I’ve been away from the blogosphere for a while, and I’m glad to finally be back! It’s been a crazy few weeks – first I graduated, and then I went straight to work on Odyssey of the Mind and World Finals. After an awesome two weeks filled with building and planning our entire skit, winning 2nd place at Worlds and making new friends from Shanghai and Poland, I’m finally able to relax for a bit before heading back to Raleigh to start my brand new big girl job!
A little while ago, I posted a review of Kid Approved, Tiffany Hinton’s (GF Mom Certified) new book. As a part of her blogger program, I also had the opportunity to review another one of her books – Celebrates Heritage. This book is great because it’s filled with good old Southern comfort food recipes – something that’s hard to find in the food allergy world. I had such a hard time picking out what to make for the review, everything just looked so good!
One of my favorite things about this book is how personal it is. Tiffany shares the significance behind all of the sections and recipes in the book and how they’re tied to her and her husband’s family heritage. The importance of family really shines through in this book, which makes it such a unique cookbook. Not only is it a great resource for families with food allergies, but it’s a great resource from such a family that strives to make the transition to allergy-friendly cooking as easy and delicious as possible. All of the recipes are easy to follow and have ingredients that can easily be found in your pantry or at a local store.
That being said, what better time to review this book than by making a family dinner while I’m back home in Charlotte for the week? If you know me, I can be notorious for making things way more complicated than they need to be. That includes cooking meals (especially since some allergy-friendly recipes can sometimes be complicated). However, this was one of the fastest and easiest meals to prepare, something I know my mom was happy about! I decided to make blackened fish with candied squash (and just some steamed broccoli for something green), and rice pudding for dessert.
I decided to make blackened fish with candied squash (and just some steamed broccoli for something green), and rice pudding for dessert. The fish recipe called for catfish, but I couldn’t find any at the store, so we went with Mahi Mahi instead, which was more fun because we just quoted that joke from the House Bunny the whole night! The spice rub was actually pretty spicy – something I was happy with (although my tolerance for spicy is much, much higher than the rest of my family’s….whoops). It paired with the fish very well, and I think that it could be used on any kind of grilled fish.
The butternut squash was also really good. To make things a little bit easier, I bought the squash pre-cubed. I also substituted maple syrup for the brown sugar to amp up the flavor, and coconut oil for the butter to make it dairy free. I don’t usually make butternut squash or sweet potatoes sweet when I cook them, so this was a new thing for me. I added extra salt to balance out the sweetness and the squash turned out great!
There were so many good dessert recipes in the book – cookies, pies, donuts, etc – and if I had the time, I totally would have made all of them. Alas, this was not the case. When I found the rice pudding recipe, I decided to go with that because it was simple, sounded like it had a good flavor, and went along with the Southern comfort theme of the rest of the meal. Again, I subbed maple syrup for the brown sugar to add to the flavor. After adding it, I was worried it would alter the consistency and make it too thin, but after sitting for a while, the pudding thickened quite nicely. I absolutely love cinnamon, so I thought the pudding was super good. It kind of reminded me of oatmeal, and would probably make a good breakfast if mixed in with chia seeds or nuts for an extra nutritional boost.
Overall, my family and I loved our meal from Celebrates Heritage. This book is not only a great resource for families with food allergies, but is a great resource FROM a family with food allergies, which makes it even better. Whether you are a family who is new to allergy-friendly cooking, or an old pro, this is definitely a book you should have in your collection.