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

I received an advanced review copy of this book from Victory Belt Publishing.

My Review:

Med PaleoWhen I tell people that I follow the paleo diet, the most common remark I get is, “Oh I could never give up pasta or bread.”  But when you find foods that nourish your body and make you feel great, then grains and pastas are something you no longer crave.  This book is full of Mediterranean cuisine that includes healthy replacements even for pasta and pizza.  So if you are someone who believes that you could never give up carbohydrates, then try this book first when you attempt the paleo diet.

IMAG0927All three recipes that I tried in this book were one dish meals.  The first recipe I chose to make was “Lamb-Stuffed Chicken Thighs.”  I actually did not have any lamb in my freezer, but I did have plenty of ground pork and that worked just as well.  One of the nice features of this cookbook is that it is versatile and you can make substitutions without ruining a recipe.  I chopped carrots and zucchini into long, thin slices and layered them first in the pan.  The drippings from the chicken and the pork gave the vegetables a great depth of taste.

Next, we were in the mood for a stew, especially since it has been so cold here in New England.  I don’t make lamb very often, so I chose the “Lamb and Vegetable Tajine.”  This is another great meal that can be cooked all in one pot and includes meat and veggies.  I also liked the fact that instructions are IMAG0928given for making it in a stockpot on the stovetop, or for making it in a slow cooker.  The blend of carrots, turnips and zucchini were perfect with the lamb.

Finally, I made the “Cabbage and Meatball Soup.”  For the meatballs I used 2 pounds of grass fed beef and seasoned the meat with the IMAG0929herbs suggested in the recipe.  For the base of the soup I used a homemade bone broth and a mix of spices.  The soup did turn out a little spicy because of the addition of chili powder that the recipe called for.  But, once again, you can adjust the level of spices to your own tasting and the soup will be just as good.  What I enjoyed about this soup is the layering of different flavors, from the bone broth, to the spices, to the meat and cabbage.  We also heated it up for lunch the next day and once the flavors had a chance to meld the soup was even better.

This time my taste tester was a friend of mine that does not follow the Paleo diet at all and she raved about the stuffed chicken and the soup.  MEDITERRANEAN PALEO COOKING is a great resource for anyone who follows the Paleo diet or not.  I will definitely be reaching for the recipes in this book again and again and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Mediterranean food.

This is the third paleo cookbook I have received to review from Victory Belt Publishing and each book has been fantastic, with great recipes, information and pictures.  I highly recommend you look at their page and see all of the books they have to offer: www.victorybelt.com.

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Review: Real Life Paleo by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry

I received an advanced review copy of this cookbook from Victory Belt Publishing

Real Life PaleoStacy and Matthew are “The Paleo Parents” and their entire family has adopted the paleo lifestyle, including their three young boys.  The cookbook begins with a description of Stacy and Matthew’s family, how each one of them has benefitted from the paleo diet.  They suggest that anyone who is new to the paleo lifestyle adapt a three phase approach: Swap, remove and heal. They first suggest swapping out junk food and highly processed food for more natural foods such as fruits and vegetables.  Next, they recommend removing grain, highly refined oils and other junk carbohydrates from one’s diet.  When the first two steps are completed, they argue, then the body will begin to heal itself.  Their own stories and transformations are proof that this three-step approach works.

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There are so many fantastic recipes in this cookbook that I didn’t know where to begin.  It is a cookbook that I will reach for again and again.  Since it has turned very cold here this week in New England, I decided to choose some comfort foods to cook for my family on a Sunday.  For the appetizer I chose a soup which the book calls “Stacy’s Soup.”  I really liked this recipe because of its versatility.  The recipe calls for some type of diced meat such as turkey or chicken, some diced vegetables and a broth.  I had a homemade bone broth on hand so I used that as my base and then added cubed chicken, carrots, broccoli and zucchini.  The soup was absolutely delicious and my husband, who is a soup connoisseur, especially enjoyed it.

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For the main course, I used the recipe for a “Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder.”  I will tell you that I like to buy grass-fed or pastured raised, all natural, locally raised meats.  I actually bought an entire big from a local pig farmer who only uses all-natural feed for the animals.  I do believe that the quality of the meat makes a big difference in taste.  I used a spice rub to coat the pork shoulder and slowly roasted it in the oven for 3.5 hours at 325 degrees.  It was the perfect Sunday dinner and the roast was so big that we used the meat to make sandwiches for lunch during the week and it was just as good.

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For dessert I made the “Creamy Coconut Chocolate Chip Macroons.”  Even though my husband does not follow the paleo diet, he ate more of the cookies than I did.  They were not too sweet, but just sweet enough to give us a little treat.  I will say that many of the dessert recipes use almond flour, which I try to avoid.  I do wish the book contained more dessert recipes with nut free options.  But this is only a minor complaint for what is truly a fabulous cookbook.

I apologize for the poor quality of my photos, but the book contains great pictures of all of the recipes.  I am planning on making the “Drunken Carrot Noodles,” “Turkey Thai Basil,” and the “Panang Beef Curry” for dinner this week.

I absolutely loved everything about this book.  REAL LIFE PALEO is so much more than a cookbook: it is a resource for anyone interested in attempting to follow the paleo diet, it is an inspirational story about one family who has healed themselves through food, and it is a reference book for those of us who are already following the paleo lifestyle.  The recipes in REAL LIFE PALEO are delicious and this is a great cookbook for any home cook, paleo or otherwise.

For more information about Stacy and Matthew visit their website: www.paleoparents.com

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