A week at the beach, our gluten-free and dairy-free menu plan and some kid-friendly tips


Dreams do come true.  I’ve been dreaming about the ocean and the beach, literally, for the past couple of years.  I was pregnant two years ago and traveling wasn’t very easy so we didn’t go.  And last year, we went to the mountains in California but weren’t able to visit the beach on that trip.  But this year we took our 21 month old toddler to the beach in North Carolina and we had a ball.

We went with a beautiful family whom we have only recently befriended this past spring.  But with some friendships, doesn’t it seem like you’ve known each other forever?

My friends have three kids, ages 2, 5 and 8.  So counting all the heads, that made eight people to feed, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  To make things more complicated, Jana and I are both gluten-free and Elijah and I are dairy-free.  So before our trip, we did a little gluten-free and dairy-free menu planning and came up with the following ideas for our families:

For dinner:

Turkey Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries (one of my standbys)

Meatloaf (Made with Grass-fed Beef) and Steamed Broccoli (I used almond meal in place of breadcrumbs)

Chicken Burritos with Lime Guacamole (I use Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas for the gluten-free people)

Lasagna with Ground Turkey (I use Tinkyada Brown Rice Lasagna noodles)

Pasta with “Cheese” Sauce and Green Beans and Peas (I use Tinkyada Brown Rice Noodles)

For breakfast:

Gluten-free pancakes (made one batch with coconut flour and one with buckwheat flour)

Grain and Gluten-free Apple Muffins (made with quinoa flour)

Omelets with Mushrooms, Onions and Tomatoes

Eggs and Toast


Fruit Salad


Chicken Salad with Celery and Raisins (I would have added chopped apples but they made faces at me when I mentioned this!)

Sandwiches and other snack items


Some kid-friendly tips that I learned on the trip:

I learned a lot this week about what a lot of parents struggle with daily – how to feed a children new and different foods they aren’t used to.  Luckily the toddlers are not very picky – my little one is used to my “weird” cooking and doesn’t question me about if cheese is real or not.  Jana’s toddler Zack is also a champ at eating unless he’s not hungry.

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Raw desserts and nourishing foods

Raw Zucchini Chocolate Cake

Raw Zucchini Chocolate Cake

For whatever reason, many of the recipes I worked on this week ended up being raw or mostly raw.  In part, I was continuing my quest for some travel-friendly treats for my son and decided to try some raw fruit and nut balls, similar to Larabars.

I was also testing recipes for my menu planners for limited diets free of gluten, grains, dairy, eggs sugar and other common allergens.  Many raw recipes work great for people with a lot of food limitations.  The only drawback I find is that they use nuts extensively, which is a common allergen.  I find though, that seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds can be used in place of nuts in some of these recipes.

As far as eating raw nuts goes, it is really best to soak them for a varied amount of time, depending upon the nut or seed.  This process is what releases their enzyme inhibitors and unlocks their full nutritional value.  In terms of soaking, you can either soak just long enough to germinate, or longer to sprout (however it’s difficult to sprout some nuts).

I have to admit that I didn’t soak the nuts and seeds in the recipes I tested this week.  This was partly due to the recipes not asking me to do this and in part laziness and impatience on my part.  However, if I were to do them again, I would soak the nuts and seeds in these recipes.

Here is a list of some new and yummy things I made this week:

Cashew Apricot Bliss Balls and Cherry-Walnut Bites

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