Going Gluten-FreeSeptember 10, 2014

Gluten-Free Snacking for “Normal” Eaters

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Posted by Erica Dermer

Last week, my partner launched the Adventure Video Club. The AV club is a collection of epic-adventure seeking individuals all brought together to watch outdoor movies about hiking, surfing, cycling, camping and anything outdoors meant to raise adrenaline. If you know me, you’re wondering why I’m a part of this group. Since I am terrified of adventure (especially outdoors) because I usually end up hurting myself, I’m in charge of snacks. In fact, at the last town hall-style meeting, I was elected vice president of snacks.

Everyone at the event knew that I was “special” – aka a celiac that had to eat gluten-free and that I even lived in a gluten-free household. The first time this small group of friends came over to watch a soccer game, they brought “real” hamburgers with gluten-full buns and a gluten-full pizza from my favorite restaurant. It felt so foreign to me to have food in the house that I couldn’t eat. Somewhere in the 20 minutes while the food was on our table, I started to feel anger and resentment. “How dare these people in my own home bring over food – not just food that I didn’t like, but food that represented a long and drawn-out death for me. I realized I was overreacting to this one pizza and lonely hamburger bun that made its way through my door, but I was incredibly thankful when it made its way into our trashcan.

This club meeting, we emailed guests ahead to tell them that light snacks and drinks would be available. As the excellent hostess that I am, I went shopping at Whole Foods and Fresh & Easy the day before to make sure that I had everything prepared. I wanted to serve familiar snack food with a gluten-free twist.

  • Chips & Salsa – You can’t have people over and not have some variety of chips and salsa! I provided two different kinds of chips – with two flavors each. I wanted to give our guests variety – even if all of those provided options were gluten-free. I provided GFCO-certified Beanfields flavored bean & corn chips and Enjoy Life Foods’ lentil-based Plentils. While the Plentils were not something they had seen before – guests were very excited about the taste and texture of the new chips. I also provided gluten-free labeled fresh salsa from a local producer. Even if you do incorporate gluten-full chips into your next party, make sure that there are TWO different dips provided, one for gluten-free chips and one for gluten-full chips. Dipping chips are an easy way to contaminate an otherwise-safe bowl of dip!

  • Drinks – I was most concerned about not having gluten-based beer available, since these were rough-and-tumble adventurers that were used to having a “cold one” out camping. However, we provided gluten-free alcohol like whiskey (as most hard liquor is distilled to remove gluten), water, Honest Tea, soda, and coffee. For future groups, I hope to have gluten-free high-quality beer like New Planet Beer, Green’s, or Ground Breaker Brewing (formerly Harvester) available.

  • Sweets – You’ve got to provide sweets during gatherings. What would a movie night be without something sugary or chocolate-y? On top of the other guests without food issues, and our gluten-free diet, we also had our vegan BFFs over. I wanted to make something camping themed (because every good host is a sucker for themes) so I decided on Campfire Cupcakes, using Schar graham cracker crust and Kyra’s Bake Shop chocolate cupcake mix. I made the mix vegan, but realized that the graham crackers contained honey. I quickly separated the two mixes and made some without the honey crust in a different-colored cupcake liner for these extra-special guests.

Luckily, everyone seemed to eat before the event so there was no foreign gluten that made its way inside. Everyone, regardless of their eating limitations, left the party happy and satiated. We, as hosts, were ready to face our next adventure (or Adventure Video Club), knowing that we could serve any diet with a few gluten-free-friendly modifications!

**Disclaimer: I have worked with many of these companies in the past on my blog CeliacandtheBeast.com, however this does not affect my current use of these products in my everyday life.**

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