Customer Reviews: Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes
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Before I purchased this book, I read all the other reviews about it. I learned to do this after being unhappy with several purchases and finding out gee, other people warned me right there in the reviews! I'm also one of those reviewers who is not afraid to say what's wrong with a book (exaggerated number of recipes) or to say that it's really best for beginners to a lifestyle (or not). I understand how frustrating it is to leave a less than positive review and to then feel like 'fans and friends' are voting your review not helpful just because they don't like that you didn't fawn....having said that, I think just the fact that this book is so simple and uncomplicated is why it is perfect for newbies.

I've been a follower of Elana's blog for awhile now, and I purchased another of her low carb books (savory) last year. Another reviewer stated they felt this book was best for beginners to Paleo because it has a lot of simple recipes, and I would definitely recommend this as a book for a newbie to have. Everything in it is pretty straightforward and there isn't anything complicated; but on that same note I found the delicious simplicity of the recipes to be worth it. Chicken Marbella (p. 68) is worth the whole price of the book alone; it was the first recipe I made (never touched a green olive before!) and my husband almost *moaned* when he took a bite of it. Sure, 'mustard and salmon' is almost cringingly basic for more advanced cooks but I think the book strives to make something for everyone. The recipes are unfailingly comprised of fresh ingredients, minimal prep time and cooking effort, for a big flavor payoff. For the experience of the color photos, and the feel of the book, I found the price to be very worth it. I honestly would not have enjoyed this book as much had it been an e-book.

If you are far into the Paleo/low carb style journey you might find most of it to be rather like 'recipe review', but really I think this is a good book with tasty, simple recipes that don't require much thought or effort. The flavor profiles are very balanced, and I haven't had to tweak any seasonings or spices at all. THIS is almost unheard of in my kitchen! I prefer big brassy flavor in my food (rather than salt) so that it's an experience; these recipes are truly tasty just as written.

Note on the Chicken Marbella : I used a 10 lb. bag of chicken quarters, doubled the marinade recipe, and baked it in a giant cake sheet for 1:20 at 350. We had several meals' worth of food with just a 'dump and bake' effort, and it tastes like something you'd get at a restaurant. I could have served this whole beautifully-browned pan of goodness to company and they would have felt as though they were getting high-dollar fare! The entire 10 lb. chicken meal was under $10.00, too.
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on July 2, 2013
This is a solid, fundamental and lovely cookbook. Really, whether you are Paleo or not. Elana is a talented foodsmith and creatrix, and would likely make sumptuous, delicious, healthy food no matter what her health philosophy.

Full disclosure, I'm someone who is experimenting with Paleo inspired eating, although I am dubious of the science behind it, and particularly skeptical of certain Paleo gurus. I'm waiting for more confirmation from clinical, peer review studies, and not just popular lay experts. I've been around the block a few times with other wonder diets, and the religious enthusiasm of many Paleo advocates really sends up red flags. But I'm a curious sort, and have experienced some benefit so far from eating grain-free.

I'm attracted to Elana because although she is a happy adherent of a Paleo diet, she does not come off as 'Paleo' religious. That comes as a relief after looking at many Paleo cookbooks which read like fervent devotees of doctrine.

This cookbook is also attractive to people turned off by the 'bacon, bacon, bacon' repetitiveness of many Paleo cookbooks, and all the unpleasant macho posturing. Many people just can't tolerate eating all that meat and fat. It makes them nauseous and gives them diarrhea. And some people don't find the "caveman" thing cute and romantic. Instead in Elana's elegant book you'll find lots of tasty vegetable recipes, and some daintier meat entrees that don't make you feel like you have to chew a raw buffalo to be Paleo.

A few of the negative reviews of this book have complained that it is too basic, that there are other more glitzy Paleo cookbooks out there. That's quite true. But for some of the reasons I mentioned above, I'm more attracted to this book for its more subdued, and not hysterical tone (Elana's website is similarly low key), and if the recipes are 'basic' they also look like something I'd actually make week in and week out. A cookbook which provides a solid foundation like this for my everyday eating is worth twice the cover price of this book, at least! My shelves are littered with 'hardcore' cookbooks I rarely use.

I've looked at many Paleo books so far in my 'Paleo experiment', but this is one of the few I would recommend without reservation.
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on June 19, 2013
I know this review will most likely not be popular, but I am just not loving the newest cookbook from Elana.... it feels like she phoned this one in. The Paleo "Diet" has gained such popularity lately (which is awesome!) and as a result the bar for Paleo cookbooks has definitely been raised within the last year. This cookbook just isn't up to the same standard as some of the other books that have been published recently. Sure, the recipes look ok, but you aren't going to find a whole lot of new or exciting content here that you couldn't find on a short trip through Pinterest. The pictures in the book (there is one for every 4-5 recipes) are nice, but once again nothing jumps out at you. Maybe I am spoiled, but I want to look through a new cookbook and get so overcome by an urge to make recipes that I have to immediately dash off to the kitchen to whip something up.

I am an avid collector of Paleo cookbooks. My whole family practices this lifestyle and I always look forward to adding new and exciting dishes to our collection of tried and true faves. This book just falls short of what I am looking for in a cookbook. At this point in the game I know how to make fritatas, I know how to make almond flour pancakes and I know 27 ways to roast a chicken. GIVE ME SOMETHING EXCITING!!

I do think "Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry" would be a good introductory book to the lifestyle for someone just starting their journey, but as a "veteran" I doubt you will find much inspiration here.

I also wanted to touch on one other aspect of the book that I found somewhat lacking: In the introduction Elana goes on and on about how so many of the recipes in this book contain coconut flour or flour other than almond flour and that is true. HOWEVER, almost all of the recipes that contain alternate flour also contain at least a cup of almond flour. You're not doing us any favors touting the use of coconut flour in recipes and then just throwing a Tbsp in here and there. I don't feel like these recipes are all that revolutionary or different than the (great) recipes you will find on her blog or in the other cookbooks.

So to sum it up... this book just left me feeling, "meh". It's a book I would take for a spin from the library but not see the need to reference continually at home.
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on June 19, 2013
I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this book and made many of the recipes. My overall impression of these recipes were that they looked kind of like what all of the other Paleo recipes out there look like, but MAN, was there flavor! Not really sure how she does it, but every single thing we made was delicious and really made me take a second look at the recipe itself to try to figure out what she does differently from everyone else. You can tell a LOT of work has gone into testing and retesting and tasting of each recipe so that it is perfect. We weren't disappointed with a single one. My absolute favorite was the Blueberry Coffee Cake. It was so amazing that I would not hesitate to serve it to any guests I have that aren't grain-free. The Cinnamon French Toast was also delicious and is helping fill a void that we had with this favorite breakfast food since we started the Paleo diet. We also made the Olive Oil Thyme crackers which were wonderful with an olive tapenade, the Balsamic Beets, the Sauteed Turnips, and the Paleo Bread. I will make every single dish again, that is for sure. This book has a great variety and there is something for everyone, especially if you have to entertain and/or cook for people not on a grain-free diet. They will like everything just as much as the normal version.
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on July 23, 2013
So I bought this book in Kindle version by mistake but got a paperback as a gift. I have purchased Elana's other books and always liked them. I have been gluten free for eight years so almond flour, coconut flour, etc are not new to me. I never review a book without having tried some of the recipes. First thing I made was the blueberry coffee cake. It was a hit at my home with my visiting 85-year-old picky father and easy-to-please husband. It was a little too sweet for me but I can easily adjust that. Then I made the Bacon tart which was amazing. The tart shell was light and crispy and the bacon and green onion filling was wonderful. I am not truly Paleo so I added 1/2 cup grated parmesan. Big Hit!! Then I made the bagels. That was just SAD. I should have known it wasn't even going to be close but wanted to give it a try 'cause the picture looked so good. The texture was lousy, they fell apart when you cut them and they smelled the house up with an eggy smell when baking. No go in this house.
Overall the book is pretty good. People complained that it was nothing new and not creative. How much more creative can you be with Paleo? It's meat, fruit and veggies. I think she did a good job. I'm glad I purchased it
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Elana Amsterdam delivers another excellent and helpful cookbook for those who suffer from different allergies. In the past, I have tried her recipes offered from her website, and from her fantastic book she published in 2009, 'The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.' My daughter and I suffer from different allergies, and found her delicious recipes to help enhance better health. There are approximately 100 mouth-watering recipes in this amazing cookbook that are family favorites, passed down from one generation to another. Every recipe is simple, easy-to-prepare with directions included, followed by colorful, stunning illustrations of prepared dishes. The author includes recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinners, sides and desserts. In addition, the sweet treats are a bonus, and there are plenty to choose from. The Paleo Diet is safe, gluten-free, dairy-free, and grain free. My daughter can tolerate dairy products, but I can't, so this cookbook is perfect for my health issues. The Paleo Diet highlights seafood, meat, vegetables, fruits and more. This cookbook also gives the number of servings per recipe, and her classic old-time favorites are incredible in taste. Each recipe also contains only a few ingredients to make life easy for the busy cook. We have made the Breakfast Sausage, which we both love as breakfast is my favorite meal. Her desserts are a sensation, including the Nut-Free Brownies, but there is so much more this book has to offer. An Update: I made the BLUEBERRY COFFEE CAKE twice, and it is indeed delicious. Also, I made the BANANA BREAD, very tasty. Tomorrow, we are going to make the CHICKEN SALAD as this sounds delightful and refreshing, and it's perfect for us in this AZ summer heat, which we appreciate dishes that are not to heavy. In conclusion thus far, the more we choose these recipes, the more we realize how fascinating this cookbook is. We thank the author for this wonderful addition to my collection of cookbooks, and I will leave updates with new recipes we try. Extremely useful, inspiring, and very helpful for those who suffer from allergies. Highly recommended!
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on June 19, 2013
I'm a huge fan of Elana's Pantry. It's always one of the first food blogs I recommend when anyone is asking me about eating gluten free or paleo. I use my Almond Flour cookbook every week. However, this cookbook has been very underwhelming. As another reviewer mentioned, simple things like roasting a chicken or almond flour pancakes? Boring! Also, what is with the use of Egg White Protein Powder? How is that even remotely paleo? I guess technically, it's not a grain, but it sure as hell ain't a whole food. She also uses waaaay too much stevia for my liking in these recipes too. Totally bummed. I had this pre-ordered for months.
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on June 18, 2013
I just received my copy today and already made the Nut-Free Brownies. I have to say that most of the recipes I have made from the books and from the blog go off without a hitch and are always lovely.

I really appreciate the latest book because I am eating more paleo/primal and this book is more in line with what I keep handy to cook with. I have to admit on the previous book I subbed most of the recipes for a couple of the called-for ingredients. This book makes me feel comfortable because I am working with things that I am familiar with and that I use on a regular basis.

Thumbing through the book I am excited to get to work on a lot of items to get them pre-made like the mayo and can't wait to try the tortillas and bagels.

I am not saying that I found things in the book that no one else has already touched on and there are a bevy of paleo books that are coming out in a steady stream. But I trust Elana's expertise enough to attempt any recipe she writes. This is because I have mostly had success and let's face it the ingredients are not inexpensive. I don't want to spend time and money on recipes that I will have to toss. I have had some flops but the positives are outweighed by far.

Overall, I think this is a great book and I always appreciate the simplicity of the recipes. That's what keeps me interested in EP. I am a busy Mom and good food in a whole and simple form is my goal to feed myself and my family.

Get it! :)
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on June 22, 2013
The Coffee Ice Cream is BETTER than Haagen Daaz - my old downfall! Now I can have this luscious treat without the guilt or the toll on my health! Thank you, Elana. Having tried the Hot Cereal, which was warming and rib-sticking, and the wonderful Cauliflower Rice I can't wait to try more. Since Ginger Ale is my husband's favorite I will be trying that next!

I avoid grains, dairy and sugar to manage my weight and to control heart disease and keep from becoming diabetic. Both of these diseases run in my family, and both have been much easier to control since I started eating Elana's recipes. I have feed my husband exactly what I cook for myself and he has lost 20 pounds without trying, and he loves the food.

I love the direction PALEO COOKING from Elana's Pantry has taken us and the simplicity of the recipes. I know this cookbook will be one of my constant companions in the kitchen.
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on July 7, 2013
We pre-ordered this book with much fanfare after following Elana online and her website. I was expecting fresh, new recipes that were not included free on the internet or in other Paleo books or even on her website. When I received the book and reviewed the recipes...bottom line: Not worth the price paid for the actual book itself.
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