Today, Baby S and I enjoyed a quick and easy treat of banana and avocado: cubed for Baby, and blended with cacao powder/nibs (and topped with Enjoy Life chocolate chips of course) for Mama! Delicious!
Recently, my sister-in-law, Eva, was honoured at an Alice in Wonderland-inspired baby shower… just two months before the anticipated arrival of my future niece or nephew! My mom and sisters and I had so much fun planning the details- a card box shaped like the Mad Hatter’s hat, red roses arranged in paint-dripped paint cans (“you can always paint the roses red”), pink flamingos (no croquet though!), a ‘guess-the-tea’ game (sure beats the ‘smell-the-diaper’ game!), framed quotes from the book/movie, skeleton keys, playing cards, etc… and of course theme-related desserts! With my younger sister being a Pastry Chef, the “regular” dessert planning was no problem at all (her beautiful dessert table display is pictured at the very bottom of this post). However, with the shower honouree being the one who usually prepares the gluten-free desserts for us (you know her best as Eva of Pastel Bakery), I was tasked with the challenge of taking over the GF desserts to give her a much-deserved rest on her special day!
- Don’t be late’ blueberry macarons: Cuorenero brand macarons (found at Winners) with ‘clock details’ piped in Betty Crocker vanilla frosting
- We’re all mad’ strawberry teacup macarons: Cuorenero brand macarons with Efruti fruit slice candy ‘teacup handles’ (found at Whole Foods Unionville)
- ‘Down the rabbit hole’ brownie bites: Bob’s brownie mix brownies placed inside mini mason jars, piped with coloured Betty Crocker vanilla “grass” frosting (using Wilton grass tip #233), and topped with Annie’s vanilla bunny cookies
- ‘Queen of hearts’ raspberry tarts: El Peto tarts (found at Nature’s Emporium)
- ‘Paint the roses’ banana cupcakes: Betty Crocker GF yellow cake mix with organic banana added in, topped with coloured Betty Crocker vanilla “grass” frosting and Goody Good Stuff strawberry cream candies (found at Whole Foods Unionville) that looked like mini white and red roses
- ‘Always tea time’ rice krispie teapots: Rice Krispies brown rice flavour mixed with Kraft Jet-Puffed mini marshmallows and Let’s Do Sprinkels, then cut into teapot shapes using a Wilton teapot cookie cutter
To artfully display these GF treats (yet keep them safely out of the ‘gluten-contaminated’ hands of others at the party), I decorated a tall glass cake stand with blue tulle and a white ‘apron’ to look like Alice’s famous dress (pictured below) and placed ‘for-Eva-and-Mel-only’ signage on top (plus Eva made a “hands off!” announcement before the dessert table was officially “open”). Our family knows better by now, but it’s always best to be safe.
In the end, the shower was a success! Everyone seemed to enjoy the food, desserts, games and company! And most importantly, our guest of honour- adorned in her custom ‘Queen of Hearts’ headband- went home with a smile as big as the Cheshire cat’s!
Check out more of this party on Catch My Party.
Nothing says Father’s Day like a BBQ with your Dad! This year, I decided to make gluten-free beef sliders for our annual post-prostate cancer awareness walk BBQ.
Here’s all you need to make your own beef sliders:
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef (hormone- and antibiotic-free)
- Half an onion, finely chopped
- 1 large egg
- Nature’s Own Bakery GF breadcrumbs (enough to hold mixture together)
- Sea salt and pepper (to taste)
Simply mix the ingredients together in a bowl, roll into meatball-size balls and flatten! Then barbeque (make sure the BBQ is thoroughly cleaned of any gluten residue), until desired level is reached (I prefer well done).
For the bun, I used Aaron K. Purveyors (Stouffville, ON) potato/rice-flour hamburger buns and cut them into quarters. Then I cut up Mornington marble goat cheese which was perfectly sized for the mini burgers!
For dessert, I enjoyed not one, but two of Pastel Bakery‘s delicious treats: chocolate/marshmallow donuts and gluten-free dairy-free mini butter tarts– a perfect bite-size treat to go with the mini burgers!
This week, my sister-in-law, Eva of Pastel Bakery, and I had the pleasure of attending a gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian cooking class at Nature’s Emporium in Newmarket, with holistic nutritionists, Sherri Doak and Natasha Szauter. The hands-on class began with a tasting of goji berry tea with coconut sugar, and a demo of homemade vanilla almond milk and fresh thai spring rolls with spicy peanut sauce.
For the menu items, class participants were broken up into pairs with each pair responsible for preparing a few specific items on the menu (under the guidance of our trusty instructors), that the group shared ‘buffet-style’ at the end of the class. The menu items included: minted pea soup; buckwheat tabbouli; fennel, avocado and orange salad; masala millet cakes/patties with hot pepper mango salsa; walnut basil pesto with chickpea pasta and pine nut “parmesan”; dark chocolate quinoa cupcakes with toasted coconut frosting; cranberry bliss bars; and minty matcha banana mocktail.
With Kinnikinnick’s gluten-free chocolate cake mix and some Betty Crocker frosting, I created this special gluten-free Purple Penguin Birthday Cake for myself! Next time I’ll leave the decorating up to my Pastry Chef sister and my sister-in-law, the ‘baker-of-gf-deliciousness’ (hey, I tried).
(PS – check out Pastel Bakery’s ‘Birthday Sprinkles Cookie Cake’ in the corners!)
Family celebrations are always an excuse for my sister-in-law and I to sample new gluten-free treats. I usually opt for easy-to-follow recipes/packages, while she tests new recipes from scratch (being the baker of gluten-free deliciousness behind Pastel Bakery). That said, for my younger sister’s birthday celebration last week, I decided to make* gluten-free/dairy-free rice treats (*they’re so simple, I feel silly saying I actually “made” them!)
What you’ll need:
3 tablespoons of Earth Balance Buttery Flavour Spread**
~4 cups of GF Sweet & Soft Mini Marshmallows
~6 cups of Rice Krispies brown rice cereal
Optional: Enjoy Life chocolate chips (part of My Fav GF Things)
Quick-fast instructions (=~30 minutes including prep time):
1. In large pot, melt butter alternative (**if tolerated, you may use real butter or margarine) over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted
3. Remove pot from heat and stir in Rice Krispies until well coated. Then add chocolate chips, if desired
4. Press mixture into pre-‘buttered’ pan until level
5. Allow to cool/harden slightly (~20 minutes), then cut into traditional squares or have fun with cookie-cutter shapes, and serve!
For more information, or to register for the upcoming Cooking for a Gluten-free Lifestyle courses, visit culinarycampus.ca.