When gluten free tastes normal!

A have one of the greatest neighbors. It's a great family that goes to our church, and they have some of the most wonderful kids, who honestly have quite a bit of creative energy. So after a long week for both of us, we asked if we could watch their kids for a night so they could go out and have a date. It took my friend all of a "nanosecond" to say yes.

So what does one do for fun with a 4, 6, and 8 year old? Our idea of the night was "make your own...." Their favorite food is pizza, so my husband ran to Big Lots to buy a package of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust mix. (BTW, Big Lots has a HUGE selection of Bob's Red Mill products, even their gluten free offerings--we bought a package of Bob's 44 oz. GF AP Flour for only $6.50) I prepped it in the bread machine the night before and refrigerated it until we were ready to use it. It really does work out fantastic that way. 

My "genius" idea was that everyone would prep their own small pizza on a piece of aluminum foil so there would be no cross-contamination with their baking sheets. I rolled out the dough, using a small drizzle of oil to keep the roller from sticking. (I used to use flour- which I did not bring to their house with me- and I think this is my new go to easy way to roll out pizza crust!) I stuck the kids' pizza crusts in the oven for 7 minutes, as directed by the package, while my husband and the kids walked the dog back to our house. They really seem to enjoy walking my dog......

Once the crusts were pre-baked, it was time to create our own pizzas. The kids pretty much stuck to cheese and pepperoni, while my husband and I included peppers, onions, spinach and mushrooms. And I used the Classico pizza sauce for the first time. AMAZING! and it says gluten free right on the label. The kids were pretty proud of their masterpieces. So in the oven they went for 10 minutes. (The pizza crusts....not the kids. The pizza crust mix package says to bake the pizzas for 15 minutes, but those are the directions for a 12 in. pizza. Ours were smaller and thinner, and I didn't want to run the risk of burning them.) The kids pizzas went in the oven first, while they watched Curious George with Brad. Our pizzas baked after theirs. 

My husband's pizza....yum!
I noticed a major flaw in my aluminum- foil-plan. I failed to put oil UNDERNEATH the crust. So, our pizzas had tinfoil stuck to the bottom of them. I was pretty successful at removing the kids' pizzas from the tinfoil...not so much ours. 

But the best part was that the kids LOVED the pizza. None of them are gluten intolerant, and they don't always have the best appetites. They ate ALL of their pizza, even the 4 year old. That is really the best compliment any gluten free product can have. 

Our next "make your own" was flavoring your own air popped popcorn. We introduced them to Kernel Seasons Kettle Corn seasoning. 2 liked it, one didn't....but he ate the rest of his sister's later in the evening when he REALLY wanted more popcorn. 

Our last foray into "make your own" was cookies. In full disclaimer, I have been wanting to try the new Pillsbury Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie dough for some time now. I even had a coupon....somewhere. I had seemingly misplaced it and searched all my "regular" spots high and low. And then I found it in our Dave Ramsey Envelope system, and I was so happy. I felt like the lady in the Bible that called everyone to celebrate because she found what once was lost! And to make it even better, Kroger doubled my $1 store coupon, which I don't think they were supposed to do. So my cookie dough (which is supposed to make 16 small cookies) was only $2.49 instead of $4.49. Yeah for a deal! 

So I actually scooped out the cookie dough a put it in the oven. The creative part was that we bought red cookie frosting, to simulate pizza sauce, and let the kids put sprinkles on it. They decided that the chocolate sprinkles were sausage and the white stars were cheese. And again, the best part, the kids LOVED the cookies! We even baked extra ones for their mom and dad, and their mom said she couldn't tell any difference from regular gluten-filled cookies. And believe me, they really were that good. And yes, I did try it raw out of the tub....SO good. No xanthum gum aftertaste. Major tastiness!

So it was a great night....great kids, great food, great memories, and all without the gluten!