Gluten-free · Menu Plan

Menu Plan

We are working back into healthier dinners this week. I have slacked for the past couple months just because we were busy, and it was a challenging Summer for us. Now that school is back in session, our regular menu planning will commence. My husband was off this week, and we did a lot of appointments and running around. I was able to plan out some delicious dinners and grocery shop…ALONE! 😉

So, here is the lineup for this week (fingers crossed we stick to it!!)…


Cauliflower Pizza “Bread”, Salad, Green Beans

Parmesan Chicken Bake (with either rice or quinoa…no pasta), Salad, veggies and ranch

Turkey Taco Quinoa Skillet, Tortilla Chips, Salad

Portabella “Steaks”, Rice, Carrots

Marinated Lentils, Smashed Crispy Potatoes, Salad

Breakfast (eggs and hashbrown skillet)




Chicken Salad pita pockets, salad


Smoothies, fruit, veggies and ranch


Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins, fruit


English Muffins, fruit, yogurt

Baked Oatmeal



Energy balls, yogurt


Homemade Larabars (dark chocolate brownie flavor…mmmm)

Fruit (this week we have grapes, apples, bananas)

Homemade granola bars

I am also working on being more consistent with avoiding gluten (mostly in processed foods). My belly has not been happy after a weekend of bread items (although sooo yummy). 😦 I feel better all over if I avoid it, at least in store-bought items like bread, pasta, and snacks. Oh, getting older stinks! 😉


Recipe: Blueberry Oat Cake

Blueberries. Yum!

While the kids were away at the movies with my in-laws on Saturday, I had a few hours to bake…all by myself. 😉 I love having my kids help with cooking and baking, but some days I really love to just make some things without having to stop 100 times.

I whipped up a Blueberry Oat Cake for this morning’s breakfast….and for me to have a yummy snack, while I waited for the kids to return. It was a simple recipe, but it also has 2 cups of blueberries, which makes it extra delicious.

Blueberry Oat Cake

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup oil

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups quick oats

2 cups blueberries

1 cup walnuts (optional)

Powdered Sugar

Beat eggs, buttermilk, brown sugar and oil until mixed well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to egg mixture and beat on low (or by hand) for 2 minutes. Fold in oats, blueberries and nuts.

Pour into greased and floured tube/bundt pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until knife/toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn onto a plate.

After it cools, you can dust on some powdered sugar to make it look pretty. 🙂 You could also make a little lemon glaze or a plain powdered sugar glaze to drizzle over it.



Recipe: Cranberry-Lemon Crumb Muffins


I discovered a blog with many yummy baking recipes. After trying this recipe of her for Cranberry-Lemon Crumb Muffins, I am determined to go back and try more!

I love cranberries and I love lemon, so to have them together in a muffin was delicious. I did not tweak her recipe at all! These are perfect, to me, as they are. So, if you still have some cranberries in your fridge or freezer from all the holiday parties, this is the best way to use them.


Here is her recipe:

Cranberry-Lemon Crumb Muffins

  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, warmed to room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.; line a 12- cup muffin pan with paper cups.
  2. In a small bowl, blend together the sugar and the lemon peel. Set aside 1/2 cup.
  3. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon-sugar and 1/4 cup flour. With a fork, cut in 2 tablespoons of cold butter until the mixture is crumbly.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, the remaining 1/2 cup lemon-sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, egg, and vanilla.
  6. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour. Stir until just combined. Fold in the cranberries.
  7. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the reserved crumb mixture. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched.

After you have made these and loved them, check out her blog for more yummy goodness! I don’t know that she is actively blogging anymore, but it is still worth checking out!

Happy Weekend!!


Recipe: Toads in a Hole


Lily recently read the book Toads on Toasta cute book about a fox and toads. The fox tires of his normal meal of toads, and a mother toad is trying to save her baby toads from being eaten. She creates a ‘toads in the hole’ recipe that doesn’t include toads. The recipe is found at the end of the book, but I changed it a bit after failing with following their recipe. I had to toast our bread first, so the egg did not make the bread all soggy and then burn. Maybe it’s just me and my poor cooking skills, but toasting the bread first was the only way I could get this to work! It was a fun recipe and the kids liked seeing the end result. The egg cooked (with runny yolk) inside a piece of toast was just awesome to them! Next time, I think we’ll put some jelly on the little cut-out piece. 🙂

(Side note: ever since being pregnant with my second or third child, I cannot stomach eating a runny yolk. I have to break mine and cook it completely. I tried it with this recipe and it worked great! So, runny or cooked, the yolk works either way in this recipe.)

Toads in a Hole

1 piece of toast

cookie cutter (all I could find was my heart-shaped one real quick that morning!)

1 egg

two pinches Parmesan cheese

butter or lard or grease

  1. Cut out a hole/shape from the toast. Heat pan and melt a little butter or lard (we use saved bacon grease) on medium heat. Place toast on hot pan.
  2. Crack egg and carefully (like right over top the toast) pour out of shell into the toast hole. Add pinches of Parmesan cheese (if breaking your yolk, mixing the cheese into broken yolk is super yummy).
  3. Cook until egg sets well. Flip egg and toast over CAREFULLY to cook opposite side.
  4. Once cooked to your preference, Remove from pan onto plate. Serve with toast cut-out alongside. Yum!
Kitchen · Menu Plan

Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast is probably my FAVORITE meal. I prefer a savory breakfast, usually, over a sweet. I do love donuts, but I love scrambled eggs and ham so much more. The problem is, scrambled eggs and ham can take more time and energy than I am willing to commit at 6:00Am!

I TRY to plan ahead the night before and pick a breakfast off of our menu plan for the following morning. BUT, I do often forget or fail to make a plan that night before, so having pre-made breakfasts on hand is ideal for us.

I am not talking about boxed cereal or store-bought instant oatmeal. My kids love those things (and I love the amount of time it takes to open a box and pour!), but the exorbitant amount of sugar in them makes for a rough morning. Just picture five wild animals chasing their prey. Starting school at 8:00 is just a ridiculous attempt after a breakfast of cereal.

So, I plan ahead often and make big batches of foods to freeze or refrigerate. They are not fancy foods. They are not difficult to make. The only serious requirement is time set aside to make them. Most of the time I can make them during naps, unless it has been a rough morning and I just sit and watch episodes of Parks and Recreation to avoid moving or thinking. 🙂

If you are like me, wanting good breakfasts on hand but don’t want to have to be up super early to make them, check out the list below for ideas of things to  make ahead of time for your family…

Pancakes – I love the recipe from the Economides family. It makes about 48 pancakes. I usually put half in the refrigerator for the next few days and half in the freezer for the following week.

Waffles – We only have a belgian waffle maker. I do not make waffles as often as I probably should. We just don’t enjoy the thickness of the belgian waffles, and they don’t fit in our toaster very well, so after freezing they do not taste super great. BUT, waffles are a great item to make a ton of and then freeze to just pull out and make however many you need.

Bagels – Homemade bagels are so good! Yes, they take more time than pancakes or waffles, but they are so delicious. A good recipe can be found HERE. We typically just make plain ones and add cream cheese or butter and a cinnamon/sugar mix. They freeze well and toast up nicely.

“Instant Oatmeal” – I love apples and cinnamon instant oatmeal. But the amount of sugar and salt in store-bought oatmeals is just silly. It can be made at home and stored in snack baggies to use as individual servings. AND the prep work is not long at all! THIS is a great recipe. If you are looking to change it up a little, add in some ground flaxseed to the oats for more fiber. they can be stored in the pantry, but if you don’t end up eating them in a week or two, I would recommend tossing them in the freezer, especially if you have the flaxseed in there. Just keeps them fresher longer.

Coffee Cake – Ok, ours is more cake than coffee cake, but making a huge pan of it feeds us for three breakfasts and I control how much sugar we have in it. (Yes, I do have control issues.) It is yummy, and the cinnamon-sugar taste is pretty much the best. You can find it here in a previous post. It will keep in a tightly closed container for about a week; I have frozen a few pieces that were left over and heated them in the microwave to thaw, and they were still good.

Breakfast Burritos – One of my favorites. Easy to make – scrambled a dozen eggs, cook and crumble a pound of breakfast meat (sausage, bacon, ham), shred some cheese and throw it into tortillas (burrito size work best). I roll them and wrap them in first one paper towel each and then in foil. Then I toss them in the freezer wherever I can find room. Sure, it may be a waste of paper towels, but when you go to warm them in the microwave, the paper towel holds in the moisture a bit (just be sure to remove the foil!). Yum!

Muffins – I am pretty sure almost any muffins can be frozen, so make up 24-30 and freeze them for easy breakfasts! I microwave mine to thaw and warm them OR you can pull them out of the freezer the night before and let them thaw on the counter. Easy!

Quick breads – Similar to muffins, quick breads make for quick breakfasts. I freeze mine in slices, so they are easier to pull out individual servings of and thaw. After slicing, I wrap the whole loaf in plastic wrap then place it in a gallon size freezer bag.

Cinnamon Rolls – Sure, they are pretty sugary, but cinnamon rolls are so yummy especially when homemade! Two ways to freeze: after the rising but before the baking (bake while still frozen before thawing) OR after completely baking (thaw and warm in microwave). Either way works for us; we just like to eat them warm and gooey! THESE are a good batch to make.

Those are some foods that come to mind right now. Do you have anything you make ahead of time for an easy, healthy breakfast??

(Don’t get me wrong here…I still buy cereal at Aldi from time to time, when I just don’t feel like prepping foods or we are having a busy/rough week. I just prefer to be able to feed the family homemade items that I know won’t make the kids bonkers an hour later!) 😉



Bake It Tuesday

I have checked out numerous bread books from the library over the last few years. I absolutely LOVE the book Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads. Last week I tried a Glazed Raisin Bread from the book, but it wasn’t very fluffy. It was super dense, and I wasn’t happy with it. The taste was great, but the texture and heaviness were not right.

Today, I plan to try that bread again. It has a lemon glaze on it….so yummy! Some of my kids and my husband did not enjoy the lemon part of the glaze, so I may just fall back on my cinnamon roll glaze for the bread, but we shall see. 🙂

If I get the bread to turn out better, I’ll post a picture. And maybe the recipe, if I am changing things about it. It would be a great breakfast bread, for those of my family that like raisins. The kids that don’t just picked out the raisins.

Are you baking anything today?? Please share!


Bake It Tuesday

Today I have a couple of things to bake for our week.

Bread – making this by hand with THIS recipe. This should help get us to the weekend or even through Sunday, depending on how much everyone is craving bread. 🙂

Cookies – of course! We eat homemade desserts often. I will probably make peanut butter chocolate chips cookies, using coconut oil instead of butter. That helps save our butter for the delicious bread!!

Muffins – banana chocolate chip and maybe apple cinnamon. Muffins are awesome for quick breakfasts…if you make them ahead of time. I will probably make more than a dozen of each because with 7 people (all of whom eat at least 2 muffins in a meal) they don’t last long!

I am tempted to make a pumpkin pie just because it is Thanksgiving this week, but I know there will be LOTS of yummy goodies at my mom’s on Thursday. Seriously, we have some really great bakers in our family. Thankfully, my two married brothers have wives that are awesome bakers! So, we are looking forward to eating later this week. haha!