You may already know Carrie Vitt, she’s the author of the cookbook Deliciously Organic and the voice behind her blog by the same name. When she was diagnosed a few years back with an autoimmune disease she chose to experiment with a grain-free diet to help her body heal.
After many hours in the kitchen she’s come up with her newest cookbook The Grain-Free Family Table, which is a compilation of over 125 grain-free recipes that helped her on her healing journey along with advice on why and how to adopt a grain-free diet for yourself and your family. She’s included recipes for family friendly favorites like fluffy pancakes, spinach garlic dip, eggplant and zucchini lasagna, and crowd-pleasing sweets and treats like doughnut holes with maple glaze, and classic yellow cake with buttercream frosting.
While this isn’t a paleo cookbook each recipe does offer a Paleo or Dairy-Free adaptation at the bottom if needed. The book is filled with beautiful images of the recipes along with shots of Carrie and her family which is nice since you get to know the family that inspired the recipes as you go through the book.
Carie was kind enough to take the time to stop by to answer some questions on her book and to share a recipe for Cauliflower “Fried Rice” her from the book (scroll to the bottom for the recipe).
1.) In the beginning of your book you get personal about the challenges you faced because of your health. Can you tell us a little bit about those health struggles that led you to adopt your current diet and what that journey has been like for you?
In 2008 I had an amalgam filling removed and unfortunately the doctor didn’t take the proper precautions during the extraction. As a result, my thyroid absorbed many of the heavy metals and over a year later I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. The disease ravaged my body with hives; I had little energy and was quickly slipping into a depression. The doctors didn’t have any answers and said there wasn’t anything they could do aside from prescribing a medication that they said “might” help with my symptoms. I turned to nutrition and began a grain-free diet rich in healthy fats, meats, vegetables and fermented foods to begin the healing process. After several years of hard work, discipline, and the amazing guidance of my nutritionist, I’m happy to say the disease is now in full remission!
2.) What kinds of recipes can readers expect to find in your cookbook?
The Grain-Free Family Table has over 125 grain-free, nutrient dense recipes that the entire family can enjoy. I have a variety of recipes including: Pork Carnitas, Breakfast Crepe Tacos. Crispy Sweet Potato Cakes with Cilantro Salsa, Gooey Cinnamon Rolls, Grain-Free Ice Cream Cones and the Donut Holes with Maple Glaze (they taste like the real thing!). I also devoted an entire chapter to kid-friendly recipes like Squash Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken Nuggets, Grilled Cheese and Classic Birthday Cake with Buttercream Frosting.
I know that we are all on our own health journey and some of us can consume dairy and some can’t. So in this book I include a simple dairy-free/paleo adaptation for each recipe so we can all enjoy the recipes no matter our dietary restrictions. (The adaptations are as easy as choosing butter versus coconut oil.)
3.) Name three personal favorite recipes from the book you think everyone should try first.
Gooey Cinnamon Rolls – When I first started eating a grain-free diet, I actually broke down crying one night because I thought I’d never be able to eat a cinnamon roll again. It’s a little pathetic, but I’m sure many of you with food allergies can relate! I tested this recipe at least 40 times to create my ideal cinnamon roll – sturdy, gooey and with a sweet cinnamon swirl.
Chicken Nuggets – I’ve served these to dozens of kids and no one can tell they are grain-free. The crunchy breading on the outside is fantastic!
Apricot Zingers – They simple to make and are such a crowd pleaser. My mom, owner of The Festive Kitchen, in Dallas, Texas is the creator of these little bites and sells thirty thousand pounds of them each holiday season. The apricot has a melty-sweet quality, there’s a small bite from the jalapeño, and it’s all wrapped in salty bacon. It’s truly the ultimate appetizer.
4.) List your top must-have ingredients for a grain-free pantry.
Almond Flour, Coconut Flour, tapioca flour, unflavored grass-fed gelatin (an excellent binder for gf flours!), coconut sugar and raw honey.
5.) Do you have any quick advice or tips for people wanting to transition their families to a grain-free diet?
My best advice, assuming you don’t have a health issue that requires an immediate and through renovation of your diet, is to start slowly and introduce something new once a week. If your kids love pancakes, make a batch of grain-free pancakes. (For easy school-morning breakfasts you can make the pancakes ahead of time, then put them in the freezer and reheat a few at a time in the oven.) Instead of removing crackers and granola bars all at once, slowly start substituting vegetables, dips, raw cheeses and meats. Invite some of their friends over and let the kids make homemade fruit snacks (recipe is in the book) using molds in fun shapes.
Of course there are some days when the changes won’t be welcome. That’s okay. When that happens, don’t make a big deal of it. Just move on and try that food again somewhere down the road.
The idea is to ease the family into a healthier lifestyle without the disruption of a sudden, major shift in their diets. As their palates adjust to cleaner, more nutritious foods, they’ll start to lose their taste for highly processed foods and will prefer these new recipes.
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