My copy of Well Fed came in the mail last week, and it only took a moment before I was already lost in the mouth-watering photos, the recipes, the stories, the flavor pairings and the wit of Melissa Joulwan, author and blogger at The Clothes Make the Girl. One of my favorite paleo bloggers, Mel has a tough-but-sweet attitude, and from what I’ve read she really knows how to tackle a challenge with style and grit. Not only that, but she’s an inventive cook with an eye for presentation and a flair for exotic spices, and her cookbook displays all of this.
Plus, nearly everything in Well Fed is Whole30-approved, which is such a blessing. I’m smack dab in the middle of my first Whole30 challenge, and if I wasn’t able to cook and eat the dishes that I was reading about I think I probably would’ve eaten the cookbook itself. Thankfully, it’s all systems go for these delicious dishes!
I’ve already made her recipe for Creamy Mashed Cauliflower and the Coconut-Almond Green Beans, and I have plans to cook up her Creamy Spice Market Kale, “The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat,” her Salmon A L’Afrique du Nord, her Turkish Chopped Salad, and her Velvety Butternut Squash in the coming days. It’s Well Fed-week on our menu planner!
How could I not want to cook all of her dishes after reading Well Fed? After reading the last few pages I was so inspired to start cooking and fiddling with spices that I could hardly bring myself to make what I had planned to cook for dinner. Mel’s Cinnamon Beef Stew or Scotch Eggs sounded so much more inventive than my simple veggie-and-sausage scramble.
Mel certainly doesn’t turn her proverbial nose up at simple meals, however. She writes about her tried-and-true methods for putting food on the table despite busy schedules during the workweek, including the ever-important topic of meal prep. Mel takes a day to cook up large portions of protein, wash and prep veggies, do some preliminary roasting and sauteeing and pack snacks for the week in an afternoon — this way, she knows what’s available for meals and nibbles, and dinner is as easy as combining this chicken with those roasted veggies, adding a homemade sauce or a zingy spice blend, and then digging in with gusto.
I was so inspired that I undertook my own form of meal prep on Saturday afternoon. I washed and sliced several bell peppers and radishes, roasted golden beets, steamed greens, washed and spun lettuce for salads, hardboiled half a dozen eggs, thawed chicken breasts, made my own ghee, and cleaned out the refrigerator. I had plans to cook off some bacon and sausage later, and to make some of Mel’s famous sauces and spice blends too. Even though I work at home during the week and usually have plenty of time to make lunch or dinner from scratch, there are days when it all seems too much to do in one sitting. Plus I feel more secure about sticking to my Whole30 guidelines now, knowing I have tons of great prepped ingredients upon which to build meals.
Overall, this cookbook was an inspiration to me as a Whole30 participant, as a new-to-paleo eater, and as a cook in general. It’s a small book and I like it that way. With just under 100 recipes, the cookbook offers plenty of recipes to try without being overwhelming — and the book itself is small and kind of square-ish, which is a nice change from the hefty hardbound tomes that take up so much space in the kitchen. The photography offers great detail and the layout is pleasing (in addition to being designed by one of my favorite creatives), and Mel’s lovely personality shines through with every anecdote and note on spices. It was a purchase well-made, and now more than ever I am feeling nourished and well fed.
And because I’m feeling so excited about this cookbook I’m offering one lucky reader a copy of Well Fed as a gift, from me to you. This is in no way affiliated with the author of the publisher, and I was not sponsored to do this giveaway — I just want to spread the good news and the great recipes far and wide. To be entered to win, please leave a comment telling me about your favorite meal, the one that makes you feel the most “well fed” and happy. I will randomly draw a winner next Monday, January 21 and your own personal copy of Well Fed will be on it’s way to your kitchen. You have until Friday, January 18 at midnight to enter. Good luck!
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