Being gluten free shouldn't mean you need to miss out on all of the fun.  Try these tips to make yourself feel more comfortable at group gatherings. 

  • Offer to help out.
    • If you enjoy being in the kitchen, offer to help the host(ess) out with the food prep and cooking.  Not only will your extra help be appreciated, but you'll get to be in the kitchen overseeing everything so you can easily offer some suggestions for keeping any GF items safe and uncontaminated while being wonderful company to hang out with!  
       
  • Bring a side dish to the party. Make something so delicious that others would never even suspect that it's "gluten free". Unfortunately, most times, gluten free foods have the common misconception that they are automatically less tasty or not capable of being delicious.  Time to prove the non-believers wrong!  Here are two crowd favorites that are sure to please.
     
    • Homemade Chex Mix - Everyone at the party was in disbelief that my homemade version was entirely gluten free.  They even thought I cheated and poured the mix straight from the bag!  Of course, that wasn't the case as any Celiac would know the amount of gluten lurking int he original version is something to steer clear of!  I adopt my version from Betty Crocker's Original Chex Party Mix Recipe.  Keep an eye out for a future post featuring the adaptions I've made to make this recipe completely GF.
       
    • Chocolate Covered Pretzels - These can be made with any gluten free pretzel (the heart shapes are my favorite for this treat) and any type of chocolate you like!  I usually make a semi-sweet and a white chocolate version for some variety.  These treats are easy and fun to make and the result is sweet and salty deliciousness.

      Start by making a double boiler by filling a saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer (low heat, light bubbles).  Place a stainless steel or glass bowl on top of the saucepan, ensuring that the water on the bottom does not come into contact with the bowl.  Pour the chocolate into the mixing bowl and stir.  The heat from the water will begin to melt the chocolate.  Continue to stir until all chips are blended and you are left with a creamy consistency.  Make sure not get any water into the chocolate otherwise it will seize.  Take some gluten free pretzels and dip them in the chocolate.  I like covering about half the pretzel so that I don't burn my fingers when dipping the whole thing.  Lay out on parchment paper and pop in fridge to set.  
       
  • For summer cookouts and BBQs, always be prepared! 
    • Bring some GF sausages (Premio is a crowd favorite) or a GF hamburger/hot dog you could throw on the grill.  This way, you know for sure you will have a main course to enjoy!
    • Have some tin foil on hand so that you can ask the griller to prepare your foods on it.  You can even bring a spare set of grill tongs with you so that you don't have to worry about cross contamination.
    • Bring a few bags of GF chips to the party to ensure you have snacks you can enjoy.  Everyone always appreciates when you contribute to the party, so this is a win-win!