AK canning jar

My menu plan is now sponsored by the great people over at Better Batter Flour.  The menus will also be published at Start Gluten Free, an online resource made to welcome people into the gluten free living community and help them not feel overwhelmed by new dietary restrictions.  I am honored to be a small part of this vibrant community!  Stop by and say “Hi!”

Whew!  This is the last week of school before winter break.  I am SO looking forward to having my kiddos home, baking cookies together, building snowmen, and drinking cider by the fire…  This week before is filled with orchestra concerts (two of them), a Girl Scout meeting, the whole school holiday sing-a-long and three XC ski meets.  I am relying on the freezer meals I set aside the past couple of weeks to help me get a warm, home cooked meal on the table even if we must rush off right afterwards.  In light of this past week’s events, instead of feeling pushed by the rush of activities, I feel grateful to be able to listen to my children’s excitement over new songs learned or things discussed at school, over the little things that seem… just ordinary.  I am grateful for the ordinary and the chance to hug each of my children every night.  If your days are as busy as mine is shaping up to be, I hope this next week is merry and bright and full of the peace of the season.

The Gluten Free Menu Swap is being hosted right here this week. 🙂  Holiday Favorites is the theme.  Our holiday favorites seem to be centered on cookies (of course), but we do have some different Christmas Eve meal traditions.  On Christmas Eve we open the gifts from the family.  This of course can’t happen until after the dinner dishes are done (a bit torturous for the kiddos, but I am carrying the tradition on from my grandmother- Bwahahahaha!)

For Christmas Eve dinner we always have what my family calls potato pudding.  It is made with eggs, mashed potatoes, flour (now we use gluten free), and milk (now we use dairy free).  After blending it together (sorry, Grandma, I now add some herbs and seasonings) it is put into an oiled pan and topped with lightly fried side pork (or the portabella mushrooms that I started using on the second pan several years ago) and baked until golden.  I know it sounds odd, but it is really quite tasty with roast beef or Swedish sausage, lingonberry sauce, rice pudding and a big salad (another addition by me) and a variety of pickles.  Yep, you guessed it, my mom is of Swedish heritage, and I gotta tell you, Christmas Eve is a tasty white carb fest.  Mmmm-mmmm!  Potato pudding came about after my Great-great-grandparents came to America from Sweden.  They settled in a tiny farming town in the far Northern part of Minnesota.  During the harsh winters and at Christmas time what they had available to serve their growing family was eggs, flour, potatoes, milk and side pork and whatever they had preserved.  Left over potato pudding is delicious the next morning sliced and fried in oil until crisp and golden on both sides.  Top with a bit more lingonberries and a side of fruit and some fresh eggs and Christmas breakfast is served!  What are your family’s favorite dishes for the holidays?

Freezer cooking plan for the week:  I won’t be making any freezer meals this week or next week.  I’ll be using the meals I have been making a bit at a time over the past few weeks for our dinners.  Woo-hoo!  This season is so busy with orchestra and band concerts, get togethers and parties.  Having our dinners ready makes the evenings run more smoothly so I can concentrate on enjoying the season instead of what to make for dinner.

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The week’s breakfast options:  Eggwiches with chopped veggies added on gluten free English MuffinsCranberry Vanilla Muffins and various fruits.

The week’s lunch options:  Nut or sunbutter sandwiches on Amish Friendship BreadSamosas, hummus, various fruits and veggie sticks.

Monday:  orchestra (elementary)/mom works/mom volunteers in school library/XC ski practice/orchestra concerts (high school and elementary)

Orange Marmalade Chicken, quinoa pilaf and Seasoned Green Beans

Tuesday:  jazz band/XC ski practice

Pineapple Garlic Pork Chops, baked sweet potatoes, and Stir-Fried Bok Choy

Wednesday:  Orchestra (high school)/mom works/XC ski practice

White Bean Chicken Chili with GF Garlic Bread and a salad with Basic Vinaigrette


Thursday:  jazz band/mom works/XC ski practice/girl scout meeting

Crock Roast and Veggies, romaine salad with Thousand Island Dressing


Friday:  all school sing-a-long/XC ski practice

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole and a mixed green salad with Poppy Seed Dressing.  This is the last day of school before winter break, so I am making dinner extra special with these delicious and cute looking Brownie Santa Hats (made dairy free)!

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What is on everyone else’s plate this week? (Any menu links I receive after 8:30 a.m. central time will be linked up after I get home this evening.  Thanks for understanding!  I can’t wait to see everyone’s menus!)

 Heather of Celiac Family is sharing an amazing round up of holiday deliciousness, including Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nut Candy and Chocolate creme brûlée(gluten and DAIRY free!!).  Swoon!  This week she is serving Taquitos made with leftover Mexican Chicken served with Avocado Salsa (which I can testify is delicious), Grilled Steaks with Sweet Potato CasseroleAsparagusWaffles with Balsamic Berry Fruit Salad, Fish Sticks, Pizza with Spinach Salad, and Curry Chicken with Peaches served over Jasmine Rice.  Yum!

 Emily of Our Frugal Happy Life is not sure what she is cooking up a couple of nights this week as they might be out, but still put together a plan to help with their breakfasts, lunches and the other nights.  Smart!  She is cooking up Buttermilk Chicken Strips, Pizza Pie, and an Advent dinner.  🙂

 Heather of The Peaceful Mom also has her lunch and breakfasts planned out (thanks, ladies!).  This week she is serving up BBQ Pepper Jack Bacon Burger with Easy Sweet Potato Fries, Beef Roast, BBQ Chicken and Black Bean Tostadas, Easy Potato Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (Udi’s gluten free bread), Roast Chicken, Chicken Quesadillas (corn tortillas, leftover roast chicken), and having dinner out with the family.  Fun!


Need more menu planning inspiration?  Head over  for Menu Plan Monday at Organized Junkie.  For an awesome month long gluten free money saving menu, see Melissa’s December GF menu plan at Stockpiling Moms.