Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Gluten Free Goodie Swap - like being a kid in a gluten free candy store!

This event is hosted by the Atlanta Gluten Free Dinner Club, which I'm an assistant organizer for. Last year when I attended this event I overdid it. It was the first party I'd attended in eleven months where I could eat everything there. Well, that's not completely true since I'd been to the gluten free Thanksgiving Potluck lunch the month before, but there were probably only six or so desserts there. In any case, I ate way too much sugar and was uncomfortably full at the goodie swap last year. So this year I watched myself. I had the best gluten free pound cake I've had to date. It was made from a mix called Sylvan Border Farms. It was certainly indistinguishable from any gluten containing version I've ever had. You can make many different variations with the mix, according to the lady who brought it. Oh and I split a piece of this cake with my husband...that's how I cut back on my intake this year. I'm sure I still had way too much sugar but the gluten free goodie swap only comes once a year, after all.

There was so much glorious gluten free food laid out on the table, which was about thirty feet long, it was hard to believe it was all safe for us to eat! There were homemade cookies, more cookies and then some more sent from a bakery in PA - The Grainless Baker, carob rice cereal bars, lemon bars, chocolate cake, Swedish raspberry bars, almond bars, pecan pralines, brownies, cheesecake squares...I honestly can't list everything because there was too much to remember. Mostly I remember how great everything I tried tasted, and I remember all the big smiles on the faces of everyone there. As our members entered the room and saw this huge assortment of gluten free goodies - well the look on their faces was priceless. I think the adults were as excited as the kids that were there. I certainly was anyway.

Our goodie swap inspired me to throw a little holiday get together for some gluten eating friends. I now love baking so I made all the food myself and guests were asked to bring only wine. We had Namaste spice cake, Bob's Red Mill chocolate cupcakes (the trick is to use chocolate soy milk to overpower the bean flavor), rosemary spiced pecans, chocolate butterscotch fudge (Kroger's butterscotch chips are gf), chex-type party mix and several other treats! Everyone loved the food and several neighbors were not even familiar with my diet so they had trouble understanding that I made baked goods without wheat flour...lol! But I did and everything I made was simple to make. We did have a few left over treats so I sent them to work my husband on Monday. One co-worker who will remain nameless said the fudge was better than his wife's! And that she could never know that...lol!

So don't go around thinking you have to do without anything this most gluten filled season of all. You can pretty much have all your favorite holiday treats, even if you do have to make them yourself. For sixteen years of my eighteen year marriage, I avoided the kitchen except when figuring out where new dishes could be stored. Now you can't keep me out of the kitchen! There is just something really special about creating fabulous food with your own hands - even if you are using a baking mix. I even perfected my husband's family recipe for pumpkin bread...finally after several disappointing tries. And of course, I could not use a gluten free mix for that. When the bread is baking it actually smells like Christmas to me. The holiday season will quickly pass but remember, you can have glorious gluten free goodies all year long!

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