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You just found out you need to start cooking gluten free but you’re not sure where to start. Against all Grain by Danielle Walker was the first cookbook that was recommended to me after our daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I was a bit skeptical at first, but let me tell you, after making several of her recipes, I became a big fan.
There are over 150 gluten free, grain free, and dairy free recipes to choose from. Danielle Walker isn’t a Celiac, but she does have Crohn’s disease and has healed her body by feeding it what it needs and listening to what it doesn’t. I was truly inspired by her tenacity to save her health and not just accept that her health couldn’t get better (I’m not opposed to doctors, but I also don’t believe medicine is always the only solution).
Under the contents section, she has several chapters that go over what you need for your pantry to what kinds of substitutions you can make. In addition, she breaks down all the types of food into easy to search sections like “to start off your morning” to “menu suggestions”. I found this super convenient when I was trying to wrap my head around our new eating lifestyle.
Choosing where to start
When my brother (my sister-in-law is also a Celiac) recommended Against all Grain, I was a bit nervous. He and his wife are foodies and I wasn’t sure our family would like the recipes or if they would be too time-consuming to make. I mean, most tweens and teens aren’t foodies and my son can be rather picky.
Since our daughter was newly diagnosed at the time and was feeling like she couldn’t have anything, I gave her some small post-it notes and told her to tab any of the recipes she wanted to try, then we would go over them and see if I could make them and if the whole family would eat it.
Well, she tabbed her little heart out, lol. I think she chose well over 10 for us to try and I believe that I tried all but one (it was too time-consuming for me and not something we’d normally eat).
Tried and True
The first recipe I made was her “not-a-grain bars” and that was even before I found the cookbook. One of my friends had made them and my kids liked them so I gave them a whirl. I will say that I totally did not make individual bars because who has time for that, lol. Mine also looked awful, but I wasn’t going for looks, lol. They were super tasty and definitely didn’t last long in the house! Even my picky son loved them.
I’m all about meals that pack a punch flavor-wise and are easy, lol. Her “slow cooker sesame-orange chicken” was super yummy and similar enough to what we were already eating at the time that it totally worked with our meal planning. She calls for coconut aminos as a replacement for soy sauce, but we were already using Bragg Liquid Aminos so we used that as well. I also added more of the red pepper flakes than she recommended because we are all about the spicey!! (Never be afraid to tweak a recipe based on your families preference.)
Who knew using sweet potatoes as a crust was even a thing? I didn’t, lol. I also didn’t even know that there was such a thing as white sweet potatoes, but there is! We love having breakfast for dinner so I tried Danielle’s “sausage quiche with sweet potato crust”. Make sure you check the sausage you buy to make sure it is gluten free because gluten can hide in sausage. I loved this and so did my daughter. My son thought it was OK, but he isn’t much of a sausage person and preferred it with bacon (I have varied the recipe over time). Since we can have dairy, I did add cheese, because well, cheese. I’m from Wisconsin, I love me some cheese!
Should you buy Against all Grain
You can get several of her recipes for free on her website; however, you can’t get them all so I would definitely recommend buying Against all Grain! This cookbook totally saved us when our daughter got diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I was overwhelmed with all of the information and reading Danielle’s story really helped to calm my nerves and realize I could heal my daughter through proper nutrition. The fact that I let my daughter choose what we were having for dinner for the first two weeks really helped her feel like she had some control over this disease and that it wasn’t all bad.
I know I only listed three of her recipes, but trust me, we have tried way more than just those 3. We have even tried two of her other cookbooks and I am looking to get her fourth. I just wanted to give you a sampling of what we tried and let you know how awesome this cookbook was!