Well, we made it through our first gluten free birthday party. Maddie wanted a pizza party, and I was not up for making gluten free pizza for more than a dozen guests, so we ordered pizza and I cooked a special pizza for Maddie.
Dessert was the real challenge. I like to bake things from scratch, but I was not confident enough to try making gluten free cupcakes from a recipe, so I purchased a mix and made vanilla buttercream from scratch.
Our local Dominick's had Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix , so that is what I used. The only weird ingredient (something you might not always have on hand) was fresh lemon juice. Fortunately I had picked up a bag of lemons at Trader Joe's, so I was good to go. The package made 18 cupcakes and they baked up beautifully with a nice rise. They tasted great and were very moist.
For the frosting I used my absolute, all time favorite cookbook -- Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. Of course there were the usual bits of panic. I knew the butter, sugar and cream were okay, but had no idea if the vanilla extract I had was gluten free. After a bit of Googling, I determined that the Trader Joe's vanilla is, in fact, gluten free. Whew.
I also did a sundae bar -- using plain vanilla and chocolate ice cream from Hagen Dazs, which I had confirmed was safe. I made my own butterscotch caramel sauce (using Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything once again) which I'm finding is the best way to ensure things are gluten free.
Maddie loves gummi bears on her ice cream, so once again there was a slight panic until we confirmed that Haribo Gummi Bears were safe. I'm finding that the internet is one of the best tools I have as I switch us over to this new diet.
In the end, we made it through with a little extra work, a lot of web searching and a willingness to try new things. Now if we can just make it through Halloween, I'll feel like I have a handle on this thing.