BOOF. Short for: Bring Our Own Food.
It’s what we have to do pretty much every time we leave the house. Kind of a no brainer after a while. If we have a playdate, we BOOF our favorite GF snacks.
If we have plans to visit family or friends, we BOOF. We bust out the cooler and throw in a box of Annie’s Mac and Cheese, a loaf of Udi’s bread, GF turkey slices, a couple of cheese sticks, maybe some cookies, and we’re good to go.
Easy. No big deal. Can do it in my sleep. Most days.
Birthday parties, however, are another story.
Imagine a room full of kids inhaling slices of cheesy pizza and gorgeously frosted cupcakes. Imagine that your kid can’t eat any of it.
So what is a mom to do?
BOOF of course. But it’s easier said than done, at least at first. After a year of some big fails and a few minor losses, I feel like I have it (somewhat) figured out and I’m here to share what I’ve learned.
A few bullet points first:
– Always check with the host ahead of time to find out EXACTLY what they will be serving, for both REAL food and dessert. I’ve made the mistake of only bringing a cupcake and pretzels, and then watching the rest of the party chow down on pizza. Not cool.
– Be wary of accepting well-meaning offers of the hosts bringing your child a GF treat. It may be perfectly safe to eat, but not aesthetically pleasing. Or vice versa. [The exception is if you know the host is buying a treat at one of your kid’s favorite bakeries.]
– This is not the time to experiment with a new recipe. You don’t have many (or perhaps any) options if it doesn’t work out.
– Enlist help! Especially if you already have a lot to carry, like a new baby, you might want to consider asking your partner, a friend or sitter to come with you to help. Balancing a pizza box, a cupcake container, diaper bag, birthday gift, and a baby is only safely possible if you’re an octopus.
Directions for EASY pizza and ENVY-INDUCING (and fast!) cake:
For a while I was either making a GF pizza the night before the party and bringing the leftovers, or ordering one from our local restaurant (whose owner was lovely enough to open a half hour earlier so I could pick it up in time for a noon birthday party). But the first requires time and energy (which I have significantly less of since having Little Guy) and the second can be pricey and isn’t all that convenient since I have to make two stops
Thank goodness for Udi’s pizza crusts and Fresh Direct that delivers them To My House.
I love love love Udi’s pizza crusts. They taste GOOD. Bunky eats more of her Udi’s pizza than the well meaning but kind of dry GF cornmeal crust from our local pizza place.
All you need is some marinara sauce (or whatever is red and saucy in your fridge) and shredded mozzarella and you’re in business. Just don’t overload the crust with sauce; since it sits on top and doesn’t sink in it can became too squishy. Sprinkle with as much cheese as you like and bake for the required time (under ten minutes) and Voila! A perfectly cooked delicious GF pizza, reasonably sized, and ready to slice and pack up for a birthday party (or any party for that matter). Totally respectable. Looks good and my particular Bunky devours hers.
Next up: Dessert.
Most birthday parties are either cupcakes or cake. I let Bunky know what the other kids will be eating and let her decide. Sometimes she wants EXACTLY the same thing, which is sometimes possible. Other times she is in the mood for a slice of cake even if the other kids are eating cupcakes. Find out what you’re kid wants and then get busy buying some SUPER EASY and shockingly decent Betty Crocker cake mixes. Or pick whatever other cake mix has worked for you in the past. Go homemade if you want, I’ve done it, but like I said, my time is pretty measly nowadays. I need a good shortcut whenever I can find it. And this is one of them.
For the last birthday party I used a mini bunt cake pan with six pretty shaped bunts. I filled it with Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix and then made a HOMEMADE and super easy chocolate ganache. [For ganache recipe, scroll down to the end of Nicole Hunn’s recipe for amazing looking GF Milano cookies. It’s also in her cookbook.]
Please grease bunt (or cupcake) pans liberally as GF tends to stick more. Nothing sadder than a botched bunt. Once completely cooled, pour gorgeous streams of silky chocolate over bunts. Let your kid douse them with ridiculous amounts of GF sprinkles. Done. Now you’re a rock star parent. All the other kids will be eyeing your kid’s GF treat instead of the other way around. Ha!
Tips: Put finished frosted cakes in fridge to cool if you need to harden the ganache in a hurry, and definitely refrigerate until party time to keep the ganache from melting off the cake.
Pack it all up and head to the party with a smile on your face.
Don’t forget the present.