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Paleo Home Cooking: Flavorful Recipes for a Healthy, Gluten-Free Lifestyle by Sonia Lacasse  

This book appears more useful and logical than the bland, cover-all-the-bases title made it appear to me. My first impression was that the world hardly needed another general, introduction-to-Paleo cooking book, but close examination has moved me slightly away from my “this is a waste” viewpoint.

If you are new to the Paleo world, or have very few cookbooks in your home featuring Paleo in the title, I would suggest Lacasse’s Paleo Home Cooking is a fine instrument for you to learn and practice from. I like her use of little graphics in the upper-left-hand corner of recipe pages, quickly alerting the page-skimmer whether this recipe is keto-friendly, egg-free, squeaky clean, can be prepared ahead, takes a long time to prepare, etc. Considering I believe most of us often dip into cookbooks at random and leaf through the pages, this is a useful feature. 

If you’ve “been Paleo” for long you’ll find Paleo Home Cooking redundant and unnecessary. Friends just gaining curiousity about a Paleo lifestyle will benefit from the friendly, easy-to-understand recipes and basic information.


Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind by Vanessa Barajas  

I’m no fan, today, of baked goods. Disclaimer: I grew up enjoying them, and in my 20s and 30s was quite a bread baker. This was the era of ‘low fat, eat all the grains you can’. I remember lunches consisting of plain yogurt, oat bran, Grape Nuts, dried fruit, etc., stirred together in a bowl!

For years the world of Paleo has harbored a baking niche, those who create Paleo cupcakes-treats-bars-breads-donuts, and fill Facebook with their recipes and photos. Hey, do what you want to do, but Paleo cake is still cake, whether it contains flour or not. I defy anyone to make the case that a Paleo cupcake will help you in the squat rack or extend your life span or even make your day that much better. 

Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind is a cleverly-titled, nicely written, well photographed, pretty cookbook full of stuff I won’t eat. Personally, I don’t see the point of spending time in the kitchen making ice cream and pie and other Paleo desserts. If this is something you want to delve into and master, I think Vanessa Barajas will guide you nicely. In the meantime, I’m firing up the grill, I’ve a side of beef coming in late October.


Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook

As a long-time reader of Bauer’s Paleo OMG blog, I’m familiar with her enthusiastic, humorous tone. I find it translates to the printed page nicely in her new cookbook. There’s no better time in the ‘oh so serious’ world of Paleo than now to welcome Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook.

Beuer relates how bored she was with eating and cooking when she began eating Paleo. I’ve heard similar stories from clients, and understand that part of the path to success making lifestyle changes and eating well is to enjoy the experience, to savor the food. Paleo doesn’t mean food is bland and only for fuel. 

Bauer has traveled roads similar to many of us. She discovered CrossFit, and along the way realized she couldn’t eat just anything she wanted and out-exercise the calories, or the nutritional damage. As she so nicely puts it, 

“Diet really is important. The whole annoying ‘you are what you eat’ bull crap is actually true, and I was hella pissed.” 

So she changed her life, and wants to help you with yours. Bauer went through the initial Paleo craziness, read all the blogs and books, yet feared if she didn’t go 100% Paleo full-time, she would somehow fail. This is the point where some people give up, thinking that if they cannot be all-in there is no point in the effort. Bauer succeeded in finding a balance between life and friends and family and CrossFit and the kitchen, and with her Paleo Cookbook makes available recipes and food help based upon all she experienced and learned. She wants you to eat Paleo as much as you can, to enjoy confidence in yourself and be happy, and to find some of that within her recipes.

Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook is a gem. My kitchen bookcase is full, so some other Paleo cookbook, one sporting no food stains, will be heading downstairs so this one can take it’s place front and center.


Paleo Takeout - Restaurant Favorites Without the Junk by Russ Crandall


What a great idea! While many of us wrestle with adding variety to our cooking at home, or are unhappy with local restaurant choices, Russ Crandall was busy figuring out how to re-create his favorite fast food and take-out recipes. At home. Paleo. Healthy. Paleo Takeout is the result, and it’s a winner!

I think this book is genius. Crandall keeps the recipe prep time under one hour, and he’s set them up to serve four people, with 8 ounces of protein each. Knowing this, I’m confident trying any recipe. 

Crandall brags about how close in taste his fried chicken, burrito bowls, chicken nuggets and Italian meatballs are to the originals. I’m excited at how healthy and different in composition they are from the same-old fast food joints surrounding every town in America. 

But there is so much more than making popular recipes tasty and healthy. That’s the loss-leader, really. Stay for his take on how to incorporate potatoes, dairy, rice and legumes in the Paleo world. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, all the noodle recipes in these pages. Yup, in a Paleo cookbook!

Paleo Takeout is fun. Russ Crandall is an interesting writer with a great attitude about food and health, and a mission to spread a realistic message about Paleo eating and food prep. I’ll be reading cover to cover, and dipping in to recipes on a regular basis. Oven Pork Adobo, here I come!

#PaleoTakeout, @thedomesticman, @VictoryBelt, #RussCrandall


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