Saturday, May 30, 2015

Book Review: Paleo Eats by Kelly Bejelly

     I can't go to the bookstore without grabbing an arm-load of the latest Paleo cookbooks and sitting down in the toy section while my kids look around and play. I usually discard about half of them because the recipes don't look appealing or are easily reproduced without spending upwards of $20. The other half I spend drooling over, but I usually discard several for being too expensive for the amount of recipes I would use. But every now and then, I find a book that I know I can't leave the store without getting. Kelly Bejelly's Paleo Eats is that book! Plus, her name is Kelly Bejelly, and that's just fun to say.

     If you're just starting out and trying to convert to Paleo, but are worried about missing some of your favorite comfort foods, this is the book for you.  Kelly's story is compelling. She talks about her struggles with prediabetes, depression, and panic attacks, followed by some very practical and good advise on converting to the Paleo lifestyle and what to stock in your kitchen.

     The chapter entitled "The Basic" is full of homemade condiments, including a delicious teriyaki sauce and strawberry jam. There's even a powdered sugar recipe that we've used on homemade mashmallows.

     Chapter 2 is all about breads, wraps, and pastries. Her pizza crust is to die for and has become our go to recipe for pizza/movie nights. We also love her grain-free wraps for ever thing from burritos to crepes to gyros. And when I can't avoid my craving to sloppy joes, I can't resist what we have lovingly termed "Bejelly buns," but she calls just plain hamburger buns.

     Chapter 3 is Breakfast, and her coconut cinnamon cereal is so good that I had to go to her website and try out her other cereals. The best part about the coconut cinnamon cereal, though is that it's nut-free, as well.

     Chapter 4 features the main events, and Kelly aims to please not just the Paleo, but the non-Paleo and the picky with recipes like Chicken Katsu, Chicken Parmesan, Southern Fried Chicken, Chicken Enchilada Cassarole, and Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs, just to name a few. And a word on her Chicken Parmesan: it is phenomenal! It's crusted in pork rinds! It'll make you cry it's so good!

     Chapter 5 is all about sides and salads. I have yet to try many of these, but they look delicious, including: cranberry sauce, creamy cucumer dill salad (which I totally need to make since we have a garden full of fresh cucumbers), hush puppies, onion rings, dressing, green been cassarole, grits (which is where I got my inspiration for my grits recipe), and many more.

     Chapter 7 is Drinks, and I really want to try the strawberry milk.

     What? Did I forget chapter 6? No. I saved the best for last. Chapter 6 is my reason for buying this book. It's the desserts chapter. While the peach cobbler, almond butter sandwich cookies, banana cream pie, and apple pie ice cream are to die for, I got this book for the cream-filled chocolate cupcakes, or as I like to call them: the Little Kelly Snack Cakes.

     This book also offers a Paleo baking tutorial at the end. It covers the different non-grain flours and talks about flour substitutions and troubleshooting. And for those new to cooking at all, there's even a glossary of basic cooking terms, cooking equivalens and conversions, and non-Paleo to Paleo substitutions. To round things out, Kelly has including a few of your favorite websites on Paleo, Autoimmune Paleo (AIP), recipes, shopping, pantry, and tools.

     So if you're looking for just the right book to get you started, or you have a craving for a Paleo-friendly version of some of your favorite comfort foods, this is a great book to invest in!