500 Paleo Recipes: Hundreds of Delicious Recipes for Weight Loss and Super Health

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3 Responses to 500 Paleo Recipes: Hundreds of Delicious Recipes for Weight Loss and Super Health

  1. G. Boulton says:
    79 of 82 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Real recipes, not food porn., November 13, 2012
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    G. Boulton (Olympia, WA USA) –
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    This review is from: 500 Paleo Recipes: Hundreds of Delicious Recipes for Weight Loss and Super Health (Paperback)

    I ordered this book before it was published, and just received it.

    When buying cook books I fall into two categories: (1) Wanting lots of pictures, mainly so I can ignore most of the recipes and just use the pictures as inspiration, and (2) Wanting no pictures, but lots of quality recipe ideas.

    This book falls into the second category – there are no pictures. (Unless a clipart representation of a flame counts.)

    Instead you will find lots of recipes that conform to paleo guidelines. Luckily for those of us who would rather jump off a cliff (possibly fleeing a now-extinct large animal) than surrender our cheese and milk, the author acknowledges this fact and “won’t think any less of us for adding dairy where appropriate”. Praise Primal!

    There’s a decent explanation of what the paleo movement is at the beginning. “Controversial” ingredients are covered, explaining why they’re acceptable or not. While I understand the logic behind allowing stevia, personally it’s on my prohibited list. Several other commercial products are also referenced, which dogmatic purists may not appreciate. (I’ll allow canned coconut milk; that’s about as processed as I’ll go.)

    Ingredient-wise the recipes have got everything needed to be complete and tasty. (Disclaimer: the first thing I do when making new recipes is ignore the quantities, so I only ever gather the ingredients called-for and follow the general directions.) Some of them are very simple (bacon and brussels sprouts is a classic, after all) and others are more involved. The accompanying instructions are clear (though I’ve tried the method listed for mayo and ended up with not-mayo more times than I’ve ended up with mayo; providing the fix if it splits would have been a useful addition. If you find yourself there take a beaten room-temperature egg yolk, then add the failed mayo to it in tiny amounts, and beat furiously at all times until assumes a mayoey consistency.)

    Handily, nutritional analysis accompanies each listed recipe. The index also covers 8 pages, which is a nice change from some cookbooks that think you can cover culinary combinations from Abalone to Yogurt in two pages.

    I have one complaint (there’s always got to be one, hasn’t there). It would have been nice to see page references throughout the book accompanying the explanations and background-info. For example, page 127 “About Cauli-Rice” explains about the usage of cauliflower rice, which I’ve always used to sub for rice – it never dawned on me to use it as an orzo replacement, as mentioned – but where’s the recipe for it? Page 87. I’d have rather had inline page references than have to break my train of thought to go through the index. I don’t read recipe books front-to-back, instead I just jump in at a random section and then leaf through until I find something that hits my “yes, want that tonight” button.

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  2. Romantic Glutton says:
    39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    My Almost Favorite Paleo Book – Has Issues Though, January 27, 2013
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    This review is from: 500 Paleo Recipes: Hundreds of Delicious Recipes for Weight Loss and Super Health (Paperback)

    This Paleo cookbook is fantastic. I like the writing style of the author and her tastebuds and my tastebuds are similar. She uses lots of Paleo ingredients I really enjoy: avocado, coconut butter, eggs, seafood, bacon and bacon fat, anchovies (I’m SUCH a fan of them as in ingredient) and the rare umami taste I crave so much.

    It doesn’t bug me that there are no pictures… some of my best cookbooks don’t have photographs. If you follow the directions, you should be fine without a visual. In my humble opinion most cookbooks are all glossy pretty pictures and no substance, if you get my meaning. More eye candy than actual candy anyway. And having had worked in lifestyle publishing for over a decade I can tell you that many of those photographs aren’t of the actual recipe anyway. (Yes, really!)

    So moving on to the recipes themselves… I really found some fantastic ideas and food in this book. Just to name a few of my favorites: the pork rind pancakes are delicious, the beef cauli-rice side dish, the eggplant spread, the pecan catfish. That’s off the top of my head, there are more I love. Also, despite what you will read below, she had some really easy takes on popular Paleo base items like “bone broth,” demi-glace, coconut milk and coconut butter.

    One of my personal favorites (and worth the value of the book itself) are the recipes for umami, both liquid and powder form. Fabulous! It’s like bottled magic. That stuff is seriously addictive. For those of you who really like to get down in your kitchen with the food processor and have some time on your hands, there is also a great recipe for sunflower seed crackers.

    But on that point is where I would have my issues with this book. Some of the recipes are a pretty complicated and sometimes unnecessarily so. For example, her recipe for Caveman Ketchup is really outrageously long and complicated involving pureeing apples and adding upwards of a dozen ingredients. I use a very basic tomato paste/ water/ vinegar/ spice recipe that is easy, fast and tastes delicious. So I won’t be switching to the longer version.

    Likewise, her Coconut Sour Cream is far more complicated than it needs to be involving making your own yogurt cultures, which she confesses is work, experimentation and goes into a story of her learning process. Honestly, it’s very simple to make Paleo sour cream using a cold can of coconut milk (scoop out the hard stuff once it’s risen after being refrigerated) and mix with 2 tbl vinegar. Badda boom! Her “eggy wraps,” which I call Paleo “pita bread” or Paleo “tortillas” are just one step extra as well, adding a second type of rare flour instead of just one (I go with coconut flour, but that’s me). I tried her recipe and I couldn’t say it was better than the more basic one.

    I don’t want to scare you away from this cookbook as many of the recipes are not complicated. (However you WILL need a food processor for more than half of it. But… welcome to Paleo. With an emphasis on all natural and organic foods you’re making everything from scratch or going without.) It’s mostly her condiments that are outrageously involved and laborious, which is a small issue since most of her recipes call for one of her condiments. Like her eggplant spread requests two tsp of her Caveman Ketchup. But seriously, two tsps you could skip or use an alternative. However, I basically have just been substituting my version of condiments but following her recipes and it’s been going great. No biggie. But for those of you who are new to Paleo, beware this isn’t a one-stop guide. Go with intuition and common sense and use the internet and other sources as well.

    My other issue with the cookbook is the way it’s organized. When I get a new cookbook, I read it front to back like a novel. I read everything from the foreward to introductions and all the little notes and sidenotes, in addition to all the recipes in order. I have fabulous retention for recipes I want to go back and try. This was one of the rare books that several times I couldn’t find a recipe I had mentally marked. I had to flip through the book for certain recipes THEN find them in the index. By two or three trial and errors I had an AHA moment and I had her figured out. Her system of what a “foundational recipe” is versus a sauce or condiment, for example, is not totally obvious all the time. This is not a huge thing, but could cause frustration.

    Overall though, I really liked this recipe book. I found about thirty recipes and/or ideas that have made regular rotation in my kitchen which is nineteen or so more than usual.. =) So it’s definitely a keeper.

    Plus I like the “voice” of the author. Beware that Dana Carpender is NOT a nutritionist or a chef (that I’m aware of). She is a columnist and a foodie and I think she loves to experiment in the kitchen, which is really what Paleo is all about. She wrote the book…

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  3. Esther Schindler says:
    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    This cookbook isn’t just “good if you’re paleo.” It’s GOOD., April 21, 2013
    By 
    Esther Schindler (Scottsdale, AZ USA) –
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    This review is from: 500 Paleo Recipes: Hundreds of Delicious Recipes for Weight Loss and Super Health (Paperback)

    The doctor put my husband on a modified paleo diet, six months ago, to help him get his blood sugar under control. In his case, it means no grain and no white potatoes; he isn’t tied to restrictions on beans or dairy. Nonetheless “no grain” means it’s difficult for him (and thus me!) to figure out what to cook for dinner.

    So I’ve been going through a lot of paleo cookbooks at the library. A few of them were good, but it didn’t take us two days before we declared, “This is the one we want to own.”

    That’s because this isn’t just a good cookbook for those who must do without, full of “well if you can’t have the REAL thing here’s a substitute that doesn’t suck much.” 500 Paleo Recipes is a damned fine cookbook for anyone who wants to make something yummy for dinner. Or for breakfast. Or dessert.

    For example, I made her saute of pork with apples and onion for dinner, a simple-to-throw-together dish that was fine for a weekday night. Venison chili (with red wine, beef broth, chile in adobe, and 1/2 ounce of bitter chocolate) was outstanding — just the sort of dish you want as leftovers, too. Nobody would know that’s “paleo;” they only would want to know if they can have seconds.

    However, the cookbook also does a good job for the dishes that were making my husband sigh in discontent. Some foods just demand to be served over mashed potatoes, for instance. As I saw in other paleo cookbooks, “Fauxtatoes” uses fresh cauliflower (others use frozen, which honestly is more convenient), and then she helps you kick up variations with caramelized onions and mushrooms. The celeriac puree was an eye-opener: it tasted like lighter mashed potatoes with a light celery overtone, and a serving is 10 (just 10!) calories. And it’s no more of a fuss to make than “regular.”

    My husband got _really_ excited about the blueberry pancakes (blueberries optional, I can tell you, since we didn’t have any) which uses almond meal, flaxseed meal, coconut flour, and shredded coconut. They weren’t “just like regular” pancakes; they were excellent _alternate_ pancakes. And they scratched his pancake itch. And mine. Far more so than do any pancakes at a cheap breakfast joint.

    I have quite a few other recipes marked: walnut-roasted chicken; southwestern slaw; mushrooms stuffed with chicken-chutney spread. With 500 recipes, I won’t run out for a while.

    Every paleo cookbook seems to have its own philosophy of what’s acceptable and what’s not, and has its own suggestions about the ingredients to use instead of the verbotten items. I don’t speak to their “rightness” of any of these, but it does help to know what other ingredients you need to acquire to make these recipes. (I’m aiming to be HELPFUL, not to tell you what to think.) Expect to stock up on almond meal, coconut flour, coconut oil, and (if you avoid soy) coconut aminos to replace soy sauce. She sweetens with fruit, honey, and maple syrup when possible, liquid stevia and sucanat when not. Thickeners include arrowroot and glucomannan; I haven’t had reason to seek out the latter yet.

    The author is charming and funny, and makes you feel as though she’s standing at your elbow giving you advice. Among the many things I appreciate is that every recipe includes a nutritional analysis with calories, fat, protein, carbs, and fiber. No photos, though; I know that bothers some people.

    Other paleo cookbooks went back to the library without a second thought. I bought this one. It won’t stay on the shelf, though, as I’m sure it’ll be open on the kitchen counter.

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