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One of the most common complaints about eating paleo is that it’s expensive. Or, if you try to have it not be expensive, you end up eating the same plain-tasting meals all the time. Ciarra Hannah, founder of Popular Paleo, attempted to counter that complaint with her new book, The Frugal Paleo Cookbook.
While Ciarra acknowledges it is possible to spend a lot of money on paleo grocery items, she says it isn’t necessary. It’s just a matter of strategizing your purchases and your approach to eating. The first and most important piece of advice she gives is, “Avoid making dishes that center around premium products.” That means in this book you won’t see such liberal use of bacon, honey, maple syrup, and expensive nut flours. You’ll also see less expensive cuts of meat and ground meats.
But don’t think that means the dishes will taste any less amazing. On the contrary, this book offers a great collection of recipes across the flavor spectrum that will keep you and your whole family happy and full.
The recipes are divided into the following categories:
- Beef and Lamb
- A Few Basics
Recipes I tried included:
- Pate for Rookies
- Tex-Mex Casserole
- Spatchcock Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Tangy Apricot Pulled Pork
The Pate for Rookies recipe was impressively tasty. I made it for guests who weren’t sure they’d even like pate, and they enjoyed it immensely. The fruit in the recipe really takes the edge off the offal and truly makes this not only an entry-level pate, but easy to make and enjoyable for veteran pate lovers, as well.
“In general I found the recipes in this book to be both simple and satisfying. Some recipes will require more effort than others, but there are plenty that are straightforward…”
The Tex-Mex Casserole was also simple to make, and made for some great leftovers, as well. In general I found the recipes in this book to be both simple and satisfying. Some recipes will require more effort than others, but there are plenty that are straightforward, and for the most part, there are no ingredients required that you couldn’t find at a decent local grocery store.
In addition to the recipes, Ciarra offers advice on how to keep your paleo meals tasty and give them variety by using spice blends. But again here, she gives tips on how not to break the bank by creating your own spice blends, including everything from taco seasoning to creole seasoning.
Spatchcock Cilantro Lime Chicken
The binding on the book did break almost instantly, so I would be careful when handling your copy so you don’t start losing pages. In addition, not every recipe has a photo, which is a big pet peeve of mind with cookbooks. I want to see what I’m making, and see if what I made was even remotely in the ballpark of what the dish should look like.
“[I]f you are seeking more nuts-and-bolts about the science of paleo , as well as meal-planning and shopping support, this is not the book for you.”
This book does not cover the paleo approach to eating in as thorough a way as other cookbooks. There are no meal plans, shopping lists, or nutritional information for the recipes. This is all not necessarily a bad thing, as you may already own books that provide that sort of info for you. But if you are seeking more nuts-and-bolts about the science of paleo , as well as meal-planning and shopping support, this is not the book for you.
Who This Book Is For
Despite those potential negatives, this book still might be a good purchase for you. This book is not only about eating paleo frugally, but it itself is frugally priced.
I believe it also successfully walks the line between providing simplicity and great flavor. It’s not always easy to prepare tasty meals, and it’s not always fun to eat the same meals over and over. Creating a budget-friendly cookbook that still results in great food is a big challenge, and I think this book does an admirable job of meeting that goal.
“The Frugal Paleo Cookbook” is available for $12.99 at Amazon.com.
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