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My Book Reading

Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis

   (in progress)

The Night Trade - Barry Eisler (revew published)

The Woman in the Window - A.J. Finn - (review published; just get your hands on this and read it!)

The Kremlin's Candidate by Jason Matthews - (review published)

Into the Black Nowhere - Meg Gardiner - (review just published; superb)

Agent in Place - Mark Greaney (Gray Man thriller, review up)

The Saboteur - Paul Kix (review up)

The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer (review published)

Operator Down - Brad Taylor (done, great book)

Robicheaux - James Lee Burke (in progress - outstanding, of course)

Podcast Favorites

Joe Rogan Experience #1058 Dec. 28 2017 . Nina Teicholz


Paleo Grilling - The Complete Cookbook by John Whalen III  

Paleo Grilling is physically imposing. It’s heavy, arriving in a box. The book demands being taken seriously. I approached it in this vein, and found it useful and more interesting than anticipated.

Frankly, I wondered why the world of Paleo needed a grilling handbook. Paleo eating is now commonly understood; there’s no real mystery surrounding the consumption of meat and seafood, vegetables, some fruit and nuts, healthy fats (and perhaps some potatoes if you’re an athlete). How tough is it to throw meat and vegetables on a grill? 

Turns out that’s not the motivation behind Paleo Grilling. Author Whalen appears to be most concerned with teaching us how to prepare delicious Paleo meals based upon the grill. Reading his work, I feel Whalen would suggest leaving behind the annoying niche Paleo cookbooks flooding the marketplace, to ignore those who treat Paleo as a religion. I suggest you shop for quality meats (organic and grass-fed is a good beginning), head to your local farmer’s market and load up on fresh vegetables, fire up your grill, and dig into Paleo Grilling.

Emphasis in each recipe is on flavor and interesting food and taste combinations. Marinades and rubs friendly to the Paleo world are emphasized, but never at the expense of taste. Even more useful, I found the recipes to be logical as I read them, not to be experiments in weird Paleo affectation. 

I’ve tangled with one of the recipes so far, the Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken. Yes, it’s an easy dish to prepare; I had the ingredients on hand and wanted to dig in right away. Trying to follow the recipe as dictated, my deviation was to include one more chicken breast than called for, and use about half as much ginger, ‘cause that’s how much I had. 

Yes, the recipe was simple. Why would I begin with something complex? I’m no whiz in the kitchen. The instructions were clear and in the proper order. Prep time for me was a few minutes longer than noted in the recipe, but that means nothing (I’m the type in the kitchen constantly washing dishes and cleaning the cutting boards mid-prep). My chicken came off the grill a bit dryer than I wanted it to be, but I consciously let it cook a minute longer than the recipe called for. My mistake. I’d cut a breast open and felt it was a tiny bit uncooked in the middle. Next time I’ll trust the recipe as written. 

Paleo Grilling is well organized; as a book for people who like to eat, it’s easy to use in the kitchen. I appreciate the flavor combinations employed, and find the beautiful photographs often useful. Topping my list of things-I-like-in-cookbooks, the Index is based on recipe names, not ingredients. Bravo!

#cidermillpress,@cidermillpress, #paleogrilling



Paleo Cookbooks Keep On Comin'

Make It Paleo II by Hayley Mason and Bill Staley

Maintaining their established standards for stunning photography, bringing food alive on the printed page, Mason and Staley have once again created an instant classic of a cookbook. If your kitchen bookcase is full, select a book you never use, put it somewhere else, and make room for Make It Paleo II.

Simply put, each time you flip this book open your eyes will widen, and you’ll think you can smell and taste what you see and read! Taste buds will awaken, senses will be alive, as you feast yourself on these recipes.

I’m tired of Paleo as a religion, I dislike Paleo junk food and desserts, yet at the same time I enjoy my food tasting great. Make It Paleo II overwhelmingly devotes itself to flavor and health in an indulgent manner. The recipes are easy to follow, ingredients are logical and available (if I can find them up here in north-east Wisconsin, so can you). I cannot wait to spill food on the pages while the book is open in the kitchen. 

Make It Paleo II is essential for your library.

Victory Belt, $34.95

The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook by Diana and Andrew Rodgers

Spring is coming to the Midwest, one of these days. Winter still has us in it’s grip, but the sun has some bite and days are longer. Homegrown Paleo Cookbook arrives just in time, accompanied by packets of tomato and basil seeds! What a clever touch.

Here’s why this book stands out from the Paleo crowd: Connections to our food in our society today are tenuous at best. Few people even known a farmer any longer. More people are gardening, though, and that’s where Homegrown Paleo Cookbook shines. Diana Rodgers uses her book to state a case for sustainable Paleo living. This involves much more than your backyard garden, though that’s an important step. Learn how to support food growers on a local or regional level. Your food buying decisions impact more than just whether you have a six-pack!

If you want to take the next (big) step and begin raising animals, in these pages you’ll find a guide to bringing up rabbits, chickens, goats, sheep, rabbits, bees - even cows! Probably of greater help for most of us is good old-fashioned, straight out of Mother Earth News in the ‘70s, instructions for composting, building raised beds, starting seeds, and following through by raising vegetables.

Topped with recipes for seasonal, gluten-free garden-to-table eating, and much more, the more I dug into Homegrown Paleo Cookbook the more useful information I found. 

Now if only spring would get here so I can plant these basil and tomato seeds!

Victory Belt, $39.95






Another Reason to Avoid Bread

Keep it Paleo Reason #1 - I broke a tooth yesterday on a piece of toasted rye bread. Ouch!


Mediterranean Paleo Cooking by Diane Sanfilippo, Caitlin Weeks and Chef Boumrar

Forgive me for thinking of this beautiful book as as a new Diane Sanfilippo work. I get excited. Now that I’ve read through the introductory portions, I have respect for Weeks and Chef Boumrar. That being said: “hey, a new Diane Sanfilippo book is here!”

My first comments out loud to my wife were about the photographs. Yeah, many cookbooks rightly are praised for wonderful photos. All the time. Justifiably. But damn, the bar has been raised with Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. These pages flow by the eyes; in this age of odd Instagram filters and goofball “I’m a graphic designer ‘cause I own a Mac” keyboard jockeys, here I find brilliant and beautiful design. Heck, look at the book from the right side and thoughtful design touches stand out immediately. Every photograph is clear, colorful, and set up with effective little touches. Whether an herb, a serving piece, or the composition, these are the best food photographs I’ve seen in a book. 

And guess who designed Mediterranean Paleo Cooking and took all the photographs? Diane Sanfilippo!

My favorite elements are the indexes at the back of the book. Using postage-stamp photos, and creating categories along the lines of “food nerd party”, is genius. I’ll be referencing this area often. “The basics” is clearly pointed right at kitchen people such as myself - I’m learning but always stressed for time. Diane helps me feel I can effectively create ingredients such as olive oil mayo, or roast my own peppers.

Diane speaks out on one of my personal favorite complaints about Paleo people. I am bombarded on Facebook, Instagram and via my client’s meal plans with “Paleo crap fake food.” Clearly Sanfilippo is well aware and experiencing the same thing. On page 61 she features “A word on treats and desserts.” Read both paragraphs and absorb her warning. She closes with these words: “Be honest with yourself about how many sweets and treats - even if they’re Paleo - are too many for your health goals.”

Nicely said, Diane.

Clearly I’m fully over the top about Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. I plan to have food stains on my copy pretty quick! This is your “go to” gift for everyone in your life concerned with their food, preparation and taste buds.

 #mediterraneanpaleocooking, #dianesanfilippo, @balancedbites, @victorybeltinc


Perfecting Paleo by Ashley Tudor

Next time someone you know asks you weird, detailed questions about why you eat Paleo, and throws some biased, “read it on the Internet” anti-Paleo crap at you, tell them to head to Amazon and buy Tudor’s eye-opening Perfecting Paleo. She’s about the science, not the mythology or religion of Paleo.

“Personalize your diet rules” - Tudor brings Paleo into your life on a personal basis. There are no rules, not really, but there’s a hell of a lot of science to apply.

“Ancient wisdom meets self-testing” - Again, the knowledge of how to take the strict guidelines of Paleo and make them work in your life are made clear in the pages of Perfecting Paleo

Ashley Tudor is a wizard. She takes science, the framework of how the human body’s systems work, and breaks it down and explains. With the tools in this book, using her quick reference guides, you will easily uncover the diet rules specific to you and your unique biology.

Have you ever wondered why some people “eat Paleo” yet remain fat? Or did you rack your brains counting calories, found it a useless exercise, and wonder what to do next?

Get smarter, understand the timeless science of why Paleo makes sense to the human body, by reading Perfecting Paleo. Even if you don’t read it cover to cover, having this book shelved in your home will smarten you up!

Allow Tudor to drop a load of knowledge on you; she wants you to look and feel your best.

@VictoryBelt, @ashleytudor