At my gym's holiday party this past winter, one of the other members came up to me, pointed to a plate of cookies and asked “are these normal cookies?” I replied “yes, eat one!” She was trying to find out of the cookies were made from wheat flour or not, and, in her mind, if they weren't made from grains, they wouldn't taste good – at all. She was laughing at herself when she realized who she was asking about the cookies – and that of course I'd say the grain-free ones were “normal.”
Fast forward four months and we still laugh about it – how good that cookie was to her, and how she was expecting it not to be since it wasn't made from wheat.
I bet this is a familiar scene for some of you. You end up “tricking” friends of family by feeding them your grain-free goodies, and let them know after-the-fact that it was made from almond coconut flour.
That's because (almost) everyone wants treats. I even overheard one very popular Paleo recipe blogger discuss recently on her Facebook page how, of all the amazing recipes she shares on her site, her grain-free chocolate cake is the number one visited page every single day.
There's almost no way around the tendency most of us have to want treats now and then. I say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Better yet… help them!
In Gather, Hayley and Bill have presented the ultimate guide to creating and re-creating many of your favorites for holidays and special events – all free of grains, refined sugar, and other highly processed ingredients.
Eating a Paleo or Primal diet doesn't need to create barriers to an enjoyable event for you and your loved ones – whether they eat “this way,” or not.
For most of us already eating Paleo or Primal is actually something we consider a lifestyle – not a diet.
We find ways to make it work for us when we're on the road, in the air, at friends' homes, and at holiday gatherings. Sometimes, we sneak our grain-free versions of your old favorites onto the buffet or dinner table – and sometimes, if you're lucky, we tell you “this is Paleo.”
We want to share how delicious, nourishing, and pleasurable our food is with you.
Gather helps us do just that, without fumbling or missing a beat.
A few of the recipes I've spotted in Gather that I think you're going to fall for instantly include:
- “Wonton Soup and General Tso's Chicken
– from the Takeout Fake-Out Chinese food menu
- Braised Pork Belly
– from the Casual Sunday Brunch menu
- Orange Scones & Cranberry Scones
-from the Springtime Tea Party menu
- Honey Glazed Ham and Meyer Lemon Tart
– from the Easter Lunch menu
- Teriyaki Country Ribs and No'tato Salad
– from the Backyard Picnic Menu
- Pizza Margherita and Chocolate Chip Biscotti
– from the A Night In Tuscany Italian menu
- Watermelon Salad with Mint and Apple Pie with Lattice Crust
– from the Midsummer Garden Party menu
- Stuffed Red Snapper and Fried Plantains with Mango Salsa
– from the Tropical Getaway menu
- Costillitas – Cuban Baby Back Ribs – and Yuca con Mojo – Yuca with Garlic Sauce
– from the A Taste of Cuba menu
- Crab Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms and Pan-Seared Lamb Chops with Rhubarb Chutney
– from the Urban Escape menu
- Apple Glazed Pork Loin and Pumpkin Torte
– from the Harvest Dinner menu
- Spaghetti & “Eyeballs” and “Bleeding” Cupcakes
– from the Spooky Supper Halloween menu
- Stuffed Turkey Rubbed with Duck Fat & Herbs and Pecan Pie
– from the Thanksgiving Feast menu
- Sweet and Tangy Venison Meatballs and Creme Brulée
– from the Hunter-Gatherer Feast menu
- Pork Sliders & Veggie Sliders and Checkerboard Cake
– from the Birthday Celebration menu
- Standing Rib Roast with Horseradish Sauce, Yorkshire Puddings, and Sour Cream Coffee Cake – from the Winter Holiday menu
- Crostini with Goat Cheese and Fig Compote and Mini Chocolate Martinis
– from the New Year's Cocktail menu
And that's just a small sampling of the amazing recipes you'll find in this book!
This past weekend, we cooked from the Chinese food Takeout Fake-out menu for family – most of whom are not Paleo, by the way.
Click on the graphic to the right to view the menu larger.
A few of us got together in the kitchen to chop and prep all the ingredients, then we got to work on the recipes. We tackled the General Tso's Chicken first, as it's the most time consuming, but well worth the wait! The Stir-Fry Veggies and Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice each cooked in under 10 minutes, so we prepared them while the chicken was finishing up. The meal came together in perfect timing, and everyone feasted.
What I loved about this menu is that there are a handful of more complicated recipes paired with a few very simple recipes – which is exactly how you want to approach a dinner party or gathering.
You want to wow your guests, but you don't want every dish to take an hour or more to prepare. Pairing an intricate dish with something simple, fresh, and delicious makes for an easy entertaining experience as well as very satisfied bellies!
The General Tso's Chicken was shockingly (to our family) similar to what we've had dining out – without that icky sort of “fake food”/heavy feeling- and there were only leftovers because we made extra! Let's be serious, who doesn't love Chinese food leftovers?!
The Stir-Fried Vegetables were flavorful, clean, crisp, and light – not bogged down with heavy oils like you'd have dining out.
To our surprise, the Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice was the “sleeper hit” of the table! Everyone raved about just how much the cauliflower took on the role of rice on their plates and only a few bites were left after we ate.
Click any of the images of our meal or prep to view larger.
And that's not the only menu we've already sampled! In the video below, we used recipes from the Harvest Dinner menu to actually feed Hayley and Bill a few weeks ago (how lucky and I to have these two as friends?!).
Insider information: I actually helped to prepare the Takeout Fake-out menu with The Food Lovers on-location several months ago – what a treat! We had a blast and I even snuck my hands into a few of the photos. You may also spot me in the New Year's Cocktail Party menu spread – I got to eat all of that as well, and it was delicious!
Gather: The Art of Paleo Entertaining is available now for pre-order and shipping in just a few days from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com and in book stores locally on sale as of April 30th!
TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY FOR A SIGNED COPY OF HAYLEY & BILL'S NEW BOOK, “GATHER: THE ART OF PALEO ENTERTAINING”:
Comment below on this blog post and tell us how you're looking forward to using the recipes in this book. Your comment must have an email address associated with it when you enter, otherwise we won't be able to notify you for the prize.
NOTE: Only one comment per person will count as an entry. Posting more than one comment will disqualify you from the contest, so please just post once! Thanks!!
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Note: This contest will be open for entries through 5pm Eastern time on Friday April 26th and one winner will be selected using random.org and emailed and announced here on the blog. If you do not reply to the winning announcement email to claim your prize within 48 hours of the announcement, a new winner will be selected in your place.