One of the challenges of a new school year is figuring out how to negotiate class treats and parties with a kid with food sensitivies. In the past, it’s created a lot of stress for me, because staying on top of every possible treat served, and having an acceptible alternate food at-the-ready, is not always easy. A couple years ago, I sent a box of shelf-stable gluten-free cookie packs to the teacher at the beginning of the year, and asked her to distribute them to my son any time a cupcake or cookie was served. But let’s be honest: a shelf-stable gluten-free cookie is never going to be as exciting as a home-made, decorated treat.

I’ve also struggled with birthday parties, because it’s not always easy to procure (or bake from scratch) a gluten-free treat that my child can take himself. We’ve had many moments of running out the door to a party and realizing, on the way, that we totally forgot about this stuff. And it’s no fun for a kid to be at a birthday celebration and skip out while everyone else is eating cake.

A friend finally shared an idea with me that is so simple, I don’t know how I ever thought of it. She makes gluten-free cupcakes in batches and then freezes them. That way, she always has something on hand. If a birthday party or school celebration is happening, she pulls one out of the freezer the night before.

We made tie-dye cupcakes earlier this month, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to make a big batch of gluten-free cupcakes, too.

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I let the kids eat a few, but made enough that I now have a good reserve of cupcakes for the next crop of birthday parties. Now if I can only remember to buy the gift in advance . . .