Very rarely do we come across a book of any kind that excites us enough to stop what we are doing and examine from cover to cover with a kid in a candy store enthusiasm, nevermind a cookbook. We might have been hyped up on sugar from the fudge that came with the book (page 312), but once it was open, it still captivated our attention. We navigated the mouth-watering pages from cover to cover taking mental notes of all the food we wanted to try before realizing we really should review this one for you guys.
Thank you, Danielle Walker, for writing Celebrations Cookbook to remind all of us that the secret to a happy life is good food, good people, and lots of celebrations. Click on any image to buy the book or click here.
Want to be healthy? We NEED to slow down!
One of the most common questions asked in the world of health and wellness is why we are not losing weight even though we are eating clean or working out a lot. As a society, we are brainwashed into thinking that in order to be healthy all you have to do is eat a certain amount of the right things and do a certain amount of the right movement. Those are marketing dollars speaking that are distracting us from the simple answers we have had all along.
In our opinion, one problem with food and health today is we don’t cook or eat like we used to. We are all so busy rushing from place to place, task to task, or day to day that we forget how to breathe. The therapeutic process of taking 20-30 minutes to prepare a meal that will nourish our bodies and souls is nonexistent these days. We choose takeout, fast food, or pantry food because we say we don't have time. What we are really saying is that Facebook and Instagram are now more important.
All of this busyness keeps our bodies operating in fight or flight mode (sympathetic nervous system) from the constant go go go. In order for our bodies to absorb nutrients, heal, and thrive we need to be in rest and digest mode (parasympathetic nervous system). The evolutionary skill built into our DNA to transition us into rest and digest mode is cooking.
We should take the time to enjoy the art of cooking and sharing a meal with those we love. No phones, televisions or distractions. Just quality family time in the kitchen and at the dinner table slowly enjoying our meals together which is scientifically healthy. Are you wondering where to start? There is a book for that, it's called the Celebrations Cookbook!
This book is loaded with over 125 recipes and 12 occasions to plan from throughout the year. We love them all but some of the recipes that stood out to us are:
- Smoky candied bacon sweet potatoes (Make that recipe below)
- Chai Poached Pears
- Be Mine Pizza
- Salted Caramel-Chocolate Panna Cotta
- Caramel-pecan sticky buns
- Asparagus Proscuitto Tart
- Lavender Rosemary Leg of Lamb
- Blood Orange Honey Glazed Ham
- Skillet Corn Bread
- 6 amazing cakes – Chocolate, Red Velvet, Nut-free Yellow Cake, Yellow Cake, Strawberry Cake, and Vanilla Cake
- Chicken Salad Biscuits
- Caramel Apples
- Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots
- Apple Sausage Stuffing
- Roasted Brined Turkey
- Rosemary Garlic Rib Roast
- Gingerbread Houses
- And even some cocktails to get the party started
Don’t forget about the occasions that are all planned out for you with a menu and recipes for a Backyard Barbeque, Birthday Parties, Christmas Dinner or even New Year’s Eve cocktails. You can also mix and match and create your own family occasions using any of the recipes.
If you start a new family tradition, leave us a comment below and tell us all about it.
Lots of cookbooks are published every year and occasionally a special one comes along with an idea that becomes the standard for all books to follow. Somehow Danielle Walker always manages to create these gifts and the Celebrations Cookbook delivers that once more. In the back of the book, you can see every recipe listed and whether it is:
- Nut Free
- Egg Free
- Nightshade Free
- SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) / Gaps (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) Friendly
- And there is an invisible column where every recipe is checked, and it says DELICIOUS!
Did we mention that she also provides nutritional information for every single recipe in the book? And not like inaccurate, we don't care about this nutrition information, like REAL nutrition information.
Gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free for sure but did you know that this recipe is also fish-free? That's great though because fish in Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns doesn't sound that appetizing! We bet some crazy Paleo people would add some fermented cod liver oil with cinnamon on this recipe, but we're not one of them.
We're pretty sure this book review would be great without that last paragraph, but we're too lazy to delete it so hopefully, you laughed a little bit. We doubt anyone even reads this far come to think of it so we're safe either way.
Smoky Candied Bacon Sweet Potatoes
Celebrations Cookbook is a hardcover work of art that belongs in the kitchen of every cooking human being. We have known Danielle personally since 2011 and feel incredibly grateful to have witnessed such an incredible journey. We have yet to meet someone so in touch with their gift and so committed and successful in using it to make this world a better place.
After you are done devouring these delicious bacon sweet potatoes, ensure you buy a copy of this book for yourself and everyone you love. Don't forget her other masterpieces either. You can get them all right here:
- Danielle Walker's Against All Grain
- Danielle Walker's Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple
- Danielle Walker's Against All Grain: Celebrations
Alright, it's time for us to get cooking. As a special treat, Danielle has been kind enough to share her recipe for Smokey Candied Bacon Sweet Potatoes. When we first came across this recipe, we knew it was going down in the Caveman Kitchen. We also knew that you, our Caveman Family would love this one too!
This recipe is a delicious step away from the traditional candied sweet potatoes with the marshmallow topping but only if you want it to be. Danielle also included a marshmallow recipe so you can recreate even more traditional dishes during your celebrations if you choose. Savory and sweet pair perfectly in this side dish that is sure to become a family favorite and hold a place on your holiday tables for years to come.
Smoky Candied Bacon Sweet Potatoes
- Cut the sweet potatoes into even 1-inch cubes. Toss them with the bacon, pecans, maple syrup, chili powder, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne in a bowl. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets.
- Roast for 20 minutes. Stir and continue roasting for 15 minutes, or until tender. Turn the oven to broil and brown the potatoes for an additional 5 minutes. Watch the nuts closely and pull the baking sheets out early if they begin to burn. Serve hot.
“Reprinted with permission from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion by Danielle Walker, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.”
Photography credit: Erin Kunkel © 2016
Interested in eating more healthy?
Listen to our friends over at Wellness Force Radio to learn about how to control food cravings with Robb Wolf: