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The summer months are usually weekend upon weekend of warm breezes, grilling out with family and friends or even just a time to relax and do nothing at all. While many families are busy traveling in July, our family celebrates birthdays a lot more. Ever since my daughter was small, we have made it a point to pay attention to the small details for her parties. I secretly enjoy the added frilliness that having a daughter brings to these celebrations. Sons are just as much fun to plan for but nothing beats the added touch of glitter and magic that gives my daughter her special sparkle.
Growing up with an allergic brother and my choice to eat gluten free as much as possible, my daughter is accustomed to watching me create various treats in our kitchen. I am more than proud to say that she is my cooking assistant, my cheerleader and even my mentor at times when I need to be reminded that cooking for food allergies can be a little stressful sometimes. She is the youngest wise person that I know. So when her birthday comes around, I like to try and give back some of that specialness that she gives to me each and every day.
How do you plan gluten free treats that can be easy while also wowing the party goers? I listen to my daughter’s advice- Don’t over think it. Start with the basics and just decorate them with food. Consider what adults usually have at parties and then make the same thing in a child-friendly version. Most children gawk at the details of what all of the parents get so why not give them what they want?
Marshmallow Tags– An easy, adorable and festive way to make sure that everyone keeps their own drinks (especially with food allergies, there’s a strict no-share policy at our house). To assemble: Simply pair up Glutino Animal Crackers and a colorful paper straw for each guest and set them aside. Insert each paper straw into a large marshmallow, making sure the straw goes through the center, leaving the flat ends to attach the animal crackers. Using melted chocolate, cover one of the flat marshmallow ends with chocolate, followed by one animal cracker, then carefully lean the complete end on a cutting board lined with waxed paper. Do the same thing for the other side and allow the straws to cool completely. Store them in an airtight container to keep them from getting stale. Can be made the night before.
Festive Peppermint Shake– The wonderful thing about shakes is how easy it is to add almost anything to them in a short amount of time. Part of the fun is to enjoy them in a fancy glass. To assemble the glass: Smear the edge of a glass cup with your favorite frosting, then dip it into Glutino Peppermint Yogurt Covered Pretzels. To make the Peppermint Pretzel Shake: Scoop your choice of frozen dessert and crumbled Glutino Peppermint Yogurt Covered Pretzels with a bit of milk. Blend until you get a thick shake. Pour into your assembled fancy glass and top with additional crumbled pretzels.
Toaster Tea Cakes– Remember seeing those fancy little cakes at tea parties? But who has the time to make those tiny, detailed treats? No need- you can use what you already have and make your own version for those tiny little hands (and, maybe even some for the cook). All you need are three ingredients-
To assemble: Cut the toaster pastries into equal, bite-sized squares. Set them aside. Cut the Sour Gummy Worms (must be the sour gummy as these stick the best) into smaller pieces to use as gems or make an easy fleur (video here). Melt the frosting just enough to be warm but not boiling. Place the pre-cut squares on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Using a small spatula, add some frosting on one of the squares facing upward, then a second square (using the frosting as a glue). Cover the squares with more frosting, covering equally and top with gummy pieces. Allow to cool before serving to keep the frosting from smearing.
And what happens to those cut off pieces from the toaster pastries? Keep them! Our family is very budget-conscious and I try my best to utilize everything rather than throw it away. These little scraps are perfect for a small fruit cobbler (recipe here) that can be used at parties or even just for your own special dessert. The combination of the ingredients and the toaster pastry bits are a glorious, gluten free delight as well as a change of pace for a warm weather dessert.
Remember to always be adventurous with your foods- don’t play by the rules, don’t limit your options and most of all, don’t ever think that having a gluten free diet means there are not special recipes in your life. Everyone has a sparkle- it’s just a matter of embracing it.
About the Author Tracy Bush is the founder and President of Nutrimom, Inc., also known as Nutrimom – Food Allergy Liason. As a Consultant, Author and mother of food allergies she specializes in bridging the gap by providing guidance and support for anyone who has been diagnosed with food allergies. Her expertise includes a variety of ways for supporting the food allergy community and continues to expand. For more information about what she does as well as her ebook “The Stepping Stones to Food Allergies” at www.AllergyPhoods.com
This original article is made possible by Glutino. As a pioneer in the gluten-free industry since 1983, Glutino is committed to creating the best tasting gluten-free foods and gluten-free snacks for you and your family that are not only safe but delicious. Whether it’s a gluten-free recipe, support resource, wellness event, Glutino coupon, or a new way to look at the world around you, we hope to help and inspire you be at your very best. Live gluten free. Live fully!