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book review, books, foodie

Celebrations – Against all Grain

I am really excited to share an amazing cookbook with you guys!!!! Do you follow Danielle Walker from Against all Grain? If you are looking for healthy or paleo recipes, you need to add that site to your list. She shares all kinds of amazing recipes!!! Well, on September 27th, her new cookbook Celebrations comes out. The blurb on the cover says, “A year of gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo recipes for every occasion.” Ummm, yes please!!!

The second this book arrived on my doorstep I tore the package open and started flipping through the pages. First of all, the book looks great and has gorgeous pictures. What I love specifically about Celebrations is that the book is divided in to chapters of meal ideas for specific occasions. She covers everything from the bigger holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, to smaller occasions like Mother’s Day, Game Day, and BBQs. She also shares her top 10 tips for effortless entertaining, kitchen gear, and there is a glossary and substitutes for certain ingredients. There are a few basic recipes in the back for ketchup, ghee, etc, and even a conversion chart.

The recipes shared in each chapter give you great ideas on what to serve for those particular events, but these are recipes that can be used in your every day life as well! Each chapter covers everything from appetizers, the main course to dessert and drinks. Some of my favorite recipes I have seen and can’t wait to try (besides the tons of grain free cakes she shares) are….

  • Berry Tarte with vanilla bean custard
  • Ginger Ale (yes your own way to make it!!!!)
  • BLTA Burger with Special Sauce
  • Baked “Beans”
  • Eggs Benedict Strata
  • Salted Caramel-Chocolate Panna Cotta
  • Cabernet-braised Short Ribs with Parsnip-Turnip Puree
  • Carnitas on Tostones
  • Sweet and Sour Meatballs
  • Mulled Wine
  • Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Annnnnd basically every other recipe in this book. I am telling you, everything looks so good!!!

I think this book would be a great addition to your collection, or the perfect gift for your grain free friends! I already have a few meals picked out to try in the next few weeks and I know this book will get a ton of use when I go back to Whole 30/Paleo after baby is born.

**I received an advanced copy of Celebrations through Blogging for Books for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

Linking up with Joey for Stuff and Things.

Birmingham, foodie, weekend shenanigans

Tropicaleo Weekend Shenanigans

The first weekend of August was here and gone, I hope it treated you well! The heat doesn’t seem to want to let up here anytime soon, so I stayed in most of the weekend. I do have lots of food porn for you today so get ready!

Let’s start it out with lunch Friday at Tazikis. I love Tazikis!!! This is the first time I have ordered the Friday special and I can promise you it won’t be the last. We also had some hummus because when in Rome a Greek restaurant, that is what you do!



Saturday morning we got the house cleaned and I vacuumed and cleaned the inside of my car, then we were off to Tropicaleo for our tasting!!! I was so excited for this event because I love trying new restaurants and this is  a completely new concept here in Birmingham.

Currently, Topicaleo’s building is being finished so they are having a daily Popup at Crestwood Tavern in Avondale. Their permanent location will be in the Family Dollar strip mall located next to Cahaba Brewery for those of you who are local.

This place, where do I even begin??? It is a fast casual type atmosphere where you will order your food at the register and someone brings it out to you. However, the quality of the food is much more sit down restaurant. They source as much as they can organically and locally. Their local collaborations include Urban Food Project (Rev Birmingham), Continental Bakery, D’Agostino Sausage Empire, Wholesome Soda and Wabi Tea. In order to stay gluten free and vegan, there is no flour in their kitchen to contaminate. They very much cater to everyone’s diets!! Even Chris, who is on Ketos very low carb, they made a special plate just for him and the presentation was spectacular!

Their food is Puerto Rican and Caribbean, and you definitely get the island feel with the use of plantains in many dishes. When they move to their permanent location, they will have a liquor license and their drinks sound amazing!!! Can’t wait to try them out!

Let’s get to the food shall we?

They brought out some bread and all of their sauces that they make in house so we can taste. I could have simply feasted on this alone it was SO GOOD!


I ordered the Orange Lime Soda from local Wholesome Soda and it was delicious and refreshing! I cant wait to try the rest of the flavors.


For my main meal, I had the El Cubano. Hands down the BEST cuban sandwich I have ever had. The bread was utter perfection and the combination of the meats, cheese, mustard, pickles and their special mayoketchup? Just yes!


“A” ordered their special of the day which was a sweet plantain filled with eggplant. You guys!!! OMG! I hope this is on special next time I go because she let me try a bite and I about died at how amazing it truly was!


Here is the dish they prepared especially for Chris! It is their La Tripleta sandwich plated with top round steak, broiled pork, chicken, cheese, tomato, lettuce and De La Casea Sauce.


“J” ordered the Mogongo Relleno with Local Artisan Chorizo. The chorizo is served over mashed plantains which to my surprise had sort of a corn bread taste/texture. Very savory!


And to end things, we had a Nutella cheesecake!!! They have a guava one that sounded amazing as well, but we had sampled the guava sauce with our bread and wanted to try everything we could. Delicious!!!


The owners are a husband and wife team and they were so sweet. They spent a lot of time telling us about their restaurant and their plans for their permanent location. They described to us all the ingredients they used in their foods and the different tastes and feels they were trying to accomplish. Well done, I would say! They even brought out their chef to introduce to us. I was very impressed with them and I plan to visit many times to support this amazing business!


This is their menu for the daily pop up. They will have even more delicious options once they are operating in their own space!


After we ate and parted ways, I stopped by Bargain Hunt to check out their baby section. Of course. It will probably be my new addiction for the next few months to see what kind of deals I can score!


I got everything in that picture for $13. Pretty good, I say!! I cant wait to craft something with those chalkie markers!! And how cute is my little girl going to look in her hooded duckie towel straight after a bath???

Saturday night we went to Chris’s parents house for awhile and his dad made us ribs. And Sunday was a day of grocery shopping, meal prepping, and watching Weeds and One Tree Hill. I made my Curried Cranberry Couscous salad for lunches! Yum!!!


And of course, what is a weekend without some Mac?

Mac snuggles



I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!!! I am linking up with Biana.

foodie, recipe

Chicken Black Bean Enchiladas

My absolute favorite Mexican dish is enchiladas. I don’t think I have ever met one that I didn’t like. Sometimes I really enjoy cooking. When that mood strikes, I want to make everything from scratch. This recipe includes enchilada sauce too!

What you need:

cooking spray

olive oil

3 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)

1 can of low sodium black beans

1/2 a bag of mozzarella cheese

1/2 a bag of cheddar cheese

1 onion (diced)

3-4 poblano peppers

5 cloves of garlic

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp oregano

2 tsp chili powder

1 cup chicken stock

16 ounces of tomato sauce

around 15 soft tortillas

What you do:

I would like to note that to cook my chicken breasts, I leave them in a crockpot all day (around 8-10 hours while at work) covered in chicken broth. They turn out perfect everytime.

–Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray your bake sheet with cooking spray

–Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions, poblano peppers and garlic and saute for 5 minutes until onions are tender.


–Stir in your seasonings – chili powder, cumin and oregano.

–Add chicken stock and tomato sauce and bring to a light boil then simmer for about 5 minutes.


–While that is simmering, combine chicken and black beans in a bowl.

chicken and black beans

–Combine half the sauce mixture and half the cheeses with the chicken and black beans.

–Warm your tortillas in the microwave with a dampened paper towel around 45 seconds.

–Start filling and your tortillas with the mixture and roll them seam down in the pan/dish.

–Pour remaining sauce over top and sprinkle remaining cheeses.

–Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

chicken black bean enchiladas


Chicken Black Bean Enchiladas

fitness, foodie, health, recipe

Healthy Recipes

I promised many of you that I would share the recipes that I enjoyed on Whole 30. I wanted to call these healthy recipes and not Whole 30 recipes because they can be enjoyed by everyone! I am only sharing the ones that I have added to my regular rotation! There were a few recipes that I tried and didn’t care for so those wont be included.

Just click on the name of the recipe and it will take you to the link to pin that specific one!

Healthy Paleo Nachos

nacho recipe:

Sloppy Joe’s 

Sloppy Joes - Paleo and Whole30 approved and can be made in just 30 minutes! So much flavor!:

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Stew (GF, DF, Paleo, Whole30):

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili

Slow Cooker Paleo Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili:

Spinach and Meat Zucchini Ravioli

No Flour - Spinach Zucchini Ravioli | Las Vegas Food Photographer: Cindy Larkin - Gluten Free: Be sure that the sauce and seasonings are GF.:

Italian Meatloaf

Italian Meatloaf {Paleo & Whole30 Compliant} |

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken. The BEST Whole30 BBQ sauce! #slowcooker #whole30 #paleo:

Tandoori Chicken

Pulled Tandoori Chicken:

Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers Recipe |

Italian Turkey Burger Soup – Delicious!!! I really enjoyed this one for lunch at work.

Italian Turkey Burger Soup | Art and the Kitchen:

Turkey Burgers – This is just ground turkey, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and whatever else I felt like sprinkling in! I cooked it on the stove in a skillet with some olive oil for a few minutes on each side. I served this up with roasted potatoes which is olive oil, salt and Italian seasoning in the oven at 425 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. And don’t forget the ketchup!! (See next recipe)

Turkey Burgers

Whole 30 Ketchup– This stuff is seriously legit you guys!!! Chris actually requested this several times with our turkey burgers even though he wasn’t Whole 30.

Easy Homemade Ketchup (Paleo, Whole30, No Sweetener Added):

Whole 30 is:

The Whole 30, boiled down. I think I can do most of this, but the beans and cheese??? Going to be a challenge!:

What’s your favorite healthy recipe?

book review, books, foodie, recipe

Happy Cooking

I just love Giada De Laurentiis so when I saw her cookbook, I knew I would have to have it. What I really think stands out about this cookbook compared to others out there is that it is more than recipes. You actually get to know Giada a little bit. There are pictures of her throughout the book and she is giving tips for different social situations and actual glimpses into her life. There are even pictures with her daughter.

Happy Cooking

The recipes are focused around clean, healthy eating which is perfect for me! Some are simple and anyone can make them, but there are a few more complex ones as well to practice your skills with. I like the balance that is offered.

One of my favorite tips is buying a really good whole grain loaf of bread and keeping it in the freezer and just pulling out a slice or two as needed versus a new loaf that you throw out every week because you only needed a few pieces.

Some of the recipes that I have my eye on are:

  • “Nutella” Milk
  • Mediterranean Chile Chicken Wings
  • Buffalo Grilled Shrimp with Goat Cheese Dipping Sauce
  • Brown Butter Tortellini
  • Cupcake Shake
  • Citrus Chile Acorn Squash

Tis the season for soups, so I wanted to share the Italian White Bean, Pancetta, and Tortellini Soup recipe from the book!

3 tbsp olive oil

4 ounces pancetta, chopped

3 large shallots, chopped

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

4 cups of Swiss chard (1 bunch trimmed)

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 (9 ounce) package fresh cheese tortellini

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

In a large heave soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the pancetta, shallots, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes.

Add the beans, Swiss chard, and broth. Bring the soup to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the tortellini and cook for 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves 4-6 – Packed with protein and filling enough to make a meal.

There is a great mix of breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts, cleansing drinks, fun shakes/smoothies and plenty of party hosting ideas too. Plus if you like photography, there are some great pictures of the food.

If you are in the market for a new cookbook, I would certainly give this one a look!

View more information about the book here.

Learn more about the author here.

**I received this book from Blogging for Books but all opinions are honest and of my own. **