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My Most-Reached-For Cookbooks

October 8, 2018

IMG_0617I am admittedly extremely picky when it comes to cookbooks. When I’m browsing for a new cookbook, there are very few that meet my strict guidelines…if you can even call it that. I can basically pick up a book, flip through a few pages, and can immediately tell if it’s book I would want to spend my hard earned money on. Some cookbooks are pure works of art. They might have beautiful covers, even be filled with beautiful photography, but if the ingredient list is a mile long or it’s filled with cooking methods that require culinary school level skills…yeah, hard pass on that. Although some cookbooks can be beautiful to display, my most favorite cookbooks are ones that I can actually use. Normal ingredients that I know I can find at the grocery store.  Easy and familiar cooking methods that don’t require 15 different tools/appliances. I still do, however, love beautiful photography inside the cookbook. It makes me want to recreate the lovely and delicious dishes I see pictured. Below I’m listing out my current, favorite cookbooks. These cookbooks meet my “standards” for what a good cookbook should be, and I find myself reaching for these books over and over again when I plan out my meals for the week. (You can find my meal planning post right here on the blog) So without any further ado, here are my most loved cookbooks in no particular order.

Made Whole

This cookbook just came out this summer, and I grabbed my copy the week it was released. It’s so good. The author, Christina Curp, runs a successful blog, The Castaway Kitchen, and she ascribes to a Paleo-Keto philosophy, but she is also well-versed in AIP, and she has notes throughout the book to make any of the recipes AIP-compliant.  I can’t say enough good things about this book. All of the recipes have a relatively short ingredient list and in the entire book, there are only a couple of ingredients that might be a little tricky to find. I was still able to find these few less known ingredients on Thrive Market and at my local Whole Foods, so they’re not reallythat difficult to scout out. I’ve made several of her recipes, but my absolute favorite recipe so far is her Chicken Kofta Kebabs. They are so simple to make. They whip up super fast and are amazingly flavorful and delicious. These frequently make it into my weekly rotation.

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Julie Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook

This cookbook came out a few years ago in 2015. Julie is also another successful blogger and her website, Paleomg, is my personal favorite.  She is still putting out tons of recipes each week, along with cooking videos and workouts. She also loves fashion. This girl does it all and is awesome at it. This particular cookbook of hers is very user friendly. It’s all your favorite food, just healthified. I love her Chunky Monkey Breakfast Shake. Her Maple-Bacon Pork Loin is bomb. The Mexican Meatloaf can win over even the pickiest eater (aka my husband.) I’m convinced you can’t go wrong with anything in this cookbook.

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Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

Lexi is the, you’ll never guess, successful blogger behind Lexi’s Clean Kitchen. Again, this cookbook was also published in 2015, so it’s not brand new, but boy, have I gotten a lot of mileage out of this one. The recipes contained in this book are all gluten-free, however, a few of the recipes are not Paleo in and of themselves, BUT Lexi makes suggestions/modifications for how to make these particular recipes more Paleo-friendly, which is super helpful for Paleo newbies.  Her Creamy Chicken Bacon Spaghetti Squash Boats are one of my all time favorite recipes.  I meal prep her Chicken Salad-3 Ways quite often to take for my lunches. My husband loves the Maple-Crusted Salmon served with the Garlicky-Blistered Green Beans. I would say this is the most practical cookbook with each recipe containing few and common ingredients. As a general rule, I almost always already have everything that a recipe calls for stocked in the pantry, which makes coming up with dinner in a pinch stress-free! Who doesn’t need that in their life?

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Against All Grain Meals Made Simple

I think of Danielle Walker as one of the faces of the Paleo movement. I feel like she was doing this before it became mainstream. I could be wrong, but I always think of Danielle Walker as synonymous with Paleo. She, of course, has her own blog, Against All Grain, with an ever-growing library of free recipes.  Meals Made Simple is her second book out of three total cookbooks she has authored (Her 4thcookbook, Eat What You Love, will be out early December, and you better believe I’ve already pre-ordered it.) To be completely honest though, her first cookbook intimidates me. I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t bring myself to buy it because I don’t see it getting a lot of use in my kitchen, but in my opinion, she knocked it out of the park with her 2ndcookbook. As the name implies, the meals are simple and a lot of them are either one-pot meals or slow cooker meals. As a good Southern girl, I live for the slow cooker!  One down side of the book is for many of the recipes, they contain longer ingredient lists, but still easy to find ingredients and if you have a well-stocked pantry, you will already have most of items needed. Some of my favorites from this book are the California Chicken Wraps, Ginger Chicken and Broccoli, and the Cuban Pork Panini. I also love all of Danielle’s baked goods.

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Honorable Mention: Against All Grain Celebrations

Had to throw this one in there. It’s another beautiful creation from Danielle Walker. It’s divided into all the major celebrations where food is involved: Christmas, New Years, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, Showers, Game Day. You name the holiday, and Danielle included it in this cookbook. I only gave this an honorable mention because although I love the book and it has amazingly delicious recipes, the ingredient lists and methods can sometimes seem a little long. This isn’t a book I typically reach for on an ordinary week, but I always break out this book when we are hosting anything at our home and food is involved. I know I’m feeding both myself and my guests the best and honoring both their health and mine while still feeding their souls through good fellowship and good times around the kitchen table!

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