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!
With inspiration from Pinterest, Catch My Party, Google Images, my Pastry Chef sister and my own crazy mind, I enjoyed creating the following gluten-free treats for Eva and I (pictured above):
Don’t be late’ blueberry macarons:Cuorenero brand macarons (found at Winners) with ‘clock details’ piped in Betty Crocker vanilla frosting
‘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
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!
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).
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.
Great news for those North of Toronto… Molly B’s Gluten-Free products are now available at ‘Country Choice Meats,’ located inside the Stouffville Country Market (12555 10th line). The booth carries a variety of Molly B’s products, as well as fresh breads and gluten-free deli meats. If you wish to pre-order any of Molly B’s products, email your order to email@example.com by the Monday prior to your weekend pick-up date. If you have questions about any of Molly B’s gluten-free products, email your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Stouffville Country Market is open on weekends from ~March to December (Saturday: 8am – 4pm; Sunday: 9am – 4pm).
After a recent move North of the city, I was determined to find more gluten-free dining options. I came across Gabby’s Newmarket (16925 Yonge Street, just North of Mulock) which, according to Gabby’s Gluten-free Menu, the staff, both kitchen and front of house, are “Celiac-Savvy” with “extensive training on proper food-handling issues and meal preparation.” I can attest to this after enjoying a fantastic dining experience with friendly service and a wide array of gluten-free options.