Jessica's Jottings:

On faith, food, family and frugality

Grain Free Meal Plan, April 28 – May 4

So…we’re trying again.

After the neverending cold came in and dismantled my last attempt at gluten- and dairy-free AND after we met a nutritionist/chiropractor who offered some advice AND after my ongoing dismay at seeing nothing change and my desire to meal plan drop like a tired mom into bed, we’re finally trying again.

We’ve been grain-free since this last Tuesday when the kids finished off the last of Dad’s leftover pancakes for breakfast. It’s my intention to pull milk from the diet for a week when we run out of our farm fresh milk and see what happens.

To re-iterate why I’m doing this:

  • One child is chronically constipated. This child has also been having headaches and stomachaches recently.
  • One child has chronic diarrhea.
  • One child has ongoing nasal drainage and practically white stools.

Apart from these issues, they’re otherwise happy, beautiful, intelligent (yeah, I’m biased) children. But these problems are not normal. And they need to be fixed. Sooner rather than later.

As I was reading Kelly Dorfman’s book (the new second edition), she summed it up like this:

“Beyond the basics, most nutritional problems fall into one of two areas: Something being consumed is irritating or something that the body needs is irritating.” (pg. 12, “Cure Your Child With Food“)

We are seeking to remove the irritants. I’ve had milk issues in the past. My sister has both gluten and milk issues. I suspect that several of my children are sensitive to citrus and, honestly, I need to research that option a little more. In the meantime, we’re working with the ones we know about.

The nutritionist wanted us to try a couple of things:

  • Eat a practically paleo diet for two weeks. She was okay with certain things like amaranth and quinoa but I’ve currently left them out.
  • And, specifically for me, do a 21 day sugar fast. One thing at a time, mkay? 😉

We’ve been doing the practically paleo – using almond flour, coconut flour, recipes from Beyond Grain and Dairy and several of the other cookbooks that we picked up from the Grain-Free Bundle of the Week a few weeks back. I’ve also been drawing a little bit from Well Fed. I haven’t printed it out yet, but what I’ve managed to read through the e-reader has been helpful.

And…I’m glad to report that it seems to be helping a bit.

So far, Child One has started using the bathroom more frequently. Hooray! Child Two seems to be pooping a little less frequently, but now has a slight yeast rash in the perianal area. Child Three doesn’t really seem to be affected at all.

(I’m trying to collect this information here as the notebook I was using has disappeared. /sigh)

So…this week, we’ll be finishing off the milk and staying off the grain and, Lord willing, we’ll get some answers. If not, well, then we’ll try the allergy testing. I know it’s imperfect. I know that it doesn’t show everything and may give false negatives. But…it may also give us some other avenues to try out.

This Week’s Menu:

Sunday, April 28

Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, and Grain-Free Lemon Poppy seed Muffins
Lunch: Leftover picnic fixings: ham, salami, cheese, carrots, cucumber slices, roasted tomatillo dip with grain free multiseed crackers
Dinner: Butternut Squash Pizzas

Tasks: Start soaking walnuts, pull a chicken out of the deep freezer to thaw.

Monday, April 29

Breakfast: Banana pear raspberry smoothie, bacon, and eggs
Lunch: Leftovers
Roasted chicken with potatoes, beet salad, carrot fries (Also roast spaghetti squash and sweet potatoes since the oven will be on anyway) and Nut Free Paleo Bread with leftover Creamy Orange Cashew Sauce for dessert

Tasks: Start chicken stock, dehydrate walnuts, make crackers, look up how to make sunbutter and water kefir, fresh tea for kombucha, chop up the remainder of the butternut squash and make magnesium lotion.

Tuesday, April 30

Breakfast: Zucchini muffins and Paleo Pumpkin Muffins
Lunch: Chicken Salad with Coconut Flour Crepes
Dinner: Make up a Green Bean and Mushroom soup, using the Creamy Orange Cashew Sauce

Tasks: Thaw a pound of ground beef for meatballs, boil a dozen eggs, and freeze the leftover grated zucchini.

Wednesday, May 1

Breakfast: Eggs and Sausage
Lunch: Tuna salad
“Spaghetti” and meatballs

Tasks: Make meatballs, make spaghetti sauce, chop and freeze leftover peppers.

Thursday, May 2 (Night of Worship! and Grandparents visit)

Breakfast: Banana muffins and Banana and Cream “Oatmeal”
Lunch: Leftovers
Salmon Croquettes with Romanesco Sauce with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes – only they’ll be “faux-tatoes” as we’ve got some cauliflower that we need to use up.

Tasks: Make Chai Tea Concentrate, pull hot dogs out of the freezer

Friday, May 3 (Date Night!)

Breakfast: Veggie omelets
Lunch:  Hot dogs, carrot sticks, and banana popsicles
Dinner: Meatloaf, salad, and sweet potato fries

Tasks: Lock down pancake recipe.

Saturday, May 4

Breakfast: Grain-free, dairy-free pancakes pancakes (still looking for a recipe)
Lunch: Leftovers

Tasks: Get next week’s meal plan together.


Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Feta – Delicious!

Brussels Sprouts

This is oh-so-GOOD!

So…I know it may sound weird to the vast majority of the world’s population, but I absolutely LOVE Brussels Sprouts.

My husband, however, does not.

Ergo, I don’t make them that often.

Still…when I, ahem, just happened to have a bag in the freezer and I just happened to have a craving for them – well, then I just had to make them. This time, I just happened to have a bit of inspiration that had even my hardcore, Sprout-hating husband discreetly reaching for seconds.


I must confess, though, that I had help. I had access to a pre-made secret ingredient*.

Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Feta

  • 16 oz cooked Brussels Sprouts
  • 1/3 – 1/2 c. walnut pieces (you may have to crumble them a bit to make them more bite-sized)
  • 1/3 c. of feta cheese, crumbled (buy the blocks of feta! They’re cheaper and don’t have crazy extra ingredients.)
  • Enough Sweet Onion Poppyseed Dressing* to mix in and make it all a little “wet” – basically, add enough to impart flavor, but not so much that the other ingredients are swimming in it.

Drain the water off of your cooked Sprouts and put them in your serving dish. Add the walnuts and feta. Drizzle with dressing. Stir well. Acquire a fork. Try to eat just one. Snitch another. Give in and eat half the bowl. Refrigerate the other half, contentedly knowing that you can have the rest for lunch tomorrow. 😉

If you try it out, let me know! Even if I don’t manage to convert you to a love of Brussels Sprouts, you’ll still be glad to have a jar of this salad dressing on hand.

Also, if you have any other Sprouts recipes that I need to try out, let me know! I found three bags of fresh Sprouts marked down at our grocery store. They’re in the fridge awaiting inspiration as I write. Although…this Brussels Sprout salad looks wonderful, too! 🙂

Until next time!


*This is the most amazing salad dressing ever. Yeah, I’m biased, but it pulls together quickly, tastes good even if without poppy seeds, has inexpensive ingredients and it keeps well. Plus, well, it tastes good – really, really good! I find myself wanting to eat more salad JUST so I can have more of this dressing.


Gluten-free Catfish Breading

Based on the breading of this recipe (which is also really good, by the way!), I tweaked it for use on catfish nuggets tonight. The results? The whole family LOVED them!

Gluten-free Catfish Breading (for pan frying up to 2 1/2 lbs. of catfish nuggets)

Dry Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (I used sweet white rice flour when I made the original recipe linked above)
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • a generous pinch of salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 c. milk

1. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

2. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.

3. In a 3-4 inch deep skillet over medium, heat the oil that you’re going to cook them in. You’ll probably want to use at least 3/4 – 1 c. to start out with. I used Tropical Traditions’ Organic Palm Shortening. You may need to replenish the oil as you go as some will be absorbed into the breading.

4. When the oil has heated up, dip a catfish nugget into the egg/milk mixture and then into the breading. Place it into the skillet. Repeat until the skillet floor is mostly covered. Let them cook until they are a medium brown color and then flip them over to cook for a few more minutes.

5. Repeat until all of the catfish nuggets are cooked up. This amount of breading was just right to cover 2 1/2 lbs of catfish nuggets.

We enjoyed them with slaw and steamed broccoli. For condiments, these go well with an organic or homemade probiotic ketchup – you may even want to try your hand at making a homemade tartar sauce. I did, and ended up using both mayonnaise and sour cream to attain a flavor we all liked.

Bon appetit!

And, of course, if you try it, I’d love to hear how you liked it (or not)!