Review and Giveaway: “Cooking with Coconut Oil” and a Recipe

CoconutcoverIn spite of its demonization in years past, coconut oil is actually a health food. Elizabeth Nyland, the woman behind the popular blog Guilty Kitchen understands this very well. In her new cookbook “COOKING WITH COCONUT OIL: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Recipes for Good Living” Elizabeth explains how finding out “fats are good for you” was a turning point in her relationship with food. 

Elizabeth has done her research on not only the health benefits of coconut oil but has put it to delicious use in the recipes in her new cookbook. As the proud owner of this beautiful book I can tell you it is chock full of delicious, healthful, approachable recipes. One of the things I really love about “Cooking with Coconut Oil”  is each recipe is accompanied by a gorgeous photograph.

Coconut Oil cookbook photos-2

Inside “COOKING WITH COCONUT OIL: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Recipes for Good Living” you will find more than 75 mouthwatering, paleo, gluten-free, grain-free coconut oil and coconut flour recipes. As an extra bonus you will find:

  • Details on the health benefits of coconut oil
  • An overview of key ingredients
  • High level explanation of paleo as well as tips and tricks

Personally, this is my current favorite cookbook to share with loved ones just starting (or curious about) the paleo diet. It provides basic information on paleo as well as recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, treats and baked goods. It’s just enough without being overwhelming or intimidating.

Coconut Oil cookbook photos-3

One of my favorite recipes from the book is “Dark Chocolate Cherry Muffins”. I featured them in a recent post about Ovenart Bakeware. It was my guinea pig recipe with the silicone muffin cups. They were rich, delicious and easy. The coconut flour meant they were relatively low-carb and filled me up and kept me satisfied for hours.

Another recipe we tried was the “Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Apple Compote”. Gavin was the cook for that one and he did a masterful job (if he does say so himself). The pork chops were delectable. In fact, they were so mouthwatering I actually choked on a piece of the pork because I was eating it entirely too quickly. This entailed a trip to the emergency room! Yes, seriously. In my defense, I have a condition known as “Eosinophilic Esophagitis” which, according to my gastroenterologist, makes me more susceptible to choking – more on that in a future post. But suffice it to say, the pork chops, paired with a savory and sweet apple compote, were delicious and simple yet elegant. (NOTE: the pork chops will not induce choking in a normal human being who is not scarfing their food.)

Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Apple Compote Continue reading

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Paleo Spirit Book Review: “Beyond Bacon”

Beyond Bacon Cover

Much has already been written about the wonderful new book “Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes That Respect The Whole Hog”here, here and here. Matthew McCarry and Stacy Toth (The Paleo Parents) have created a true Masterpiece of a cookbook that excels in all categories. I don’t know about you, but I have become pretty selective when it comes to actual hard copies of books. The advent of electronic media has meant that e-books, iPad apps and digital downloads of books have become the norm. If a bona fide hardback book is making it into my house it better be excellent. Beyond Bacon is just such a book.

Beyond Bacon is a completely “paleo” cookbook with only gluten, grain, legume and dairy-free recipes found within its covers. Even if you are not a strict follower of the paleo diet this book is loaded with tasty dishes and mouth-watering photos for every recipe. Presenting a book of pork recipes, including several “dessert” recipes utilizing lard as a main ingredient, means spending time countering a lot of conventional wisdom on the subject. Matt and Stacy do an excellent job of providing plenty of science and nutrition information in and easy to understand format. The writing style is engaging and they cover every aspect of pork from how to buy it, prepare it with lots and lots of recipes. You have always known pork is delicious. But after reading Beyond Bacon you will have a much better understanding of why pork from properly raised pigs is actually very healthful.


My favorite recipes so far are:

  • Apple and Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops
  • Cuban Porchetta
  • Faux-Tato Salad
  • Lard Pie Crust
  • Salted Caramel Bacon Sauce (WOW!!!)

You’ll also find recipes like these:

  • Maple Sage Breakfast Sausage
  • Sweet and Sour Pork
  • Crispy Lardons
  • Fried Yuca
  • Green Papaya Salad with Poached Jowl (next on my menu)
  • Prosciutto and Roasted Peach Ice Cream

Just check out Nathaniel’s face as he feasts his eyes on the “Salted Caramel Bacon Sauce” recipe which proved to be “out of this world” delicious.

square Nat with BB Book

In summary, here are the main reasons Beyond Bacon is worthy of a place in any cookbook collection:

  • Excellent information about the health benefits of eating pastured pork
  • Scientific and nutrition information in an easy-to-understand format
  • Sections on pork basics like: sausage-making, smoking, rendering lard, making bacon and more
  • Real food recipes without too many hard to find ingredients
  • Gorgeous photographs for every recipe
  • Engaging writing style
  • Nice layout with helpful listing of recipes by meal-type and ingredient
  • No “wasted” recipes because they are all gluten/grain/legume/dairy-free ingredients

I cannot recommend Beyond Bacon more highly. If you are looking for a cookbook that will help you eat more healthily and economically, this is the book for you. If you love to better understand why going “back to the basics” with food makes nutritional sense, this book is for you. And if you love cookbooks with delicious recipes, beautiful photographs and design, you simply MUST add Beyond Bacon to your collection.

 On Sale Now! Go buy Beyond Bacon. You won’t regret it.

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What is the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol?

When I first went paleo it was out of a desire to determine if my health could be improved by changing the way I was eating. Undertaking a strict elimination diet was the key to improving my health and ultimately led me to a diagnosis of celiac disease. So I am big believer that anyone experiencing autoimmune disease symptoms owes it to themselves to find out if their health could be improved by a change in diet. For individuals whose symptoms are not fully eliminated after following the standard paleo diet you may wish to consider the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP).

Why Follow the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol?

The autoimmune paleo protocol was derived from research indicating autoimmune disease stems from inflammation in the body. Inflammation is often caused by an underlying problem with intestinal permeability (or “leaky gut”). When a person has leaky gut, irritation in the gut lining causes the tight junctions in the intestinal barrier to allow unwanted molecules (food, toxins, bacteria) into the bloodstream. The autoimmune paleo protocol eliminates those foods that have been shown to irritate the gut or cause increased permeability.

What is the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol?

The autoimmune paleo protocol is a version of the Paleo diet (no grains, legumes or dairy) that also includes the avoidance of the following:

  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Spices derived from seeds (Anise, Annatto, Caraway, Celery seed, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Fenugreek, Mustard, Nutmeg, Poppy, Sesame)
  • Nighshades (Vegetables from the Solanaceae family of plants: Eggplant, White Potatoes, Peppers, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Pimentos, Paprika, Curry, Chili Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, Cayenne Pepper, Tabasco sauce, et al.)
  • Alcohol
  • Cocoa
  • Coffee
  • NSAIDs (aspirin and ibuprofen)

Other Things To Consider for the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol Continue reading

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