Monthly Archives: April 2014

Tips for Going Wheat Free

Last week I shared why we went wheat free for 6 weeks and next week I have a round up of the recipes and meal ideas we used during that time.

Today, I want to share some tips for those of you who are contemplating doing the same thing. I had people wonder what you can eat if you are avoiding wheat. My friend’s immediate thought was that basically everything has wheat in it and she’d have no clue what to feed her family.

Change also holds the possibility of having to increase your grocery budget. We didn’t set extra money aside to use during this experiment so we had to work within the constraints of our usual budget.

I have nine tips for going wheat free to make the transition as simple and as easy on the budget as possible!

Great (and easy) tips for going wheat free! Make the transition easy on your budget and your family!

Don’t Buy Packaged Foods

Buying Larabars, boxes of gluten free macaroni and cheese, crackers, and snacks will quickly eat away at your budget. Make a batch of homemade larabars, granola bars, and oat flour muffins to use as snacks and breakfast. Make double or triple batches and keep the extras in the freezer and you’ll have your own convenience food for later in the month.

Don’t Buy Specialty Flours

There are tons of flours out there you can use in gluten free cooking and baking. This was a temporary diet change for us so it wasn’t worth it to spend a lot of money stocking my kitchen for gluten free baking. Just avoid recipes for your meals and snacks that would require purchasing these things. I already had coconut flour in my pantry so I used it and oat flour that I ground in my blender. If the change becomes permanent then slowly began adding different products to your kitchen.

Use Produce

Add extra in season produce to your diets. Instead of having bread as a side, roast some asparagus. Bring out a bowl of fruit salad for dessert instead of cookies. Fruit and vegetables make a super easy snack as well. If you buy the produce that’s on sale each week you can do this without blowing your budget. The majority of my grocery shopping trips consist of produce so I just added some more to the pile and we were good to go.

Keep it Simple

Don’t burn yourself out! Make the process enjoyable. I made a few recipes that took a little more work but that didn’t happen every day. When I cooked, I tried to make large quantities so that there would be enough for a second meal.

Read Labels

If you buy processed foods (or eat out) read labels! You will most likely find wheat a few places you weren’t expecting it. If you aren’t used to checking, this might take a little while to get in the habit of.

Make What You Like

Every meal doesn’t have to be unique and a new recipe for your family. Take some ideas you know your kids will like and find ways to adapt them. Use lettuce for a wrap instead of a flour tortilla or bread. Make quesadillas on corn tortillas. Does your family love shredded beef sandwiches? Try serving it over a potato. Turn recipes into salads (like how this recipe can be either a wrap of salad). There are a lot of possibilities that are simple and easy on the budget.

Grill, Stir-Fry,  Mexican, and Soups

These are four meal types that are easily wheat free! Tacos (and taco salad), tostadas, and enchiladas were favorites in our house. Stir fries also made many appearances. Simply cut up a lot of vegetables add some meat cook it up with a sauce. Grilling meat and serving with fruits and veggies and maybe rice or quinoa makes a quick and easy supper. Soups are another simple and budget friendly meal. Great way to use up all the leftover veggies you have in the fridge.


We also ate a fair amount of beans the past 6 weeks. Even if you don’t like eating a pot of beans for supper (which my husband doesn’t) there are ways to incorporate them into your meals. Have your tacos with refried beans some of the time. Add black beans to the enchiladas. Top your salad with garbanzo beans. They were a great way to stretch our budget and make recipes more filling and go further.

Oats and Oat Flour

Rolled oats are super affordable and you can turn it into flour by putting it in your blender. Easy! I tried not to go overboard on the amount of oats in our diets but this made it possible for us to have some traditional wheat type foods – pancakes, waffles, and muffins. Granola and baked oatmeal (or baked oatmeal muffins) also made great and filling breakfasts.

What suggestions do you have for being wheat free on a budget or for making the transition easy for your family?

Don’t forget to stop back by next week for meal ideas while being wheat free (that would also be great to add to your menu anytime).

Linking up to these fun parties!

Menu Plan and Goals

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We just got back from a fun weekend away. We went to our daughter’s favorite amusement park (Silver Dollar City) and spent a few days with my sister and brother-in-law. It was great to get away and not have all the stuff around the house hanging over us. Feeding the ducks (mostly geese, actually) and climbing in the water near a small waterfall were the perfect adventures for our daughter.

Menu Plan and Goals @ From this Kitchen Table

We left to come back home in the morning which worked out well. The car was unloaded, laundry washed and put away, and the house tidied up before the week even started.

Menu Plan and Goals @ From this Kitchen Table

We are home for a while now so my big project is to tackle all of the stuff I need to complete to sell in the herb festival. I only have a month to get everything done. I had my sister brainstorm earring ideas and now I just need to knock out the rest of them and get all the other products done. Then there is labeling to figure out and I need a plan for the booth display at the festival. Hopefully everything will all come together.

Seeing as we just arrived home, I haven’t gone grocery shopping yet so meals are going to be pretty mundane as I try to make do with what we have in the pantry until I head to the store.


  • Rice Cakes with cream cheese
  • Muffins or pancakes or oatmeal (we’ll see what I have on hand)


  • Salads
  • Lentil Soup
  • Bread
  • Homemade applesauce from the freezer


  • Scrambled eggs and toast (if I make bread)
  • Chicken Stir Fry
  • Something with potatoes
  • Soup

Goals (keeping things simple this week):

What is your week looking like? What are your favorite pantry meals?

P.S. Don’t forget that today is your last day to buy The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

How to get the most out of your Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Bonuses

Affiliate links used.

I’m sure you’ve seen the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle floating around the internet the past 5 days. I talked about it here last week. Not only are there all the e-books and resources that are part of the bundle but you also get bonuses!

Bonuses are only worthwhile if they are something you’d actually use or if they are a deal even with shipping, right? So many times I’ve started to order a product from a new website and and once I was checking out the shipping charge came up. Sometimes they can be a little higher than you are expecting and other times they aren’t too bad.

I went through the bonuses offered with the sale to see how much we have to pay out of pocket to receive them and if shipping was going to be crazy.

1 FREE 10-Pack of Dayspring Premium Greeting Cards ($20 value)
Shipping comes to $6.75 or is free with over $50 purchase. If you want to order more items to get more with the shipping, be sure to check out the Sale and Clearance page. I’ve found some great things there before (including the canvases that are hanging in our entryway). 

$15 store credit to be used towards anything + a FREE 8×10 Art Print with order Hope Ink
Free 8×10 print ($24 value) and $15 shop credit. The cheapest item in their store is the $24 art print. The cost to ship one is $7.00 and free with an additional item. That means the cheapest way to use this bonus is to get 2 8×10 prints and get both shipped for $7. One would be free and the other would be $9 after using the $15 credit. So with shipping you’d pay $16 for both prints.

3 FREE eyeshadows of your choice from Redeeming Beauty
The value of this bonus is $16.47 and the estimated shipping for my zip code was $3.

$15 store credit for anything in the online store of Marie Madeline
Estimated Shipping for 3 yards of the $6 a yard fabric – $4.95. You could also purchase a pattern for $12.95 and if you use the cheapest shipping option to my zip code it was $2.65

64 load pack of Dizolve laundry strips
($25.98 value) Shipping is $3.

Choice of FREE 2-oz liquid herbal formula OR $15 store credit at TriLight Health
When I looked up the shipping it was $4.99 on a $14.95 2 ounce bottle. You could also purchase a couple of other formulas you might need and get the free shipping on over $25.

The last 4 bonuses are all digital products or services so you don’t have to worry about shipping costs.

  • Choose between a Free 3-month membership to or 3 Free ePlanners ($15 value)
  • Instant download of the instructional video Making Herbs Simple Volume 2 for FREE ($15 value)
  • One Month Pro Membership from ($16 value)
  • FREE 2-Month Online Fitness Membership at ($20 value)

Don’t forget, if some of the bonuses (or even e-books) aren’t your cup of tea, you can pass them on to someone else.

If you haven’t heard about The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle and all the bonuses, be sure to check them out here! Don’t forget, today (Monday) is the last day to purchase!

Caramel Sauce

The easiest and richest caramel sauce ever! AND it's all real food. Can't beat that. Must try recipe. Perfect for ice cream too.

I love caramel. There is just something about the sugary, buttery combination that you can’t beat. Especially with a touch of salt and vanilla mixed in.

This caramel sauce would be the perfect finishing touch to so many different desserts. Apple crisp and pie. Drizzled over cheesecake (oh my goodness). It would make the perfect layer in caramel bars. Of course, there’s one other  situation it would be ideal in. In case you missed it, I have a thing for ice cream. But these two items together and you have perfection.

I made the recipe several times now and we all love it and agree it takes desserts over the top. I love how easy it is and that I can make it in advance.

The coconut sugar gives such a deep and rich flavor that you won’t be able to beat. If you don’t have coconut sugar I’d try it with sucanat. (If you don’t have these sugars, I’m sure you could make it with regular brown sugar.)

(This recipe also works great if you cut it in half for when you are making it for a couple of people.)

The easiest and richest caramel sauce ever! AND it's all real food. Can't beat that. Must try recipe. Perfect for ice cream too.

Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup half and half (or heavy cream)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • salt
  1. Combine first three ingredients in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. When the mixture starts to bubble reduce heat to medium low and let cook for 6 minutes stirring frequently. (Keep the mixture bubbling the entire time. On my gas stove medium low is plenty hot. Adjust temperature if you need to.)
  2. After 6 minutes turn burner off and stir in vanilla and a pinch of salt.
  3. Serve warm or let cool.
  4. Mixture will thicken as it sits. If you want to serve it cool, stir in up to ¼ cup more half and half while it is still warm to get your desired consistency.

Linking up to these fun parties!

Should You Buy the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

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The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is here! Keep reading below the image for the full scoop and to find out what e-books and bonuses are included this year!

I’m not big on spending money or buying something just because it’s a good deal. If you aren’t going to read any of the books or use any of the bonuses, you are wasting your money. I’m not trying to talk you out of purchasing by any stretch of the imagination. The bonuses alone more than cover the cost of the bundle (in fact they cover it 6 times over).

Here’s how I recommend you approach this bundle.

Look over the e-book titles.

  • Are there any that you’ve been meaning (or wanting) to purchase?
  • How many and how much are they?
  • Are there any new to you e-books that would benefit you?

Check out the bonuses.

  • Are any of them items you normally purchase or you might be needing?
  • How much money are you going to have to spend to receive the bonuses?

As you figure up what books and products in the bundle you really want and how much they are worth you can even use sale prices you have seen them for before, then come up with the total. The bundle might be cheaper. Even it’s a bit more, you will receive all 84 resources and the bonuses. There’s a pretty good chance you’ll find another book you’ll enjoy or you might know the perfect person to gift something to.

On the other hand, if there’s only one book or bonus you’ll actually use, you might be better off purchasing just it!

This weekend, I’m going to break down the bonuses so that you’ll have a better idea of how much money they are going to cost you out of pocket with shipping. If you are on the fence, it might help you decide what to do! I’ll also share some of the e-books that most interest me.

Keep reading below for FULL DETAILS including a list of all the bonuses, e-books, and resources you’ll find in the bundle!

Get The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle--Hurry: Sale 6 Days Only!

By popular demand, 100+ homemaking bloggers are bringing back The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, and it’s better than ever!

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a complete library of great eBooks on homemaking—a truly valuable knowledge base you’ll use for many years to come.

Unlike a library, though, you don’t have to spend years building it up. The Ultimate Bundles team has done the hard work for you, searching the web to find the very best eBooks from top homemaking authors and combining them into one essential collection that you can buy in one simple purchase.

Act now to get the ultimate eBook collection on homemaking at a once-in-a-lifetime price.

Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle Bundle

I’m confident you won’t find a more comprehensive set of homemaking resources anywhere — and certainly not at this price. Bought separately, they’d cost a total of $698 (not including $200+ in bonuses!). But you can have all of them for just $29.97!

Or, for just an extra $10, you not only get the full set of PDF files, but also a bonus set of Kindle editions, perfectly formatted for easy Kindle reading. This has been a popular request over the years and I’m excited to say it’s now available!

I believe it’s the best deal on homemaking eBooks anywhere on the web. But it will only be available for six days. So grab yours before it’s gone!

You get ALL THIS in The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

This huge wealth of information and guidance will be right there on your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or Kindle, whenever you need it.

Here’s what you need to know about the sale:

When? 8 a.m. EST Wednesday, April 23 until 11:59 p.m. EST Monday, April 28

What? 78 eBooks, 2 eCourses, 2 audio files, and 2 printable packs PLUS over $200 worth of bonus products you’ll really use!

Where? Purchase the bundle here.

How much? Well now, that’s the best part. The entire package is worth nearly $900, and it’s selling for less than $30. Sweet deal, right?

Get ALL of these eBooks for 1 LOW Price! One Week Only!

What’s in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle? ($698 value!)






Faith {For Kids}

Financial Stewardship

Health & Wellness

Holidays & Special Events


Pregnancy & Babies


Working from Home & Blogging

What are the Ultimate Homemaking Bonus Offers? ($200+ value)


In addition to all the amazing eResources, this bundle includes the best bonus offers it’s ever had. These deals are worth over six times the price of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. So you’re up on the deal right away!

  1. DaySpring—A FREE 10-pack of Premium Greeting Cards. ($20.00 Value. Standard shipping applies.)
  2. HopeInk—$15 HopeInk store credit to be used towards anything + a FREE 8×10 Art Print with order. ($39.00 Value. Standard shipping applies.)
  3. Redeeming Beauty Mineral Makeup—3 FREE eyeshadows of your choice from Redeeming Beauty. ($16.47 Value. Standard shipping applies – only ships to US and Canada.)
  4. Marie-Madeline Studio—A $15 store credit for anything in Marie-Madeline Studio’s online store. ($15.00 value. Standard shipping applies.)
  5. Once a Month Meals—A FREE One Month Pro Membership from Once a Month Meals. ($16.00 Value. No shipping required.)
  6. DizolveFREE 64-load pack of Dizolve Laundry Strips for you PLUS a Free 64-load pack of Dizolve Laundry Strips for food banks. ($25.98 value. Standard shipping [$3] applies. Only ships in the US.)
  7. TrilLight Health—Get a FREE 2 oz. bottle of a liquid health formula OR $15 store credit from Trilight Health. ($15.00 Value. Standard shipping rates apply.)
  8. ListPlanIt—Free 3-month membership OR 3 free ePlanners from ListPlanIt. ($15.00 value. No shipping required.)
  9. Bulk Herb Store—Instant download of the instructional video Making Herbs Simple Volume 2 for FREE from Bulk Herb Store. (up to a $15.00 Value. No shipping required.)
  10. Fit2B™ Studio—FREE 2-Month Online Fitness Membership at Fit2B™ Studio. (up to a $20.00 Value. No shipping required.)

Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle Bundle

Remember, this bundle is available for 6 days only, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, April 23 to 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, April 28th.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

Wheat Free Experiment for Eczema

6 weeks ago we eliminated wheat from our diets to see if it helped with our 11 month old’s eczema. The 42 days came to an end and we just reintroduced wheat into our diets and now we are waiting to see if the eczema stays the same or worsens before we decide where to go from here.

Why we went wheat free for 6 weeks. It was actually easier than I thought!

Some friends told me during our experiment,

  • “I wonder about people that go gluten free. What can you eat?
  • “I could never do that.”
  • “I rather deal with problems or have medication then give up wheat or dairy.”

I’ll be honest. I was dreading these 6 weeks up until we actually committed to doing it. Homemade pizzaalfredo sauce over pasta, naan, cookie dough, and warm bread are all things I thoroughly enjoy. Giving them up wasn’t exactly high on my list of things to do.

My husband and I decided it was worth it, though, to see if our son had any relief on his face from eczema and constant scratching that frequently drew blood.

Many times our diets and the food we eat play a roll in the symptoms that exhibit themselves in our bodies. It could be rashes, behavior, ear infections etc. Food often is not the first thing that comes to mind when we these issues come up. Even if it crosses our minds it, seems easier to treat with antibiotics, creams, or just living with it.

One of my friends has a dog that has had continuous ear infections since she was little. They recently switched her to gluten free food and treats and she’s gone several months without any problems now. I know it might not always work, but sometimes a change in diet can make a world of difference. There are also those with severe allergies to certain foods that don’t have a choice but to make drastic adjustments to their diets and they are lifelong changes.

All that to say, we didn’t know what would happen or what the outcome would be but we decided to at least try and then re-evaluate and see what we needed to do next.

Once we made the commitment and started, I was surprised at how little of a deal it was. The transition was actually easier than I thought it would be. Going gluten free, I’m sure, would be more stressful and little harder on the budget as I didn’t worry about cross contamination for our experiment (I still bought regular rolled oats).

6 weeks of using no wheat went by quickly. The eczema didn’t clear up completely but it’s very slight and my son is scratching his cheeks way less. (You can see after pictures here.) During the process he only had a couple of flair ups and they were mild. We’ll see what happens the next few weeks.

Next week I have 9 tips for how to do a wheat free experiment without a lot of work and on a budget. These are the ideas that I used the last 6 weeks with our family. My grocery budget wasn’t any more that usual. Coming up I’ll also have a list of the recipes that we ate to help you with your menu planning.

I’m curious. Have you ever seen changes because of how you tweaked your diet?

Linking up to these fun parties!




Menu Plan and Goals

(Affiliate Links Used)

Have you heard about the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle? The sale starts Wednesday!!!

Last year there were a ton of great books included in the bundle and you get them all (plus GREAT bonuses) for $29.97. It’s highly worth looking at the collection of e-books when it’s available on Wednesday (the sale only goes through Monday). If out of the 78 e-books there were even just 10 books you’ve been wanting, it would be a great deal. (Don’t forget, if you already own an e-book or some don’t interest you, you can forward them on to a friend who would enjoy it and delete from your computer.)

We had a good Easter weekend! My husband had the day off of work Friday (although he had to go in for a few hours) and we worked around the house some. Saturday we met his parents, brother, and nephew an hour and a half away and spent the afternoon at the botanical gardens. The tulips were in bloom and it was beautiful. The children’s garden was well done with a tree fort to climb in and giant musical instruments to play.

Menu Plan and Goals @ From this Kitchen Table

Not only was Sunday Easter it was also the day we reintroduced wheat into our diets. We’ll see if we notice any difference in my son’s face over the next few weeks with wheat added back in. This is a shot of his cheeks from yesterday. He still has some redness and spots but it’s way better than it was earlier this year. He’s had no major flair ups in the 6 weeks we’ve been doing this and only a couple of minor once (none in the past 2-3 weeks). We’ve also noticed a huge difference in his scratching. Before he was continually clawing at his face (often drawing blood) and now it’s just every once in a while. We’ll see what happens. 

Menu Plan and Goals @ From this Kitchen Table

We had quite the traditional Easter lunch of. . . pizza! My husband is a pizza fan so we decided to go for it. Homemade pizza made for a pretty easy (and tasty) lunch and we finished the day off with apple crisp and ice cream (an early birthday dessert for my husband). 

Menu Plan and Goals @ From this Kitchen Table



  • Brown Bag lunches
  • Leftovers
  • Salads
  • Pizza



What are your goals? Anything tasty on your menu plan?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

Cinnamon Breadsticks


Easy, gooey, and delicious cinnamon breadsticks! | Mmmm. These are just as good as the ones from the pizza buffet I loved growing up.

Cinnamon breadsticks. So good and easy I don’t know why I’ve never made them before. Every time (don’t worry, it wasn’t too often) we went out to a pizza buffet restaurant growing up they were one of my favorites and I ate entirely too many of them.

I recently recreated this recipes and you can go over to The Best Blog Recipes for the post. I want to try making them again using whole wheat flour and sucanat or coconut sugar on the top.

We are in the middle of a month of being wheat free. I’m surprised it hasn’t been harder because I LOVE good homemade bread. Probably the worst times is putting together these recipes that I made before we began. They make me hungry. This is one of those. Looking at the picture of these things is torture. You’ll have to make them and enjoy them for me.

Recently (well, over a month ago now) I decided I needed to try making Cinnamon Breadsticks myself. Surely it’s not that hard. I already had a killer dough recipe from my garlic breadsticks to start with. I’d just need to switch up the topping and change how I formed the dough a bit. We had a friend over for dinner – always the best way to test our new recipes. They were a home run! The adults enjoyed them as much as the three year old. Or almost as much. We had to cut my daughter off. She kept wanting more.

Head over to The Best Blog Recipes to read the rest!

Linking up to these fun parties!

Automatic Ice Cream Maker

My FAVORITE kitchen appliance - an automatic ice cream maker. Why I like it and tips for using the machine. You are going to want one of these!

An electric counter top ice cream maker was on my wish list and my in-laws had an old version at their house that never got used. They said we could have it. I jumped on it and has it been put to good use!

This is one of my all time favorite kitchen appliances. (It made the list of my favorite kitchen appliances.) No, I’m not exaggerating. Yes, I might be slightly ice cream obsessed but I think my obsession also makes my family happy.

We purchased ice cream every once in a while but not as often as I would have liked because of budget and health reasons. This amazing little gadget takes care of both of those issues. I can make it as healthy as I’d like (and even if I make it with sugar, it’s way better than the stuff at the store) for much cheaper.

My FAVORITE kitchen appliance - an automatic ice cream maker. Why I like it and tips for using the machine. You are going to want one of these!

4 Reasons I Love My Automatic Ice Cream Maker

No ice and salt necessary

We had an electric ice cream maker which we used every once in a while. It was a pain to remember to buy or make ice and have the salt on hand. Now, I  just dump my ice cream mixture into the frozen bowl and am ready to go.

No Unnecessary Ingredients


Strawberry: INGREDIENTS: Fresh Grade ‘A’ whole milk, strawberries, sugar, cream, corn syrup, modified corn starch, natural strawberry flavor, stabilizer blend (monoglycerides, cellulose gel, cellulose gum, carrageenan), artificial colors red 3, yellow 6, blue 1.

Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the ice cream carton from the store? The majority have a dozen ingredients or more. Most of them being processed ones that aren’t good for you. When you make it at home, you know exactly what goes in it. Cream or coconut milk, sweetener, flavoring, maybe eggs and thickener.


You can make frozen yogurt, sorbet, or ice cream with whatever flavors and add ins you like! You aren’t stuck making a gallon of one kind like you do in a rock and salt machine. Here you can do 2 quarts or even less. You also aren’t stuck to the flavors found in the store.


So yes, you can buy a half gallon of the cheapest (and not very good tasting) ice cream for $2.50, the middle of the road product is $4 for a half gallon (on sale) and when you get to the good stuff with real ingredients you are going to be spending $3-$4 a pint! With this amazing machine, you can make it for a fraction of the cost. 

Tips for using your Ice Cream Maker

1. If you have space, keep the freezer bowl in the freezer. This eliminates the need to plan the night before and you can satisfy a last minute craving or feed drop in guests in no time.

2. If you cook your ice cream base or are using room temperature products (canned coconut milk), refrigerate your ice cream base until completely chilled. This is a must. You will end up with a much thicker and creamier treat.

3. If you have a large family and are worried that 2 quarts of ice cream won’t be enough, buy a second freezer bowl! You can make two different types that way and be able to please everyone (or most everyone).

Do you have any ice cream makers? How often do they get used?

Linking up to these fun parties!