Friday, January 28, 2011

Preparing for a GFCF Birthday

With my son’s birthday coming up in a few weeks, my wife is getting ready.

Up until this year, we’ve only had small celebrations with mostly just family members. Kai gets excited about his birthday but, in the past, he’s gotten overwhelmed by the whole thing. So, we thought it best to keep things low key.

But, he seems to be handling things better overall these days, so we decided to invite some kids over this year and see how it goes. All of his classmates have been invited, as well as a few other kids that he knows.

We were touched to find out from one of the moms that this was the first time that her daughter had been invited to a birthday party. A child with special needs, she’s apparently been excluded from parties in the past. She said that her daughter was very excited to get our invitation and wanted to rush out to Toys R Us at that very moment to buy Kai’s present.

My wife is planning to make the birthday cake. Actually, the cake will be cupcakes. She found a book called “Hello, Cupcake!” that give a lot of really fun ideas on cool ways to decorate cupcakes. As the cover of the book says, these are “irresistibly playful creations that anyone can make.” Of course, claims like “anyone can make” don’t always turn out to be so easy. And so, my wife decided not to wait for Kai’s birthday to try out a few creations. She has been practicing.

I am biased, but I think that she’s been successful in making them look pretty good. You can see for yourself from the picture below.
What is particularly special about these cupcakes is that they are gluten-free and casein-free. Our son has been GFCF for four and a half years now, so of course we wanted these cupcakes to fit within the diet. While the book does not give GFCF recipes, my wife has found that it is not too difficult to adapt their recipes. It is incredible how many gluten-free products are on the market these days; certainly there are a lot more than when we started the diet. For cupcakes, my wife often uses a brand called Pamela’s, but she found that even a well-known brand like Betty Crocker makes a good gluten-free mix.

Then, for the design part, she substitutes the book’s choices with GFCF products. For instance, in the one shown here, she used dairy-free chocolate and replaced M&Ms with Skittles or other gluten-free candies. Not only do these GFCF cupcakes look good, but I can personally vouch that they taste great, too.

At one time, we thought that being on a GFCF diet meant that our son would not be able to experience fun or enjoyment when it came to foods and eating. We are finding out that this just does not have to be the case. As Martha Stewart would say, that is a good thing.

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