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Our Newest Listed Restaurants and Bakeries!

Il Capuccino Ristorante
30 Madison Street
Sag Harbor, NY
(631) 725-2747

Recommended by a reader! Il Capuccino offers award-winning Italian food in a cozy atmosphere. GF starters, entrees, and dessert available. Check out the wine list as well!

Par Delà Bakery
Stafford Springs, CT 06076
(860) 851-9830

Par Delà pies have been making quite the splash around Connecticut, and we’ll tell you where to get them! Started by gluten-intolerant moms Sherri Seekins and Rachel Reindeau of Union, CT, the company aims to provide stunning, delicious baked goods to the GF community. While you won’t find a physical bakery, you can find Par Delà pies and other products at the Tolland, CT and Ashford, CT Farmer’s Markets, as well as many CT retailers. For more information, visit www.pardela-pies.com or find them on Facebook.

Anthony’s Cheesecakes
71 Washington Street
Bloomfield, NJ
(973) 415-8885

All the cheesecakes are GF at Anthony’s, which is new this winter to Broomfield. Choose between, chocolate, cherry, blueberry, chocolate Boston cream, white chocolate macadamia, baked cinnamon apple, caramel pecan, and pumpkin. Yum!

A Gluten-Free Passover

Passover is a major festival in the spring, observed and celebrated by Jews around the world, which involves abstaining from forbidden foods. It is a family holiday with different foods, the special meal of the Sedar, and dietary restrictions throughout the following week. Being GF only adds a little twist that can be overcome.

passover-seder-plate

The question of what flour to use when it is generally accepted that only flour from matzoh can be used during Passover has to be answered on an individual basis. GF recipes will not include matzoh meal or matzoh flour because that is usually made from wheat. The Sephardic community considers rice and legumes as acceptable during Passover because these are the main articles of food in their geographic locations. Therefore, many of the following recipes will include these ingredients. Many of the following recipes were adapted from Classic Kosher Cooking for Sam Finkel.

On the Sedar table there is a Passover tray which has symbolic foods arranged and served during the course of the Sedar. All of these foods are GF.

The symbolic foods are:
1. Morar—bitter herbs, horseradish
2. Karpas—a vegetable (a potato, cucumber, lettuce, radish, or parsley)
3. Chazeret—a second more bitter vegetable
4. Charoset—a nut, apple wine mixture
5. Zeroa—the shankbone or neck or poultry, roasted
6. Baytza—a hard boiled egg

Throw A Super Bowl Party!

logo 2010-Super-Bowl

Anyone who’s been to one knows that a good Super Bowl party is as much about the food as it is about the game. In fact, after Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl rings in as the second largest day of food consumption for Americans. GF Delights has you covered for the big day with delicious recipes, as well as tips for making your Super Bowl party one to remember.

  1. Limit the guest list. “The more the merrier” may sound like a good idea before you’re coordinating food for everyone and rearranging the living room. Try limiting your guest list to 10-20 people, and invite only people you really want to spend the time with—or at least ones that will be likely to help you with the big cleanup once the party’s over.
  2. Involve a big screen, if possible. This may sound like an obvious tip for those who have offered to host, but the TV you know and love may not provide the optimal viewing experience. Consider setting up more than one TV, asking a friend to bring a second, smaller set, or renting a large screen TV. Big-screen TVs can be rented from audio/electronics companies, or regular rental places such as Rent-a-Center. If you do rent, be prepared to pay anywhere from several hundred dollars up to $1000.
  3. Use the BYOB system.Most guests will have no problem with BYOB, especially if they want to be sure to have their favorite brew on hand. Still, be sure to stock with fridge with both GF- and non-GF brews for all to enjoy. You can also setup a cooler close to the couch, so as to avoid missing game time, and restock during halftime. Wondering what’s out there in terms of GF offerings? Check out our report on gluten-free beer, found here: http://gfdelights.blogspot.com/2009/06/good-beer-gluten-free.html

For those who don’t drink, but sure to have plenty ofnon-alcoholic beverages on hand.

  1. Setup a food station. Whether you’re sticking to finger foods or setting up a make-your-own taco station, keep the bulk of the food apart from the couch and TV setup (with the exception of snack mix and nuts!). That way those who want food will be able to get some without disturbing those watching the game, and you’ll be contain some of the party mess to one food area. Make it fun! Try a build-your-own ice cream sundae bar, complete with toppings like nuts, chocolate chips, coconut, and chocolate syrup (always remember to check the labels!)–and have a selection of GF ice cream brands on hand (see a great list here).
  2. Don’t forget the fun stuff! If you’re feeling festive, decorate your house with the colors of the team you’re rooting for—a great way to get even non-football fans involved. Many party supply stores also sell football and Super Bowl-themed decorations. For use during game time, buy a couple of square foam pieces (available at any fabric or craft store) to be used as “bad-call bricks,” to be chucked at the TV by frustrated guests, without the damage.

GF Dessert Spotlight: Crème Brûlée

Make an elegant (and delicious!) statement with crème brûlée. This sophisticated French dessert is naturally gluten-free, and best of all, simple even for even a novice pâtissier.

Some tips when making crème brûlée:

  • Heat eggs and milk or cream just to the point where they set and become perfectly smooth and creamy. If the custard exceeds a certain temperature the egg proteins will shrivel into tiny lumps, giving the custard a hard, dry, grainy consistency.

• A water bath, also known as a bain-marie, is the cook’s principal means of managing heat during the cooking of custards. Baking a dish of custard in a larger pan of water partially insulates the custard from the oven’s heat and thereby protects it from overcooking. To bake custards in a water bath, choose a pan large enough to accommodate the cups comfortably. They should not touch one another or the pan sides. Set a cake rack in the pan or cover the pan bottom with a dish towel or several layers of paper towels; the rack or towel(s) will prevent the custards from coming into direct contact with the hot pan bottom. Arrange the custards in the prepared pan, place the pan on a rack in a preheated 325˚F oven, and immediately pour enough scalding-hot tap water into the pain to come one-half to two-thirds of the way up the sides of the custard dishes. By pouring the water into the pan after setting the pan in the oven, you are able to keep the pan steady and prevent splashing water into the custards.

• In testing for doneness, gently shake a cup, and remove the custard from the oven as soon as the center appears quivery, like firm gelatin. Or insert a knife near the edge of the cup; if the blade comes out clean, the custard will be set all the way through when cooled—there is sufficient stored heat in the cups to finish the cooking process. Remove the custards from the pan and cool on a rack. Test them at the centers. If they are as well done as at the edges, set the cups in ice water at once to stop further cooking.

 

Scrumptious, Satifying Soups

Fall is a wonderful time for warm, soothing soups, and for celiacs looking for a good home-cooked meal, few options are come by as naturally. Soup’s versatility (ingredient-wise) makes it a particularly good option for those who are gluten-free, and its low-maintenance approach means that practically anybody can make great soup!

It’s true, soups can require a bit of patience, although there are plenty of soups that can be made quickly (see our Chicken, Avocado, and Tomato soup, below). The trick is to have all of your ingredients on hand, and to look thoroughly through your recipe before you begin so you know what’s ahead of you.

If you don’t have time to make your own stock, you may certainly use store-bought stock or broth (do, however, check the label thoroughly—sometimes gluten-containing additives make their way into these products!). If you have the time, however, using homemade stock will simply transform your soups! We’ve included a recipe for poultry stock, below, as required by some of our recipes. Homemade stocks can keep 3-4 days in the fridge, or can be frozen (incredibly!) for up to 6 months. Make your homemade stock in advance to cut down on your soup’s start-to-finish time.

Host A Wine & Cheese Party

An elegant wine and cheese party can be a fun and memorable event for both celiacs and non-celiacs alike! Arranging a wine paring party may sound daunting, but the experience can be guided by your own tastes and interests. With tasting parties, the possibilities are nearly endless, and your own creative touch is the key to success!

Whether you stick to a particular wine region or to one type of cuisine, creating a theme for the party can help focus your event and give your guests a unique experience. One popular approach to this type of party is a wine and cheese party.

White to Red, Light-bodied to full-bodied
Although conventional wisdom continues to dominate ideas about wine tasting and pairing, the rules are changing. No longer is it unacceptable to have a full-bodied red with a fish dinner, or to forget food altogether and enjoy wine all by itself! While you should feel free to go by your own preferences and instincts, there are some guidelines that may enhance your tasting experience.

Take A Good Look
Taking note of a wine’s shade, brilliance, and overall appearance are the first steps in a wine tasting. To get a good look at your wine, tilt your glass forward and look at the color of the wine against a white background(make particular note of the color at the very edge of the wine—it will be lighter—this is the true color of the wine). Is the wine cloudy, clear, or brilliant? Does the wine appear young or old? (Typically, younger wines will have much deeper colors.)

Use Your Nose
All that swirling and sniffing isn’t just for show—it’s a powerful tool that will help you discover the wine’s character. To sniff your wine effectively, keep the glass on the table (especially if you’re new to swirling) and rotate it several times so that the wine swirls around the inside of the glass and mixes with air. Only swirl a glass that’s half-full or less.

Immediately after swirling, place your nose into the airspace of the glass and smell the wine. This is the time for you and your guests to jot down your first impressions of the wine—but sure to offer everyone tasting sheets with information about the wine and extra space to record their observations. There’s never a “wrong” answer when it comes to wine, only different experiences. Consider using a wine aroma wheel at the party to help your guests identify what they’re smelling
(http://www.ccaws.net/Articles/AromaWheel.jpg).

At Long Last—The Sip
After you’ve looked at it and smelled it thoroughly, you may finally sip your wine! Take a medium-sized sip and hold it in your mouth. As you hold the wine over your tongue, draw in some air through your lips. Then, swish the wine in your mouth—get a good feel for its body and character. Finally, you may swallow it (you may have guests who would like to taste the wine without actually consuming any; for this reason, you should have some type of spitting cup or bowl present).

What Do You Feel and Taste?

Is the wine sweet, or dry? How present is the wine’s acidity? Is the wine firm, soft, crisp? Is it light-bodied, medium-bodied, or full-bodied? These are some good questions for you and your guests to think about as you enjoy your wine tasting. But of all the questions, perhaps the most important one to ask yourself is, “Do I like it?” The true emphasis of the party should be on enjoying the wine—and being your own judge.

Enjoying Wine With Cheese
People have long enjoyed wine with cheese together because of the way they enhance one another. The following suggestions for wine/cheese pairings are first grouped by different grapes, and then by the wines created with grape blends.

Cheese by itself is GF, but occasionally the mold that grows on some cheeses—particularly blue cheese—can contain gluten because of the way it was produced. These days, the mold for blue cheeses is often grown on synthetic products (as opposed to loaves of bread), but not always, and Celiac consumers should be wary of consuming blue cheese.

GRAPES

Cabernet Sauvignon
Camembert (France, soft)
Sharp Cheddar (England, semi-hard)
Danish Blue (Denmark, semi-hard)

Chardonnay
Bel Paese (Italy, semi-soft)
Brie (France, soft)
Bucheron (France, soft)
Cambazola (Bavaria, soft-ripened)
Cotija (Mexico, semi-hard)
Gruyere (Switzerland, hard)
Jarlsberg (Norway, hard)
Kasseri (Greece, semi-soft)
Parmigiano-Reggiano (Italy, hard)
Pecorino (Italy, hard)
Provolone (Italy, semi-hard)

Gamay (as found in Beaujolais)

Brie (France, soft)
Camembert (France, soft)
Cheddar (England, semi-hard)
Emmentaler (Switzerland, hard)
Feta (Greece, soft)
Kasseri (Greece, semi-soft)
Morbier (France, semi-soft)
Muenster (France, soft)
Raclette (France, hard)

Gewürztraminer
Boursin (France, soft)
Chevre (France, semi-hard)
Garrotxa (Spain, soft)
Muenster (France, soft)
Pecorino-Romano (Italy, hard)
Swiss (U.S., hard)

Grüner Veltliner
Chimay (Belgium, soft)
Double Gloucester (England, semi-hard)
Muenster (France, soft)
Livarot (France, soft)

Malbec
Cashel Blue (Ireland, semi-soft)
Iberico (Spain, hard)
Manchego (Spain, hard)
Taleggio (Italy, soft)

Merlot
Camembert (France, soft)
Gouda (Holland, semi-hard)
Gruyere (Switzerland, hard)
Pecorino Toscano (Italy, hard)
Roncal (Spain, hard)

Muscat
Crème Fraiche (France, soft)
Marscapone (Italy)
Valdeon (Spanish, soft)

Pinot Noir
Light Cheddar (England, semi-hard)
Chevre (France, semi-hard)
Comté (France, semi-hard)
Edam (Netherlands, semi-hard)
Gouda (Holland, semi-hard)
Gruyere (Switzerland, hard)

Riesling

Chesire (England, semi-hard)
Colby (U.S., semi-soft)
Cotija (Mexico, semi-hard)
Gouda (Holland, semi-hard)
Monterey Jack (U.S., semi-hard)
Swiss (U.S., hard)

Sauvignon Blanc

Amarelo
Brie (France, soft)
Sharp Cheddar (U.S., semi-hard)
Cheshire (England, semi-hard)
Derby (England, hard)
Double Gloucester (England, semi-hard)
Goat Cheese (France/varied, soft)
Gruyere (Switzerland, hard)
Neufchatel (France/U.S., soft)
Sonoma Jack (U.S., semi-hard)

Viognier
Goat (France/varied, soft)
Livarot (France, soft)

Zinfandel

Asiago (Italy, hard)
Dry Sonoma Jack (U.S., semi-hard)
Goat Cheese (France/varied, soft)
Gouda (Holland, semi-hard)
Gruyere (Switzerland, hard)
Muenster (France, soft)
Zamorano (Spain, hard)

Champagne/Sparkling Wine
Baby Swiss (U.S., semi-soft)
Beaufort (France, hard)
Brie (France, soft)
Brillat-Savarin (France, soft)
Camembert (France, soft)
Chevre (France, semi-hard)
Gouda (Holland, semi-hard)
Langres (France, soft)

BLENDS

Bordeaux
Brie (France, soft)
Camembert (France, soft)
Havarti (Denmark, semi-soft)

Tawny-Port
Roquefort (France, semi-hard)

The Details
Set the scene—developing ambience is key! This is where you as the
host/ess can bring out your creative side. Do you envision a formal
setting with fine china, or a more informal gathering with a few close
friends? It’s all up to you! Consider the following touches to make your
event spectacular:

• Buy and send invitations to your guests—or better yet, make your own.
Sending invitations is a great way to set the party’s tone and to get your
guests excited about your event.

• Clearly label your cheese. There are many cute cheese marker sets on the market that can bring an elegant touch to your party (http://www.uncommongoods.com/item/item.jsp?itemId=14465). If you’d prefer not to buy them, make your own. Type up descriptions of the cheeses and print them on the bottom-half of a piece of cardstock. Fold the paper in half and place your pop-up descriptions next to the cheese.

• Print out tasting sheets. Many examples and templates can be found
online, such as this one:(http://www.wine-tastings-guide.com/wine-tasting-notes-template.html).

• Develop a rating system for the wines/wine and cheese pairings that is unique to the party. Have your guests compare notes throughout the event.

• Garnish, garnish, garnish! Garnishes are lovely touches, whether they are real flowers, paper, or leafy vegetables. Get creative!

• Light the scene, indoors or outdoors. White Christmas lights (occasionally available in the off-season) or paper lanterns (found at Cost Plus World Market, Target, etc.) can be instrumental in getting guests feeling good and in the mood.

• Don’t forget the music! If you’re stumped, ask your guests to submit three songs or artists they’d like to hear over the course of the night. With their suggestions, make a playlist and you’re set.

What's Cooking For Breakfast

They say that breakfast is a very important meal. From what I hear people say, it really is very personal as to what you do about that first meal of the day. A lot depends on when, where, and even with whom you are eating. The question here is what to do about breakfast when you are Celiac. To answer that I like to think about what most people eat in the morning and how to have it gluten free. It gets back to basics and “Good Food-Gluten Free.” Here are some of my ideas for quick breakfasts, and I would love to hear from you with your suggestions for quick GF breakfasts.

Please check the individual sites of the companies mentioned to see their full line of GF products.

Quick Breakfasts:The days of grabbing a bagel or muffin at the local coffee spot may be gone, but we can still have bagels, muffins, waffles, cereals – hot or cold, or a “healthy cookie to grab when you are on the run. All of the following should go well with a quick cup of coffee, tea, or milk.

  • Gluten Free Pantry – Muffin and Scone Mix – Add nuts, raisins, cranberries or any berry, to suit your taste.
  • Erwhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal
  • Gluten Free Pantry Sandwich Bread or Country French Bread, or Food For Life GF Bread. These could be the foundation for a quick grilled cheese – open faced or closed. Lightly butter the bread before cooking. Add a slice of tomato before cooking (pan, microwave, broil in oven) for extra taste and nutrition.
  • Glutino Bagels – Plain, Cinnamon Raisin,or Sesame.
  • Greek Yogurt topped with granola, homemade or Bakery on Main Nutty Cranberry Granola. They also have other combinations, but check to see if they are GF.
  • Van’s Wheat Free Waffles. They are gluten free too.
  • GF Oatmeal. Bob’s Red Mill and Gluten Free Oats are two companies I have ordered from. Oatmeal can be made in a large batch and frozen in individuals portions to be heated in the microwave for a quick hot meal.

Many GF commercially baked bagels, etc are a little dense for me, so I prefer to make my own baked goods to suit my taste of the week. When possible I try to purchase organic products, and always GF.

Muffins: (All measurements are within ranges, depending on your preference)

  • Mix together (a food processer works well) 1/2 stick butter (OK to use more if you prefer) or ½ cup oil, and ¾ cup raw sugar.
  • Add two eggs, 1-2tsp vanilla ½ tsp cinnamon, a dash of salt.
  • Add and mix in 1 ¾ cups rice flour (brown, white, half of each, some buckwheat flour for a denser texture.)

To this basic mixture you can add and mix in one of the following. Try different combinations each time you bake to suit your taste.

  • Two bananas, ½ -3/4 C. walnuts, and raisins.
  • ¾ cup Apple sauce and ¾ cup shredded unsweetened Coconut
  • Juice of 2 lemons and 1 cup of blueberries.

The above can be baked as muffins or in an 8” square.

Bake in loaf or 8” square. Bake about 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.

After it cools you can drizzle on a light icing; Mix together ½ to one cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp. of Vanilla or Almond extract, and a little milk, cream, or e even water to desired texture. Spread or drizzle before cutting into 9-12 pieces.

Oat and Walnut Cookies – Good with coffee, tea or milk.

  • Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  • Cream together 6 Tbs, butter and ¾ cup raw and brown sugar – total.
  • Beat in 2 eggs, 2 tsp of vanilla, 1 tsp. Allspice and ½ tsp Cinnamon, a dash or two of salt. ( In all recipes adjust the spices to your liking.)
  • Add and mix in 1 cup rice flour, 2 tsp baking soda, and 1 cup rolled GF oats.
  • Add ¾ chopped walnuts and ¾ C, raisins

Drop by teaspoons on baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes. Check for golden color.Cool and ice.(See above.)

Apple & Apricot Tea Loaf ( A food processor works well.)

  • Beat together butter and sugar:½ cup butter , ¾ cup brown sugar
  • Add and beat in:2 eggs, 1-2 tsp. Vanilla, a pinch of salt, ½ tsp Cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. Allspice.
  • Mix in1 ½ cup rice flour (*) 1 ½ tsp baking powder.
  • Add and mix in: 2 grated or chopped apples and 2 chopped apricots,and ¾ cup walnuts.

Bake in loaf or 8” square. Bake about 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.

After it cools you can drizzle on a light icing; See above.

To wonderful, healthful, GF breakfasts!

Best,

Geri Buxbaum

Founder, GF Delights

The Homemade Cake

Although cakes from mixes can be great, an easy and delicious cake to make yourself is an ice cream cake made with a crust of GF cookies, brownies, or macaroons, filled with ice cream and topped with chocolate shavings/your favorite candy.

To make the cake, line a springform pan with parchment paper. Cover the bottom of the pan (the thickness depends on your preference) with crushed GF cookies or brownies. Then scoop the softened ice cream of your choice into the lined pan, over the “crust” layer. How much you scoop in depends on the depth of the pan and your preference: if you’d like to make two layers of ice cream in the pan, fill the pan halfway with the first ice cream, refreeze, then take out of the freezer, layer with your crust material, and fill the rest of the pan up with the second ice cream. Each time smooth the ice cream out and then put it back into the freezer to harden. You can make a tiered cake by using various sized springform pans, and preparing the cake as detailed above. To combine the tiers/place them on the serving plate, loosen the sides with a knife. Act quickly and freeze as soon as you get the cake pieces on the serving place. Combine the tiers with a layer of frosting. After refreezing again, take the cake out, frost it, and then return it to the freezer until you are read to serve. Sprinkle with melted chocolate, chocolate chips, or your candy of choice. Serve with homemade whipped cream.

Note: When selecting your ice cream, check the label to make sure it is gluten-free! Beware of added ingredients (candy pieces, etc.) in the ice cream that may contain gluten. Dreyer’s, Edy’s, and Blue Bunny all have a large gluten-free selection.

Beyond the Cake: Other Food Ideas

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Getting the cake down is great, but what about food for the rest of the party? There are lots of simple, kid-friendly GF snacks that can be used for munching during birthday parties.

-Fruit Plate: Kids love finger foods, so consider putting a fruit plate together with strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe, and watermelon.
-Snack Foods: Try setting out GF rice cakes, GF corn chips and salsa, GF popcorn, and mixed nuts
-Quesadillas with Corn Tortillas: This is an especially easy option that everyone will enjoy

Planning somewhat of a larger “dinner” for your child and his or her guests? Consider the following ideas…

-Build-Your-Own-Tacos: Get kids busy building their own tacos! Set up a station with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, meat, beans, rice, and of course, taco shells (Mission is GF, among other brands). Many salsa brands of gluten-free, including Pace Picante, Chipotle, Lime & Garlic, and Thick and Chunky; Newman’s Own hot, medium, mild, peach, pineapple, and roasted garlic salsa; all varieties of Southwest salsa.
-Build-Your-Own-Pizzas: Similar to the taco station, try buying GF pizza crusts (try Kinnickinnick’s) for everyone and set up stations with different toppings. Kids will love the chance to get creative, choose what they eat, and get a little messy, too. For easy-baking, have each child build their pizza on a large piece of foil.

Remember that in the end, although food is important, your child’s guests will have come for the fun and festivities—not the food.

Have you thrown a gluten-free birthday party for your child? Have any special tips and ideas? Leave us a comment below!

Beyond the Cake: Other Food Ideas

other-food

Getting the cake down is great, but what about food for the rest of the party? There are lots of simple, kid-friendly GF snacks that can be used for munching during birthday parties.

-Fruit Plate: Kids love finger foods, so consider putting a fruit plate together with strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe, and watermelon.
-Snack Foods: Try setting out GF rice cakes, GF corn chips and salsa, GF popcorn, and mixed nuts
-Quesadillas with Corn Tortillas: This is an especially easy option that everyone will enjoy

Planning somewhat of a larger “dinner” for your child and his or her guests? Consider the following ideas…

-Build-Your-Own-Tacos: Get kids busy building their own tacos! Set up a station with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, meat, beans, rice, and of course, taco shells (Mission is GF, among other brands). Many salsa brands of gluten-free, including Pace Picante, Chipotle, Lime & Garlic, and Thick and Chunky; Newman’s Own hot, medium, mild, peach, pineapple, and roasted garlic salsa; all varieties of Southwest salsa.
-Build-Your-Own-Pizzas: Similar to the taco station, try buying GF pizza crusts (try Kinnickinnick’s) for everyone and set up stations with different toppings. Kids will love the chance to get creative, choose what they eat, and get a little messy, too. For easy-baking, have each child build their pizza on a large piece of foil.

Remember that in the end, although food is important, your child’s guests will have come for the fun and festivities—not the food.

Have you thrown a gluten-free birthday party for your child? Have any special tips and ideas? Leave us a comment below!

The Gluten-Free Birthday Party

birthday

For kids with Celiac disease, having a carefree birthday party can be tough. Not only are the quintessential “birthday foods” often chock-full of gluten, but kids may also want to avoid feeling different on their special day. Additionally, parents are faced with the challenge of creating a safe party environment for both their own children and their guests. GF Delights has tips to make your child’s birthday a smooth and enjoyable affair.

The Preparation
Eliminate anxiety from the beginning—keep the food plans as simple as you can, and plan the birthday party in a way that keeps the focus on your child, not the food. Centering the party on an event or activity your child is truly excited about will get things going on the right foot.

The Activities
Birthday parties are a great time to get kids active—both physically and mentally. Consider locations such as parks, indoor jungle gyms/mazes, indoor/outdoor climbing walls—even museums with hands-on and interactive exhibits (e.g. “discovery” or “tech” museums). Try activities such as scavenger/treasure hunts, sports games (with teams and brackets), and classics like Capture the Flag. For birthdays in the hot summer months, try a super-soaker-themed party, set up a Slip N’ Slide, or have kids fill up balloons for a water-balloon fight. If you’re keeping things indoors, try setting up arts and crafts stations.

The Food
Perhaps the most worrisome part of ensuring a Happy Birthday is getting the birthday cake just right. Luckily, as awareness about Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity increases, more and more options become available for easy GF baking.Here are some of the mixes you’ll find both in markets and online:

Gluten-Free Cake Mixes
• Bob’s Red Mill: Chocolate
• ‘Cause You’re Special: Moist Yellow, Rich Chcolate, Golden Pound, Chocolate Pound, Moist Lemon
• Cherrybrook Kitchen: Chocolate
• Food-Tek: Minute Chocolate
• Gluten-Free Pantry: Old Fashioned Cake, Spice Cake, Gingerbread, Angel Food, Decadent Chocolate
• Glutino: Vanilla, Chocolate
• Kinnikinnick: Chocolate, White, Sponge, Angel Food
• Pamela’s: Chocolate, Vanilla
• Namaste: Spice/Carrot
• Really Good Food: Golden, Chocolate, Devil’s Food, Lemon Poppy, Orange

And don’t forget about Betty Crocker! The new GF mixes (Yellow and Devil’s Food cake) are on the shelf and getting rave reviews in the GF Blogosphere! (See the great, in-depth review from the writers at BeFreeForMe.com: http://tinyurl.com/mj2zdv.)
Gluten-free frosting mixes are not nearly as numerous, but they do exist. Like the cake mixes, you’ll be able to find the following both in markets and online:

Gluten-Free Frosting Mixes
• Cherrybrook Kitchen: Vanilla, Chocolate
• Food-Tek: Vanilla, Chocolate
•Miss Roben’s: Milk Chocolate Buttercream, Vanilla Cream
• Namaste Foods: Chocolate Fudge
• Sof-ella: Organic Chocolate Mix (comes with cake mix)

Note: Try to avoid mainstream commercial brands. While some of these brands may be GF, they may not be mandated to list gluten-containing ingredients other than wheat. Double-check with companies directly if you must use these brands.

Luckily, homemade frosting is easy to make!