranger to keeping baby wipes on hand to clean up messes. I use them on surfaces we may touch to clean up after those who came before us, to wipe hands before eating, to wipe faces and hands after eating, even to clean up spills in the car. I should probably just buy stock in baby wipes already!

#huggiesforholidays

11.01.2015

Mocha Mississippi Mud Crunch Bars {dairy + gluten free}

Do you ever randomly think about foods from your childhood that you didn't really think you liked, but suddenly you have to try them again? I hadn't had that experience until about the last trimester of my pregnancy. For some reason, out of the blue, I would have a memory of a particular recipe that my mom would make and decided I had to make it.

One such food item was brownies. I remember my brother being a fan of brownies, but I didn't care for them as much. I do remember a specific recipe for caramel brownies that Mom made using a German chocolate cake mix and individual caramels. That was probably the one I actually enjoyed the most. Because I haven't come up with a way to remake those gooey caramel squares sans dairy, I didn't make the effort to try them.

#glutenfree #dairyfree #chocolate #brownies
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