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!

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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earth fare wrap up

today, i got the opportunity to walk through the new earth fare store opening in noblesville/fishers tomorrow.  i have mentioned that we are super excited about having a new health food store so close…i mean literally minutes from our house.

so, i thought i would highlight a few items that i learned today from my visit and some tips for gluten-free shoppers.

  • check out the wall right when you enter, that is always their “value wall” where they will have discounted specials to stock up on.
  • bulk bins – they have a large selection and obviously this is a much more economical way to shop. 
    • what does “bulk bins” mean for people who have to eat gluten free and need to avoid cross contamination?
      • a lot of the “gluten free” items are in the overhead pour bins, which helps lessen the chance of cross-contamination
      • bins are always used for the same items, so they don’t switch up a gluten free item with a gluten-containing item, which is good to know.
      • obviously, use your judgment.  the cane sugar is by the whole-wheat flour, so for me personally, the savings isn’t worth the risk, but the millet is in a put bin overhead, not by any gluten containing items, so i would buy from that.
  • coffee & tea selection
    • my husband is going to love their selection, a ton of fair trade, direct trade and organic options.  they have both packaged and bulk bins with coffee
    • they have a nice tea selection, including a small section of loose-leaf tea. i am very happy that they have a few green teas, definitely will be trying those out.
  • don’t see an item you want? ask.
    • one of their commitments is to getting customers items that they desire or to introduce new items.  i was told that many times they could order you an item to come monthly with their shipments.  so if you don’t see something you are looking for, ask.
  • gluten-free sections
    • gluten-free items aren’t necessarily grouped in sections, but they do have tags denoting gluten-free items to help with the selection
    • also, look for the sections on shelves that have a “wood” bar on the shelf (it will make sense when you see it).  everything in those areas is gluten-free.
    • if you have a question. ask.
  • local items and preferred producers
    • they will label items if they come from a 100-mile radius and they also feature some of the small farms & producers that they work with nationally and those will be labeled too.

overall, the was cheerful and friendly, a lot of selection and a lot of items on sale! and i promise that i will have a bunch of fall recipes to share shortly!  i grabbed a few photos from their facebook page to share…as i went to the store straight from voting and didn’t think to take my camera.


i did want to remind all the winners in the earth fare $30 dollars in 30 days contest that they need to pick up their gift cards at new earth fare store.  you have from tomorrow, november 7th- 11th to pick them up.  a list of the winners are below…if you did not receive an email from me, with details please contact me a.s.a.p.

  • melody c.
  • lilian h.
  • lindsey n.
  • mark l.
  • kim f.
  • kim g.
  • keith c.
  • rachelle p.
  • margrete m.
  •  lindsey m.
  •  meggan s.
  •  kathy g.
  •  ryan f.
  •  holly s.
  •  kyle m.
  •  kay n.
  •  erin l.
  •  judith m.
  •  melissa m.
  •  marcia f.
  •  lisa s.
  •  david f.
  •  lisa h.
  •  carrol b.
  •  melody s.
  •  michelle m.
  •  cameron g.
  •  lexie g.
  •  sara c.
  •  julie e.
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30 days – $30 giveaway – earth fare noblesville

not gonna lie, i was a little bummed when border’s shut down at the outdoor mall near us.  {i know, i know…first world pain} but it was a favorite little hang out for my husband and i when we needed some time away from the kids.  needless to say, i was so excited when i saw the banner hanging on the building welcoming “earth fare” this fall.

don’t get me wrong, we live in fishers.  we are spoiled, we have both a whole foods & trader joes about 25 minutes away and farmer’s markets galore, but there are always those times when i decide on a whim that i want to make something, that i have none of the ingredients for and having more organic, nutritious options nearby is very exciting. earth fare will literally be less than 5 minutes from our house.  if i am adventurous, i could even ride my bike with the boys in the bike trailer there.

my first experience at an earth fare, was 3 year ago, when i was looking for gluten-free foods while on vacation in the carolina’s and we happened to visit the charlotte store. overall, i was very impressed by the selection, the local options and the prices.  as a store, their motto is “eat better. live longer.  spend less. start now.”  i love that they have a list of banned food products and that they work hard to keep prices affordable.  i am excited to have another healthy super market and the convenience of how close we are to it is an added bonus!

earth fare is set to open in noblesville at the hamilton town center on november 7th.  as part of welcoming earth fare to the area, the sprouted life is taking part of their “30 days, 30 dollars” contest.  we will be giving away a $30 gift card {for the noblesville earth fare only} every day for the next 30 days. yes, we are giving away $900 in gift cards!

how to enter:

it is a simple contest.  all you have to do is comment on this blog post one time and tell us why you are excited about the new earth fare store or how you would spend your $30 gift card.  this will enter you for a chance to win all 30 days. each day, starting monday, october 8th,  a generator will randomly select a winner.

to double your chances, “like us” on facebook and your name will be entered in the drawing twice.  {if you already like the sprouted life, like the post on the facebook about the contest, and you will receive your second entry)

to triple your chances – share the contest link from the sprouted life’s facebook page to your friends on facebook and you will be entered in the drawing a third time!

all the other details:

each person is eligible to only win one gift card.
this offer is for the noblesville, indiana store only
winners will need to be available to pick up their gift cards in person at the noblesville store november 7th – 11th
please make sure your comment has a valid email address, this is how i will notify winners and daily winners will also be posted on the sprouted life’s facebook page.


join us in welcoming earth fare to the northside of indianapolis!


***comments may take a bit to appear, because of a recent spam barrage on my blog, i have tightened the spam blockers***
October 5, 2012 - 1:47 am

Kim - Affordable, healthy food is always exciting! Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are great, but extremely expensive! Looking forward to shopping at a store that stocks healthy food AND is budget conscious!

October 5, 2012 - 2:09 am

Melissa Millis - Totally psyched about Earth Fare! The reasons are too many to count…I hate traffic (even a 20 minute commute to the next health food store), I like the idea of shopping more often for more fresh items to use in meals, I could ride my bike there to shop, I can hit the play ground just outside the store (for my kids)…did I mention that I hate traffic?! :)

October 5, 2012 - 2:45 am

Cameron Geesaman - Very excited about Earth Fare being so close as well. I can’t wait!! Everyone I have spoken with and talked with from Earth Fare have been amazing.

October 5, 2012 - 3:38 am

Sarah - We are SO excited for Earth Fare to open! We love eating healthy, and while we have several natural/organic food stores nearby, it will be fantastic having one only 5 minutes away! Won’t have to deal with traffic, love that it has a great selection & it’s affordable, and I love that there’s a Kids Eat Free night! :)

October 5, 2012 - 12:11 pm

Kim F - We are very excited to have a Health Food store so close to our home. Counting down the days to Earth Fare opening! We are also excited for the Kids Eat Free night. :-)

October 5, 2012 - 1:20 pm

keith - My wife and I are looking forward to the opening! Their prices appear to be better than Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I will be spending all of my $30 on hummus to share with Brian at work. Our office mates love the smell.

October 5, 2012 - 1:23 pm

Carrol Brown - This $30 will get me started on a Gluten free diet. I have been putting ths off for a year now. Because of my 20 pounds overweight, I need to focus on the Gluten Free Diet which is one of the reasons I am overweight. Now there is a store near by so I can focus on that diet.

October 5, 2012 - 1:37 pm

Judith Matas - My husband and I are retirees and I am trying to make healthy food so that we will be as healthy as possible during these golden years. I am excited to have Earth Fare close so that we have affordable, organic, healthy food available.

October 5, 2012 - 1:49 pm

Ryan Foust - Proximity will be great and they have bulk items.

October 5, 2012 - 1:52 pm

mark - Been needing a store like this in Fishers/Noblesville for a long time!

October 5, 2012 - 2:11 pm

Michelle - Anxiously awaiting Earth Fare- love them!

October 5, 2012 - 2:22 pm

Lilian - I’d love to check out their nut supply and other staples like olive oil and tomato paste–the stuff I’d buy at WF but without the long trek:)

October 5, 2012 - 2:55 pm

Renee - I’m just excited to have something that is right around the corner! No more driving 20min+.

October 5, 2012 - 4:23 pm

Lindsey @ enjoying healthy foods - I am extremely excited for Earth Fare’s bulk section but looking for to just the store in general!

October 5, 2012 - 4:26 pm

Adam - Looking forward to having another quality store around.

October 5, 2012 - 4:44 pm

Rachelle - EarthFare is very near my house. I’m looking forward to checking it out! If I had a $30 gift card…I would probably look for some new items that I have not tried before…and who knows…maybe I would get hooked and shop there all the time.

October 5, 2012 - 4:57 pm

Mallory - Very exciting to see another option for organic foods in the area! Could definitely put the $30 to good use :)

October 5, 2012 - 5:47 pm

Holly Sayer - Very excite for a health food store nearby!

October 5, 2012 - 5:54 pm

Jennifer - Oh how I would love a gift card to shop at this great store!!!!!

October 5, 2012 - 6:27 pm

Julie Earlewine - I am so excited to have organic options closer to home!! Yay for Earth Fare!!!

October 5, 2012 - 7:32 pm

Kyle - I am very curious to see what healthy options Earth Fare has to offer.

October 5, 2012 - 9:31 pm

Marcia Foust - I am excited because my som is thrilled. So I would give the gift card as a surprise to him …..shhh…,don’t tell him

October 5, 2012 - 9:31 pm

Marcia Foust - I am excited because my som is thrilled. So I would give the gift card as a surprise to him …..shhh…,don’t tell him

October 6, 2012 - 1:07 am

Erin - So excited to have Earth Fare coming! I have been following them on Facebook and their store looks amazing! $30 gift card would be great! :)

October 6, 2012 - 1:53 am

Lexie - I love to shop organic when I can! But Whole Paycheck…I mean Whole Foods ;) can get pretty expensive. I will definitely be checking out Earth Fare when it opens!

October 6, 2012 - 2:47 pm

Mel Carpenter - We would be a fan of a $30 gift card to organic shopping! Thank you!!!! :)

October 6, 2012 - 7:00 pm

John - We buy a lot of “healthy” food, which can get expensive. I like the idea of saving money on gas and not having to spend as much time in the car to get what we need.

October 7, 2012 - 12:57 am

Jen P. - So excited about this new store! We are just beginning the journey towards living a more organic, healthy life. We are looking forward to buying healthy fruits, veggies and other products at Earth Fare. Thanks!

October 8, 2012 - 12:12 pm

Lisa Hawkins - A bit of a drive for me, but…so is everyplace else. If the prices are as good as people say, it’s worth it! Anxious to check it out!

October 8, 2012 - 12:26 pm

Kay Niedenthal - It will be great to have another healthy shopping alternative closeby. I’ll be shopping for organic produce and meat. With farmers markets winding down, I hope they’ve met some of our great local farmers and will stock their wares.

October 8, 2012 - 1:59 pm

Mandi H - This is wonderful news for our community! I would love to use the gift card to explore the store and find new gfree products!

October 8, 2012 - 2:13 pm

Melody Stiles - I always get really excited for a new store in our area! My daughter and her family moved to the Noblesville area about a year ago, shortly before finding out Celiac Disease is a problem in our family. Both of my granddaughters and daughter are impacted physically. Their entire household is now gluten free. I cannot WAIT to give my daughter the good news about this store! SO much closer to home:)

October 8, 2012 - 3:00 pm

Bonnie Hogan - We’re so excited to have more choices for organic and gluten free cooking! Budget friendly is a major bonus!!

October 8, 2012 - 4:59 pm

Sara Carpenter - Hooray for healthy choices made more convenient! And to keep you inspired for blogging, hot momma :)

October 8, 2012 - 6:57 pm

Nancy O'Dell - I am really excited about Earth Fare coming to this area! When I visist my Aunt in Greensboro North Carilona I always go to their store and stocked up on items that I cannot get here in Indy!

October 8, 2012 - 7:07 pm

Lisa - I’m excited to have a new store for my gluten free shopping!

October 8, 2012 - 9:04 pm

Kathy Gray - I’m very excited to have a new health food store so close to home!

October 9, 2012 - 12:47 am

Linzy - I love Earth Fare! I haven’t had the opportunity to shop there since I lived in Charleston, SC, where I frequented it often. Thanks Jenn!

October 9, 2012 - 3:36 pm

amanda reynolds - Yay for a new healthy grocery store!! I’ve never shopped at one before but am excited to check it out!! How fun for your blog too :) Go jen!!

October 9, 2012 - 7:49 pm

Meggan - This will be a great place to not only get groceries, but also get lunch while shopping at Hamilton Towne Center. Great alternative to the burgers and fries the kiddos usually ask for!

October 9, 2012 - 10:52 pm

robin - I am very excited to know there will be a better alternative to the average grocery store. as the groceries are becoming more aware, it is the knowledge that make earth fare stand out!! WELCOME!!! to our city! (i hear you are coming to Carmel as well…YAY!!)

October 10, 2012 - 1:19 pm

Margarete - I have never heard of Earth Fare, but looking forward to exploring the store when it opens. I am always trying to get my husband to eat a more healthy diet and I am thankful he is open to tasting new recipes and foods. Excited to see what is new at Earth Fare!

October 15, 2012 - 4:25 pm

Lindsey - I super excited to have this store so close to home!! Can’t wait see what they have to offer!!

October 18, 2012 - 12:10 am

Sacha - ooooh ooooh oooooh how wonderful <3
congratulations xx

October 25, 2012 - 2:46 am

Kasie Miller - Oh no-I may not sleep for 3 days now that you’ve introduced me to your blog! Can’t wait to read and try your ideas!

And I’m SOOOO excited that Earth Fare is coming! FINALLY, I can stop spending 30 minutes in the car trying to find fresh, organic foods. I have so many ideas for how to spend $30 that I don’t know where to begin. Just know that I would spend it (and more!) so joyfully. And who knows, it’s so close that maybe I’ll walk there. Or maybe not. Baby steps:)

October 25, 2012 - 1:05 pm

Adam Mason - Excited to be able to take a quick trip to a store that I won’t have to worry about the quality of food I am purchasing for my family. I hope the prices are reasonable, but I rarely mind paying a buck or so to get better things for my family.

October 26, 2012 - 7:42 pm

David Fitch - Yea! excited for new health food store

November 5, 2012 - 12:16 pm

Danielle Dalton - I saw the new store in Noblesville as I was returning home from work today. I am so excited to have a natural supermarket so close to home now! A $30 gift card would be icing on the cake…gluten free of course. :)

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