Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion by Danielle Walker

From the two-time New York Times best-selling author ofthe Against All Grain series, comes 125 recipes for grain-free, dairy-free, gluten-free comfort food recipes for holidays and special occasions.

When people adopt a new diet for health or personal reasons, it’s the parties, holidays, and events with strong food traditions they worry about most. In Celebrations, best-selling author Danielle Walker provides recipes and menus for twelve special occasions, from a child’s birthday party and baby shower, to a backyard barbeque, romantic Valentine’s Day dinner for two, and even a Halloween party. Of course, Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner, New Year’s Eve party, and Easter/Passover brunch are also covered–along with suggestions for beverages and cocktails and the all-important desserts. Nearly every recipe is photographed, and food and party images shot on location provide beautiful and creative entertaining ideas. Delicious and easy-to-prepare dishes encourage the whole family to get into the kitchen and create lasting memories–no matter what the occasion. – Goodreads

This is hands-down my favorite gluten-free book that I own. I enjoyed Walker’s original Against the Grain, but this one is awesome. I don’t usually go out of my way to make special GF dishes — it’s pretty easy to avoid it and still eat well. However, holidays and special events are HARD. This is nice to have on hand to make a substitution for myself or to bring something GF friendly. It includes major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas and Easter, but also throws in Mother’s Day, birthdays, New Year’s Eve, etc.

First, the photography is awesome. I want to eat everything in there. Most of the ingredients are pretty standard GF materials, so as long as your GF pantry is already stocked, that shouldn’t be an issue.

A bonus? Most of the recipes are paleo-compliant, and also tend to eliminate other ingredients that folks may be allergic to, such as nightshades, dairy, eggs, etc. The recipes themselves are easy to follow.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this to those with allergies and intolerances. I’m looking forward to the upcoming holiday season to test these recipes out!

I received a copy of this from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

L

 

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The Basque Book by Alexandra Raij, Eder Montero, Rebecca Flint Marx

25893750A collection of 100 Basque recipes from Alex Raij and Eder Montero, the acclaimed chef-owners of New York City restaurants Txikito, La Vara, and El Quinto Pino.

Few cuisines have captured more diners’ imaginations, or inspired more chefs and restaurants around the world than that of Spain. And within the Spanish culinary pantheon, Basque cooking from the north is considered one of the country’s most fascinating and essential traditions. In Basque, star chefs Alex Raij and Eder Montero take readers on a tour of the Basque countryside, in the process revealing the iconic ingredients, cooking techniques, and traditional dishes that define Basque cooking. They also share dishes from their award-winning New York restaurants, all inspired by the Basque kitchen but featuring elegant preparations and delightfully unexpected flavor combinations. The result is a complete primer on Basque cooking, with a wide array of recipes, ranging from a simple pil pil or refrito to showstopping pintxos and mains. – Goodreads

The first thing I noticed about this book was how incredibly thick and dense it was. There’s something I love about dense book — it’s so full of information, and The Basque Book was no let down. Filled from cover-to-cover with beautiful photography and commentary, it was almost overwhelming.

I live in Boise, which has a robust Basque community (hence requesting this book for review). What I did not realize, however, is how unique their food and culture is. So many of the dishes in this book look amazing, however, I live in Boise — they don’t exactly sell squid ink at Walmart. There are also a lot of seafood recipes, which are difficult for me based on my location. Not the book’s fault, but I wish I would have been able to use the book fully — I was definitely limited.

This was a beautiful book, but is definitely suited for those who are more advanced at cooking and have access to specialty ingredients. I rated it a 4/5. I received a copy of The Basque Book in exchange for my honest review through Blogging for Books.

L

Big News!

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Over the past few months, I’ve taken a break from doing all of the things to focus more on myself and my family. There have been ups and downs and lots of crazy thrown in, and when slowly adding things back in… I realized that my heart is no longer in blogging. I’ve been half-assing it for awhile now and to be honest, knowing that I needed to write a post for every book I read was making me not want to read at all. And that’s the opposite of what we wanted to do with this blog.

That being said, I’m stepping away. Lauren will take over LBR and keep it up and running – she loves it and will take care of it like only she could. I have full faith in her ability – and she will probably do way better on her own than with me stuck to her side.

Keep reading. And if you want to see what I’m reading and not blogging about, you can come find me on Goodreads.

xoxo.

K

You read how much? My 2016 year in review

I’m simultaneously pissed and thrilled that I read 113 books this year. Pissed because I didn’t nail my original goal of 150, thrilled because 113 is an impressive stack of books.

According to Goodreads, I read 40,509 pages. I read about 810 words a minute, according to super official free online reading speed tests. There are generally about 275 words per page, so that’s roughly 13,740 minutes of reading time, or 229 hours. AKA 9.5 straight days of reading. Damn.

I love my book blogger life. ❤

L

2015 in review

We can’t believe we’ve been blogging for two years. We never thought we’d stick with it for six months, much less four times that. Though we took a hiatus earlier this summer to focus on our lives, this is still a huge part of who we are and what we love to do. Thank you for supporting us! If you have a WordPress blog, we encourage you to check out your own year in review.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 53 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Top Ten Tuesday: 12/15

Tuesday

Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015

Narrowing down 110 books to just 10?! This was probably the most difficult TTT of the year. These aren’t necessarily in order—but these are the ten that were the most memorable to me.

  1. Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
  2. Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran
  3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  4. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
  5. Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner 
  6. Angelfall by Susan Ee
  7. Soul Eaters by Eliza Crewe
  8. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
  9. Radiance by Grace Draven
  10. The Winter King by CL Wilson

L

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

TGUA canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it. – Goodreads

If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know that I love Gillian Flynn. LOVE her. She can do no wrong in my eyes! Until now.

First off, when this book showed up on my doorstep & I opened it, I felt SO jipped! I guess it’s my fault for not reading the fine print & actually seeing how many pages the book actually is… but seriously. This book is TINY and is only 62ish pages long. If I put my entire hand over the front of the book, it would be almost completely covered, that’s how small it is. If it were normal-sized, I’m betting it would be maybe 20 pages long. If that! Maybe this photo will help…

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Anyway! The size and length of the book itself was not even the most disappointing thing that happened. The story… it just wasn’t good. It wasn’t what I’ve come to expect from Flynn. I finished it in less than an hour and it was very, very underwhelming. I get that it’s a short story, so there’s only so much character building that can be done but it just felt like she wrote it in an hour and sent it off and was done with it. I wasn’t pulled in by the story like I usually am, I honestly just wanted to get to the end and see what twists she came up with… but there weren’t any. It was more confusing than anything. I finished reading and just sat there, not in awe but in disappointment and utter confusion about what I just wasted an hour reading.

I ended up rating The Grownup 2/5 stars on Goodreads and it honestly makes me weary of anything else she has coming out – according to Goodreads though, there isn’t anything… and maybe that’s for the best.

K