Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekend Cooking 4/19: Cookbook Review - Everyday Paleo

Each weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  This is perfect for me since I love food and cooking almost as much as I love books!

Last week, my husband and I took a spring break camping trip to the beach, two hours south of here. Unfortunately, it was in the low 40's and raining the whole time! The good news is that it was perfect weather for bookstore browsing (and visiting some of our favorite restaurants, too). We spent a pleasant (and warm and dry) couple of hours at our favorite bookstore.
I found a new cookbook while we were there, Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso. My older son and I switched to a Paleo diet about a year ago for medical reasons (we both have an immune disorder, and it is supposed to be good for reducing inflammation and immune problems). It's really not quite as strange as it may sound to the uninitiated - the focus is on fresh, whole foods, nothing processed, lots of veggies and fruit, no grains or dairy (we are intolerant to dairy anyway), and only natural sugars.

I tried 4 recipes from the new cookbook last week, and they were all very good! (Please excuse the pictures of pictures here - they are snapshots of the beautiful photos in the cookbook. I always forget to take photos after I cook something - I just want to eat!)

From Everyday Paleo - Pork Pot Roast
Sunday, with my college son, father-in-law, and my younger son's girlfriend all here for dinner, I made a nice big crockpot meal, Perfect Pork Pot Roast. My family loves pork roast and loves traditional pot roast, so this seemed like a good choice for a Sunday dinner. Here is a version of the recipe from the author's website (though a bit different than the one in the cookbook). I had my doubts about the recipe, just because I wouldn't normally include tomatoes with a pork roast, but it turned out delicious! I added a few more veggies (as usual!)--some turnips, extra carrots, and a few red potatoes (strict Paleo doesn't include potatoes but medically, we are allowed red-skinned potatoes once a week). Everyone loved it! In fact, I planned on it for two meals, and the crockpot was full to the very top, but I had to add extra veggies the next day for our left-over dinner. Even more amazing, just yesterday - almost a week later - my 17-year old son said, "You know that pork roast you made last weekend? That was really good. I especially liked the sauce." Wow, definitely a keeper! (the boy and the recipe).
From Everyday Paleo - Pecan-Crusted Chicken

During the week, I made Pecan-Crusted Chicken, the first dinner recipe in the cookbook and the first one that caught my eye at the bookstore. It was very simple, dipping chicken breasts in a brown mustard-honey mixture, then in crushed pecans, and baking them in the oven. I served it with two vegetables on the side. Everyone enjoyed it, including my son, and my husband said it was his favorite of the new recipes we tried this week.

From Everyday Paleo - Puerto Rican Beef
My favorite recipe of the week was Puerto Rican Beef, a flavorful mix of veggies and ground beef with a fabulous blend of spices served over mashed sweet potatoes. Again, here is a recipe from the author's website that is very close to what is in the cookbook. My son didn't really like this one, and my husband said he would prefer it with less kale (I used a whole bunch, as indicated in the recipe but would cut it back a bit next time) and without the sweet potatoes. As for me, I LOVED it! The mix of vibrant flavors was delicious, and I thoroughly enjoyed eating the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Today, Sunday again with a crowd coming for dinner, I am making another crockpot meal, Mexican Slow Cooker Stew. As usual, I added some extra veggies--this recipe really didn't have any vegetables other than onion and diced chiles, so I also chopped a red bell pepper and some carrots and added them to the crockpot, too. I also used diced chipotle peppers in adobe sauce in place of the chipotle powder called for in the recipe. It's cooking now, so I'll let you know next week how it comes out, but it sure smells good! Chipotle is one of my favorite flavors, so what's not to like?

Bottom line is that we are enjoying this cookbook so far. Overall, the recipes are enticing and easy-to-follow. I am enjoying the new flavors and meals; often, with Paleo, we just eat some sort of meat or fish with two veggie sides, which my son says is boring! I think it is a nice companion to my other Paleo cookbook, Against All Grain, which we tend to use more for baked goods, goodies, and sides. Everyday Paleo has lots of great main dish recipes which is just what I was looking for. It also has sections in the front introducing the Paleo diet and in the back on meal planning and exercise. The layout is easy to use, and I especially like the first page of every chapter that shows a small photo of each recipe, which makes it easy to find what you are looking for. My only complaint is the same one I have for almost every cookbook: why on earth are cookbooks not all spiral-bound so they will lay flat?? Trying to keep a cookbook open to the recipe you are making is nearly impossible. Are you listening publishers?

Overall, I am very happy with Everyday Paleo so far and think we will use it a lot - there are still plenty of recipes in it that I want to try!

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  1. Those crock pot recipes do sound tasty. Isn't it nice to find a cookbook that has lots of possibilities for actual cooking. I have a tendency to want to get cookbooks that I'll merely look at. LOL

    1. Yes, Kay! I hate getting a cookbook and then never using it. This one was filled with recipes we couldn't wait to try!

  2. This one looks good for everyone! We aren't on Paleo, but these recipes look so appealing. I hate arranging my food for a photo shoot instead of just sitting down to eat, so I too am usually a photography failure.

    1. Yes, I agree - lots here for everyone!

      Glad I'm not the only one falling down on the food photography!

  3. I think all of those recipes sound delicious, and I think my favorite would be the one with the kale and sweet potatoes, too. My husband doesn't care for kale much. We find that the low-carb diet takes us into Paleo diet territory, and this cookbook would probaby work very well for that, too! My daughter who has celiac and eats a g/f diet is also a vegetarian, though!

    1. I totally understand about trying to cook for low-carb and vegetarian at the same time! My mom is a vegetarian and her husband likes a high-protein/Atkins-type diet - hard to cook for them when they visit!