This year my son turned 6. It’s such a special age — a time when children form friendships at school, enjoy the company of other children, and love to attend and have their own birthday parties.
Since my son is gluten-free, I decided that the entire menu would be gluten-free so that he didn’t feel left out in any way. So often when gluten-free and allergen-free kids attend parties there isn’t anything for them to eat: pizza, cupcakes, and most snacks are full of allergens. So to make Dolan feel extra special, everything would have to pass the gluten-free test!
The party menu included:
- Gluten-free chocolate cupcake cones made with “Let’s Do Gluten-free” cones and The Pure Pantry dark chocolate cake mix and Heavenly Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe here.
- Gluten-free hot dogs from Applegate Farms with gluten-free hot dog buns from Udi’s.
- Gluten-free kettle corn from Trader Joe’s.
- Peanuts in the shell (no kids with peanut allergies attended).
- Gluten-free ranch dip and gluten-free hummus with carrots, cucumbers and celery.
- To Go Treats included gluten-free red licorice, gluten-free animal crackers from Kinnikinnick, salt water taffy, Starbursts, and lollipops.
Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcake Cones — a huge yummy hit!
To Go Treat Bar
Good old hotdogs — gluten-free
Gluten-free Crunch Master crackers, gluten-free hummus, and veggies.
The carnival games were so much fun to create. We had ring toss, tin can knockdown, horseshoe toss, squirt gun ball knockdown, apple bobbing, a “photo booth” and face painting.
Tin Can Knockdown
Squirt Gun Knockdown
The Photo Booth
A very happy birthday boy!
With some help from my good friend Calli and my daughter Isabelle, we created all the fun signs with the Circus Font I downloaded from Pinterest and paper supplies from Paper-source.
Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcake Cones
These cupcakes were the perfect birthday dessert for my six year old son’s carnival theme birthday party. The kids loved them….and I think some adults too.
Dairy-free and Vegan optional
Makes 24 cupcakes
1 package “The Pure Pantry” gluten-free Dark Chocolate Cake Mix (link)
3 eggs or equivalent egg replacer
1 cup rice, almond, coconut or regular milk
½ cup safflower oil
1 cup boiling water
2 packages “Let’s Do Gluten-Free” ice cream cones
24 red M & M’s
1 recipe Heavenly Cream Cheese Frosting (link)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Follow directions on the chocolate cake mix package.
- Stand up ice cream cones in mini muffin tins.
- Fill with chocolate cake mix leaving ¼ inch from the top of the cone. Do not over fill or they will become volcano cupcakes (hum maybe another idea for later)!
- Place in oven and bake for 20-22 minutes, until cupcake inserted with toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Prepare frosting recipe. I used the disposable frosting bags to make the clean up nice and easy. Fit the bag with a star tip. (see image).
- Frost each cupcake in a swirling motion to look like a soft serve ice cream cone. Top each with a red M & M. You could also top with a maraschino cherry that has been well drained and patted dry with paper towels.
- I left the majority of the cupcakes standing in the mini cupcake tin. I placed the cupcake tin on a rectangular white platter and covered the cupcake tin and platter with M & M’s. The kids scooped up the candies and put more on their cupcakes which was a fun sight to see!
Hooray for gluten-free ice cream cones! I bought these at Whole Foods.
Carefully fill each cone to the line that is about 1/4 inch below the top. Bake, cool and frost!
Heavenly Gluten-free Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter, or non-dairy/vegan substitute such as Earth Balance, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, or dairy-free/vegan substitute, at room temperature
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat butter until blended. Add cream cheese and beat until combined. Slowly sift in sugar and beat until fluffy. Add agave and vanilla and continue beating. If frosting is too thin, add 2 tablespoons more sifted confectioners’ sugar. Makes enough frosting for 12 cupcakes or one 9 x 12 inch (23 x 30 cm) cake. For a two layer cake, double the recipe.
Halloween can end up being a lot of work, am I right? Costumes to put together, flashlights to find, decorations to put up, candy to purchase. And dinner to make on top of all of that?
Here is a simple make-ahead solution so that you can enjoy your little devils a bit more!
Pulled Pork with Apples
In the summer I make this recipe with nectarines or peaches, as seen in the image here. For Fall, adding apples is just as scrumptious!
Here is the recipe:
1– 2 1/2 – 3 lb. pork loin roast or pork shoulder roast
2 cups Pomegranate-Chipotle BBQ Sauce or store bought gluten-free BBQ sauce (try Annie’s gluten-free version)
2 Fuji apples, peeled, pit removed, roughly chopped
4 oz. can green chilies, chopped
Place pork shoulder in roasting pan with lid, I love my Le Creuset. Pour BBQ sauce over top. Spread apple chunks over pork. Add chopped green chilies.
Place in center of oven at 325˚ for 60 minutes. Remove roast from over and turn over, ladle juices on top of meat. Return to oven for 40 minutes. Or, place in crock pot on low setting for 4 hours.
Remove roast from oven. With two forks, pull pork apart and stir pot to combine juices with sauce and meat. If desired, stir in 2 more tablespoons BBQ sauce before serving.
By Becky Berowski
Founder and CEO, Elizabeth Kaplan, Dishin’ with doB
Founder of The Pure Pantry
, Elizabeth Kaplan became gluten free when she learned that not only was she diagnosed with celiac disease, but her two children were also sensitive to gluten as well as various other foods. She began taking family recipes and converting them to gluten-free versions. This soon lead her to develop her own products and recipes to put in the market place making it easier for the rest of us to make the change.
Who: Elizabeth Kaplan of The Pure Pantry
Where: Thepurepantry.com, with stores across the country.
What do you believe is the most important reason to go gluten free?
The most important reason would be severe allergies or gluten intolerance issues. Those with celiac disease, such as me, must adhere to a 100% gluten-free diet.
Should people who don’t have celiac disease go gluten free?
Certainly, there are other reasons to go gluten-free. Many nutritionists and doctors maintain that a gluten-free diet lowers inflammation in the body. There are also other auto-immune related disorders that improve with a gluten-free diet such as arthritis, diabetes, and psoriasis.
What is your favorite gluten free product?
Besides my own products, I can’t live without Udi’s multigrain gluten-free bread and bagels.
How do you balance being a mom and a business woman?
I am very fortunate to have wonderful and supportive business partners, my mom and husband! I am also fortunate that my children admire what I do and that they look at me as role model. I feel that by balancing work and motherhood I am teaching my children how to have a full and rewarding life.
Can people who are gluten free still eat out at restaurants easily?
There is always the risk of cross contamination for those with celiac disease. It takes a lot of diligence for me to explain exactly what I can and can’t eat, and there are often problems. In general, I stick to grilled veggies, grilled fish or a salad but still have to be careful that the salad dressing or sauce served with my meal is gluten-free, and that my food is prepared in a separate pan with separate utensils. I limit my meals out – thank goodness I like to cook!
What is one beauty product you always keep with you?
Gluten-free lipstick by Ecco Bella. I also have to use gluten-free shampoo and conditioner and am always trying new products to find the best one. So far it has been easy!
Any advice for someone just starting a gluten free diet?
At first it seems very daunting to start a new lifestyle, but once you are committed, you will love how you feel!
Elizabeth Kaplan’s cookbook, Fresh From Elizabeth’s Kitchen, that she was gracious enough to send me, has kept me healthy and happy this past week. Also, her chocolate chip cookie mix and whole grain dark chocolate mix have helped me have a quick dessert for all the May babies I’m celebrating this month.