What a “gluten-free” holiday looks like in our house + paleo date-pecan cinnamon rolls

What a “gluten-free” holiday looks like in our house + paleo date-pecan cinnamon rolls

I get asked a lot how we handle the holidays being gluten-free. Let’s face it, most holiday memories include big fat crescent rolls, sugar cookies, casseroles, pies and many more gluten filled items.

My new motto: simplicity.

I simply do not try to recreate all those items…I find that all that does is stress me out, leaves me in carb and sugar shock and a lot of the items will never compare to their gluten- filled counter parts. So instead, my husband and I came up with a simple holiday menu that included items that we could prep the night before.

I thought I would share what our Christmas day menu looked like. It was fresh and not over-loaded with carbs, but yet included items like a paleo date-pecan cinnamon roll that my three boys absolutely loved. We ate a late breakfast and an early dinner, cutting our meals down to two instead of three. And I ran out Christmas Eve afternoon to our local Earth Fare to get any remaining fresh ingredient. We has ordered their holiday deal that featured a beautiful cut of fresh standing rib roast, so we had to run in already to pick that up.

Breakfast was fully prepped on Christmas Eve and included a breakfast casserole and paleo cinnamon rolls.


Potato-Egg Breakfast Casserole:

The breakfast casserole was made with shredded potatoes, instead of bread. I first boiled the potatoes, chilled them and ran them through my food processor with the shredder blade. I layered the potatoes on the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan and topped with 12 whisked eggs, 1 cup of almond milk, 2 cups of shredded cheese, bacon pieces and chopped green onions. All I had to do Christmas morning was pop it into the oven at 350 for about 45-50 minutes.


this is what my youngest son, thought of the cinnamon rolls!


Paleo Date-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls:

*Recipe below.

We also made these the night before and had them on a baking sheet in the fridge ready to pop into the oven.


Dinner Menu:

  • Standing Rib Roast
  • Grilled Zucchini and Asparagus
  • Roasted potato wedges with Italian herbs
  • Sparkling cider just for fun

We have made it a tradition to buy a nice cut of meat; either steaks or prime rib and either grill veggies or roast them (depending on Indiana weather). It makes dinner, simple, yet full of flavor.

What a “gluten-free” holiday looks like in our house + paleo date-pecan cinnamon rolls
Recipe type: Dessert/Pastry
Serves: 12
  • Dough:
  • 2 cups of almond flour
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of sea salt
  • Filling:
  • 6-8 large Dates, Soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  1. Soak your dates in hot water for about 30 minutes.
  2. Add hydrated dates a few teaspoons of date water and cinnamon to a mini food processor and puree. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the wet ingredients (egg, coconut oil & vanilla) in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the combined dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt) and stir well to combine.
  5. Roll out the dough on parchment paper and create a long rectangle.
  6. Spread the date and cinnamon mixture evenly across the rolled out dough and sprinkle with finely chopped pecan pieces.
  7. Using the parchment paper to help, carefully roll up the dough into a log.
  8. Using a sharp knife cut 1-inch thick rolls.
  9. Preheat oven to 325
  10. Place sliced cinnamon rolls on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
  11. Bake for about 15-18 minutes until begin to lightly brown*
  12. Remove from oven and drizzle with glaze and more finely chopped pecans. (For the gaze, I just whisked a little almond milk with coconut sugar).
  13. Best served warm!
  14. *Our rolls took a little longer to bake, because I refrigerated them over-night and put them into the oven still cold.
  15. **These will not rise and puff up like a traditional cinnamon roll.


Pumpkin Drop Scones (gluten free, dairy free, grain free)

Pumpkin Drop Scones (gluten free, dairy free, grain free)

One of my favorite things about fall baking/cooking is fresh pumpkin.  I roast quite a few pumpkins each year and use some right away for baking and then freeze the rest to use throughout the winter.  Yesterday, I roasted 3 sugar pumpkins and have yummy mason jars full of pumpkin puree just begging to be used.  Our local Earthfare had sugar pumpkins on sale + I got three from one of our local apple orchards/pumpkin patches (tuttles).  So tonight I set out to create a pumpkin scone (which quickly turned into drop scones because the batter was way to soft).  One of the things I was attempting, was to create a grain free scone that wasn’t full of cups and cups of almond flour.  Recipes I have used in the past have used 3-4 cups of almond flour and I have been trying to balance my families consumption of nuts.  I also wanted to include more pumpkin then most recipes called for.  While, I really liked the extra pumpkin, it definitely made the batter only scoopable.

The batter is combination of eggs, coconut flour, almond flour, tapioca starch, pumpkin and spices.  I used a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and fresh ground ginger for my pumpkin spice flavor.  Ginger is actually a spice that I tend to overlook. but I happened to have a big, fresh container sitting out on my counter.  I had just stocked up on some bulk spices & herbs at Earthfare, the night before when I made my first batch of herbal cough syrup for my husband (I will share my experiences with those recipes later). I am glad I added the ginger because it gave a nice kick to the spice combination.

For the glaze on the pumpkin drop scones … I don’t really have a recipe to share.  I honestly just started adding ingredients to a bowl and kept adjusting along the way.  I used approximately 2 Tbsp of almond butter, 2 Tbsp of almond milk, 1 Tbsp of brown sugar, a little cinnamon and a little vanilla all mixed and just spooned on top while the pumpkin scones were warm.

This will definitely be a recipe that I will add into our fall rotation!





Pumpkin Drop Scones (gluten free, dairy free, grain free)
Recipe type: dessert, baked goods
  • ¾ cup of fresh pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅓ c. coconut sugar
  • 2 T. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. almond flour
  • ½ c. coconut flour (sifted)
  • ½ c. tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2-3 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
  • ¼-1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • pinch of sea salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the pumpkin puree, eggs, coconut sugar, coconut oil and vanilla into a mixing bowl and cream together until well combined.
  3. In another bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients and slowly mix into the wet ingredients.
  4. Using a ⅓ of a cup scoop, scoop out batter and flatten a little on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, until firm to the touch.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool a little before topping with your glaze of choice.
  7. Enjoy!


pumpkin, pumpkin & more pumpkin

pumpkin, pumpkin & more pumpkin

last week, i didn’t have a single pumpkin to cook with…and then suddenly this week i was given five.  i love this time of year and pumpkin baked goods, but i am not quite sure what to do with all my pumpkin i acquired.  typically, i would can the extra, but since we move (again) in less than 2 weeks, i am busy prepping freezer meals for the move week and just don’t have time to can it.  i am thinking about freezing it…Anybody have any good experiences with frozen pumpkin puree?

last night i roasted 2 of the pumpkins and from that, i got over 2 cups of roasted pumpkin seeds (my kids love them…see what we do below) and a half-gallon of fresh pumpkin puree.  so today, i have been busy baking with some of my fresh puree.  i tried 2 recipes that my friend lindsey at enjoying healthy foods created recently. {here are the 2 recipes for her pumpkin chocolate chip & pumpkin banana cookies}  both of the cookie variations are gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free (depending if you use chocolate chips or not).  i did make a little  variation to both cookies.  for the first ones, i only used 1/4 cup maple syrup (instead of a 1/2)…not because i thought they would be too sweet, but because literally, i used the last maple syrup i had in the house.  i also, added 2 Tbsp. of ground flax seeds to the cookies.  i have gotten into the habit of adding flax to all my egg-free baking and am typically happy with the results.  oh, and i also didn’t have pumpkin pie spice, so i just used a little cinnamon and fresh nutmeg.

the results, we loved the first recipe…and even with only half of  the maple syrup in the first batch, i thought that they were plenty sweet.  i am glad i added to flax seed as i feel like it helped bind the cookies better.  the second version with the banana were good, i undercooked them a little, but i have to say i liked the purer pumpkin flavor of the first recipe better.  my little boys helped make both batches and while i was getting one batch out of the oven, my 3.5 year old started feeding my 2 year old huge spoonfuls of the batter.  definitely recipes worth trying.


i thought would share what we do when we roast pumpkin seeds.  it is super easy, nothing fancy.

roasted pumpkin seeds
  • seeds of fresh pumpkin (approx. 2 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • celtic sea salt
  • any other desired spices
  1. rinse and clean pumpkin seeds after pulling them out of the pumpkin.
  2. lay them out on a towel to dry
  3. when seeds are dry, toss with 1 Tbsp of coconut oil and sea salt to taste
  4. add any additional spices (we like plain sea salt best)
  5. on a baking sheet roast in the oven at 350 degrees stirring occasionally until they start to brown. approx. 30 minutes


chia almond breakfast shortcakes {with strawberries & blackberries}

chia almond breakfast shortcakes {with strawberries & blackberries}

chia almond breakfast shortcakes {with strawberries & blackberries}

this is how the conversation with my 3 year old went at breakfast the other day:

brady: “mommy, there are bugs in my scone.”

me: “oh, those are just chia seeds.”

(with a look on his face, that showed he clearly didn’t believe me)

brady: it’s okay mommy, i like bugs.”

breakfast is one of the hardest meals for me to find inspiration for.  ever since my youngest son had violent reactions to eggs, our home has been pretty much egg free.  i miss eggs.  i miss how easy they were for breakfast.  so until they return to our house (which i am hopeful that they will) i keep trying new ideas to keep breakfast interesting. these yummy creations were inspired by a recipe from one of my paleo cookbooks {Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking for a Gluten-Free Kitchen}.  i love paleo recipes, but many of them are pretty “egg” heavy, so i try alterations to make them work.  i first made these as a dessert and then altered them again by adding more fiber for a perfectly filling, slightly sweet breakfast treat.


5.0 from 1 reviews
chia almond breakfast shortcakes {with strawberries & blackberries}
Recipe type: breakfast, dessert
honey sweetened shortcakes. makes a perfect breakfast or a wonderful summer dessert.
  • 2 c. strawberries
  • 2 c. blackberries
  • 2 tsps. raw honey
  • 2 c. blanched almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of celtic sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 flax seed eggs* (or 2 large free range eggs)
  • 2 Tbsp. raw honey
  1. wash, hull & slice strawberries and mix in a bowl with the blackberries and 2 tsps. of honey
  2. set aside
  3. preheat oven to 350
  4. in a bowl, combine the blanched almond flour, chia seeds, cinnamon, sea salt, baking soda & baking powder
  5. in a saucepan make 2 flax seed eggs (heat 6 Tbsp. water & wisk in 2 Tsbp. ground flax seed until mixture becomes gel like)
  6. combine coconut oil, honey, vanilla & flax egg mixture and pour over dry ingredients
  7. mix gently until ingredients are well incorporated
  8. using a ⅓c. measuring cup, scoop out ½ circle dough balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet
  9. this recipe makes six ⅓ c. shortcakes.
  10. bake for 18-20 minutes, until light golden brown
  11. serve warm, topped with honey sweetened strawberry-blackberry mixture
*if you are making these using eggs, you can omit the baking powder. I have found that using a small amount in egg-free baked items helps them rise. **for baked goods I typically use blanched almond flour, it just cooks better. I have tried almond meal in this recipe and it works well also, the shortcake will just be a little denser.



this post was shared on: monday mania,  slightly indulgent tuesdaysfat tuesdayreal food wednesdaysallergy-free wednesdays, gluten-free wednesdayswhole food wednesdays & pennywise platter

the day {the one where i went gluten free}

the day {the one where i went gluten free}

marked clearly on my calendar with a big red circle, is the day.  january 6, 2009.  it was the day that i went gluten free.  only for a trial period, right? or so i thought.

i was 4 weeks postpartum with my first son and suddenly all my tummy troubles were back.  my sister had been diagnosed with early signs of celiac damage earlier that year and was already well into her gluten free journey.  i made the decision, i was done.  so what did i do? well naturally i bought a cookbook {1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes (1,000 Recipes)} it had 1,000 gluten free recipes…this couldn’t be that hard, right?

as soon as my cookbook arrived, i chose a few recipes to try and headed off to whole foods.  and there i stood.  i think i was there for over 2 hours, just reading labels. never fear, i had my trusty list in hand with all the words that could mean “gluten”.  a few hundred dollars later, i came home with all sorts of gluten free items.  i had sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, xantham gum…and on and on, armed and ready to bake.

i have to admit that the first thing we ever baked gluten free was actually a huge success.  though we now eat a very limited amount of gluten free starches and grains, i still thought this recipe should be shared. these little cookies, offered me the encouragement i needed as we dove into changing everything about the way we knew how to cook.

gluten free snickerdoodles
Recipe type: dessert
simple, yet yummy gluten free snickerdoodles. (options included for making them egg-free & dairy-free)
  • ¾ c. sorghum flour
  • ¾ c. potato starch
  • ½ c. tapioca starch
  • ½ c. earth balance (for dairy free) or butter
  • 1 tsp. xantham gum
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. unrefined sea salt salt
  • 1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 1 c. evaporated cane sugar
  • 1 flax seed egg* (for egg free) or 1 free-range egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • (sugar and cinnamon for coating cookies)
  • *flax seed egg (heat 3 Tbsp. water + 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed, until mixture gels)
  1. mix together dry ingredients (sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, xantham gum, salt & baking powder) & set aside
  2. with mixer on low blend butter until smooth & then beat in sugar, flax seed egg, brown sugar, vanilla & almond extract
  3. slowly fold in dry ingredients
  4. remove dough from bowl and knead dough with hands until smooth
  5. divide into two balls and pat into flat disks between plastic wrap or parchment paper
  6. chill in refrigerator for one hour
  7. cut each disk of dough into 12 equal pieces
  8. roll each piece into balls & coat with cinnamon and sugar
  9. place on parchment lines cookie sheet & press slightly to flatten
  10. bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes
if making with flax seed egg, cookies with become pretty dry after about 2 days. freezing the extras is our preferred way to store them


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