I was so excited when I saw this book pop up in my instagram feed, and when it arrived in my mailbox a couple of weeks later, I flipped through it with glee.
Like Paleo Indulgences, another Victory Belt publication, Paleo Slow Cooking has a thumbnail-index of recipes in the front. I love this style of table of contents, because it appeals to the instagram-loving pinterest-fiend visually oriented people like me.
There’s also a nice introduction, explaining some of the whys and hows of eating a paleo diet, and outlining some benefits of slow-cooking.
But as I sat down later to really look at the recipes and decide on one to try, I became a bit disappointed. There are a lot of packaged products in the ingredient lists – a certain brand’s spice blends I’ve never heard of, bottled barbeque sauces, Trader Joe’s products (the closest one is an hour away), organic ketchup (I do like ketchup occasionally, but I see it as a sugar-based condiment and don’t use it much) and lots of canned tomatoes and chiles, enchilada sauce, and so forth.
I do use canned tomatoes occasionally, especially in the crock pot, but I’m trying to get away from canned foods in general, due to BPA in the lining of the cans. And the other processed stuff? Well… like I said, it’s from far-away stores, or brands I’ve never heard of. Sourcing out pre-mixed spice blends doesn’t sound like “Gluten-free recipes made simple” to me, when I could use plain “solo” spices I already have or can easily buy in our little commissary’s spice aisle.
And that’s another thing that puzzled me… “made simple”? How much simpler can Paleo food get? It’s meat, veggies, some nuts and fruit. Making a paleo meal is already simple. Throw some chicken thighs in the oven and saute some veggies on the stove in coconut oil (link is to expeller-pressed, which doesn’t have the coconut flavor). BAM. PALEO. Add a salad if you want.
Still, there are some good ideas in the book, and other recipes I’m open to trying later. The whole thing isn’t a bust, and I’m sure there are lots of people who will appreciate the recipes that are in it already. It’s just not what I expected or hoped for, and I’m unlikely to buy packaged ingredients that aren’t part of my regular kitchen “toolbelt” for the sake of trying one of these recipes.
The breakfast recipes – mainly frittatas- looked REALLY delicious, but unless you’re cooking for a large group, I didn’t see the benefit of using the slow cooker for them. I’d be more likely to pop it in the oven for 30 minutes than the slow cooker for 2 hours.
The Slow Cooked Almond Apple Cereal looked really cool though. It takes 6 hours on low, which means if I stayed up late (haha) it could cook while I slept, and hopefully I’d awaken to the delicious smell of apples and cinnamon wafting through the house. Breakfast would be read, which I hoped would be a tribute to the coming Autumn (it’s still in the 80s-90s here!), warming our bellies and our hearts.
Judging by the photo in the book, Chrissy used blanched almond flour, but the recipe states that “almond meal” is the ingredient and doesn’t require a certain brand, so I used what I had… which, ironically, is from Trader Joe’s. We went a couple of months ago.
I held trust in my heart as I filled the crock pot with three cups of almond meal. This stuff isn’t cheap, and three cups could make a LOT of banana nut waffles, or muffins, or other baked deliciousness in my house. I poured in the water, sprinkled in the required cinnamon, and added 2 grated apples. I set the crock pot to low and went to bed.
In the morning, there was no apple-cinnamon smell in my bedroom. I could smell it when I lifted the lid, but that was a disappointment. What I found in my crock pot was a thick paste, with some water that had separated out on the top. I stirred it diligently, and took a taste. Nothing. It tasted almost like nothing, and felt like paste.
Chrissy says, “I enjoy it with a splash of coconut milk and honey served alongside my bacon and eggs.” so I tried mine with some cream and maple syrup. Still not doing it for me. I added more maple syrup, attempting to find the missing flavor. It tasted like sweet paste. I added some shredded coconut to my bowl for texture, but it didn’t help much. I threw in some raisins to distract me. Nope.
The picture above is Anneliese’s little bowl. I put butter and raisins in hers, and she really enjoyed it. She asked for another bowl, and a third (they’re very small), and stopped halfway through the third bowl of “app-oo por-reg” (apple porridge). I’m not sure what she saw in it.
As you can tell, the recipe was a flop for me… and most of the others get an X from me based on ingredients. But a few look worthwhile, and as I said before, you might like the book if you don’t mind buying the ingredients. I’d recommend buying with Amazon Prime (free shipping / free returns) or going to a book store to flip through it in person, rather than buying it on faith that it will be exactly what you were looking for.
Hopefully next week’s #MmmMonday post will be a bit more successful.