As summer draws to a close, I can’t even count the number of picnics my hubby, son, and I have undertaken. We are picnic people.

Our first picnic after I was diagnosed, I started to get a bit panicky. All my old standards for a romantic picnic were off limits! French baguettes, crackers with scrumptious toppings, cookies, biscuits, sandwiches . . . eeek.

And an idea for a challenge was born. Would it be possible to remake all our favorite picnics together, sans gluten?

I’ll start from the beginning. This was our first Valentine’s day together, a living room picnic on a cold, wintery night more than five years ago.

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The original menu: a French baguette, fresh fruit and sweet yogurt dip, corn on the cob, KFC fried chicken, chocolate covered strawberries, and homemade sangria.

The fix: Udi’s french baguette (I like making garlic bread with it!) or homemade GF bread. There’s no substitute for KFC’s popcorn chicken, but I would replace it with homemade GF fried chicken or chicken satay with peanut sauce. Everything else on the menu still works!

Next is our engagement picnic by the lake.

The original menu: fruit with yogurt dip, sodas, and mini pies bought from the grocery store.

The fix: make your own mini pies, or, MUCH quicker, snag something from the grocery store’s gluten-free section. (Our store has locally made grasshopper brownies . . . but Katz donuts are pretty amazing, too!)

This is us proving that we are hardcore Wisconsin picnickers:
1979550_10152670596802977_1045566428_n The original menu: hot chocolate and homemade oatmeal cookies. Sadly, even the hot chocolate we were using wasn’t safe–the allergen statement said “May contain wheat.”

The fix: gluten free cocoa! Swiss Miss is supposed to be gluten-free to 20 ppm, though I haven’t tried it (yet). Thrive Life gourmet hot cocoa is certified gluten free and sounds delicious. For the oatmeal cookies, either make your own (if you can tolerate oats!) or grab the Udi oatmeal cookies from the grocery store!

And the last of my favorite picnics: this is our first time picnicking with the little one!
13043330_10154732695762977_7345389208134182180_nThe original menu: whole wheat crackers with a variety of toppings–brie, sliced summer sausage, and Smucker’s blueberry lemon fruit and honey (sooo good). And crescent rolls with chocolate chips baked inside (sob).

The quick fix: Johnsonville summer sausage is supposed to be gluten free, per their website. Just sub your favorite gluten-free crackers. And for the dessert . . . um . . . okay, this is the one thing I’m not sure about. Chocolate croissants used to be one of my favorite things, EVER. I don’t quite know how to replace it.

But there’s always the pure goodness of a quality gluten-free brownie . . . 😉