the sprouted life » a gluten free blog inspired by real food & balanced living

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  • welcome to the sprouted life!

    We are a gluten free family trying to balance real food eating & traditional food practices while still eating on a budget and living socially in an over-processed food society. This blog is intended to share: our favorite recipes, our gardening & canning experiences, our food flops (ask me about my egg-free, paleo, almond flour pancake mess) & life with two little dirt covered boys.

    all of our recipes are gluten free, many are egg-free or offer egg-free options (even though our family is no longer egg free, I still try to include egg-free options) and many are dairy free, paleo & GAPS friendly. we don't "follow one specific diet" but our cooking style is best described as "gluten free but inspired by wapf + paleo + raw + realistic."

    Welcome to the adventure we call life!

Spotlight on Bulk Buying: Coconut Oil

I get a lot of questions about our food budget (how we balance 3 growing boys? do we eat only organic?  how do we afford clean meat?  how much does an entirely gluten free house food budget cost?) etc.  One of our best changes is in the quantity of food that be buy in bulk.  Each month we set aside a budget for bulk buying and we then use these funds throughout the year to purchase meat from a farmer, maple syrup, coconut oil, coconut flour, almond flour, pinto beans and for canning fresh fruit, applesauce etc.  I will continue to share some of these other sources too.

Our coconut products are one of the big items we buy in bulk.  Our house uses coconut oil for most of our cooking, baking and skin care and if you just run into a store and buy jar, it gets really pricey. So this past weekend we spent our friday night breaking down 15 gallons of coconut oil (I know, I know, an exciting Friday night..but lets be honest, we have 3 little boys).  We have been ordering 5 gallon buckets and breaking them down into mason jars for the last 2 years and love the convenience of having a 6 month to year supply on hand at all times.  This time around we had a few neighbors and friends join in and we broke down 15 gallons for a few families (the mess is the exact same, whether you break down 1 bucket or 3).  A 5-gallon bucket has lasted us on average for 8 months.

We purchase all our coconut oil, our coconut flakes & chips and coconut flour from Tropical Traditions.  We love their expeller-pressed coconut oil for our general day to day use, love their coconut flour and also like their lotions and lip moisturizers. (And a side-note, we also love Tropical Traditions for their ethical trade practices and their commitment to Non-GMO products)  To further save money, I always wait to place an order until I can get a free shipping code, which comes up about once a month or so.

If you have ever wondered…this is what 15 gallons of coconut oil, broken down into mason jars, looks like.




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I’m back! and our quick weekly go-to meal

I have taken a huge blogging hiatus, but even if I haven’t been sharing recipes, it doesn’t mean I have stopped creating them and now I have a bunch of items to share!

Here is the main reason I have taken such a long break…meet Callen. Our 3rd boy was born in the middle of the summer.  Because I suffered post-partum anxiety after the birth of our first two sons, I decided this time around to clear extra stuff off my plate so that I could spend some extra time, just bonding and enjoying life with three little boys. Here is Callen a few weeks ago on his 6 month birthday.


One thing that has definitely changed with the addition of another child and schedules that are becoming more full, is that I am trying to find ways to simplify dinner, but still keep them packed full of nutrients.  A while back, we had dinner with our old neighbors and they introduced us to one of their quick go-to meals.  At first they almost apologized for the simpleness, but we absolutely loved it.  It’s nothing ground-breaking, but it’s quick, it’s full of good fat and is another way to get my kids to eat cabbage.

Basically, we lightly cook shredded cabbage (with 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil, salt & pepper) on medium heat for about 10 minutes (we like ours to still be a little crunchy). And then we top it with a grilled grass-fed burger and 2 eggs.  half of us eat the eggs over easy and the others prefer eggs over hard.  Since we were introduced to this, we have literally had it at least once a week.  For me it’s a no-brainer when I am in a hurry because we have a stock of frozen grass-fed burgers in the freezer, always have eggs on hand and almost always have cabbage in our fridge.  For people that don’t love red meat, I bet a sausage patty or salmon patty would be an awesome substitute.  Bonus, is that it is a relatively cheap meal that we can feed and fill up growing boys on for less than $10.




February 23, 2014 - 2:29 am

Midge Wagner - I have a granddaughter who has food allergys. Needs gluten free and dairy free. Really like to cook for the whole family that way. Would love some new things to make for them.
Callen is beautiful, just like his Mom.
Midge Wagner

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traveling gluten free – punta cana, DR (part 1)

traveling gluten free can be interesting, tricky, scary and down right frustrating.   i have been gluten free for a little over 4 years now and since then the majority of our trips have been within a few hours drive (little kids contribute a lot to our lack of big trips).  the longest trip we had taken until this past december was to san diego.  which honestly, is an amazing place to visit gluten free.  i had so many options of restaurants to try that i never had a problem finding good food.

that being said, i haven’t travelled internationally since our dietary changes.  so when the opportunity to spend 7 days in the dominican came up i was both excited and terrified.  not only was i leaving the comfort zone of my kitchen, but also many times when we travel we rent a house, having full access to being able to pack and prepare foods for some meals. i knew i also would be dealing with a language barrier, my spanish is fairly pathetic at the moment…i can read it pretty well, but that’s about it.

to make everything a little more interesting,  i actually found out that i was expecting our third, two weeks before we left.  my pregnancies aren’t super easy and i struggle badly with morning/all day sickness.  so i was definitely a little nervous about traveling.


the majestic colonial (colonial club) punta cana

before we made plans for an all-inclusive resort, i read a bunch of reviews, emailed resorts and tried to discern which ones were better options.  (we were traveling with 2 other couples, so it wasn’t a decision that was only ours).  to be honest there aren’t a ton of reviews on any of the resorts, so it did feel like a crapshoot.

the majestic colonial had said that i would meet with a concierge and a chef upon arriving and that they would have me pick my restaurants for the week and would also give me a letter to present at every restaurant.  when we first arrived, it didn’t go quite as planned, (though i do have to give the disclaimer that we were staying in the new adults only section and it had only opened the week prior, so they were still working through some communication kinks.)  after leaving check in, i was pretty frustrated, hungry and fearful that i might starve…but then we met elana.  she was fairly fluent in english and pretty much ran the entire colonial club section.  she got me set up with a letter to present to every chef and sent out a memo to every restaurant letting them know about me, my restrictions and that they needed to take extreme care.

so we headed off to our first meal with my little letter in hand.

our first night we dined at the rodeo grill (their steak house).  as soon as i got there, the server took my letter back and a chef came right out to talk with me and go through the menu.  i had a simple but fabulous rib eye, potato and a beautiful plate of fresh fruit. no problems.  i was definitely starting to relax and feel better about my eating situation.

(photo of our meal being made at the Hibachi restaurant ma+suri)

the restaurants i ate at while at the majestic colonial:

rodeo grill – fantastic grilled meat

le gourmet – this restaurant was open during the day to colonial club members only, so it was a nice break from busy buffets. rico the head server knew me as soon as i walked in and would give me thumbs up after he put my order in and talked with the chef.  their dinner and lunches were fantastic (octopus ceviche was the most unique item i ate there).

ma+suri – japanese hibachi and sushi restaurant. we dined here with a group of 10 around a hibachi grill (which can be a little nerve wracking).  as soon as i arrived, they removed my sushi plate and made me salmon and shrimp only rolls (most soy sauce and artificial crab have wheat in them).  they then cooked the entire hibachi meal with out adding any soy sauce and served me my plate before finishing off with sauces for the other diners.  it was a fantastic presentation and meal.

supreme – was the buffet restaurant, which we visited a few mornings for breakfast.  it is buffet based, which can be a gluten-free nightmare, but they had an omelet station and everything made on that grill was safe.  (i ate a lot of eggs).

tres carabelas – seafood restaurant with main dishes served ala carte.  they had grill stations with unmarinated meat, so i could get grilled meat safely.

i avoided the domincan/mexican resturant…almost every dish was in gravy, stews or had flavored rice.


overall, i had a fantastic experience at the majestic colonial.  i never got sick and though my options were limited at a lot of the meals, i still had fantastic food.  the only major area that was lacking was in the desserts.  basically the options were fresh fruit plates, ice cream (which i eat very little dairy) and i had one banana flambé.  needless to say i ate a lot of tropical fruit.

i would recommend the majestic colonial to gluten-free vacationers, but always do your homework before you arrive, let them know you will need accommodations and make sure to get a letter from their head staff and a memo sent out to all the restaurant chefs. our first half of the vacation in punta cana at an all-inclusive went really smoothly and i didn’t feel like the language barrier caused to many issues.  i will share more on the second part of our trip in santo domingo later.


January 18, 2014 - 3:39 am

Punta Cana | Violet/Meyer - […] googling to make sure that my gluten free needs would be met.  I was lucky enough stumble upon The Sprouted Life, who had previously stayed and gave gluten free dining tips for the Majestic Colonial.  With some […]

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blogging hiatus. where i have been.

i know i haven’t had a blog post in a long time.  so i though i would explain my little blogging hiatus.  i had originally planned on taking the month of december off from blogging because we had a packed schedule with holidays and traveling.  in early december we also found out that we were expecting our third baby.  i get pretty bad morning sickness and since i am balancing pregnancy with 2 active little boys, i figured it was best to cut some of my extra activities.  now that i am almost 18 weeks, i am finally starting to feel a better and get some energy back!  so i am back and have plenty of recipes to share and some tips on traveling gluten-free!

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busy family – quick dinners {loaded baked potatoes}

i love to cook.

i often times get asked about the meals i make, how i have time, etc.  i think that a common misconception is that because my husband & i love to cook, and because we blog about it; that we cook elaborate meals all the time. that is not even close to accurate.  we are busy, have two boys under the age of 4, both work and attempt to have a social life. so many of our meals are on the fly and quickly thrown together.  tonight for example, at 4:00 i realized that i hadn’t even thought about dinner & had absolutely no desire to cook anything.  so, i decided it was loaded baked potato night.

we have huge box of organic local potatoes left from our CSA, always keep a few bags of organic frozen brocoli in the freezer and had a yummy block of raw cheese in the fridge. perfect. literally, the entire meal was less than 10 minutes to prep.  we also slather our potatoes in coconut oil to add a little more fat to balance the carbs and make it more filling and my husband, also topped his potato with left over chili.   of course bacon would have been perfect, but we didn’t have any).  as a side, i served a little bowl of frozen blueberries.  quick, simple no fuss dinners, that my boys love.

so on nights when you don’t want to cook…think, loaded bake potatoes  {there are so many ways to top them creatively}.

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