Yesterday, my husband and I held our annual Summer Music Intensive in which Early Childhood teachers join us for 6 hours of fun and music-making! In all the years we’ve held these seminars, we’ve always served a light breakfast upon their arrival to our house, and then a lovely assortment of lunch options, all lovingly made by me. That is, until this year. I decided to make two HUGE changes. To preserve my sanity. It was a very smart move.
Instead of making muffins from scratch, I used two Breads From Anna mixes – a Gluten Free Apple Muffin mix (Gluten, Yeast, Corn, Dairy, Soy, Nut (including peanuts) and Rice Free, GMO Free) and a Gluten Free Maple Walnut Muffin mix, (Gluten, Yeast, Corn, Dairy, Soy, Nut (including peanuts) and Rice Free). They were both delicious!!! The comments from our guests included “ooh” and “yum” and “this is gluten free???” and “wow”. Everyone loved the muffins, and I don’t think they were just being polite.
Back in my pre-GF days, I always kept mixes in my pantry. You never know when you’ll need to whip up a quick pan of brownies or cookies. I was a devoted buyer of Dunkin Hines or Betty Crocker mixes. Now, instead, I keep Breads From Anna mixes (bread and muffins and pie mix) in my pantry. And they’re always homeruns. And easy peasy to make. And here’s a couple of things worth noting – unlike alot of gluten free baked goods, you can eat them right out of the oven (or after they’ve cooled off enough to not burn your tongue!), they’re moist as moist can be, they’re moist the next day and the day after that, they’re chock full of healthy gluten free ingredients as opposed to alot of gluten free mixes that contain white not-very-nutritious flours and starches.
The other smart thing we did was take everyone out for lunch to Chipotle Grill. While they don’t have a gluten free menu per se, they’re very gluten free friendly and knowledgeable. And they’re consistent – doesn’t matter whether we go to a Chipotle Grill in Dallas, TX or Chicago, IL or Kansas City, MO. The food is fresh and delicious, and the people preparing the food are always helpful and patient. My suggestions for making your dining experience safe – when you step up to order, kindly, with a smile, ask the manager to prepare your food. If he/she isn’t available, explain that you have allergies and that you need the server to do the following:
1. Provide you with their gluten free allergy card that lists all the allergens in the foods
2. Use new gloves
3. DON’T touch or go near the flour tortillas once the new gloves are donned
4. Assuming your meal includes cheese and/or lettuce, ask them to retrieve and use a new container for each of these items because the cheese and the lettuce are the two items in the buffet that they literally reach their gloved hands into while preparing burritos made with flour tortilla. Cross contamination is guaranteed!
Our lunch was delicious and quick, and we will definitely do the same thing next year.