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CELEBRATIONS by DANIELLE WALKER REVIEWED


Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain
CELEBRATIONS
Published by 10 Speed Press
ISBN#978-1-60774-942-4
345 Pages HB

Book Description: From the two-time New York Times best-selling author of Against All Grain and Meals Made Simple, comes 125 recipes for grain-free, dairy-free, gluten-free comfort food dishes for holidays and special occasions.

When people adopt a new diet for health or personal reasons, they worry most about the parties, holidays, and events with strong food traditions, fearing their fond memories will be lost along with the newly eliminated food groups. After suffering for years with a debilitating autoimmune disease and missing many of these special occasions herself, Danielle Walker has revived the joy that cooking for holidays can bring in Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations, a collection of recipes and menus for twelve special occasions throughout the year.

Featuring a variety of birthday cakes, finger foods to serve at a baby or bridal shower, and re-creations of backyard barbecue standards like peach cobbler and corn bread, Danielle includes all of the classics. There’s a full Thanksgiving spread--complete with turkey and stuffing, creamy green bean casserole, and pies--and menus for Christmas dinner; a New Year's Eve cocktail party and Easter brunch are covered, along with suggestions for beverages and cocktails and the all-important desserts. Recipes can be mixed and matched among the various occasions, and many of the dishes are simple enough for everyday cooking. Stunning full-color photographs of every dish make browsing the pages as delightful as cooking the recipes, and beautiful party images provide approachable and creative entertaining ideas.

Making recipes using unfamiliar ingredients can cause anxiety, and while trying a new menu on a regular weeknight leaves some room for error, the meal simply cannot fail when you have a table full of guests celebrating a special occasion. Danielle has transformed her most cherished family traditions into trustworthy recipes you can feel confident serving, whether you’re hosting a special guest with food allergies, or cooking for a crowd of regular grain-eaters.

REVIEW: I was intrigued by the subtitle of this book “A year of gluten-free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo recipes for every occasion.”

My family and I are on a dietary journey to wellness very similar to the journey this author went on. I found this book to be very helpful, the recipes easy to follow and ingredients easy to find.

I liked how the author engages family members to be open to try new foods, embrace new traditions and look at holidays differently. “…Memories are woven into the food we enjoy during those special times of the year…when you are forced to alter your diet drastically for the sake of your health, you may understandably fear that your fond memories and traditions will be lost along with the newly eliminated food groups…there is a deep sense of loss when you can no longer experience the joy that comes from lovingly preparing and serving food to the people you care about…I have made it my mission, with my blog and with my books, to break the misconception that you have to live a life of deprivation and alienation when you adopt a new dietary life.”

I think she has done a great job of accomplishing her mission in this book. The celebrations start out with the menu for a New Year’s Eve Cocktail Party. Then she lists menus for Game Day, Valentine’s Day (I liked that she includes fun ways for younger children to be involved in the holiday along with a menu for a special Dinner for two), Easter Brunch, Mother’s and Father’s Day, Birthday Parties, Fourth of July, Summer Showers, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The recipes can be used for everyday not just on special occasions. The recipes include ingredients easily found in your grocery store, and instructions are easy to follow. I loved the fact that every recipe in the book has a beautiful color picture to go with it.

I thought the list of Top 10 Tips for Effortless Entertaining fun and helpful. Near the beginning of the book the author has a glossary and substitution list for the ingredients she uses in the book. She lists the ingredient and explains what it is and where it comes from. She also tells readers’ two to three places to obtain the ingredient and the best way to store it.
  
The menu list for Game Day Buffet (along with many other items listed on other celebration days. I could see me and my family using these items often.
1.    Sweet and Sour Meatballs
2.    2. Buffalo Wings with Herb Ranch Dressing
3.    Cauliflower Buffalo Bites
4.    Carnitas Tostones
5.    Green Chile Chicken Soup
6.    Whoopie Pies

I thought the recipe and instructions for Christmas Ginger Bread house looked fun and yummy to eat. I also wanted to try some of the other recipes for in that section, Thumbprint cookies, Sun Butter Buckeyes, Gingersnap Cookies, Cut out Cookies, Chocolate Fudge, Eggnog, Peppermint Hot Cocoa, Marshmallows, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Gingerbread Late and so many other recipes through the year.

This is a hard back cook book that is beautiful to look at, fun to read and filled with yummy looking recipes that I know will soon become family favorites.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Blogging for Books site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com

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