Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Milestone Birthdays and Gluten Free Cake

This past weekend we celebrated my sister and my father's birthdays with a joint birthday party. My sister and my dad were born on the same date in July, and both celebrated milestone birthdays this year. My sister turned 30 and my dad turned 65. My mom and I decided to prepare a big party for them both. We chose to do something a little different this year, since we typically just have an outdoor BBQ with hamburgers and steaks. Instead, we hired a catering service called La Cantina Catering to come and prepare the main meal for us, while we provided the appetizers and dessert.

Since the party was for both, decorating along a shared theme wasn't easy. We decided that since the meal had an Italian theme, that would be the part that represented my dad. My sister is the diva of the family, so the dessert table was decorated with her in mind.

 My son is the only gluten free person in the entire family, so with the exception of the pasta bar, a baguette, and the main cake, everything was gluten free. The catering company came and set up the pasta bar outside, so nothing with gluten came in contact with the rest of the food.

We prepared an antipasto table with salami, sun dried tomatoes, mixed vegetables, roasted red peppers, mushroom salad, tomato and mozzarella salad, eggplant salad, and a cheese tray.

We put the bread on the edge of the table away from everything else, and then put out Glutino Bagel Crisps for my son. All the antipasto was gluten free.

The guys from La Cantina served up a variety of short pasta in a selection of sauces and toppings. In addition, they cooked up skewers in a selection of lamb, beef, chicken, or veggie. The marinades were all gluten free and they were cooked on a clean grill, so my son could eat them. He LOVED the skewers and went up for seconds (and maybe thirds).

We also ordered a potato salad, a Greek salad, and a fruit salad, all of which were safe for my son to eat, and absolutely delicious. The cooks were friendly, and everyone raved about how incredible the food was. The price was absolutely reasonable for the quality and quantity of food. I wouldn't hesitate to hire them again for an event.

The weather channel had called for massive thunderstorms, and the clouds started rolling in so the caterers quickly cooked up the rest of the food and put it in large containers for us to bring them indoors if the weather turned. We had originally planned on setting everything outdoors, but decided to set up some things indoors instead. Fortunately, the clouds passed by and the evening turned out to be gorgeous. We brought out the dessert table and set up the cakes outside. We had blown up some photos of my dad and sister over the years and had planned on setting them up outside, but instead we strung them up in the kitchen. They were a nice walk down memory lane. People checked out the photos as they served themselves candy.

We found a nice array of gluten free candy at our local Party Packagers, and went with the hot pink, black and silver theme from my sister's "half" of the cake. The kids and adults loved it, and people made sure to fill up a bag to bring home with them at the end of the night. 

There used to be a bakery close by that made gluten free cakes, but they've turned into a bistro and no longer make cakes. We were looking for something fancy for the cake and couldn't find anyone to do it gluten free, so we came up with a compromise that worked out great. I made gluten free mini cupcakes for the party that were gluten free, and then made a "Kid's Cake" that was gluten free and had a sign that said "Kids Only!" on it. That instantly made it the cake that all the kids wanted to eat, and my son didn't even ask if he could have any of the other cake. Covering it with rainbow sprinkles probably didn't hurt, either!

The adult cake was a round cake that looked as though it were cut in half, with one side decorated in a princess motif for my sister (like I said, the Diva of the family, in the best way possible), and my dad's side featured a fisherman out in a boat and some underwater creatures. It was done by my sister's friend at My Pink Apron and exceeded our expectations. We had sent her some ideas  that we found on Pinterest to give her an idea of what we wanted, and she completely got the look and feel we were going for. She was even able to fill each side of the cake with a different flavour filling. The price was reasonable and it was worth every penny. 

It was great having everyone together for the party, since it's not often that my dad's whole family gets together. We typically have a huge gathering at Christmas, and then smaller gatherings throughout the year. This year has seen a bunch of milestone birthdays and as a result I've been seeing a lot more of my family, which is nice since we'll be moving soon (that's another update post, coming soon). We ate, we drank, we laughed, we took lots of photos, and everyone had a great time. My sister's 30th and my dad's 65th birthdays were celebrated in style!

My parents, sister, husband, kids, and mother-in-law (and me!)

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