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VINE VOICEon October 21, 2013
Melissa Joulwan did it again!! Well Fed 2 somehow manages to rise above the excellence that is the first Well Fed. The recipes seem more diverse and the beginning of the book is packed full with all kinds of non-recipe meal ideas including lots of ways to dress up your eggs, burgers, and broccoli.

The book is also about 1/3 larger than the first one but still kept to a manageable size. I cannot stand big behemoth cookbooks with only a handful of recipes I want to actually make. I love that these books are light, portable, and they don't take up too much counter space.

Lately I've been kind of obsessed with making condiments. I was delighted to see that there is an entire section of condiments and every single one of them looks mouthwatering. Including quite a few ways to jazz up your basic mayo recipe.

Before I ever cooked a thing I read it front to back like a novel. The recipes are so full of interesting flavors that pop off the page and make your mouth water. Little personalized touches, stories, and anecdotes make each one even more special. The photos are stunning! Even better than the first book. They are more colorful, brighter, and they make you want to eat!! Like calorie and carb free appetizers! :)

You can also rest assured that no matter how mouthwatering and delectable these recipes are every single one of them is squeaky clean Paleo. Like W30 approved squeaky clean. Well, except for one or two treats. Now I'm totally down for the occasional Paleofied treat but I already have umpteen million recipes for them not to mention the internet is full of ideas for every single kind of Paleo brownie, cookie, pie, or cake you can think of. Treats definitely have their place in a healthy lifestyle but what we really need is more coobooks packed with delicious but clean eats! Which is exactly what we get with Well Fed. So cook, eat, and rest assured that you are nourishing both your soul and your body as you do so.

I got my book last Thursday so had time to look it over and narrow down the first batch of recipes to try. I do a big cookup every weekend so the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Now for the most important part! How the food actually tasted! Here is what I made so far:

Pina Colada Chicken: Such an interesting combination of flavors. It works. This dish is spectacular. I'm not sure if it is supposed to be a stir fry or stew but mine came out pretty saucy. Next time I'm cutting the coconut milk in half. I can tell though that this is going to be a staple from now on.

Oven Baked Salmon Cakes: Super fast, super easy, and super delicious. I served them with the Remolade sauce in the jazzed up mayo section. A-mazing! I made a bunch and froze them for super fast meals later.

Old School Meat Sauce: This was a project to make. It is a dish that you put your heart and soul, and a good chunk of an afternoon, into. Although it was my least favorite of all the recipes so far it is still very good. I just prefer a lighter brighter tasting marinara whereas this is rich, earthy, and herbaly tasting. It is delicious though and my bf and his friends devoured it then went back for seconds. Good thing the recipe made a ton. I doubled the meatballs as one pound of meatballs for all that sauce wasn't near enough. At least not in my house. Ooh I have to say that the Italian sausages after being browned and simmered for hours in that sauce were delectable! I don't think I've ever tasted a more delicious Italian sausage. I set them aside for me without telling anyone! My little secret. :)

Moroccan Chicken and Apricot Meatballs: A huge hit here!! I love the entire Burgers, Balls, and Bangers section. A lot of the recipes use ground pork, one of my most favorite protein choices, so this was right up my alley. My bf and brother devoured the entire recipe, I got to at least taste two of the meatballs, so I had to make more. This recipe inspired me to make a slightly different take on it but with pork and I added some 100% apricot preserves, Lebanese Spice mix, and used pistachios. I love when a cookbook inspires me to take an already amazing recipe and put my own spin on it and come with something equally amazing. It's like paying for one recipe and getting a bunch more! And the trick with water, cream of tartar, and baking soda is genius and makes for soft tender meatballs. Love it!

Deli Tuna Salad: This is tuna salad taken up five or ten notches! I cannot describe the delicious mouthful of flavor you get from this recipe. And it was so ridiculously fast to put together. I will be eating this for lots of lunches this week. On jicama slices!

Tabbouleh: This recipe is not just good. It's life changing I want to eat tabbouleh every day until I die good!! Easily my favorite recipe and I know it will be a staple. The thing is I never even really liked regular wheaty tabbouleh before going Paleo but something about the beautiful picture and the description of this recipe made me try it. I'm so glad I did. Initially I thought it called for too much mint and parsley so I halved the amount. Then tasted it and went ahead and added the full amount. That taught me not to mess with perfection!

Belly Dance Beet Salad: I'm not sure I've ever tasted anything with beets in it that wasn't delicious. They have been one of my most favorite foods since childhood. This recipe takes the classic beet and orange combination for a spin. A savory sweet spicy cuminy cinnamony spin! Delicious!

Lizard Sauce: This instantly became a new staple condiment in my house. It is spicy but not hot. It has such a depth of bright but smokey earthy flavor to it. The first things I'm using it on are eggs and a burger topped with lizard sauce and guacamole.

Almost Amba: Love!! I dipped my morroccan apricot meatballs in this. I never would have come up with this combination of flavors on my own. This is going to be my new veggie dip instead of Paleo ranch for a while.

Lebanese and Jerk Spice Mixes: Delicious and amazing flavor combinations. I never really liked jerk chicken but this jerk mix is incredible.

So as you can see I cooked up a storm this weekend! Everything was delicious and a hit. Honestly there are a lot of mediocre Paleo cookbooks out there. I know because I have almost all of them. They all get the same five star reviews from professional bloggers looking to drum up publicity for their blogs. I think it's great that the Paleo community supports each other in this way but it leaves regular non-professional paleoers like myself at a loss to find credible reviews by people who actually cook the food in the books. Not to worry with either of the Well Fed books. They are packed full of creative interesting flavors yet are accessible and doable for even beginner cooks. These books truly are gems in the Paleo cookbook genre and I couldn't recommend either of them more.
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on November 29, 2013
I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in May 2013. Was told by my family Doctor to drop 60 lbs (minimum) by end of October! He also recommended to join Weight Watchers. I had followed Weight Watchers lost some weight only to gain it all back...with extra weight :( So I went to see a Naturopath; who recommended to follow a Paleo Life Style. Read only good reviews about Fed 2, so I decided to give it a try. Love everything about this book. It is organized. Easy to follow. Recipes taste good. My son and husband were a little worried when I told them I would start cooking Paleo......but I have only gotten raves over the recipes I have cooked from this book. Thank you so much "Melissa Joulwan". You have inspired me to cook and try new recipes; and I look forward to trying them ALL out! Thanks once again you are definitely God sent. Bless you.
By the is now November 29, 2013. I have lost a total of 47lbs to date. My numbers for my Triglycerides are back to normal. My HDL (good) cholesterol is up! Which is good. My LDL (bad) cholesterol is down.....which is great! The good news is that I am NO longer Type 2 Diabetic.
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on November 14, 2013
All but two recipes in it are Whole30 approved. And you will never, ever feel deprived. The flavors sing!

Recipes I've made so far:

Casablanca Carrots - wonderful cold salad to eat alone or atop greens.
Merguez Sausage Seasoning and Meatballs - an instant favorite.
Italian Bangers
Oven-Fried Salmon Cakes - so delicious, and penny-wise.
Fiesta Pork Chops - bye bye bland pork chops.
Pan-Fried Plantains - perfect for breakfast.
Green Beans with Sizzled Garlic - so flavorful - a huge hit!
Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup - a "hug in a bowl" indeed.
Crispy Chicken Livers - surprisingly delicious.
Mashed Cauliflower - Less "heavy" than mashed potatoes, and so much faster. No peeling, boiling or mashing!
Basic Cauliflower Rice - especially great with a curry, saucy dish or soup.
Steam-sauteed Veggies - a weekly staple.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash - always have some on hand!
Roasted Cabbage Roses - surprisingly delicious.
Olive Oil Mayo & Garlic Mayo - these are always in my fridge.
Tahini Dressing - so tasty drizzled

On my "Try Next" list:

Hoisin Sauce
Mulligatawny Stew
Sesame Cucumber Noodles
Coconut Cauliflower Rice
Plantain Nachos
Tod Mun Chicken Cakes
Better Butter
Zingy Ginger Dressing

She has extremely simple yet helpful sections titled "Stuff to Put on Eggs", "Flavor Boosters" that will jazz up any food, How to Dress up Broccoli, Burger Toppings, and suggestions on combinations to try. Great when you are speed-cooking a basic meal!

The original Well Fed struck a perfect balance of simple, fast recipes and dishes that took a bit more time and effort but yielded many meals. All of her recipes have been incredibly delicious. I spend a lot of my time cooking and was truly impressed that Melissa managed to introduce me to several new spices and many new, succulent flavors. And she does it again in Well Fed 2.

I bought this out of loyalty to my love for Melissa's recipes and blog, though honestly I did not know how she could come up with anything to top the original Well Fed.

The verdict: Well Fed 2 is even better. It's pure pleasure to read, devour with your eyes and yes, the recipes are outstanding.

My advice? Buy both. You will NOT regret it.
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on January 17, 2014
On recommendations from family members I bypassed Well Fed 1 and went straight to Well Fed 2 and I'm thrilled with all of the awesome things found in this book (not that there was anything wrong with WF1 and will probably buy). Very nice intro pages includes short but info packed subjects like what is paleo, Melissa's paleo story, what is Whole30 and 30 reason to do Whole30, how to paleo socially, difference between emotional eating and true hunger, how the book is laid out and how the recipes are laid out, all very excellent information for one who knows nothing or everything about paleo. Then there is a gem of a section all about the paleo kitchen. Melissa shares essential tools you need to invest in to prepare your foods, suggestions to stock your pantry, things to always have on hand, spice suggestions to have on hand and tasty terminology.

My favorite part of this meal book is the 17 sauce and seasoning recipes she shares that are all paleo approved. Most importantly are olive oil mayo, BBQ sauce, and Kickass ketchup that are among my most favorite.

Then the book is broken up into proteins, veggies and salads and fruits. All the recipes include how much it makes, prep and cook times, ingredients, direction and then additional options that might work with the same recipe but maybe with other meats or seasonings. Also are suggestions of sides that will go well with the recipe.

One last BIG APPLAUSE goes to the pictures in this book. The food is captured just exquisitely on the pages and truly makes your mouth water.

VERY VERY HIGHLY RECOMMEND to get if you are a "paleo"er or if you're streamlining you eating to gluten free/sugar free and are incorporating more proteins and veggies.
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Some background on me: I am a 40 something RN and mom to 8 children. I've long suffered with multiple autoimmune issues, including thyroid (cycling hypo to hyper) , IBS, fibromyalgia and "arthritis advanced for age". I've been overweight to obese most of my adult life. 3 years ago I was suffering so many physical ailments, I was under the care of a neurologist (and 4 other doctors) and was undergoing testing for MS. It's absolutely devastating to be in constant pain and have so many issues that you feel trapped in your own body. Sad, but it was my reality.

I started doing research about my own health, including having a full DNA profile checking for other issues (I knew of my MTHFR since 2005) and exploring a more "alternative" approach to healthcare using supplements and nutrition to restore overall health. This journey, especially my first Whole 30 in Oct 2013, lead me to realize that things that I was putting into my body on a daily basis, stuff that passes for "food" in the Standard American Diet (SAD) were actually contributing to my sickness. What an eye opener!!

Paleo, for me, is the easiest lifestyle to follow on a consistent basis. It is clean, healthful, and contributes to me feeling my best. It has also opened my eyes to what I *was* feeding my children. I now realize that if I keep their diets cleaner, I will likely help them prevent the chronic suffering that I have experienced for much of my life.

This is a great recipe book complete with easy to follow directions and pictures of the lovely dishes (moo shu pork!!) that you can create and feel good about feeding your family. The sauces and dressings is one of my favorite sections, because I love how quick and easy it is to whip up something like fresh mayo from my own chicken's egg. If you follow paleo or even primal, this will be a welcome addition to your cookbook collection.
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on July 27, 2016
Excellent recipes! Very inspiring. Got me to FINALLY cut out the grains, sugar and dairy. Having such wonderful recipes and ideas for this made the switch eay for me. I've never been able to do it before. It's ALL about finding the substitutes to the comfort foods that you love but don't love you back!
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on October 25, 2013
Let's put the mind-blowing, creative genius recipes aside for a moment. The value of the cooking, food and kitchen tips alone is worth the price of the book. I have been reading this book from cover to cover, gleaming god knows how many useful cooking-foodie tips from it. Another book (of which there are few) that I am going to recommend as "must have's" to my loved ones.

The recipes? I have only made a couple (I just got this book two days ago....) but in true Well Fed fashion, lip smacking! I'm so happy to see healthy versions of old favorites, like Zingy Ginger Dressing: such a small victory (remember the dressing that used to come draped over that sad iceburg lettuce at the Asian restaurants? Recreated and in the book!). Simple and fresh recipes and the book itself is so pretty ;)

BRAVO MEL! My health and taste buds thank you.

UPDATE: Just made the fried plantains (I know, simple but overlooked recipe) and "perfect steak" (had a grass-fed steak in the freezer that I was waiting to use for the perfect recipe). It literally floors me how I used to think "complicated" means "the best!". These two recipes were so easy/fast and man were they GOOD!
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on July 25, 2015
This cookbook is by far the best cookbook I have ever owned, and I'm just now getting back into cooking. I bought both Well Fed 1 & Well Fed 2, and like "2" better, but "1" is also packed with fundamental information that builds up to "2". I was never a big cook, but could put together basic meals. The author (Melissa) packs a lot of choices into this little book, as well as quite a bit of her personality. I'm using spices I've never used before, and eating foods I hadn't previously considered using in the way that she suggests. She also give substitutions for various items. For example, I don't eat beef or chicken, so she mentions which dishes are good with suggested substitutions of different seafood (shrimp, tuna, salmon, white fish...etc.). I made a zucchini soup the other day that used ginger and coriander. I never would have put these spices together myself, much less considered zucchini for a soup (I find zucchini boring). She has recipes for spice mixes, and I'm now making Thai dishes, Indian dishes, spins on traditional American recipes, and other meals I never thought I'd make. I even satisfied my breakfast sweet tooth with the "Sunshine Scramble" which uses apple and sweet potato, along with a variety of spices including cinnamon and marjoram (and others). Marjoram! Goodness! I have never ever used that spice in my life before this cookbook. This book also offers recipes for condiments (ketchup, mayo varieties, etc.) I've been texting all of my friends photos of the dishes I make (and I'm not a big text person!). I absolutely love this cookbook.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 17, 2015
Good and easy to understand Paleo recipe book. All the recipes I have made have tasted great, saying that, there are not a lot of them. What I really do like about this particular Paleo book is the ease in which the authors show us foods that are considered Paleo worthy. I also like the size and feel of this book.
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on April 19, 2017
I bought the kindle edition as this cookbook was a recommendation from a friend. I love the knowledge and recipes but would prefer the hard copy. There is just something about flipping through the pages
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