Gluten Free Children's Party table
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The Gluten Free Children’s Afternoon Tea (The “We Love Our Boss” Tea Party)

I wonder how many people other than Xak and I can say they truly love their boss. Our boss requires us to work 99 hours on Tuesdays, Xak is constantly getting fired and rehired, and we tend to not get paid on a regular basis, yet we still absolutely love our boss. Our “boss” is actually our five year old nephew, Eddie. We “work” for him in a fabulous coffee and tea shop called Coffee Yum Yum which specializes in things like ketchup soup. Currently 100% of our customers (his parents) have given us a 5 star rating and we intend on keeping it that way.

Back in December, Eddie decided to “expand the business” thanks to acquiring some new kitchen equipment, and we wanted to show him how much we appreciated him. We also figured this would be a good way to ensure Xak doesn’t get fired as much. What better way to celebrate your favorite boss than a wonderful afternoon tea party?

Planning the Boss’s Tea Party Menu

Xak and I have never had an actual tea party for a five year old, nor do we really hang out with many five year olds other than Eddie.

Do kids even drink tea??

-Me, concerned since I have no knowledge about 5 year olds

The only experience I have with children and tea drinking is from reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, “The Long Winter.” Carrie and Grace are given Cambric tea which made them feel “very grown up.” It is basically a cup of hot milk, water, and sugar with the tiniest amount of tea imaginable. Since my knowledge of children’s tea drinking habits was clearly outdated, I decided a more desirable option would probably be hot chocolate. Of course, Eddie would ultimately make the final choice, but I felt pretty confident with this one.

Since Eddie is both five years old and in need of gluten free food, our normal tea treat fare wouldn’t cut it.

For this particular afternoon tea (hot chocolate?) party, Xak and I decided the best way to keep us both employed would be to serve the following menu:

Savories

  • Cucumber Sandwiches with Schar’s Gluten Free bread
  • Chicken Salad Croissants with Schar’s Gluten Free croissants
  • Peanut butter and Jelly Hearts with Schar’s Gluten Free bread
  • Deviled Eggs

Scone

  • Gluten Free Cream Scones with Mock Clotted Cream and Raspberry Jam

Dessert

  • Mini Macarons with buttercream filling
  • Rainbow Fruit Skewers
  • Gluten Free Dirt cups with accompanying gummy worm

The menu sounded awesome to me, but then again I’m not the boss. Hopefully we’d still have our jobs at Coffee Yum Yum after this. ๐Ÿคž

Gluten Free Savories

Xak and I haven’t done too much gluten free baking outside of our Christmas desserts, so we wanted to stick to simple sandwiches instead of something fancy like tartlets or quiches. My approach to gluten free tea savories is to basically use the same fillings as ordinary tea sandwiches (like cucumber or egg, which are gluten free), but switch out the bread. I’ve had gluten free bread in the past and usually the slices are smaller, more dense, and about 4x more expensive than regular bread.

The bread we chose was Schar’s Gluten Free Artisan bread. We had previously used the Schar’s brand for our gluten free cracker candy and got great responses. I found this loaf at my local Giant and Harris Teeter in the unrefrigerated gluten free/organic aisles. Since Xak and I decided we would use regular bread for ourselves, one loaf should be enough for Eddie and his family.

You can also get Schar’s multi-grain gluten free bread if white bread isn’t your preference.

For almost every single tea party, we always serve cucumber sandwiches, and while Eddie may not care for them, we hoped his parents would still enjoy them since they were attending as well.

To appease Eddie, peanut butter and jelly seemed like a very solid choice. If Eddie ate nothing else but this, I would still consider it a win. To make these sandwiches a little more special and to go with our “We Love Our Boss!” theme, we broke out our heart cookie cutters, which is something I normally don’t do. Since the bread was so dense, they cut out beautifully without even having to freeze the bread.

Another favorite of ours is chicken salad sandwiches. While we usually serve it with whatever bread we have on hand, to make it a little more special for our boss, we wanted to find some gluten free croissants to go along with the regular croissants that Xak and I were planning to eat. Luckily, we found the some Schar’s Gluten Free Croissants in the gluten free/organic frozen aisle. I also noted there were gluten free baguettes, ciabattas, and pizza dough which I filed away for the future.

Each bag contains 4 croissants which means Eddie and his family would have to fight over the 4th one.

The gluten free croissants looked pretty good!

Finally, since we were running out of bread (those loaves are small), instead of an egg salad sandwich, I opted for a classic deviled egg since it would be naturally gluten free and because I always look for an excuse to use my deviled egg tray.

Our bottom tier was good to go!

Gluten Free Cream Scones

Scones might be a tough sell for a five year old, but just in case Boss was feeling adventurous, we want to make sure we had tasty ones he could actually eat eat. For this course, Xak wanted to make his favorite classic cream scones using gluten free flour.

All the ingredients are the same as our Downton Abbey Cream scones except we used Bob’s Red Mill flour found in the baking aisle to make it gluten free

Gluten free baking requires some additional ingredients you generally don’t add in regular baking. For example, you might see some gluten free recipes call for Xanthan gum which is a thickening agent. When Xak and I were in the grocery store, we saw two different types of gluten free flour from Bob’s Red Mill. Both flours are a mix of many different flours like garbanzo bean flour, tapioca flour, and rice flour. The only real difference we could see is one called for xanthan gum to be added and the other did not.

The other gluten free flour we found in the baking aisle. Yikes which do we choose?

Since Xak and I are both pretty new to this, we tried to see which flour was recommended for scones. The label for one said it could be used to replace flour in “cookies, cakes, brownies, pancakes, pies, muffins, and more.” while the other stated it was a “great choice for gluten free breads, crackers, muffins, cookies, and pancakes.”

Where do scones fit in?! Since there seemed to be a bit of overlap from the two, and one of them literally said “and more” we decided to go with the flour that did not need additional xanthan gum (1 to 1 Baking Flour) and sincerely hoped we made the right choice.

While the preparation was the exact same with just the flour replacement, the scones did turn out a little differently, but Eddie’s parents still enjoyed them. Each scone was also served with mock clotted cream and preferred flavor of preserves.

Xak made some test gluten free scones earlier in the week to make sure they tasted good before serving our guests. I ate these with some Bonne Maman White Nectarine Peach Lemon Verbena jam.

Gluten Free Desserts

This tier would probably be the most important for our Boss. We anticipated this might even be the only thing he would eat. We needed to take particular care with this course. Our jobs were depending on it.

We had already made pavlovas during our Christmas celebration which are naturally gluten free. Eddie didn’t necessarily show a particular penchant for these, so we wanted to try something else. Since macarons are a huge favorite for both Xak and me, we decided mini macarons would be an excellent choice. Even if Eddie ended up not liking these, we would certainly eat them all.

In addition to mini macarons, all of us love fruit. Fruit salads are nice, but would a kid really be excited for that? Kids like sticks, right? So throw the fruit onto a stick! We decided to make fruit skewers and for a little extra interest, choose specific colored fruit to show a rainbow.

  • Red – Strawberry
  • Orange – oranges
  • Yellow – Mango
  • Green – Kiwi
  • Blue – Blueberry
  • Indigo – none (what would fit here?)
  • Purple – Grape

Finally, for the last dessert, we knew we had a winner. Since Xak and I are both Oreo Club co-founders at our workplace, we wanted to incorporate Oreos into this special tea. Oreo actually has a few gluten free varieties which taste really good and would be perfect for Gluten Free Dirt.

You can also get mint, Double Stuf, and golden gluten free Oreos!

When I was a kid (ok even as an adult), I loved Dirt. “Dirt” is pudding, usually Cool Whip, and maybe cream cheese, and other stuff all mixed up and then topped with Oreo crumbs. Sometimes it’s served in a flower pot, but most likely you’ll also throw in a couple of gummy worms. It’s delicious, and I don’t know any kid who has ever not enjoyed dirt.

The dirt cups were atop the gluten free tray, within easy reach for Boss

This may sound like an odd choice for afternoon tea, but in the past I’ve gone to tea places like Lady Camellia and The Tea Cart that served “pot de creme” or chocolate mousse which is essentially an adult pudding cup. In order to make this a bit fancier, Xak and I sought out mini shot glasses in the grocery store. Surprisingly not found in the alcohol aisle: I found them in the plastic silverware section.

If Eddie ate absolutely nothing but Dirt cups, I’d still be happy.

The Party

Since our invitations had requested the attendance of special stuffed companions, Xak and I wanted to make sure we brought some to the (dining) table too. Our guests included Felix the Fox (crocheted by Xak), Lobo the Yorkie, and my greatly beloved Pooh Bear who has been with me since my first day on this earth. Eddie was planning on bringing his stuffed Pikachu to the party. We set out tea cups for all to enjoy.

Our honored guests! Missing from the table, honey for Pooh Bear’s tea.

Everyone settled down in their specially marked seat (with Boss at the head of the table). Xak and I set up two different 3 tiered trays to denote gluten free and non-gluten free. Since we had more food than our trays allowed, we also served some items on plates like the croissants and the fruit skewers.

Our tea table 99% set up. Missing the dirt and the people!
My savories on my plate. I also grabbed a dirt cup at this time to ensure i actually got one ๐Ÿ˜„

Here were the final results:

Hot Chocolate: Eddie preferred the “hot chocolate” as “lukewarm chocolate.” Next time, I might just serve chocolate milk.
Savories: Eddie enjoyed the peanut butter and jelly hearts, but didn’t care for the other savories.
Scones: Eddie didn’t want a scone (but his parents liked them)
Desserts: Eddie ate some of the fruit from the skewer (blueberries and grapes) and absolutely loved the Dirt!
Our Job Status: Still Employed!

Although Xak and I generally spend about 2 hours leisurely drinking and eating during our tea parties, a child’s attention span is about about 1/4 of that. Xak and I had planned out a few more activities for after our afternoon tea: something creative, something fun, and something to burn off calories.

  • An Arts and Craft Project
  • A Board Game
  • Switch Sports

Arts and Crafts: Origami

Eddie loves to color and draw. Usually during our hang outs, we like to draw what’s on the daily menu for Coffee Yum Yum, lots of flowers, and whatever else comes to mind. Eddie also loves building with Lego bricks (just like me!), but I wanted us to do something different since this was a special party.

I’ve been fascinated with origami ever since I watched the Reading Rainbow “The Paper Crane” episode many years ago where origami was featured. When I was a kid, during our weekly library trips I would often check out an origami book often. Throughout grade school, I would make frogs that hopped out of notebook paper. In college, one of my assignments involved giving a how-to speech and I chose to teach how to make origami balloons (spoiler: only half the class was successful). My absolute favorite thing to make though is origami stars. I have jars full of stars, but sometimes Xak will find them in the most random places.

Some of the origami stars I’ve made. Not pictured: millions more.

Finding an origami project for a child is a little tricky since a five year old’s dexterity is not fully developed. Since stars are so tiny, this sadly wouldn’t be a good project for Eddie. Instead, I decided if we were going to celebrate our love for our boss, what better way to represent that than a heart?

To prepare, I used non-origami making Xak as my guinea pig. I ran through the instructions twice to see if he could make two hearts. Xak certainly is not a five year old, however, if he completely failed making anything that resembled a heart, I know I would be in trouble. Luckily, Xak made two very nice hearts based on my instructions! I felt relieved because this meant Xak could always step in if Eddie needed any help.

Hopefully these are recognizable as hearts!

On party day, we all ended up making two hearts each with varying degrees of success.

Board Game: Trekking the National Parks

Xak loves board games and we have quite the collection in our house. When we have board game night with Eddie’s parents, we play games that require about an hour’s worth of time reading and explaining the instructions from an extremely thick gaming manual. With these games, Eddie is usually on my team and will help me roll the dice and make decisions on which space to go to or what action to take. This inevitably means that our team tends to come in last place, but I don’t mind (too much ๐Ÿ˜„). For today’s event though, Eddie and I would be playing separately since he brought his own game: Trekking the National Parks.

I played by myself this time and still lost. ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

This game was a lot of fun! Since Xak and I were not familiar with it, we spent about 20 minutes reviewing the rules/instructions and setting up. If you’ve played the game before, you’ll know it’s for ages 10+, but that’s not a problem for five year old Eddie. I think Eddie actually won the game which means I must be the one holding him back whenever we play together!

We were also very excited for our upcoming family trip to Colorado to visit a specific national park/landmark the next month…

Switch Sports

After the game was finished, we cleaned up and ate yet another cup of Dirt before moving on to our final activity: Switch Sports.

When the game was first released back in 2022, we had a Switch Sports party with Eddie and his family featuring food, Powerade (if anyone needed it ๐Ÿ˜„), and several hours of playing Switch Sports. Ever since that day, Eddie had become a fan of the game, and his family acquired a copy. For today’s party, we played rounds of tennis, badminton, chambara (Eddie’s favorite) and finished off with a round of golf.

Our shirts are two sides of a heart lol. What a great team!

After the last round, everyone was sad that the party was done, but we promised Eddie we would show up to work soon, including working some shifts while we were all together in Colorado. Overall it was a great day, and we truly hope our boss felt loved!

Bonus: The Leftover Tea

One of the reasons people love afternoon tea is because of how delicate the food looks and fancy, prim, and proper the tea ceremony is. Instead of big, bulky sandwiches, you get tiny finger sandwiches without crusts and very dainty desserts. It’s great, until you start thinking about food waste. In our house, however, Xak and I absolutely love offcuts. If we manage to control ourselves and not eat all the offcuts before our tea party, we make sure to save every last piece of crust.

If we’re serving tea to others, we want them to have a lovely experience that’s a little more formal than your standard lunch. This means we inspect each individual treat and scone to see which would look the best on our three tiered trays. However, just because we aren’t eating the slightly misshapened treats on tea day doesn’t mean they aren’t still delicious.

Leftover Tea is the afternoon tea that Xak and I have on the days after our fancy tea party. This is the time to eat all the sandwich scraps and “imperfect” treats and scones. We brew up a pot of black tea (usually Yorkshire, English Breakfast, or Lady Grey) and fire up the Downton Abbey soundtrack in the background while we enjoy tea for days. Nothing goes to waste. It is simply the best.

If you haven’t experienced Leftover Tea, you should start!

The heart shaped offcuts from our pb&j sandwiches, chicken salad filling onto leftover celery, cucumber sandwich ends, and some imperfect macarons. The scones were consumed before I could take a pic. Delicious!

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