As many of you know, I’ve been a fan of planning and cooking ahead for years. I wrote about doing a Sunday Start Up earlier this week. While I don’t do one of these every week, at times I have. Sometimes I do a little bit (or a lot) of cooking every day or every other day, then mix and match the leftovers. Even if I don’t do a Sunday Start Up, I cook with multiple meals in mind to set myself up with healthy convenience foods. This has allowed me to eat super nutritious, produce-rich meals on a daily basis for more than 20 years. Cooking for myself and making whole foods meals is a habit, like brushing my teeth, that I’m so used to doing regardless of how busy I am and what challenges come my way. This hasn’t always been the case. I didn’t grow up eating this way and my mother never taught me these skills. I learned them by studying and practicing.
Shopping, chopping, planning, and prepping ahead are skills that many people want to master when they get interested in and want to adopt a whole foods, real foods, traditional foods, or paleo or primal diet. Although I have my own style, many long time culinary practices, daily and weekly cooking routines, and my own cookbook, which outlines many of these, I still like to read and cook from other cookbooks and to learn from other authors.
When a review copy of Tammy Credicott’s new book, Make Ahead Paleo crossed my desk, I was eager to take a peek, to read what she had to say, and to try some of her recipes and curious about her tips for freezing foods for future meals, something I’ve been learning about and refining for many years.
Tammy is a recipe developer, food photographer, speaker, allergy-friendly cooking instructor, wife, and mother of two kids. She cooks for a family of four. She balances the demands of work, family, and making home cooked paleo meals. Some of you may already be familiar with her recipes from Paleo Magazine, her previous books, Paleo Indulgences and The Healthy Gluten-Free Life, and from my review of one of these books.
Make Ahead Paleo: Healthy, Gluten-, Grain-, & Dairy-Free Recipes Ready When & Where You Are, her latest book, focuses entirely on a subject that is dear to me. It features recipes and tips for whipping up freezable dishes and meals, includes inventory sheets to help you track what you’ve frozen, includes timesaving recipes for your slow cooker, a busy work week menu with a complete grocery list, recipes you can take on the road (and prepare in a hotel room), and sweet treats that freeze and travel well.
Some of the sections in the book include What is Paleo? It Isn’t Just About the Food, Getting the Family Aboard the Paleo Train, Budget Control, Make & Freeze, Low & Slow, On the Go, Room Service, Travel Treats, and Week in a Day. The book is full of great ideas. It’s also a joy to look at!
One of my favorite features in this and other recent titles from Victory Belt Publishing is a photo recipe index (think thumbnail pictures of all of the recipes in the front of the book) and beautiful food photographs throughout. You’ll find charts detailing the shelf life of various foods in the fridge, freezer, and pantry, tips for foods you can take when flying or driving to your destination, and tips for transitioning to a gluten-free, grain-free, whole foods, paleo diet, if you’re not already doing that and you want to.
Each recipe includes interesting head notes that tell you what’s great about a particular recipe, about the ingredients, about how the recipe came about, what it goes well with, what Tammy and her family like best about it, or some other tidbit about the dish. As usual, I leafed through the entire book, flagging the recipes I most wanted to make.
So far I’ve sampled the Thai Coconut Meatballs. The recipe took center table in a private cooking class a couple of weeks ago with one of my clients and her mother, and sister. Since we only had a four hour block of time in which to cook, eat, and clean up the mess we made, we simmered the meatballs in a skillet on top of the stove rather than in a slow cooker.
The meatballs were so delicious! We served them with two green salads paired with two homemade salad dressings from my Garden of Eating Cookbook, the Best Ever Chicken Wings from Sarah Fragoso’s Every Day Paleo Family Cookbook, and a no-bake, frozen avocado-lime pie recipe that I found on the internet. My client, Valerie, put in a request for the dessert after tasting something similar at Nourish, a gluten-free, allergy-friendly, paleo-diet friendly restaurant in Scottsdale. The meal was absolutely delicious. We all agreed that the meatballs were something we wanted to make again. Actually everyone wanted to make everything again (I had already made four of the recipes many, many times. ;-))
I plan to try more of Tammy’s recipes over the coming months. I’ll take pictures and post more about this book as I make my way through it. I will also launch a giveaway of Make Ahead Paleo later this week. Keep checking your inbox if you subscribe to my blog. I highly recommend this book, particularly for those of you who want to cook in quantity, freeze food for future meals, get tips for cooking on the road, and for packing great travel food that’s gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, paleo- and primal-diet approved.