Special Events - Gluten Free.

Right now I'm doing some planning for a couple of events.  My oldest son is getting married in July.  Both he and fiance are gluten free.  (She went gluten free after meeting him and got her Grave's disease to go into remission!)  So now I am excitedly planning both a shower menu and a rehearsal dinner cookout menu.  The wedding it out of state and the shower is local.  Both the rehearsal dinner and the shower will probably be upwards of 50 people in attendance.  I'm serving a full meal, of course, at the rehearsal dinner but for the shower, I'm going to go with finger foods and snacks.  Being gluten free makes everything a bit more complicated, especially if you are trying to stay on a budget.

For the shower, I'm going with a theme of dip, apparently, I'm doing fruit and dip, veggies and dip, gluten free crackers with a cheese ball, punch and other drinks and cake; which my cousin is going to make from gluten free mixes that I purchased at the salvage grocery store.  We eat these all the time and they are yummy, no concerns about quality.  They are King Arthur brand.  By buying these at the salvage store, I've saved about 4 dollars a box on them.  My cousin will do the icing.  She is good at this and she actually did my wedding cakes 28 years ago.

For the rehearsal dinner, it's more complicated.  We'll be 4 hours away from home in a state park and outside in a pavilion.  We couldn't afford to get a room in the lodge because we'd have to pay for catering.  Fortunately, the bride and groom are very easy going and even suggested a cookout.  So we're going to order these hamburger buns Rotella  and grill out burgers.  For side dishes I was kind of stumped.  I'm going to be staying in a cabin with a kitchen, but I don't know how much cooking I can do there.  It looks small on the web site and besides, I don't want to spend the entire day cooking.  I want to do vacation-y things.  Also, I am afraid that things like potato salad will get too warm and be dangerous.  So I called and asked and the pavilion does have electricity so that I can plug in crock pots.  I'm going to have crock pots full of baked beans, green beans and corn on the cob with watermelon slices and some of my special oatmeal cookies that I'm famous for, for dessert.  To feed a crowd like this, I'll probably have to borrow crock pots from several of my friends.  :-)

I'll probably bring potato chips to both, just in case we need to stretch the food a bit.  I need to find amounts of food to make for each and will utilize web sites like this one:  Cook Like a Caterer  and this one:  Chef Menus Quantity Chart

I think it's going to be fun!


My Saturday morning coffee companion.

She didn't get any coffee so she kept falling back to sleep.   :-)  I have discovered that I have some kind of gluten -like reaction to coffee and so now I only have 1 cup of decaf once a week.   If I have it more often I feel bad.


Some notes on gluten free flour.

Certain flours are better for certain things.  I have found this week that King Arthur gluten free flour * is the best, the absolute best for pancakes.  So.  Good.  I got a bag of the Pillsbury baking mix and it's not as good.  It does fine with other things though and it's cheaper, so there's that.  Pillsbury may have taken the lead for our family in cake mixes though.  We do love King Arthur's cake mixes, both the vanilla and chocolate, very much, but this week we made a Pillsbury Funfetti cake and my daughter's comment was that this was not just good gluten free cake, it was good cake, period.  A high compliment.  :-)

I also enjoy Glutino bread mix, but the last time I got a box of it, I didn't use it to make a loaf of bread, I used it to make hamburger pie and pigs in a blanket.  Yum.   The hamburger pie was served at an extended family gathering and many people ate it without realizing it was gluten free.  Success.
I should also note that Bloomfield Farms and Pamela's also make very good, solid performing, good tasting flours and Pamela's is definitely my choice for cornbread.

* Edited to note that the second box of King Arthur flour that we bought did not do well for pancakes and so now we've officially switched our favorite for pancakes to Simple Truth Organic.  The pancakes are fluffy and absorb the syrup in a way that is really, really good.