Monthly Archives: November 2011

A Supernatural Gluten-free Party!

With an elegant twist in honor of Breaking Dawn, a party was created and I was lucky enough to be invited. I spent the evening last night in a beautiful place, eating beautiful food (all gluten free) all while talking with lovely people. I can’t think of a nicer way to spend an evening. And since you were not there, let me tell you all about the fun and more importantly, the food.

Thanks to Angela Saban of Angel Cakes for hosting this fabulous party. Check out her blog, here, for updates on the amazing cakes she creates (see below for more details on the ooh- and aaah-worthy food).

Welcome!

When you’re welcomed at the party by an old truck (Bella’s with a better paint job?) and a sign, this sets the stage for what’s to come inside. With this attention to detail, I had a feeling nothing would be missed from this point on.

Yay, Swag!

I followed the red carpet into the entry hall with it’s TWILIGHT centerpiece surrounded by swag bags for all guests. Sweet! The centerpiece fascinated me with its simplicity yet creativity. I found out that Angela’s wonderful daughter-in-law, Trista Williams, had fashioned it using pages right out of the series. (Although she did say she felt bad tearing up a perfectly good book, it was worth it!) Here’s a close-up for you crafters.

Pages of the book, close up

Can you choose between Team Edward or Team Jacob? Even if you’re not a fan of the movies or books, the theme is fun and whimsical, yet mysterious with werewolves and vampires. I chose Team Jacob, there I said it. Let the debate begin. Fangs for Edward’s team, wolf ears for the better team, er I mean the other team.

Choose a team

With Full Moon cocktail in hand (Maker’s Mark, apple cider and a splash of ginger ale), I made my way around the pool, which was surrounded by candles and spinning lights. Looking up on the wall I saw projected images of Bella, Edward, and Jacob, as well as scenes from previous movies lighting up the patio. DJ Gabriel kept the vibe going with music from the series, keeping the mood romantic and fun.

Photos and movie scenes on the wall

Moving on to the buffet table (you know that’s what you were interested in!) was a real treat. First off, the tables were topped off with spectacular floral arrangements that fit the mood perfectly. A rose here, a red carnation there, moss and greenery everywhere. All arrangements were created by Elba Brown of Designs by E in Phoenix with an eerie, supernatural touch. Floating red roses among moss and soft white flowers gave the buffet table just the right touch of beauty, elegance and mystery.

Notice the enormous pile of potato chips near the flowers? Oh yeah, my friend. Freshly made chips that were crispy, not too salty and oh so yummy. An avocado cream dipping sauce was provided for the chips, but seriously, with a good chip who needs dip (although it was amazing and I just needed a spoon for it and I could eat it like pudding).

The food was provided by Jennifer’s Catering in Phoenix. Check out the website and see how they serve the chips in little cones, Oh my. Maggie Wark, who works at Jennifer’s, is the gluten-free guru there who made the slider rolls and is spear-heading the gluten-free division of the company. Also on the menu was a tomato salad with Cojita cheese. So refreshing and served in little cups with cute tiny forks. Pork belly and salmon rounded out the food, but you know of course that was not my cup of tea, although I hear it was quite good from those who tried it.

 
Tomato/Cojita salad (yes, I had about 7!)

On to the crowning glory of the party, the pastry table. Oh man, if I could have married it, I would have. It was that good. I stood there wishing I hadn’t opted for the cute little purse that matched the outfit rather than the huge, pastry/cupcake smuggling purse. I would have to be content with eating it all there. (Next time, Angela, don’t question the large duffle purse at the party.)

Edward and Bella should have had this at their wedding

First off, the cake. A beautiful centerpiece with edible flowers. Definitely would not fit in the purse (damn!) I did not eat any, but I’ve had Angela’s cake before at a lovely tea party (check it out here).

Next the cupcakes. Both sides were represented with a special cupcake. Jacob’s side (werewolves) had a fabulously chocolatey caramely cupcake with salted caramel and a fondant paw on top. I could have eaten four, I admit it, but I didn’t. But I so wanted to, but I didn’t.

Edward’s side was represented appropriately by a vanilla-bean cupcake with raspberry filling and even bite marks. The filling was gooey and lovely, the cupcake was light and fluffy and the frosting was a dream.

True to my original team choice, I preferred the chocolate, but it was a tough choice, trust me. Both were light and airy like a cupcake should be, but it didn’t fall apart at all. I felt like Florian from Cupcake Wars as I tried both. Of course, I gave them both good marks, but I’m a chocolate lover at heart, you know.

What about Bella, you ask? Bella-berry Cobblers with a berry filling and flaky, buttery crust gave Bella her chance to shine. And that she did. Two bites of a perfect cherry pie. My table mates all claimed that this was their favorite. The crust was something I have been trying to perfect without success. Once again, Angela shines with a gluten-free pie crust that is equal parts flaky and chewy, just the way it should be.

And yes, there were cookies! What, you say? No really, on top of all this, there were little white hearts of vanilla cookies with white icing. They reminded me of the glorious black and white cookie of my New York City days that I feared I would never eat again. Never fear, they are right here. I’ll bet Angela could even make them black and white if you ask her.

Swag bags, you ask? Oh yeah! I was fortunate enough to meet the actual Tom Sawyer of Tom Sawyer Gluten Free Flour-fame, no kidding. And not only that, there was a bag of flour for everyone to take home and start baking. Sweet! A chocolate wolf lollipop, Werewolf “kibble” and “blood-spattered” popcorn, all by Angela Saban started the bags off. Add to that Udi‘s chocolate chip cookie, Julia’s Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll and more. I can’t imagine a better time with better food or company, and I even had swag to take home. Now that’s how you throw a party!

I was lucky enough to meet Kim Pebley, president of the Southern Arizona Celiac Support group and Chandice Probst of Gluten Free Frenzy here in town. Check out her website for giveaways and fun restaurant reviews. I also had the chance to spend a little time with Nina Spitzer, the GF guru who started the Phoenix Celiac group and Gluten Free Absolutely, a wonderful restaurant menu consultation service. What a great group of people who are supporting and advancing the GF community.

Trista Williams, me, and the lovely Elba Brown

Proof positive by Angela that you can have a lovely, successful cocktail party with elegant food and not a speck of gluten to be found. Thanks!

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Filed under Breaking Dawn, cake, cookies, crafts, cupcake, dinner parties, gluten free, party, salad, Team Edward, Team Jacob, Twilight, vegetarian

Gluten-free, Chocolate Almond/Cashew Cups

Gluten-free, chocolate almond/cashew cups

I had a craving for peanuts and chocolate last night, so I decided that I would whip up something fun. These nut cups are modified from the protein bars I made previously, and are quick and easy to make, no cooking (unless you count a microwave for a few seconds) and yummy. I even had a few for breakfast.

Quick and Easy Chocolate Almond/Cashew Cups
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup flax meal
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup unsalted, natural peanut butter

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 Tbs honey
1/2 Tbs GF vanilla extract
1/2 cup Enjoy Life GF, DF, CF chocolate chips

1. Spray a mini-muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a small food processor, combine almonds, cashews, flax, sunflower seeds and peanut butter until it forms a paste.
3. Heat coconut oil, sugar, honey and vanilla in a small bowl in the microwave for just 15 seconds.
4. Pour coconut oil mixture into nut mixture and process until mixed (just about 10-15 seconds).
5. Put about a TBS of mixture in each tin and place in the freezer while you make the chocolate. This made 24 cups.
6. Heat chocolate in microwave for 20 seconds, then stir, then heat again for 10 seconds. Keep doing this until it’s all melted. Be careful not to overcook.
7. Remove cups from the freezer and put about a tsp of chocolate on top of each cup and spread it out. Work quickly, it cools and hardens fast on the cold nut mixture. After you’ve put all the chocolate on, you can add more if you like.
8. Return cups to the fridge or freezer (depending on how fast you want to eat them).
9. When hardened, remove the cups from the tins and put in an airtight container in the fridge. They melt quickly so keep them in the fridge.
Enjoy!

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Filed under almonds, candy, cashews, chocolate, Enjoy Life Chocolate, gluten free, peanut butter, protein, vegetarian

Calling all Vegans!

The logical step for many people who are vegetarians is to take the next leap and become vegan, right? But remember when you went GF and wondered, “How will I get pizza, cookies, bread, etc.?” It was scary. Well, going from vegetarian to vegan is the same thing. “What about pizza, what about cheese,” we ask.

Southwest vegan pizza with black bean paste

Well, these days the answers are a lot easier than they were years ago. And I recently had the chance to sample the new vegan pizza at Gluten Free Creations that would make the transition even easier. Using Daiya cheese and vegan ingredients for the crusts, they’ve managed to make a pizza that is satisfying and vegan, finally.

There are a few varieties (along with just the crusts) that are quite good. I suggest the Southwest pizza with black beans or the pesto/spinach/artichoke pizza. The crust is crispy and just right for pizza toppings. It doesn’t carry a lot of flavor on its own, which makes it the perfect vehicle for any toppings you want. At the time I tried the pizzas, there was an issue with canned mushrooms, which is one of my pet peeves, but just go without mushrooms and you’re good to go (unless you like them, then have a blast). All in all, if I were a vegan, this would be a wonderful treat. Not on the cheap side, these are treats and not something we could do every day, but most GF products are costly, right? Buy a few and top them with your own special toppings.

As I’ve blogged before, I’m a big fan of the Italian GF crusts from this bakery and always have them in my freezer for those nights I have no creativity or energy to cook. Bake with just olive oil and spices and dip in marinara, or top with cheese and garlic, or even make a sandwich with it. The same can be done with the vegan crusts. Go nuts and be creative, or just heat them up and dip.

And once again, I have to put a plug in for the chocolate donuts there, which are my favorites. I get them when I have a killer chocolate craving. Chocolate donuts with chocolate frosting and chocolate chips. Phew, they are intensely chocolate and just what I need sometimes. What about you?

(I am remiss in this post since I spent a wonderful morning at Gluten Free Creations not long ago and I promised to blog about it. Well, it’s been too long and I got too busy. Sorry for the delay in the post.)

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Filed under donuts, gluten free, pizza, vegan, vegetarian