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Kitchen Goals for December *and* 2013 (My Latest Kitchen Challenge: Not as Tough as I Expected!)

Obviously I haven’t been doing these “Kitchen Goal of the Month” posts very regularly, but I’ve been facing some new challenges in the kitchen lately so I thought it was a good time to tell you about that and find out what’s up in YOUR kitchen these days…

My questions for you

  • What Christmas baking do you do? I want to try something new this year and would love your ideas. (Here are my dessert recipes if you need some inspiration, too.)
  • I’d also like some new appetizer ideas for upcoming family Christmas parties – do you have any favorites? (Here’s my list of appetizers.)
  • Any new health or food related goals for your New Year? If you’re trying to lose weight in 2013, let us know your plan if you don’t mind sharing?

My Latest Kitchen Challenge

For quite a while now I’ve been thinking of trying a gluten-free diet for our son. Something inside of me wondered if maybe, just maybe his growth was being affected because he wasn’t able to absorb all the nutrients he’s taking in. He hasn’t had significant growth in a long time. While I really haven’t been worried, since it’s not like Kent & I had any tall genes to pass along, and I figured he’d hit a growth spurt eventually, but I just wondered if cutting out grains might make a difference. I also wondered if it could help him focus more when he really needs to, like when doing math.

Maybe this won’t make any difference, but I figured it was worth a shot, and he agreed to do it for one month. I really thought it would be a huge pain, but it hasn’t been too bad! There are a few reasons…

  • We’re only giving up grains with gluten; I’m still letting him have dairy (mostly raw), a small amount of sugar, potatoes, and a small amount of organic corn, and all the protein, fruits and veggies he wants. Those of you who do the full GAPS Diet or a diet that excludes all of those things I mentioned, wow. That would be much trickier to be sure. But people do it all the time, so it’s definitely not impossible. Maybe that’s where we’ll end up, but I figured we’d start here anyway. (I’ve also got him on bone broth, probiotics and fermented cod liver oil.)
  • Since I’ve experimented plenty with grain-free recipes in the past, I had everything in the house that I needed, so that was a big help.
  • There are a TON of grain free recipes out there these days, so finding options is not a big deal like it used to be.
  • He’s been such a trooper! I keep telling him how proud I am of him. I’ll say, “OK, here’s what I’ve got for your lunch.” He just says, “OK, thanks.” No whining or complaining at all!

Here’s the grain-free stuff I’ve tried so far:

My goal

So my goal is to keep him full all month and learn more about working with grain-free recipes, all the while cooking somewhat normally for the rest of the family. If he remains as easy going about it, we should be good. :)

Do you have a blog?

If you have a blog and plan to share your kitchen goals there, feel free to grab the picture above and then comment with a link to your post so we know where to go to read more.

Your turn! What are your December OR 2013 plans?


  1. Regarding the lasagna… back in my low-carb days I made an excellent lasagna using zucchini in place of the pasta. (I suggest slicing the zucchini lengthwise on a mandolin.)

    • I’ve had a really tasty raw lasagna that way, too, but I’m pretty sure the rice noodles would go over better for him than zucchini ones would. I might try it next time, though, when we don’t have company coming. :)


      • Boles (I think that’s right) makes pasta out of Jerusalem artichoke flour. They have good lasagna noodles. (our household name for Jerusalem artichokes if fartichokes, though, with good reason, even though they ARE very tasty, so be forewarned.)

        I usually buy organic brown rice pasta from Trader Joe’s, but we just moved where there is no TJ’s anywhere I’m likely to get to more than a couple times/year, so I’m going to have to find good brown rice pasta at a nice price elsewhere. On the other hand, we are a HUGE step closer to having our own land again!

  2. Hi Kelly,
    I’ve been gluten free for about 9 years and am thinking about trying a modified GAPS for a short time. I have to say Tinkayada lasagna noodles are great. My family switched for me (mom, sisters brother) when we all have meals together. They now eat them almost exclusively because they like them. Have found no one knows the difference if I keep my mouth shut. It does get easier and I think you may be on the right track. Having studied and read extensively I’m thinking most of the people in the US should go gluten free for awhile. Good luck and I really do hope you see a difference.

  3. We use Nourished and Nurtured’s grain free skillet lasagne. It uses zuchinni noodles it was so much better than we thought it would be. This is how we like to make lasagne after trying this recipe:)

  4. I use cornstarch and arrowroot for gravies and sauces. It cooks faster than flour.
    I think it is wonderful that he is so cooperative. Does he feel any different?

  5. I second the tinkyada lasagna noodles, and also thought you might be interested in how we make gf waffles. A friend who does not eat gluten free told me she uses straight brown rice flour because it mskes the waffles crispier. So now we sub it in the old red checked cookbook recipe. They are delicious and my 11 yr old has become quite the waffle expert. Btw…he doesn’t whip egg whites, just mixes the eggs in whole and uses coconut oil. The butter goes on top. :) Oh yes, and he adds vanilla.

  6. I don’t know if this recipe meets the rules you are trying to follow for your son but we really love the gluten free crusty boule recipe in the cookbook “healthy bread in 5 minutes a day.” In my opinion the longer the dough sits in the fridge the better the bread tastes. My husband and kids both ate and enjoyed this bread. Hope it helps!

    • I concur that this bread is pretty tasty and has a nice texture. However it’s best when right out of the oven, most gluten free breads are. That’s probably why he loved the other loaf you cooked him the first time, but not after it sat. In my house any gluten free bread that doesn’t get eaten up right away becomes bread crumbs or goes into a breakfast casserole or bread pudding or something like that. This recipe is great in that you leave the dough in the fridge and can pull out what you want so you can always serve it warm.

      • We also find that making our own sprouted flours for the gluten free products not only is easier to digest, but makes a better, lighter product. Good luck!

  7. Hi Kel! Happy Christmas! We, too, have the short gene in our family – LOL! About a year ago I started our then 11 year old son on Source Naturals Broken Cell Wall Chlorella, Pure Micro-Algae 500mg once a day as an addition to his Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Krill Oil.
    I read a lot about toxins, especially metals, in our systems and Broken Wall Chlorella was highly recommended as a way to help purge them out of our bodies. I read a ton about Chlorella and one of the “side effects” in kids is that there seemed to be an increase in their growth while taking the supplement. Who knows if it had any impact at all, but I can tell you that he has grown 2.5″ over the last year and is continuing to grow. It might also just be a growth spurt, but we’ll take all the help we can get!
    Much happiness to you and your family in this most wonderful season.

  8. Keep in mind that every grain has a protein in the same family as gluten. We all think about gluten first because its been studied the most. Many theorize that the proteins in anything in the grain family have a similar effect. Buckwheat from a botanical perspective is not in the same family and may be safer.

    You might consider reading a book called “It Starts with Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.

  9. If you’re looking for a good gluten-free bread, Sami’s Bakery makes some very tasty products, from bread to pizza dough. One of the health food stores in your area carries it — Harvest Health, perhaps? It’s the best gluten-free bread I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, it’s not organic, but it’s a good temporary solution.

  10. Hmmm,this is interesting, I have thought about taking my youngest off gluten for a month to see how she feels. I may give this a try in order to see if it helps her to feel good.

  11. I will be gearing up for my spring semester at Stephen F. Austin. My 1.5yr old is now on a gluten-free diet, my 3 yr old should be! My goal is to stock my freezer w/ready to cook or eat meals & come up w/lots of grain-free alternatives that the whole family can enjoy. Your list will help! We are also dairy free and minimal sugar. I love the changes I have made for our family b/c I can see what a difference it makes with their behavior, sleeping patterns and overall health. Your blog has helped me w/our transition to more healthy eating…thank you so much!

  12. I’m gf, too. It has really cut down on my Christmas baking. The only things I make gf that taste the same as regular are quick breads like pumpkin and cranberry, and peanut blossom cookies. I usually just mix together a whole bunch of gluten free flours and starches (sorghum, millet, buckwheat, teff, almond, coconut, sweet rice, tapioca, arrowroot), then follow the regular recipe. I wanted to make cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning and I’ve tried one recipe so far. I made cinnamon bricks. They were so far from successful that I may not even try again. I’ll just make gf cranberry muffins instead. Also, for thickening sauces, I prefer sweet rice flour. It gives me the same consistency that wheat flour does.

    I’ve used one almond flour bread recipe from Elana’s Pantry that I thought was delicious. She also had an “improved” version of the recipe that I didn’t like. And Udi’s is the only gf bread that tastes like bread to me, but it is in no way “real food”.

    My only goal for the new year is to keep up with fermenting, cooking, eating more real food and avoiding visits to restaurants. I’m just trying to get more consistent.

  13. Our son was bottom 5th percentile in size and went into 7th grade at 72 pounds and was double that in 5 years. Now he is the “giant” of our family at 5’11”.

    My husband and I have been low-carb for about four years. I was thrilled to find “oopsies” on the website. Andreas gives a recipe with no sweetener. I have since seen them made with sweetener but they sure do not need it. I do add the psyllium and sometimes I throw in white chia seeds too. I found that freezing them and then thawing/warming in the toaster over works quite well. We like them for bacon/avocado/tomato sandwiches.

  14. My oldest girl was having digestive distress when she ate gluten and went gluten-free for a while. She couldn’t maintain it, though. She got absolutely legalistic about sprouted or soured grains ONLY and her digestion completely resolved. So glad she doesn’t have to do the whole gluten-free thing long-term. It really is difficult!

  15. This is awesome! I have been off of sugar since mid September and have decided it can be a lifestyle change that I make permanently. Sugar is overrated, anyway!

    And just on Sunday I decided to go for a little while without gluten. I am not gluten intolerant, (that I know of) but I still haven’t been feeling my best so I want to try this gluten free thing…. I went to one of the local markets and couldn’t find anything GF, so I went to as a friend of mine on FB sent me the link to gluten free items.

    I don’t think this will be a lifestyle change for me, but I do think that I may replace certain things with gluten free alternatives (like pancake mix, maybe 50% of our bread, etc).

    We do use raw milk, and we also use plenty of good fats — coconut oil, REAL grassfed butter, (homemade!) and I have recently made my own beef tallow (From the cow that we purchased and now have a freezer full of frozen beef, grassfed, etc). I heard that homemade french fries fried in the beef tallow were delicious.

    I have a ton of marrow bones and I am just waiting to make some beef broth. Maybe I will try that this weekend. I actually prefer a salty broth vs. hot tea, but I do drink plenty of hot tea as well.

    So, those are my plans, I don’t want to make resolutions for New YEars because I always fail at them. I am just making a lifestyle change that I started in SEpt — easier to keep that way :) Good luck to your son :)

  16. Well since i started reading your post have quit using crisco and other junk oils using only natural and have lost some weight i do make my own bread have not sused sprouted wheat but am buying organic as much as i can hard with our tight budget. Working on a garden some people we know think im nuts dont care keep up the good fight

  17. I’m so impressed that your son was cooperative! How old is he? I still get complaints from my 11 year old son. At home it’s all good, it’s all those birthday parties and class celebrations that are hard to avoid. But he is at a point where he can handle those after the really strict cleanse I did with him a few years back. I think as he gets older he will make better choices and realize that having clear skin is better than a doughnut (I hope)!
    He does fine on raw milk and yogurt – so I make him grain-free granola that everyone likes (I have the recipe on my blog). He’s getting into trail mixes for snacks. It’s a process that is always evolving, what’s makes it easier is when the whole family eats the same way.

    • Hi Lisa, (Loved seeing you last month!)

      One thing that makes a big BIG difference is that we homeschool. When we had to pack a lunch, sandwiches were the stand-by, now I can give him all sorts of things since we’re home. Today’s lunch was a ham & cream cheese roll up (although those would be easy to pack), an apple with pb, and leftover stroganoff (rice noodles) from dinner last night.


  18. Bob’s Red Mill gluten free bread mix made the tallest, fluffiest we have had yet. I actually looked and tasted like “real” bread. Use the recipe on the outside of the package.Give it a whirl!

  19. Eating gluten-free may be good for your son and family. I am not weighing in on this issue as it can’t hurt no matter how you look at it.
    However, I’d like to weigh in on the growth issue.
    My second son was not growing as optimal as one would expect. I am 5′ 2″, his dad is 5′ 9″, so we are not so tall, but my father-in-law is well over 6′ as was his father, and his mom was just around 6′. Both sides of my family has rather small men, no one over 5′ 10″, with most 5′ 8″ or smaller, and even when you go back a couple of generations there is no one overly tall in my family. Maybe he inherited my family’s small heighth.
    At age 15, my son was 5′ 6″ tall, and he didn’t seem likely to grow much, perhaps an inch or two. Then sometime in his 16th year he began to grow, and grow, and grow. My now 29 year old son is 6′ 3″ tall, 190 pounds, and must buy most all of his clothing in the Big and Tall men’s section of the store.
    My father-in-law was 5′ 8″ tall when he joined the Marines at age 18. Though he had very tall parents, this was all the taller he was. Between 18-22 years of age, my father-in-law went from 5′ 8″ tall to 6′ 4″ tall! He is now in his 70’s and looms over everyone. My 29 year old son resembles him in many ways, not just in height.
    My son did not eat any different between his growth spurt as he still lived at home. My father-in-law was fed military food, which is not usually loved by the men. He was also in Vietnam and so therefore was living on the mess tent foods that were being fed to our troops at the time (early 60’s).
    The reason I mention these things is that it is not possible that all of a sudden either man was being fed a more nutritious or traditional diet, which might account for a sudden growth spurt. In fact, my son was working in fast food (until the day after graduation from high school at age 18 1/2), and ate plenty from where he worked (McDonald’s), and so his diet would have been a SAD diet followed by so many of our young.
    At home, he mainly ate what I cooked, foods bought from the store and prepared at home (homemade, but still conventional foods).
    I am relating this so you can see that some people, men especially, can get their growth spurts later in their teens/early 20’s.
    My oldest son was done growing between 16-17 and is 5′ 10″ tall.
    I never grew any taller past the age of 13.
    Most of my girls were done growing by age 13.
    I have 2 boys and 6 girls.
    Just writing to let you know you may have nothing to fear. :)

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