Tag Archives: snacks

Apricot Coconut Balls

Cooking with Kids: Apricot-Coconut Balls

Apricot Coconut BallsThis simple snack/dessert recipe is perfect for quick cooking with your kids– even the little ones. Soak the apricots ahead of time and then it all goes together fast enough to keep their attention- and no cooking required.

Cooking with Kids: Apricot-Coconut Balls

Talk about how dried fruit is very sweet, meaning it’s high in sugar, and what that means for their health. It might just sink in!

Muddy Buddies Snack

Muddy Buddy Snacks

Muddy Buddies Snack

Photo from messforless.com

Here’s an easy cereal based snack the kids can put together themselves and everybody can enjoy 30 minutes later (15 minutes cooling time). Provided nobody has peanut allergies, it could be a party snack served in paper muffin cups.

There’s a full picture tutorial with the recipe, and your kids may even be able to follow without you being much involved. Thanks to messforless.com for the recipe and instructions.


Cookie Cutter Magic

Magic Wand Cookies Anyone? Who knew there were cookie cutters out there to perfectly compliment your Harry Potter Party or your Princess Party or your Fairy Party? And to have fun with any time after your party when your Princess or your Muggle needs a little cheering up.

You don’t even need to make your cookies from scratch– although homemade is always delicious and nice. Use the pre-made, ready to bake sugar cookies if you’re that short on time.

Sugar sparkle sprinkles can suffice for icing decoration too. If you’ve got more time, consider using lines of different colors of icing radiating out from the center of the top of the wand to give the idea of magic and be colorful as well.

These are so cool they can be your take home party favor for the kids. Tie colorful ribbons or tulle around the cookie where the handle meets the top of the wand. Make name tags using card stock and a fancy font to attach to each cookie with the ribbon or tulle. You can even add a “Thank You for Coming to my Birthday Party” on the reverse side of each name tag.

If you’re sending these home with the kids, give each cookie a cardboard backing so they don’t snap off at the top of the handle in transit. Wrap the ribbon around both the cookie and the cardboard to secure them to each other for rigidity.

Serve these special cookies at your party as part of your part food AND use them as your take-home favor, getting double duty for your effort.

Themed Cookie Cutters

Pirate Cookie CuttersThink the kids would enjoy a pirate ship shaped PBJ or skull and crossbones jello? This is a simple way to fancy up your birthday food food!

Party themed cookie cutters are available for various party themes– a pirate birthday party, a fairy party, a dinosaur party and with a marine life theme (think Sponge Bob party here), and many other themes as well, and all are reasonable priced. They’re an especially good bargain when you remember that these can be used to make fun shaped cookies anytime, not just use them once for the party and never touch them again.

Each set contains between 4 and 6 cookie cutters.

For the Pirate themed set it’s the skull and crossbones, pirate ship, treasure chest, a medallion and a pirate hat.

The Fairy set (really a princess party set) includes a frog, a frog prince, the castle, a tiara, a wand, a princess cone hat and princess shoe.

Dinos include triceratops, apatosaurus, stegosaurus and, of course, T-Rex.

The farm animals are cat, dog, lamb, cow, pig, duck and chick.

Noah’s Ark animals, perfect for an animal themed party, are horse, elephant, camel, giraffe, kangaroo, and pig.

The zoo animals are monkey, lion, zebra, giraffe and elephant.

The transportation set includes a race car, truck, train, airplane and motorcycle.

The Construction set (think Bob the Builder here) has a hardhat, saw, bulldozer, hammer, wrench and drill shapes.

There’s an insect set with butterfly, caterpillar, ladybug, dragonfly and bee shapes.

There may even be other sets– be sure to scroll through Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section. >[DISCLOSURE: If you make a purchase at Amazon through the link on this page, I make a commission from Amazon. Seems reasonable to me…..]

You can even turn your themed cookies into a party activity and a party favor– make lots of different colors of cookie icing, provide sprinkles etc, and let the kids decorate your themed cookies to eat and to take home. They can put the icing on with plastic knives- it’s pretty hard for them to hurt themselves with those. And if your birthday child is old enough, have some fun making the cookies together before the party.

Bring an extra smile to the kids faces by using these various cookie cutter sets to coordinate your party theme to your party food and snacks.

If you have other ideas for using themed cookie cutters to enhance your birthday party, please post them here for other parents to see. I just thought of one- trace the shapes onto paper for the kids to color and/or decorate as they wait for everyone to arrive at your party.


Dressing up the Fruit

Fruit The younger your guests are, the more important to your sanity and the success of your party to control the sugar intake. Remember- carbs like chips are quickly converted to sugar and will also give them a sugar high.

So what’s to be done? Easy- dress up the ‘good for you’ stuff so it’s fun and colorful and it will go down a whole lot easier. Have healthy stuff around for them to grab as needed, and if it looks nice, they will! And, your little dressed up snacks lying about will contribute to the feeling of fun as another of your birthday party decorations.

Put grapes in small paper cups with colorful ribbon around it or a theme related cupcake topper stuck into it. For example, a sail and a jolly roger on a stick for a pirate party.  Continuing the pirate theme,  use pineapple wedges as boats with apple or grape ‘sails’ on toothpicks, topped again with those jolly roger paper flags. Make some of your pirate ship cups with nuts instead of fruit- peanuts, cashews, or mixed nuts.

Give them peanut butter to dip apple slices in- delicious!! (makes a great mom snack too, since apples are a fairly low sugar fruit).

Orange quarters also make little boats to decorate with grapes or apples on a toothpick.

When the sugary stuff isn’t available to them, and the healthy stuff is colorful and fun, they’ll eat it.  So just using paper cups and themed toppers, ribbons, stickers, whatever strikes your fancy, you can dress up your fruit and or nuts for more healthful party food that will look good AND reduce that dreaded sugar-high.

Lemons for Lemonade

LemonadeIt’s been a VERY hot summer here and in much of the US, so even just the thought of a tall, cool glass of lemonade is refreshing. That goes for kids too- they play hard at your summer parties and they need to hydrate. Lemonade is a perfect summer drink to serve at your party, and you can engage the kids  and keep them busy for a bit of time by having them make it up themselves.  What could be better than having the kids make and serve up their own snacks!

Set up an outdoor table (that can get wet because they WILL spill) with a pretty tablecloth. Borrow a whole bunch of juicer’s from neighbors and friends so you have plenty for the kids to use. Buy LOTS of lemons – I find they’re juicier if they’re just a bit squeezable rather than rock hard. The lemons are also easier to juice if you roll them on a hard surface with pressure from the flat of your hand before you cut them in half to juice them. The only other things you need are sugar, ice for the glasses, a pitcher and cups for the kids to drink from.

As recommended for making the tastiest lemonade, make your sugar syrup ahead of time: dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of HOT water.

For every cup of sugar syrup, the kids need to squeeze 1 cup of lemon juice. Give them several measuring cups so they can do the measuring themselves. Let them experiment with the proportions, but I’d suggest putting a card on the table advising them to use 1 cup of sugar syrup to 1 cup of lemon juice.

Mix it up and have a few limes for them to squeeze too.

Earth Friendly Feasting

RecycleYou CAN have an eco-friendly party without depriving anybody of anything on that special day.

My thanks to mygloss.com for pointing me in this direction with their article by Sophie Uliano, the NYTimes best-selling author of Gorgeously Green.

Quite obviously, the place to start is with all that paper and plastic we all use for serving the childrens party food. Let’s face it, nobody’s going to use their good china, or even their not very good china, with a bunch of rowdy kids. But there are now some good alternatives to both the paper/plastic route and the broken china route.

First off, use cloth not paper napkins. Either invest in some inexpensive but fun and colorful ones that you’ll use all the time at home with your own kids, or dredge up all the ones you’ve got around and don’t give a second thought to the fact that they don’t match- do you really think the kids will care?

Same for your tablecloth- got an old sheet that they can write on or a colorful printed one that would look festive? Or you can have your party guests create your table covering by making big drawings (related to your party theme if you wish) on newsprint that you’ll then have a helper tape together to create your table covering.

And here’s my favorite green tip- using these ‘On the Go’ plastic plates and cups that are made out of recycled yogurt cups. Have some educational fun and tell the kids the story behind their tableware and how maybe even one of the yogurt containers they put into their reclycling bin might be part of their plate! These are reasonably priced, colorful and fun, and can be washed and re-used many times so they’re a good value.

When it comes to doing things in an earth-friendly manner, every little bit helps. The big bonus here is the story behind the plates that can get the kids thinking about being green too – I really like that. So serve up your childrens party food in a green fashion, and pass it on!

Camping Party

Camping out is enjoyed by all ages, and it makes a great party theme, no matter the weather or temperature. In fact, doing it ‘out of season’ may make it even more exotic and hence even more fun. Borrowed tents set up in the backyard or in the basement for the slumber party or sleepover work great.

If you’re outside, use your own or borrow a firepit to have a real, crackling campfire going after dark. Inside, your fireplace can substitute.  Camp, campfires, it all just begs for making s‘mores. If you’re outside, have them scavenge for their marshmallow roasting sticks and count on this taking a while as they play at the same time.

Camping out- healthy food, they just seem to go together, and Mark Bittman of the New York Times has a granola making video you can follow to make great tasting granola for your campers’ bed time snack or breakfast if it’s a sleepover party. I’d suggest (1) you make the roasted oat granola base ahead of time and then (2) let the kids chop up their own dried fruit add-ins so they can customize their granola.

If you’re group is old enough (preteen or age 9 to 10), the perfect campout accompaniment is ghost stories. You can turn this activity into a birthday party game of sorts. Ask each guest (on your invitation) to bring a 2 to 3 minute ghost story to tell at the party. Divide the kids into groups where they then tell their story to the group. Size the groups so this takes no longer than 10 to 15 (max 20) minutes. Each group then votes on or chooses the story they like best to present to the entire group. If you’ve got, for example, 15 kids, I’d suggest 5 groups of 3 which then presents 5 stories to the whole group of 15. Ghost stories MUST be told in the dark, and a flashlight uplighting the tellers face makes for a spooky atmosphere.

We’ll be giving you more ideas for a camp out birthday party theme later this week.

Pirate Hat UpSide Down

Hats for Snacks

Pirate Hat UpSide DownWhy serve your party pretzels or chips in a plastic bowl, especially a plastic bowl that you have to pay for. Instead, have serving pieces that go with your party theme. And hats might be just the thing for your party.

Having a party that includes a bunch of hockey players? Strip out those old hockey helmets, turn them upside down, and with a little kids’ clay underneath to keep them from rolling, they’ll make great popcorn bowls.  Obviously, they need to be lined with plastic wrap first.

Pirate hats for your pirate party. Crowns for your princess party– even homemade paper crowns with no bottom that just keep the chips or pretzels contained. Cowboy hats, baseball caps, straw hats, a detective’s fedora (from the secondhand store).  In fact, a trip with your birthday child to that secondhand store just to buy hats for this purpose might be a lot of fun for both of you.

Not so much for snacks, but here are directions for a great-looking clown hat to use as a centerpiece on your food table at your clown themed party. Or, turn it upside down and fill it with food. Of course, you’ve made it first with your birthday child and had a good time doing that.

One idea usually leads to another, and this makes me think of making papier-mâché containers with your birthday child–  painted whatever colors work for your party decoration theme.  Decorate these with more painted polkadots,  squiggles, whatever, and your serving pieces will be most unique.

Best of all- when uniquely served, plain old pretzels or chips become a much more interesting snack and at least part of your decorating has been taken care of.