Monday, November 28, 2016

Mini-Session: November

This month I have learned something about myself, or maybe re-learned something I had forgotten - I love photography. Especially family sessions. This session was especially fun. Their sweet baby was at the perfect age to make a session a little tricky but we got a few smiles! This beautiful family was super easy and made me remember how much I love doing these sessions.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Book Review: Celebrations - with Against All Grain

Danielle Walker's Against All Grain 
a year of gluten-free, dairy-free, and Paleo recipes for every occasion.

If your family has food allergies like my family does, or you have adopted a special diet for the sake of your health like Danielle Walker, well then you know how difficult it can be around this time of year - Thanksgiving & Christmas are the hardest time of year for any family who has chosen a special diet or is dealing with food allergies.

Around the holidays it often feels like there are only two options, either you have to cheat on your diet (and face the consequences) or you have to deprive yourself. If I'm honest I've done both. I've sat in the corner with a cup of coffee and my resolve to not cheat, and I've also said "whatever, it's just one day." and tried the foods I shouldn't eat, only to wish I hadn't.

There is a third option though, if you are willing to do the extra work, you can modify your recipes to accommodate your dietary restrictions. However if you have ever tried alternative baking you know it can be hit or miss. We have all learned the hard way - not every recipe on Pinterest actually works. Celebrations is the cookbook I've needed all along - so I can enjoy my holidays and good health.

If I could sum up this cookbook in one word it would be satisfying. Every recipe is beautifully photographed. There are a variety of recipes from easy, no-brainer recipes like sun butter buckeyes, and chicken wings to more complicated dishes like spiralized butternut squash noodles, from-scratch marshmallows, grain-free gingerbread houses and absolutely everything in between.

This cookbook is organized with menus for special occasions throughout the year, from New Year's & Valentines Day to Thanksgiving and Christmas and everything in between including a menu for a backyard barbecue and one for a baby or bridal shower. But just because the recipes are organized into menus for special occasions doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of recipes I'd make just for our family on an ordinary weeknight.

Best of all - all of the recipes are made with an eye to food allergies and dietary restrictions of pretty much every kind. There is even a chart at the back of the book that shows which recipes are compliant with which food allergies. So in this cookbook there is absolutely no wheat, oats, corn, soy, yeast or potato, not in a single recipe.  Also all of the recipes are dairy-free (but have substitutions if that's not an issue), most of the recipes are refined sugar-free, egg free, nut free, and nightshade free, comply with the SPD/GAPS diets and all of the recipes are compliant with the Paleo diet. So if you, your family, or someone you love falls into one of those categories then I highly recommend you get this cookbook, either for yourself - to cook for your nephew, granddaughter, best friend or whoever it is who happens to need some extra care when it comes to food or to give to them so that they can enjoy the holidays both happily and healthfully.

When I was trying to pick which recipes to try for this review it was almost impossible to narrow it down to just a few - there is beautiful asparagus soup (which I will for sure be trying out in the spring when fresh asparagus is in season) and chicken verde soup. There are a bunch of cakes (which can be tricky when you are baking grain-free), cinnamon rolls and sticky buns. She has kid-friendly dishes, and adult beverages. There are traditional family recipes re-worked and classic favorites. I ended up making the curried pumpkin soup which she said was a traditional family favorite that they enjoyed on Halloween and I ended up making our soup on Halloween too. Which was super cool. My whole family was pretty not-sure about the whole pumpkin as soup thing and if I'm honest not all of my kids were a fan but I loved it and I especially loved that there were leftovers for lunch the next day! Next recipe I plan to try is her gingerbread cake. It looks amazing.

So however ready (or not) you might be for this upcoming holiday season do yourself a favor and pick up this beautiful cookbook and get ready to try some amazing seasonal recipes! Let me know which ones you try first.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

A photo posted by faith raider (@faithrphotog) on

Sign up to be notified about upcoming classes!!

* indicates required