Yep, we did it. My mom and I managed to throw a gluten and dairy free birthday party, when neither of us are gluten or dairy free. Why, then, would we do such a thing, you ask? Because the party was for my sister-in-law, who is gluten and dairy free. Every holiday we rack our brains to try and find something that both fits her special diet and tastes good. It’s tough, let me tell you! (I don’t know how she does it, so kudos to all of you who do as well!) We ended up keeping things simple and fresh in throwing her a surprise 40th.
The menu, as with most gatherings, was the most important part. We wanted to have a spread where my sis-in-law could eat everything. Planning a gluten and dairy free menu was kind of a pain. I’m so used to planning menus based on whatever I think looks/ tastes good, so this was new. Just a little background- my sister gets severe migraines, so going gluten and dairy free has helped her tremendously with them. She has a very strict diet, and there are some things she just doesn’t eat and some things she can. This meant I was constantly asking, “Can Genia eat that?” throughout the whole menu planning process.
Here’s the menu we decided on:
-Salad bar: lettuce with various fixings including cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, and shredded cheese (we also had a couple salad dressing options)
-Fruit plate with watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries
-Chicken breast, lightly seasoned with no MSG
-Gluten free snicker-doodle cupcakes
Since we have a few kids in the family we had pizza rolls, tater tots, and juice boxes for them. (And the fruit was a big hit with the kids too.)
The cupcakes were so good! And I can honestly say it is the only gluten/ dairy free dessert we’ve made for my sis-in-law that I like! So, it’s definitely a keeper recipe. We searched Pinterest for good gluten/dairy free cake recipes, but I wasn’t sold on any. My sis doesn’t eat chocolate, so that really narrows down the options. A local store sells these gluten/dairy free snicker-doodle cookies that she loves, so I really wanted to make something similar in cupcake form. (Plus, cinnamon is yummy and can enhance the flavor of most mixes.) For the cupcakes we used Betty Crocker’s gluten free yellow cake mix, and we added some cinnamon straight into the batter. The texture and taste of this cake mix is perfect. I was very happy with it. For the frosting, we mixed powdered sugar, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and silk. It was delicious, and the perfect frosting to complete our snicker-doodle cupcakes. Our goal was to find a birthday dessert that the whole family would enjoy without even realizing they were eating gluten and dairy free. These cupcakes did just that. Everyone loved them. Including the birthday girl. Hallelujah!
For decorating, we went bright and sunny with pinks and citrus colors. We got some beautiful carnations to stick in vases all around, and we used lemons in a vase as a centerpiece. (I love this look- would also be adorable with limes!) From the menu to the decor, we really kept it simple.
And, just like that- we succeeded in throwing a gluten and dairy free birthday party! Happy birthday to my lovely sister-in-law!