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Against the Grain by Nancy Cain

Against the Grain

Special thanks to the publisher and Blogging for Books for providing a review copy of this book. This post may contain affiliate links.

Against the Grain has beautiful photography that draws the reader into the book and makes them want to try out the large variety of recipes available. It promises tasty treats that are grain free.

I appreciated the layout of the recipes as they were easy to read and follow. The little personal stories included with the recipes added that personal touch which I enjoy. It allows me to get to know the author a little better.

The recipes for us were hit or miss which was a real shame. Generally speaking, the recipes that didn’t require tapioca starch or didn’t require much tapioca starch turned out fairly well. On the other hand, the recipes that were heavy on the tapioca starch had chewy (not in a good way) texture that we did not enjoy.

Against the Grain, while promising to be a wonderful gluten-free book, ended up being a bit of a disappointment.

Against the Grain Book Description:

Nancy Cain came to gluten-free cooking simply enough: Her teenage son was diagnosed with celiac disease. After trying ready-made baking mixes and finding the results rubbery and tasteless, she pioneered gluten-free foods made entirely from natural ingredients–no xanthan or guar gums or other mystery chemical additives allowed. That led her to adapt many of her family’s favorite recipes, including their beloved pizzas, pastas, and more, to this real food technique. In Against the Grain, Nancy finally shares 200 groundbreaking recipes for achieving airy, crisp breads, delicious baked goods, and gluten-free main dishes.

For any of these cookies, cakes, pies, sandwiches, and casseroles, you use only natural ingredients such as buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, and ripe fruits and vegetables. Whether you’re making Potato Rosemary Bread, iced Red Velvet Cupcakes, Lemon-Thyme-Summer Squash Ravioli, or Rainbow Chard and Kalamata Olive Pizza, you’ll be able to use ingredients already in your pantry or easily found at your local supermarket.

With ample information for gluten-free beginners and 100 colorful photographs, this book is a game changer for gluten-free households everywhere.

About the Author:

NANCY CAIN is the owner of Against the Grain Gourmet, a line of gluten-free breads and pizzas available at supermarkets and natural food stores nationwide. She lives with her gluten-free family in Vermont.

Against the Grain Book Details:

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (February 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385345550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385345552
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Retail Price: $27.50
  • Electronic Versions also available
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VeggieTales Noah’s Ark

VeggieTales Noah's Ark Review

We have been VeggieTales fans for quite some time at our house, so I’m always happy to check out the latest releases from VeggieTales. Munchkin was a little disappointed that her favorite VeggieTales characters have received a makeover as she liked them the way they were all throughout her childhood.

Sadly, this is the first VeggieTales movie that we didn’t thoroughly enjoy. It felt more like a parody of Noah’s Ark rather than the biblical version with a VeggieTales twist. The main focus of this particular video is trusting in God and His plans for our life rather than being stuck on our own plans. It’s a wonderful lesson that everyone – young and old – needs to learn.

The story begins with Noah’s son, Shem, and his new bride coming back from their honeymoon. They arrive home to find Noah building an ark where Shem had planned on building his new home near the family’s citrus orchard. The ark, which looks like an orange wedge, needs to be quickly finished according to God’s plans. Shem is not happy about this as it conflicts with his plan. The vast majority of the movie is about how Shem is creating different plans to get off the ark.

Shem builds hot air balloons and other contraptions in an effort to leave the ark while the earth is still flooded. During the storms, the ark springs a variety of leaks which the girls patch with tar using caulk guns. The animals, on the other hand, are quite happy as they get pampered including taking dips in the hot tub. At one point, the ship is attacked by a giant squid. In the end, Shem realizes that God’s plans are the best plans.

Like I said, we normally enjoy the VeggieTales twist on bible stories, but we just didn’t get into this movie like we have previous movies/shows. It felt like they were making fun of Noah’s Ark rather than just giving it the traditional VeggieTales twist. I sincerely hope this isn’t the direction that Big Idea is taking with their VeggieTales line.

Disclosure: I received a sample to help facilitate the writing of an honest review.


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An Afternoon Horse Grooming Session with GROOMA

Grooming Dixie

Special thanks to Hamilton Pets for providing a sample GROOMA medium bristle horse grooming brush to test out with our horses.

It was a beautiful day outside today. The sun was shining, but there were a few clouds in the sky to help keep the sun from constantly beating down on us. A nice breeze was blowing. It was the perfect day for a thorough grooming of the horses. They are both shedding their winter coats. Dixie had a much thicker coat than Phantom, so she’s shedding like crazy.

Grooming Dixie with Phantom in the Background

The horses were quite mellow when we headed outside, but they got rather excited when they saw they were in for some pampering. Phantom, being his normal self, decided to stand further out at first just to see what we were up to before he made his way over to us. Dixie, on the other hand, when right up to Munchkin and immediately relaxed as the brushing began. Soon, she was dozing off as Munchkin continued to brush her. Yes, she was loving this new brush.

Grooming Dixie while Phantom tries to steal the brush

It didn’t take long for Phantom to decide that he wanted in on the grooming. In fact, he started trying to steal the brush from Munchkin as she was brushing Dixie. He kept at it until Munchkin groomed him for a little while.

Grooming Phantom

He loved this brush. Normally, we’ll use a soft brush on his face, but the long bristles on this medium brush were a big hit, and he didn’t want Munchkin to stop. She spent a good bit of time going back and forth between the two horses. Needless to say, the horses love this brush. It’s a good fit for both my hand and Munchkin’s hand, but it’s a little small for Daddy’s hand. He prefers something a little larger.

Dixie enjoying her grooming session

The brush did a great job getting rid of a lot of Dixie’s winter coat. She was certainly happy and content with the entire process.

Phantom after grooming

The brush was firm enough that I was even able to use it on Phantom’s mane to get some of the dirt out of it. He did not want his grooming session to end.

GROOMA Medium Bristle Grooming Brush Review

The GROOMA Medium Bristle Horse Grooming Brush has a comfort, non-slip grip with finger indents. The 3/4 sized brush was the perfect size for my hands as well as Munchkin’s hands. The little indents make it easier to hold the brush. The horses loved the long, medium bristles. If you have larger hands, like my husband, you’ll probably prefer a full-sized brush. The brush is well made and looks like it will hold up well to routine use with our horses.

Grooming Phantom with Dixie

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An Evening Walk and Hike with the Dogs

Evening Walk with the Dogs

Special thanks to Hamilton Products for providing samples of their reflective dog leashes for our family to test.

We have been enjoying beautiful weather as of late. While the daytime temps are starting to rise into the 80s, the evening temps are still quite comfortable. It’s the perfect time of year for taking walks with the dogs. We enjoy evening walks as it’s when Daddy is available in addition to being the perfect time for a walk.

Hamilton Reflective Leash Review

The dogs were all too happy to test out their new reflective leashes. They are always up for a walk. The leashes that we received were 4 feet long which is a little shorter than we normally use, but it ended up being perfect for the walk due to the fact there were a lot of little critters running around. Given the fact that our dogs like to track and chase small animals, the shorter leashes that didn’t have any give in them meant it was much easier to keep them under control.

The reflective leashes come in a variety of colors. The leashes are well-made with secure stitching, and the reflective thread is woven directly into the webbing of the leash. There is no give in the leash material. The swivel snaps are secure and keep the leash from getting twisted with our dogs’ constant movement.

Hiking at Giant Rock

Since the weather was so beautiful, we decided that we’d do a little exploring and hiking with the dogs this past weekend. Munchkin needed to get some driving time in, so we had her drive us over to Giant Rock. The dogs were more than excited to get out and explore. Since these leashes didn’t have any give in the material, it was easy to maintain control going up and down the rocks and boulders.


We could also quickly stop them from trying to chase lizards. Yes, they were trying to scurry after any and every lizard that was hiding among the rocks. Like I said, they love to track and chase little critters. The dogs weren’t the only ones who enjoyed climbing all over the rocks and exploring the caverns they created.

Giant Rock

We’ve gotten rather comfortable with the cooler weather, so the 80 degree temps in full sun felt quite warm. We were thankful for the shade provided by the large rocks/boulders. We didn’t stay out too long as someone was setting up for a big event by Giant Rock. We look forward to exploring the area more at a later date when it’s a bit cooler.

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Bouldering: Pixie Boulder


Beautiful weather and the outdoors called to us this weekend, so we headed over to Pixie Boulder. Daddy and Munchkin wanted to attempt to tackle several of the lines on the boulder. Munchkin was a little more hesitant than Daddy, but she did well for her first time out climbing in quite some time.




She was happy to make it to the top of the boulder, but she wasn’t all that thrilled with needing to climbing back down. (I tend to agree that the trip down tends to be a bit more nerve-wracking.)




Daddy had a blast trying different techniques and problems (lines). His height gave him advantages on some lines while it gave him fits on other lines.


“You want me to jump? From here?” There were several conversations back and forth throughout the climb as Daddy encouraged her to try things that were within her skills but slightly outside of her comfort zone.






This line was quite tricky and didn’t get defeated this time out, but some progress was made on it.




Daddy and Munchkin did a scramble up the face of the boulder shortly before we called it quits for the day. It was a fun family outing.


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