Make a Paleo Diet Work | Practical Solutions to Diet Change

Welcome new readers! A little background: I am an adult-onset, type 1 diabetic, who has found healing through a Paleo diet. I began my diet change journey by reading about the link of gluten to autoimmune diseases, further refined my diet to include more vegetables, then found dairy was irritating my gut too, so I went full-blown Paleo. 

I’m starting to get the question from my in-person friends who read my blog…How do you eat like that everyday? How do you keep up? How do you have time to cook? I could never spend that much time in the kitchen, how do you do it?

I’ve been pondering how I actually do make this happen day in and day out. First of all, it is a lifestyle change. This is not something I intend to drop in a month or two. I’m in this for the long haul, so I am constantly working and refining my daily routine, shopping, and kitchen skills so I continue to get better and eating Paleo becomes easier.

Below are 10 Practical Solutions to Diet Change that I’ve learned over the last year to make my Paleo meal preparation easier and less time-consuming. I’ve learned (not necessarily mastered, mind you!) these over a year or more. If you can’t begin to imagine yourself doing this, take your time. One step at a time, and you will get there!

Prep Breakfast the Night Before

Chop the veggies, take the meat out of the freezer (Cook it too if you have time!), shred/grind/mince, whatever you need to do in the morning that would be time consuming, do it the night before. I chop each item, then put in individual containers in the fridge. In the morning, mise en place is done, just turn on your stove/oven and cook!

I’ve created some really yummy hashes for my Autoimmune Protocol. Hashes reheat so well. You can even cook them completely the night before, and simply reheat in the microwave or stovetop in the morning. Breakfast will be ready in less than 5 minutes!

Roasted Veggie Soup

Plan for Leftovers

This is a huge time and energy saver no matter your diet. I recommend it heartily no matter how you are menu planning. You need a break when you are cooking from scratch. Leftovers are the easiest way to get a break, stay on track with your diet, put a quick meal on the table, and save money by not eating out. Win, win, win, and win!

Embrace leftovers! Plan on having extra when you cook! It will relieve you of the stress of cooking a new meal every day!

Get the Family on Board

If mommy/daddy’s on a special diet, then we’re all on a special diet.

That’s a saying, right? The Paleo diet is an optimal diet for anyone: kids or adults, infant or elderly, pregnant or beer belly. 🙂 If one needs the diet (or just wants the health benefits!) then the whole family should adopt the diet.

This will ease temptations to cheat if there are no processed foods or wheat products in the house.

Solidarity – we can use all the support we can get, right?

kids in the kitchen

Ask for Help from Your Family

If one adult in the family is slaving away in the kitchen day in and day out with no help, bitterness is not far away (and neither is quitting!). It’s a large task that needs hands-on support from the whole family. So beyond just “we all eat the same food” from above, we all need to help prepare the food. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

  • Ask your spouse to make one recipe while you make another. Dinner will be ready twice as fast (a good solution if you both work outside the home!).
  • Have your child to stir the pot while you add ingredients.
  • Ask your child to throw away the scraps from chopping vegetables.
  • Ask your spouse to grill the main meat course while you prepare the sides inside.
  • Ask your child/spouse to chop the vegetables while you start cooking.

Beet soup

Try New Foods

Nightshades are out during the Autoimmune Protocol. Nightshades are tomatoes and peppers. This restriction can feel very limiting and daunting at the beginning. Opening your mind to trying new foods, will greatly expand the palate of your meals and your enjoyment of them.

For example, take the soup pictured above. It is not tomato-based. Want to know where that red color comes from? Beets! Beets have been on my “Do Not Like” list since I was 6. After trying this recipe, I’ve decided I need to give beets another chance. This soup was flat out delicious!

A Paleo diet is heavy on the vegetables so to deepen your satisfaction with your meals and snacks, try a new vegetable each week! I bet you will be surprised how much you like vegetables!

Vegetable Variety

Eat a Variety

You need variety in your diet (Paleo or otherwise) for both nutrition and palate. I heard a tidbit on the Broken Brain documentary that said,

You eat 21 meals in a week. Aim for 21 different vegetables.

I thought this was an interesting idea, so I counted up the vegetables I ate during Week 1 of the Autoimmune Protocol. I ate 14 different vegetables, listed below. Not bad! I think I could get more variety in my diet in the coming weeks.

  1. Sweet Potato
  2. Zucchinni
  3. Carrots
  4. Cauliflower
  5. Avocado
  6. Kale
  7. Spinach
  8. Butternut Squash
  9. Broccoli
  10. Mushroom
  11. cabbage
  12. acorn squash
  13. celery
  14. cucumber

Ready for the shocker: The delicious beet soup above that all of my family went back for seconds of, had 12 different vegetables in it! 12! That’s almost the same variety in my entire Autoimmune Protocol Week 1 menu plan! Think of all the nutrients in those vegetables too! So much better than eating a slice of bread or mac and cheese!

Learn Basic Knife Skills

Fact: You will have to chop a lot of vegetables for a Paleo diet.

You might as well learn how to do it right. Properly chopping a vegetable is not only quicker, but it uses less energy. Get on YouTube and search for how to cut a particular vegetable. There IS a proper way to chop an onion, to julienne carrots, to mince garlic (How to peel garlic! America’s Test Kitchen is a wealth of information. Trust them for all things kitchen! I’m getting sidetracked…), etc.

There is a best way to cut everything. Learn it and it will make your cooking easier and faster!

Calphalon Santoku Knife

Invest in a Good Knife

Once you learn to chop/mince/dice properly, you’ll need a good knife that keeps its edge. There are lots of good ones out there, but you really don’t need to spend a fortune, especially for a home cook. This one is my favorite. It’s not very expensive, $24 right now, and it can be resharpened, which is key.

So while we’re on a roll in the knife category…


Learn How to Sharpen Your Knife(ves)

You can learn this by watching YouTube videos and purchasing a couple of whetstones. We have a course and a fine grit (for both smooth blades and serrated), and they have paid for themselves many times over. You can find someone local to you to sharpen your knives, but learning the skill will be so much cheaper and you’ll be able to sharpen them on your schedule. You won’t have to be without your favorite knife for a week!

Another perk? You’ve learned a useful skill! You know how to sharpen a knife!

And now for the last solution, but certainly not the least…

Try Again, Don’t Give Up

I’m reminded of a line from a poem my dad used to quote over and over to me growing up:

If at first you don’t succeed, try , try again.

Changing what you eat is hard. Learning how to prepare new vegetables and meat is difficult. Cooking from scratch is time-consuming. I want to tell you it is worth it. Your health is worth it. Your family’s health is worth it. Keep at it. Try again tomorrow.

The more vegetables you chop, the faster you will be.

The more vegetables you roast, the better you will become at identifying when it’s done.

The more recipes you cook, the better you will be at “throwing” something together at the last minute.

You will get better. You will get more efficient. Paleo will get easier. Keep trying!

What aspect of a Paleo diet change (or any diet change!) is the most daunting for you? Does spending time in the kitchen freak you out? Does eating food you suspect might not be yummy (or worse yet slimy/mushy!) give you the shivers? What is your sticking point for you? Share in the comments below!

Paleo strategies





Autoimmune Protocol – Week 2 Review

To catch you all up, I am a Type 1, insulin-free, Diabetic managing my diabetes through a Paleo diet and healthy lifestyle. Over the holidays of 2017, I was exposed to dairy for about 8 weeks. “Exposed” sounds accidental. It was, but it was my own fault for not vetting my candy choices more carefully! This resulted in higher blood sugar levels overall, but especially in my fasting blood sugar which is taken first thing in the morning. Eliminating the candy from my diet didn’t yield improved enough blood sugar levels so on February 19, I began the 30 Day Autoimmune Protocol (more information on AIP) again to heal my gut and get my blood sugar levels back under control.

Check out how Week 1 went here! See my daily progress by following me on Instagram!

Week 2 of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) was even easier than Week 1, and MILES easier than when I attempted the AIP diet in October 2017.

I began to see more blood sugar control this week. Except the night the family went out for sorbet, I was high that night, but my blood sugar recovered nicely on it’s own without the help of artificial insulin. At the end of the week, I even saw another fasting blood sugar level less than 130! Woot! I’ve had 3 fasting blood sugar reading under 130 since beginning the diet, and I haven’t seen levels that low since November 2017. Yikes, I let this problem go on for far too long!

As with the review of Week 1, I will review the food I ate, how my blood sugar fared, how I felt this past week, and my goals for the next week. First up, Food!


The variety of breakfast food this week was extremely satisfying to me: from delicious fresh fruit salad on Day 9 to roasted broccoli AND sweet potatoes on Day 11 to savory cauliflower mash on Day 12. I really enjoyed the variety of vegetables and flavors this week.

I made two different types of hash this week. One simple with sweet potatoes, onion, and kale, and the other more involved with roasted butternut squash, sauteed mushrooms, breakfast sausage, and spinach. Both stood alone just fine and were filling and satisfying, but there was a little part of me wishing for a yoke-y egg on top. Sigh. Soon.


Week of AIP Breakfasts

Day 8 – Sweet Potato, Kale, and Onion Hash; Bacon; and Roasted Broccoli

Day 9 – Roasted Butternut Squash, Mushroom, Spinach, and Sausage Hash with Fruit Salad

Day 10 – Leftover Roasted Butternut Squash, Mushroom, Spinach, and Sausage Hash with Pears

Day 11 – Roasted Broccoli and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Ham

Day 12 – Mashed Cauliflower Breakfast Bowl

Day 13 – Roasted Butternut Squash, Sauteed Mushrooms, Sausage, and Spinach Hash


Week of AIP Lunches

Day 8 – Leftover Braised Pork with Carrot Sticks and Roasted Broccoli

Day 9 – Leftover Braised Pork, Leftover Ham Breakfast Hash, and Apple

Day 10 – Leftover Braised Pork and Leftover Roasted Butternut Squash, Mushroom, Spinach, and Sausage Hash with Apples

Day 11 – Leftover Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup with Fresh Berries

Day 12 – Leftover Roasted Broccoli and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Ham

Day 13 – Leftover Nightshade-free Vegetable Beef Soup


Week of AIP Dinners

Day 8 – Hamburgers Topped with Guacamole, Sauteed Summer Squash and Onions with Wilted Spinach, and Fresh Strawberries

Day 9 – Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup

Day 10 – Leftover Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup and Frozen Blueberries

Day 11 – Nightshade-free Vegetable Beef Soup

Day 12 – Dinner out at Bistro Bella Vita – Duck (Grilled, Pulled, and Egg) on Roasted Winter Vegetables with Flourless Lemon Cake and Grapefruit Sorbet

Day 13 – Dinner at Friend’s House – Elk Steak, Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Garlic Cauliflower-Parsnip Mash , and Maple Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding (similar)

Dinner out on Day 12 did not follow the Autoimmune Protocol. I had egg and refined sugar in the dessert. The dinner qualifies as Paleo but not with the extra restrictions of the Autoimmune Protocol. I did end the night of Day 12 with great blood sugar (126!), but my blood sugar was elevated all day on Day 13. While this is not the end of the world, I am trying to keep note so I will know exactly how food affects my body (This is one of my goals for 2018!).

It was my goal at the end of Week 1 to include fish and organ meat, but I accomplished neither. Oops. I opted out in favor of staying on budget. Seafood in Michigan is not cheap (is it cheap anywhere???), and I didn’t hunt too hard to find organ meat. I still need to work on putting on my big-girl pants for that one.

Overall though, the week was filled with delicious food. Look at the color variety in those pictures! It was a tasty week!

Top Recipes of the Week
  1.  Nightshade-free Vegetable Beef Soup – This was hands-down my favorite recipe this week. The color was stunning, and it even fooled my husband! His first comment when peeking in the pot before dinner, “I thought tomatoes were out of our diet right now?!” It was super tasty and filling. All four of us went back for seconds. The only caveats I would add are (1) it was time-consuming to make (2 hours) and (2) it made at least 12 servings (The recipe says 6-8. No way, we might even get 15!). I totally don’t mind either of these conditions. It was delicious; therefore, well worth my time. Also, we love leftovers!
  2.  Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup – This soup has a wonderful complexity to it due to roasting the vegetables first then pureeing half and adding the puree to the broth. This was in our regular rotation prior to starting the Autoimmune Protocol. I was thrilled to read through the recipe to see that it was still AIP compliant! Super delicious soup. Try it!
  3. Mashed Cauliflower Breakfast Bowl – I was looking for different breakfast options other than hash, and I stumbled upon this cauliflower mash. It was delightful. It kind of reminded me of oatmeal in that it was hot and mushy, but the savory flavors were out of this world! I absolutely love sauteed mushrooms and bacon. They are a perfect combination! The only note I need to make is follow the seasoning ratios. I tend to pour spices in my palm to measure, and I overdid it a bit. The cauliflower mash was not just savory. It was SAVORY. I’ll scale back a bit next time!

Blood Sugar

Improving my overall blood sugar level AND reducing my morning (fasting) blood sugar are the primary reasons I am doing the Autoimmune Protocol. That is what diabetes is all about: blood sugar management. I made improvement in my fasting blood sugar this week. I had 3 mornings with readings less than 130! That is a major win for me!

You’ll notice a spike in the blue, squiggly line. That is the night my husband and I took the family out for sorbet. My blood sugar was high at bedtime (199!), but it recovered just fine by morning (144).

If you ignore the sorbet spike, week 2 looks just about the same as week 1, a little lower at times and a little higher at times. The pattern looks the same though. I’m also counting this as a win and calling it blood sugar control. My blood sugar is following a predictable pattern each day and throughout the day.

Below is a graph showing week 1 (red) as compared to week 2 (blue). Interesting, isn’t it? (It’s ok to say no, this isn’t interesting, Emily! I’m not hurt if you don’t love my numbers and charts!)

AIP Type 1 Diabetes Chart


For reference, the squiggly lines show the fluctuation of my blood glucose readings throughout the day, and the straight line of the same color is showing the trend of my blood sugar levels that week. Red is week 1, and blue is week 2. 

Conclusion: The Autoimmune Protocol diet is creating more stable blood sugars. Other than outlier of sorbet, my blood sugar is following a predictable, stable pattern for a Type 1 Diabetic.

I am so thrilled by more on-goal fasting blood sugars. I’m hoping to see those more consistently in the coming weeks.

How I Feel

I’ve noticed this week on the days I wake with a blood sugar level of less than or around 130, I have vastly more energy to work out. I’m usually still asleep a bit and a tad not-wanting-to-workout when I begin my morning workout. The mornings my blood sugar was 136, 132, and 120, I was raring to go the entire work-out. That was odd to me, yet invigorating!

My husband has asked before if I feel different when I’m around 100 as opposed to 150 or 170. I’ve always told him no, I feel the same if I’m below 300. There’s no difference. After this week, I think there might be a difference in my level of energy! I will have to keep tracking this to be sure.

Do you want endless energy??? I think you should give this diet  a try! (Or even just the less strict Paleo diet if you don’t have leaky gut. Actually, start with just not eating wheat!) You will be a whole new person!

Goals for Week 3

For Week 3, my diet will not see any major changes. The focus will continue to be on eating a good quantity and variety of vegetables that are Autoimmune Protocol approved. Seafood and organ meat were not in Week 2, and due to budget constraints, I have to make the same decision in Week 3.

The huge win for the week was fasting blood sugars of 130 or less in the second half of Week 2, so I’m hoping that means my gut is healing. I’m hoping to continue to see blood sugar level improvement for the morning readings.

I am so pleased with these results. I’m eating well and enjoying my food. I am not stressed by the diet, and I’m seeing results. What more could a girl ask for?!

That wraps up my second week on the Autoimmune Protocol 30 Day Elimination Diet! Check out Instagram to see how my progress goes each day!

For a review of Week 1, click here.

Do I have any diabetic readers out there who’d care to share what your typical fasting blood sugar levels look like? What strategies have you tried to maintain control of these levels? Is this the most difficult reading of the day to manage?

For my non-diabetic readers, what you working to change in your diet to make your diet move in the healthier direction? More veggies? Cleaner ingredients? Grass-fed meat? What successes have you had lately?? Any suggestions for meats/veggies I should try?


AIP Meals for a week

Goals for 2018 | February Update

At Flawed yet Functional, I am focused on living a healthy, flourishing life, and that includes a constant improvement, evaluation process. I set goals for myself personally and this blog for 2018, a first for me! I’ve been so happy with how my goals are shaping up for 2018 that I just had to share an update.

First, from a productivity perspective, I have to let you in on this method I’ve been using to get it all done. I attended a webinar from Living Well Spending Less in December that discussed tips for getting everything done in a day. While a big focus of the webinar was to promote their beautiful planner (It is lovely and functional, but I chose not to buy it), there was SO MUCH good information covered in the webinar (and the webinar was free!). If you are looking for productivity or small business help, I highly recommend checking out that blog.

My biggest take-away: make a prioritized to do list every day.

I went for years not being a goal or list-oriented person. I just accomplished each day whatever popped into my mind. If I was working on a painting project, the house upkeep, laundry, meals, etc. were likely to go undone resulting in an empty fridge and no underwear for anyone. Can anyone else relate to falling down the rabbit hole when working on a project?

I’ve made huge progress this year in keeping all my balls in the air and not feeling overwhelmed by the number of things I am responsible for.

The biggest change for me is a prioritized to do list. I make a list every morning of the tasks I need to accomplish for the day (housework, cooking, blogging, projects, homeschooling…everything goes on the list!). Then I re-write the list prioritizing each activity from most to least important.

Then comes the discipline part, I have to do those hard things at the top of my list first. 

It has taken practice, but here I am, two months into using this method of organizing my day, and I am not stressed each day while accomplishing more than I ever thought I could.

Amazing. It’s such a simple thing with profound effects in my daily life.

Anyway, on to my goals for 2018 and how they are shaping up this year…(check out my original post for the whole explanation of each goal)

prioritized to do list

Personal Goals

1. Read 15 books

I am 4 books in already this year! Woot! I am trying to balance health/non-fiction with an easier fiction book. I hope to keep up my desire to read this way. So far I’ve read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, Wheat Belly by William Davis, and The Midwife’s Tale by Sam Thomas.

I’ve also found a great app (Thanks, Betsey!) for keeping track of my reading list, Goodreads. The app allows you to track the books you’d like to read, currently reading, and read. It even lets you mark which page you are on…no more kids taking out my bookmark and losing my place!

2. Shoot and edit raw photos

I am now shooting and editing in RAW, but I don’t think I know what I’m doing. Scratch that, I definitely don’t know what I’m doing. A wonderful friend has agreed to give me a few pointers. Yay!

Side note: Dan has been looking into filters for our camera to take better landscape photos. I just have to say again that the more you dive into a hobby, the more you understand the art, dedication, and skill professionals in that field possess. We have discovered why quality woodwork is so expensive, and now we more fully understand the price tag on photography. The equipment is spendy! The skill to take a good photo is a learned skill too and not intuitive. I appreciate my photographer friend’s skill all the more now!

3. Make my morning routine a habit

I’ve made MAJOR progress in this goal. I started out in January with the following routine beginning at 6am:

  1. Test my blood sugar
  2. Take my supplements
  3. Work-out
  4. Make tea/coffee
  5. Read my Bible and pray
  6. Shower (maybe…not most days. Just being honest, folks!)
  7. Make breakfast

This would take me roughly 2 hours, aiming to be done by 8:00am or earlier. However, you know what happened? My kids started getting up earlier! Ugh!

So beginning mid February, along with my Autoimmune Protocol 30 Elimination Diet, I changed my routine to this, beginning at 5:45…

  1. Test my blood sugar
  2. Take my supplements
  3. Make tea
  4. Read my Bible and pray
  5. Work-out
  6. Shower – in the basement shower. The KEY to success for me! I don’t go upstairs after I’m done working out. I walk 5 steps to the basement bathroom and hop in the shower. Life changing!
  7. Make breakfast

Fifteen extra  minutes plus switching up the order of my routine (Bible reading and working out flipped) has made all the difference.

If you’ve been in Christian circles long, you know everyone recommends starting your day with God. I always thought I was…just after I did a few things but still before breakfast! Moving reading God’s word and spending time in prayer to the first thing in the morning has made all the difference. Not only do I get my mind set on His plan for me today, I come upstairs from my work-out/shower not craving peace and alone time (which is not likely to happen with the kids waking up early). I’m at peace cooking with my kids. I’m not at peace trying to concentrate on my Bible study. Folks, this has revolutionized my mornings!

4. Visit my sister in Italy

No progress on this goal. 🙁

Diabetes Glucose Meter

Health Goals

1. Figure out exactly what I should or should not eat

As of February 19, I’m back on the Autoimmune Protocol to get my gut healed from the dairy exposure over the holidays and get my morning blood sugar back in line. I’ve referenced some more books and blogs that have helped me understand the diet and reintroduction phase better (The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne, A Squirrel in the Kitchen, Whole New Mom). By the end of March, I plan to be reintroducing eggs, nuts, coffee, alcohol, and maybe even cheese and legumes. I have a detailed plan on how to reintroduce foods more systematically so I know exactly what affects my gut. To follow along on my AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) journey, follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

2. Take A1C levels on my own

Done! I bought a home test kit at Walgreens, and I used it prior to my last endocrinologist appointment. My home test result was 6.3, and the doctor’s office result was 6.5. Close enough!

I’m also in an ongoing journey to find a doctor that can support me in my insulin-free type 1 diabetes. I’ve had one meeting with a naturopathic doctor. I’m planning to interview a few more before committing. I’ll let you know what I discover!

3. Communicate what I am doing and why it works

I’ve begun writing out what research I’ve read and how I’m applying it to my type 1 diabetes management. (Part 1 – Going Gluten-Free, Part 2 – Eat More Vegetables) This is a work in progress. I’m finding it difficult to put into words all that I have read. You just need to read the books for yourself! Ha! If you have any tips for me on how to share or what you are curious about in regards to my diabetes management, comment below or email me!

x desk for blogging

Blog Goals

1. Cover the mortgage on our house by the end of 2018

This is ongoing. My blog does not make any money so far. All links I share are simply for your benefit, they are not affiliate links, and I’m not pushing any products! I’m not sure how to begin making this a side business, so right now, I’m focusing on writing great content. That’s what will keep readers around, right?

2. Create a place of encouragement for my readers

I’ve heard from a couple people that they are encouraged by my writing. That warms my heart, and I think I’m accomplishing this goal so far.

Have you revisited your goals for the year/New Year’s resolutions? How are you progressing accomplishing your goals? Have you revised any of them or dropped some all together?

2018 goals

Goals for 2018 | Looking Forward

I feel so new to this whole goal setting thing. Last year was the first year I’ve ever made goals and attempted to keep them. Read my run-down here of how that year went.

Overall, I am super happy with attaining my goals. I read books, folks! So proud of myself for that!

Part of me is a little nervous to make goals because what if I fail? I put my goals and aspirations out there for the whole world to read, and what if I can’t do it? (Whole world, who am I kidding?? Hi, my dear 5 readers which include my mom and husband!)

Kidding aside, fear of failure is a real thing. However, God does not want me to live in fear.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. -2 Timothy 1:7

Speaking of fears, I always fear that I will misuse God’s word, so I hope I have not misused His word in this context. This verse is written by Paul speaking to Timothy, specifically about spreading the gospel. I hope you see Jesus’ hope and love in my writing, so in that respect, I know God does not want me to live in fear. Fear of what other’s think. Fear of people not reading my blog. Fear of speaking the truth. Fear. Fear. Fear.

Be done with it. It is not coming from God!

In that light, being fearless, here are my goal for 2018:

To Do List

Personal Goals

  1. Read 15 books – Any genre, any length, just read more than last year! I only added 3 more to how many I read last year. Focusing on this blog is taking up a lot of the time I used for reading last year. I will need to be purposeful in carving out time to read.
  2. Shoot and edit raw photos – I’ve had a DSLR camera for a few years, but I never shoot in RAW because I’ve been using a VERY old version of Photoshop to edit my photos that didn’t support RAW. Part of my Christmas money went to a new license of Photoshop! Woot! I can edit RAW…now just to learn how…
  3. Make my morning routine a habit – An interesting tidbit from a webinar I attended recently (Balance is Overrated, by Living Well Spending Less), said one way to have more energy throughout the day is to make parts of your day habit. Habits require less energy to complete leaving more energy for other tasks. This year I want to make my morning routine a habit: out of bed as soon as the alarm rings (6am), water, Turmeric supplement, test my blood sugar, work-out, shower, devotions and prayer, and make breakfast. Maybe that is too many things to make a habit. Ha! Basically those are all of the things I want to accomplish before my kiddos wake up at 8am. The one that is always getting nixed is the shower. Yep, not a daily shower taker here! I have ideas on how to change this. I will update when I work them out!
  4. Visit my sister in Italy – This is personal, financial, and blog all rolled into one. It is financially out of reach for us, but perhaps I can get this blog off the ground and get that trip covered.

Diabetes Glucose Meter

Health Goals

  1. Figure out exactly what I should or should not eat – I’ve gotten off track with the holidays. I don’t think it’s too bad, but my morning blood sugar is not quite right. I also want to try to figure out exactly what my body can handle. Legumes? Goat cheese? Wine? Lots of questions, research, and trial and error to come!
  2. Take A1C levels on my own – This is more of an idea. I am contemplating seeing my endocrinologist less often and checking my A1C on my own. I’ve heard there are kits that can be ordered online. (I’m not advocating for you to not see a doctor, but I am just sharing how I am trying to manage my health and minimize the dollars it takes to do that!)
  3. Communicate what I am doing and why it works – Sharing my journey, successes and failures, is a large part of why I am writing this blog. This is a loose goals, but I want to develop a way to encourage others with autoimmune diseases (or no health issues!) to take control of their health, make positive life changes, and live a more joy-filled life.

Blog Goals

  1. Cover the mortgage on our house by the end of 2018 – Ah, this makes me sweat just typing it. It sounds so huge and unattainable. I don’t know how I am going to make this happen, but I am reading, writing, and learning as much as I can to make this blog profitable. Mind you, profitable in all ways, not just monetarily for me but awesome content, encouraging posts, and a source of good ideas.
  2. Create a place of encouragement for my readers – Another really squishy goal. I’m not sure how to evaluate this one. I’ll leave it vague and open ended for now. I want to be encouraging in my writing so that is my goal for 2018!

So there are my big, hairy, audacious goals for 2018! It makes me nervous to write them, but I’m choosing not to be afraid of them. Here’s to success and growth in 2018!

What are your goals for 2018? Do your goals scare you too? Voice them here and take away the grip of fear!

A Year End Review | 2017

I’ve been dabbling in setting goals for myself the last few years. While I didn’t set formal New Year’s Resolutions for 2017, I did aim to read more, get our household budget in order, and make a housekeeping schedule.

Read More

My goals for 2017 were loose and not well-defined. I think mostly because I didn’t want to set the bar too high and fail. No one likes failure! So my method for this goal involved a running list on Google Keep. I add books to the list as I hear of them from friends, family, or posts on social media.

Book List

Once the book is finished, I check it off along with the month and year I finished it.  As you can see, reading definitely ebbed and flowed. I would finish a couple in one month then not read for a couple. I’m so proud of my progress though!

I read 12 books in 2017!

I don’t think I’ve read so much since I was in college! In case you are curious, here is my full list*:

  1. The Nesting Place by Myquillin Smith
  2. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
  3. Falling Free by Shannon Martin
  4. The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst
  5. Control Girl by Shannon Popkin
  6. Bill Peat by Bill Peat
  7. Circle Maker by Mark Batterson
  8. Grain Brain – Whole Life Plan by David Perlmutter
  9. Grain Brain by David Perlmutter
  10. Gut by Giulia Enders
  11. The Widow Wore Pink by Robyn Dykstra
  12. The Autoimmune Solution by Amy Meyers

*These are NOT affiliate links. Just making sure you can find the exact book if you are interested!

Household Budget

The next loosely defined goal was get our household budget in order. It’s not that we didn’t have a budget. We did. I am a numbers person, and I worked as an actuarial analyst before I had kids. So, I know numbers. I know how to crunch them six ways from Sunday. However, my super-awesome, super-complicated spreadsheet budget was just not cutting it.

It was too hard to update and maintain. It was so time consuming so I’d put it off for 2 months because I dreaded sitting down to enter everything. I was just shooting myself in the foot every time though because waiting just made it take even longer! It’s been a vicious cycle I’ve been in for years.

I had tried in the past, but I didn’t like the logic behind it. At that time (it’s been several years so maybe it’s changed now!), it was a backward looking budget: What did you spend this month in each category? 

I was looking for a budget that is forward looking: I want to spend $X in this category each month. I was looking for something more similar to Dave Ramsey’s envelope system.

Enter, You Need a Budget. I had also tried this software in 2016, but I didn’t invest the time to learn how to use it properly. The time of my free trial expired, and I, lazily, went back to my old ways.

I contacted YNAB in January 2017 to ask if I could start my trial again, and they reactivated it! Sweet! Bonus point #1 for YNAB!

I started the trial January 17, 2017. I signed up for their free webinars to learn how to use the software correctly. The webinars were invaluable. I tried just winging it at first and using the software how I thought it might work, and I totally got confused. Once I sat through 2-3 webinars, I was up and rolling and haven’t looked back.

You Need A Budget

YNAB imports transactions from all my various sources in real time (well, real time + 1 day, close enough!).  It literally takes minutes to update my transactions and budget each time I log in. I find myself checking in every couple days which has HUGE benefits:

  1. I know how much money I have to spend in each category. I’m not waiting 1 or even 2 months to check in to see how much I’ve spent in each category. I’m in there once or twice a week and therefore, my budget is up-to-date with accurate totals for each line item in our budget.
  2. I don’t loose track of large purchases or many small purchases. The problem with my infrequent budgeting was simple forgetfulness. I’d forget how many times I’d hit the coffee shop, so I’d get another cup. Then I’d do the budget a month later. Whoops! I spent $60 at the coffee shop last month when I’d only budgeted for $30.
  3. I keep track of our overall financial condition. I keep track off all our investments (this is just a total tracker no actual functionality is in the software for investments), debts, saving accounts, checking account, and credit cards. I see it all ever time I log in. Nothing is forgotten.

I’ve been using YNAB* for 1 year now, and it is the best $50 I’ve spent all year (Update: The price went up! It’s now $83.99/year. I’d still recommend it. It’s a great software.). If taking control of your finances is a goal for 2018. I highly, highly recommend using You Need A Budget.

*This is not a sponsored post. I just love and actually use this software.

Housekeeping Schedule

My house desperately needed help in the cleaning department. Since having kids, I had not tried to find my way in maintaining my house.

I read blog after blog about this or that schedule. For me it all boiled down to, what is important to me to have clean? So I made a list of my top items that make my house feel clean to me.

  • Vacuumed floors
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Clean kitchen
  • Kids fingerprints on the windows

Then I made a list of regular maintenance items that just need to get done:

  • Clean furnace filter
  • Clean dehumidifier filter
  • Condition leather couches

Those lists aren’t too long, are they? Yeah, that shocked me too.

I broke up the first list to tackle one item a day for each day of the week (or a portion, I can rarely get the whole house vacuumed in one day). I use Google Keep again with a post for the my daily to-dos (more mundane, everyday things) then a post for the once a week chore, like below.

Chores in Google Keep

I then put a reminder on my calendar to tackle the second list once a month.

You know what happened? My house felt so clean two weeks in!

The other great benefit? If I missed the bathrooms this week, I could still breathe easy. They’d be hit again in 7 days! No need to stress. No need to worry. There is a plan to get back on track.

This simple housekeeping schedule has saved my sanity over and over again this year. Now, do I stick to it every week? Of course not, but again, there’s a plan, and I just hop back on it once our schedule returns to normal.

So there’s my review of my goals for 2017! Do you make goals or resolutions each year? Are they structures with well-defined outcomes? More good-intentioned thoughts? Do you ever sit down at the end of the year to evaluate how it went???

Christmas in a Jar

A Quick, Easy Christmas Gift | Mason Jar Potpourri

Don’t we all have people in our lives that we want to give a small, meaningful gift to at Christmastime? Those people who maybe serve us in some way (mailman, trash collector, newspaper deliverer, etc.) or maybe have spoken into our lives recently (Bible study leader, childcare worker, administrative assistant). We want them to know they are seen and appreciated, right?

But…we all have a budget to keep. Here’s an idea that won’t break the bank!

I was wracking my brain for ideas to give to the ladies in my small group. I wanted it to be cute, functional, and let them know I was thinking about them. My lovely sister suggested these Christmas in a Jar potpourri gifts. How lovely are they?!? Kelli even includes the printable for the top of the jar! Go download it! I did!Christmas PotpourriNow since I can’t quite to anything exactly right, you’ll notice I do not have rosemary sprigs in my jars. I forgot to buy it. Kelli’s instructions say you can use Fraser Fir sprigs too. While I’m a little skeptical, I hope it works! We just happened to cut down a Fraser Fir for our house this year. I did a little bottom-of-the-tree-trimming 2 minutes before putting these together.

I used a canning funnel to help pour the mulling spices and cranberries in the jar, tossed in a few Fraser Fir sprigs, then plunked the orange on top. Done. I think it took 3 minutes to fill all 9 jars.

Then I cut out the top labels and my instruction label, which took so much longer than filling the jars! I need to work on my scissor skills with my preschooler. 🙂 I finished it off by tying on the instructions with a curling ribbon.

Christmas Potpourri Jar

A little run-down on the the cost of this gift, just in case you are curious:

  • I purchased this package of mulling spices. I bought this package because it is the best value. It is 16 ounces for less than $10.
  • I purchased a new case of pint size mason jars from our local supermarket for $9.
  • I bought the clementine sized oranges for about $2.50. I bought a 3 pound bag, and I only used 9 oranges. I’m estimating they weighed about 1.5 pounds, not sure I’m right.
  • I bought the cranberries from Aldi for $1.
  • I purchased glittery curling ribbon from the dollar store to tie on my instructions for $1.
  • I used Kelli’s printable on the top of my jars. Free!

The grand total for this gift was $23.50, and I made 9 jars, so $2.60 per jar!

Christmas in a Jar

Do you have any small, meaningful gifts to share? What do you buy for those special people in you life without breaking the bank?

Plaid Faux Fur Stocking

Plush, Plaid Christmas Stockings | DIY Christmas Stockings You’ll Want to Actually Wear

My husband and I bought two Christmas stockings during Target’s after Christmas clearance eons ago…like 10 years. That’s an eon, right? We loved the faux shearling cuff, and kids were so far off, so why buy more than two?

Fast-forward 10 years and the 4 and 2 year old are using our old Christmas stockings. There’s nothing wrong with them, but we wanted a matching set for all of us.

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned before, but my husband is a go-big-or-go-home kind of guy. When we do something, we go all the way. So he requested a fully lined stocking with some heft, not the limpy ones that fold in half under their own weight. He would like it to keep its shape while hanging by the fireplace empty.

He also loves plaid, so that was a must when shopping for fabric. We decided on a quilted plaid for the outside of the stockings and a faux fur lining. The faux fur is SO soft, SO plush. It’s lovely. I want to sleep on it!

Let’s sew some stockings!

I look up a few tutorials. I ended up following this one on how to put the stockings together.

I deviated from the plan in the shape of my stocking and attaching the loop to the top for hanging by the fireplace. Ill point out those deviations as I go.

Making the Pattern

Most stocking tutorials use patterns that look a bit too small, either too thin of a stocking or too short. Remember, we want a substantial stocking?

I decided to use the shape of the Target stockings we already had. I simply laid the stocking on the fabric (with the cuff unfolded to account for that extra length) and traced it leaving a 1/2 inch seam allowance all the way around.

Xmas Stocking Pattern

For the toe and heal, I use my yard stick to measure 1/2 inch from the fabric and put a dot every inch or so. Then I just connected the dots to make the curves.

I used that pattern to cut out the rest of the plaid (outside stocking) and faux fur (stocking lining). Make sure to cut 2 outer fabrics with toes in opposite directions and 2 lining fabrics with toes in opposite directions. You need 4 stocking shapes for each stocking.

Stated another way, when you trace and cut out the additional pieces, cut one with the wrong side up and one with the right side up for both the lining and outer fabric. Turning the pattern over will ensure you get the toes in the right direction.



A note on pattern matching: the stocking will look better if you match the patterns at the seams. I tried, but I didn’t do it right. I cut it out with the plaid lined up exactly. It should’ve been shifted. Don’t be like me, look up how to match patterns correctly before you cut!

Plaid Stocking PatternSewing the Stocking

Again, I followed this tutorial, so my instructions will be very similar.

Place right sides together, toes in the same direction, and sew the lining and the outer fabric together at the top of the stocking. Do this for both side of the stocking.

Stocking InstructionsNow there should be a front and a back to the stocking, like this:

Front Back Xmas StockingHere is where I deviated from the other tutorial. I sewed my strap into the lining side of the stocking in the next step. I cut a piece of the outer fabric in a 1″x8″ long strip, over edge stitch along the sides, folded it in half, and placed it 4″ down from the top edge of the stocking.

Xmas Stocking Loop

The loop should go on the lining side (faux fur in my stocking) and on the heal side of the stocking. That way when it is hung by the fireplace, the toe hangs down. Don’t put it on the toe side because you will have to seam ripping through faux fur to move it, and that is not a walk in the park. Ask me how I know…

Before you sew the front and back of the stocking together, this is how the pieces should look.

Xmas Stocking LoopPlace front and back of stocking together with right sides together. Begin by lining up the middle seam between the lining (faux fur) and outer fabric (plaid), then work your way down each side to the toe.

Stocking Front BackPin the sides together. I put pins closer together at each curve (toe and heel) especially on the lining side (faux fur). The fur shifted very easily, and since, I’m a beginner sewer, I tend to think more is better in the pinning department.

Stocking Pin PlacementLining Side:

Stocking Pin SeqBefore beginning to sew, mark a space on the lining side of the stocking to leave an opening so the stocking can be turned right side out. The opening will be hand sewn closed later.

Then start sewing at the green dot and work your way all the way around the stocking, clockwise, ending at the other set of double pins.

Stocking Sew SeqI cut my pattern based on a 1/2 inch seam allowance, but at the recommendation of this tutorial, I sewed the lining side at 5/8 inch and the outer side closer to 1/4 inch. I say “closer” because my sewing is not that precise! Doing this will allow the lining to be slightly smaller than the outer fabric which should make it lay nicer once finished. These stockings definitely needed the extra help to lay flat. If your outer and lining fabric are closer to the same thickness, you might not need this adjustment.

My lining is thick. I mean THICK. Take a look…

Thick Stocking Lining

So I also made my stitch length longer when I sewed the lining side. This seemed to allow the fabric to move easier through my machine. See, it was kind of eating my pressure foot. 🙂

Sew Stocking LiningFinished stocking – finished with the machine sewing at least…

Xmas Stocking SewnBefore turning it right side out, trim close to the seam on the lining side and notch the curves on the outer (plaid) side.

Stocking notched

Turn the stocking right side out, carefully pulling it out of the opening left on the lining side. Voila!

Stocking Right SideHand sew the opening shut using a blind stitch. This was very difficult to do precisely on the faux fur. It was so plush, I couldn’t tell if each stitch went all the way through! The great thing about putting the opening here is no one will see it! It will be inside the stocking so none will be wiser if your hand sewing isn’t up to par, like mine!

Stocking Hand StitchCarefully work the lining into the outer fabric side. You will likely need to work the lining into the heel and toe.

Plaid Christmas StockingTurn that cuff over, and you are done!

Plaid Faux Fur StockingRevel in your handiworkXmas Stocking Finished

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

Fireplace with Stockings

Stocking LoopTake a look at that fur! It goes all the way to the toes! Just stick your arm down these stockings, and you’ll see why I want to wear them. They are SO plush and warm!

Faux Fur LiningOne more look…

I am so happy with how these stockings turned out. Our fireplace is now symmetrical and complete for our family, and Dan approves wholeheartedly! They are the thickest stockings I’ve ever seen. Much more substantial that anything found in the store.

The total cost of this project was $35 for 4 stockings: $8.75 per stocking. Not bad at all! I bought 1.5 yards of both the plaid fabric and the faux fur for the lining. It was just the right amount too. I have very little waste.

This really turned out to be a simple sewing project, so if you are a beginner, like me, you can handle it!

Christmas Stocking Tutorial

Are you making any Christmas decor this year? Stockings? Tree skirt? Garland? Wreath? Do share success or failure!

Thanksgiving Menu Review: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, and Dairy Free

Thanksgiving at my house was full and lovely! I spent all day in the kitchen, but I enjoy doing so. I did have a little fear in my mind that I would not be rewarded with delicious food after all that effort.

Thank goodness, that did not happen. The food was delicious!

I thought it might be helpful to review each of the recipes we ended up making, and I also included my variations and tips/tricks. Many of these dishes are great any day of the year, so don’t think this menu is only for Thanksgiving. Make it for Christmas, New Year, Easter, or a birthday! You can find my inspiration board here.

I planned for the big meal to be at 5:30pm. This was for various reasons (1) it gave me more time to prepare, (2) it gave family more time to get into town, and (3) allowed for time to fix anything that went wrong in the cooking process. Appetizers were served at 4:00pm, and the family was barely hungry by 5:30. Looking back, I think I should have served the appetizers earlier or had dinner later (or both). Dessert was served to coincide with our boys bedtime snack routine: 7:30pm.

Thanksgiving Meal TimelineOverall, everything I made was delicious, but I did tweak the recipes a bit.


Bacon Wrapped Dates

  • Review | So Delicious! These were loved by young and old alike!
  • Tweaks | I left out the additional sugar on top. As a Type 1 Diabetic, I try to avoid unnecessary sugar. There were superb without it!  I did not have a cooling rack to bake these on so I used my cast iron grill pan (similar), and it worked great.

Pumpkin Spice Fruit Dip

  • Review | Very tasty! I paired this dip with apples and Korean pears. I went great with those an truly anything you would dip in it. I dipped the Maple Bacon Pecans in it too. Yum!
  • Tweaks | I did not make any changes to this recipes. One thing to note, it does start to separate in a warm house (i.e. one filled with people and an oven that’s been running for 12+ hours). Set it out right before you serve and put away immediately when finished.

Salted Maple Bacon Pecans

  • Review | Good! These were enjoyed by all, and my mother-in-law even asked for the recipe. Win!
  • Tweaks | I did not make any changes to this recipe, but I should have sprinkled more salt. My sea salt is a bit course so I went easy on the sprinkle. It could have used more.

Turkey and Gravy

  • Review | Excellent, moist turkey! All adults raved about the most, tender meat. Light and dark meat alike were so juice and delicious. Our gravy was good, but not as good as previous years. Because…
  • Tweaks | I am dairy-free so we couldn’t use butter, and I think this was a huge factor in our gravy not being quite as good. It was still great gravy, but it is out-of-this-world as written in the recipe. We also didn’t use butter on the skin of the turkey. We used oil, and that worked just as well, in my opinion.

**Note: Dan took complete care of the turkey and gravy. It was awesome, and that’s all due to his insane grilling skills!**

Healthy Green Bean Casserole

  • Review | A-MAZE-ING. Seriously, this rivaled the Alton Brown green bean casserole I’ve made in the past. It was not lacking in any way from being dairy free. I may even prefer this version. The cashew cream sauce is excellent!
  • Tweaks | I did not use gluten-free bread crumbs on the onions because I guessed they would have grain (I didn’t actually look for any though!). I used almond flour for both the bread crumb and flour coating on the onions. The almond flour did not stick overly well so the baked onions weren’t as crispy and beautiful, but they still tasted good. I also used chicken stock to think the sauce rather than white wine.

Slow-cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Review | Very good! It was easy and reminded me of the sweet potato souffle my mom made growing up. I made the potatoes the day before as suggested. About an hour and a half before dinner, I turned the slow cooker on low, sprinkled the pecan on, and let it cook. It turned out so good!
  • Tweaks |  I did cut the maple syrup in half when I made the potatoes. I don’t use a lot of sugar in my cooking, so even at half, I thought these were overly sweet. I’ll cut down the sugar a bit more when I make it next time.

Cranberry Sauce

  • Review | This is one of my favorite dishes in the fall. I’ve made this recipe many times, and it does not disappoint. It was tart and delicious! I even used it in the cranberry bar recipe below.
  • Tweaks |  I cut the amount of honey in half in this recipe. It makes the sauce tarter but still A-ok! Again, as a Type 1 diabetic, I need to watch my carbohydrate intake, so I try to cut back where I can, especially for special meals like this with lots of rich dishes.

Coconut Flour Honey Biscuits

  • Review | The taste of this biscuit was good, but the presentation was lacking. I just looked more closely at the post, and I think she only made 7 biscuits from her recipe (The yield is not stated clearly in the recipe). I did not notice this when I made them so I stretched my batter way too far. The muffin cups were not filled enough so the biscuits barely rose. User error! The taste was good, so I will make again, but I will double (maybe triple??) the recipe to make 12 muffins. I may reduce the oven temp too, my biscuits were a bit brown on the sides for my liking.
  • Tweaks |  I used coconut oil and followed the rest of the recipe exactly.

Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing

  • Review | I LOVE stuffing, and this recipe made me LOVE paleo stuffing. It was SO GOOD! Everyone loved it and couldn’t believe it wasn’t made from cornbread.
  • Tweaks |  I made the recommended paleo corn bread, but I under-cooked it. So drying it out before making the stuffing took quite a bit more time. I added a heaping teaspoon of sage to the vegetable mixture. To me, sage and stuffing belong together. It was the right thing to do, I think. 🙂

Paleo Cookie Crumb Cranberry Bars

  • Review | Tasty, tasty, tasty! I used the Alton Brown cranberry sauce recipe mentioned above, and I think this dessert was on point!
  • Tweaks |  I forgot to buy coconut sugar, so I used organic cane sugar (shame, shame!). Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good my grocery list is, I miss things! Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly.

Paleo Pecan Pie Bars

  • Review | De-Li-Cious. This was great as dessert, but possibly even better the next morning for breakfast with coffee. So. Good.
  • Tweaks |  Again, ahem, I forgot to buy coconut sugar, so I used organic cane sugar. It still turned out great and delicious.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

  • Review | I love pumpkin pie, and this one did not disappoint! It was loved by the whole family!
  • Tweaks |  Guys! This is a gluten-free, grain-free pastry crust, and it worked! What?!? I followed the recipe exactly, but my pie ended up a bit underdone. The crust was a bit gummy and the pumpkin barely held together. This is user error, I’m sure. I just didn’t cook it long enough!

Coconut Whipped Cream

  • I ended up making up my own recipe because I didn’t want any more additional carbohydrates from sugar in this meal. I used 2 cans of coconut cream (leave the can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight then scoop the cream off the top) and whipped it with 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a dash of stevia, to taste.

Thanksgiving Menu Review

The meal was a hit. I was so relieved. Everyone was more than happy to go along with my dietary restrictions, but I wanted to cook a delicious meal. My hubby pulled me aside later and said everything was delicious. He didn’t feel like his Thanksgiving meal was lacking at all. Yay! That made my heart happy! I love to cook, but really, I love to cook for the people I love to enjoy it. Mission accomplished!

How did your Turkey Day meal turn out? Any disasters? Anything even more delicious that you thought it would be? Try anything new?



Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, and Dairy-Free Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving is almost here! Holidays with dietary restrictions can be tricky, but with a little bit of research and preparation, you can enjoy the holiday meal just as much as the next guy.

I did some searching on Pinterest, and there are recipes a PLENTY for modified traditional Thanksgiving recipes. You can check out my Thanksgiving board here. Quick reminder, due to my Type 1 Diabetes (an autoimmune disease that is aggravated by some foods) we are currently eating grain-free (which also means gluten-free, just more strict) and dairy free.

Don’t worry, folks. There is still so much to enjoy even with these restrictions! Shall we begin?


Multiple courses makes any meal feel like a party, and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to pull out all the stops! There is a very practical need for appetizers too: my kids get hangry. We will be having our traditional Thanksgiving meal at dinner time which means my kids will be eating their legs around 4pm. Or my legs…

I’m planning bacon wrapped dates, maple bacon pecans, and a fruit tray with a pumpkin spice dip. I think that will hold them over until the main event, which just might be late…you never know!

Main Course


Dan and I went to college with a local turkey farmer, so we’ll be picking up our bird from Otto’s Turkey Farm in Middleville, MI. The turkey is Dan’s territory so I know he’ll be smoking it on his grill (we’ve got a Big Green Egg), but beyond that, I don’t know his method. Likely he’ll create a spice rub and cover the bird in that along with oil. Spices are gluten-free (as long as plain spices are used, not pre-blended ones), and butter will be avoided. We do have ghee though (clarified butter) so maybe he’ll use that instead of oil…we shall see!


Also Dan’s department. He’s made some rockin’ gravy in the past so I’m quite excited about this. He goes a traditional route that includes the drippings, gibblets, and veggies. I will post a how-to or a link to the recipe if he’s following one. This gravy is to die for. It is so much richer and hardier than other types.


I will be making these coconut flour biscuits. I hope to get a trial run in before the big day, but I’m not sure I’ll get it in. I’m very curious how the texture and flavor will be.

In general, I don’t miss bread, but I want my family and extended family to have a bread at the meal. I think this one looks tasty.


White potatoes are not a part of my diet right now, so I’ll be making a sweet potato casserole instead (or maybe this one). There are so many delicious looking/sounding sweet potato recipes out there these days. This dish will be delicious, I know!

Cranberry Sauce

Alton Brown never lets me down! I’ve been making his recipes for years, and they are delicious and foolproof! I will be making his cranberry sauce, as I have in the past, it is gluten/dairy-free as is!


I love love love dressing or stuffing, not sure what the difference is. I’m slightly concerned that this dish will bite me as not quite as delicious without gluten. I won’t be making it ahead of time, so it’s going to be great or a great disappointment!

I do love the flavor of celery, sage, and butter in my dressing, so I think I’ll alter the recipe a bit and add sage. I’m sure it won’t hurt!

Green Bean Casserole

I found a couple recipes, and I think this one looks the best. Read the ingredient list carefully! There are items with gluten, make sure to make a substitution.

  • whole grain bread crumbs –> GF bread crumbs or maybe almond flour
  • all purpose flour –> I think coconut flour or arrowroot powder would work
  • soy sauce –> tamari or coconut aminos
  • white wine –> most are fine as long as not barrel aged, chardonnay is NOT ok, use something else


This category is the most likely to change. SO many good options! I’ll list some I’m considering:

  1. Pumpkin Cheesecake – I’m so curious how this will be without dairy! This has a more “normal” list of ingredients. I did come across one that had cauliflower and cashews as primary ingredients…Dan vetoed that one.
  2. Pumpkin Pie – I’m intrigued by the pie crust. I haven’t tried a grain-free pastry crust yet. I do love almond crusts though (like a graham cracker-style crust but with crushed almonds).
  3. Pecan Pie Bars – I think a spin on traditional pecan pie would be great!
  4. Cranberry Crumb Bars – Yes, please. I just love anything with cranberries!
  5. Coconut Whipped Cream – to lather liberally on ALL desserts!

So there you have it! Way too much food for 6 people, but Thanksgiving is all about leftovers, right? I hope this encourages and inspires you. With a little research, every meal, even holidays, can be delicious with diet restrictions.

What are you having for Turkey day??