One of my favorite parts of being a Paleo writer and nutritionist is the chance to try out and review new release Paleo cookbooks on a regular basis. The Paleo Kids Cookbook by Jennifer Robins of Predominantly Paleo has been on my radar for awhile, and I was thrilled to receive an advance copy to review.
I’ve had my eyes on a number of stellar Paleo cookbooks, but I can honestly say that The Paleo Kids Cookbook is hands down one of my favorites. While it has more than 90 Paleo recipes that are definitely kid-friendly, they are equally as appealing to adults, too.
Here is a sampling of why I think this Paleo cookbook will become a staple in your home, kids or not:
- Grain- + Nut-Free Granola: This recipe (which Jennifer graciously allowed me to share below!) is any batch-cooker’s best friend, and as a bonus, it’s allergen friendly and contains no dairy, soy, peanuts, almonds, or other tree nuts. That’s right — finally a simple and easy to make legit tasting granola for people who can’t eat almonds or other nuts, and who are tired of scouring the internet for solutions. It’s great as an on-the-go snack or enjoyed with coconut yogurt or any form of Paleo-friendly milk alternative. I’ve tried (and failed) to make a successful oat-free, nut-free granola, but this totally takes the cake. And speaking of cake…
- Anything-But-Basic Vanilla Cupcakes + Bettercream Frosting: Need to celebrate a birthday or special event? Or just need some better Paleo cake in your life? This recipe is also nut-free, and it’s free of complicated steps that necessitate being a professional baker to pull off. I am no baker or pastry artisan, but I didn’t even break a sweat when I read the instructions. I rarely make Paleo icing because I never seem to have success, but if you buy this cookbook for one reason alone, this could be it.
- French Toast Sticks: One of my favorite childhood memories revolves around French toast sticks (that came from a box, of course) that were dipped in syrup, and made me feel like I was getting away with having dessert for breakfast. I can’t imagine what that ingredients label read, but I guarantee you I shouldn’t have been eating that for breakfast or any other meal. Enter The Paleo Kids Cookbook to save breakfast and elevate French toast sticks into an allergen-friendly menu item that proves that a Paleo kid can still be a normal kid. And speaking of normalcy…
- Pale-O’s Cereal: What kid doesn’t like to wake up and start their day with a good, old-fashioned bowl of cereal? (Raising my hand here, too, because frankly, a bowl of cereal for breakfast is also a convenient meal for parents, college students, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.) There may be some Paleo cereals on the market, but they’re pricy, and not a great option for a family trying to stick to a grocery budget. Pale-O’s are coconut and cassava based, and a batch can be baked in as little as 10 minutes, making them fast and affordable.
- Glazed Grain-Free Meatloaf + Crispy Onion Topping: I’m all about a great Paleo meatloaf, but sometimes a meatloaf is just a meatloaf. I literally did a double take when I saw the crispy onions on top of this one and asked myself why I had never thought of that. If you’re intimidated by the idea of frying your own onions, there’s no need! The instructions are crystal clear, and the process isn’t nearly as time consuming as you might guess. You’ll fry your awesome Paleo onion toppers while the meatloaf is baking, so there’s only a small amount of effort beyond making a plain old meatloaf, but the results will be infinitely worth it.
- Soft Pretzels: When I was a kid, I used to look forward to the county fair every year because it meant warm, melt-in-your-mouth, salted-to-perfection soft pretzels. When I went Paleo, I didn’t really struggle, but I’ll admit that I often find myself thinking of soft pretzels, especially when I walk through a mall or visit a fair. Jennifer Robins has created a magnificent soft pretzel recipe that will bring the best of American fair cuisine to your own kitchen, without all of the unfortunate ingredients and inflammatory side effects. (And, bonus! She agreed to let me share the recipe with you right now!)
Features I Love In The Paleo Kids Cookbook
The Paleo Kids Cookbook exudes feelings of family, health, and happiness. The author is pictured on the pages with her own children, and each recipe contains tips “for little hands” so that you can get your children involved in the cooking process in tried and true ways that won’t make-or-break your recipe.
The photography is stunning, and I do not exaggerate when I say that the first time I flipped through the pages, my mouth started watering and I went on a desperate scramble through my cupboards to see what recipe(s) I could try first.
Are you completely new to Paleo? Feeling intimidated by introducing your kids to a brand new way of eating? There are 11 helpful tips for transitioning your family to Paleo from a Standard American Diet to an allergen-friendly Paleo diet, and they’re written with the wisdom and know-how of a parent who gets it.
Finally, if you’re saying, “but I have a baby, and babies can’t eat Paleo” you couldn’t be more wrong! Babies can enjoy some nutrient-rich Paleo foods from the time that they’re old enough to start solids, and this book concludes with 11 awesome baby food suggestions to whet your infant’s appetite and start them off on a nutritionally wealthy path.
Recipe: Grain- + Nut-Free Granola
From the book: “The great thing about grain-free eating is the versatility and magic of nuts behaving as grains. But sadly those with nut allergies become limited once more. I wanted to create a granola that was just as good in yogurt and in milk as it is alone as a quick snack. This one is both grain and nut free and is packed with lots of nutrients that both little kids and grown kids will love!”
MAKES: 6 SERVINGS
- 1 cup (140 g) sunflower seeds
- ½ cup (59 g) toasted pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup (42 g) flax seeds
- ½ cup (85 g) unsweetened flaked coconut
- ½ cup (93 g) unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tbsp (12 g) coconut flour
- 2 tbsp (14 g) sweet potato flour
- ¼ cup (60 ml) local honey
- 2 tbsp (17 g) sunflower seed butter
- ½ cup (112 g) dairy- and soy-free chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and then spread them out on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then redistribute the contents and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, being careful not to burn.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Allow the granola to cool, then store in an air-tight container at room temperature.
FOR LITTLE HANDS: Allow your child to mix all of the ingredients by hand and then spread the mixture out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. They can also help break the baked mixture apart into smaller clusters once it has cooled. Older kids may be able to complete the recipe start to finish with some supervision.
Recipe: Soft Pretzels
From the book: “You know that smell when you walk by a pretzel store in a shopping mall? Or by a bakery that bakes soft pretzels? It’s like they figured out the secret of the universe and bottled its heavenly aroma. Well, I think we all deserve that goodness, so I’ve made my version of a soft pretzel that’s free of grain, gluten and dairy and made it nut-free to boot! I recommend coarse salt and melted ghee to make this recipe even more delightful!”
MAKES: 4 LARGE SERVINGS OR 8 SMALL
FOR THE WATER BATH
- 10 cups (2.5 L) water
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp (18 g) sea salt
FOR THE PRETZELS
- 1 cup (240 ml) warm water (around 110ºF [43ºC])
- 1 packet gluten-free quick acting yeast
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) 100% maple syrup
- 1 pastured egg
- ½ cup (64 g) potato starch
- ½ cup (64 g) cassava flour
- 2 tbsp (18 g) psyllium husk powder
- 1 tbsp (12 g) coconut flour
- 4 tbsp (60 g) ghee, avocado oil, olive oil or preferred cooking fat, divided
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp (30 g) coarse sea salt
- Preheat oven to 425ºF (218ºC). Bring the water bath ingredients to a boil in a large pot.
- Combine the cup (240 ml) of warm water, yeast and maple syrup in a mixing bowl. Allow the yeast to multiply, for about 5 to 10 minutes. If it doesn’t froth or foam, toss the mixture and begin again. Either the yeast was dead or it was killed by the temperature of the water.
- Once your yeast mixture is frothy, add in the remaining pretzel ingredients, except the coarse salt and 2 tablespoons (30 g) of the cooking fat, and stir to combine. It now becomes easier to use your hands to combine the ingredients together more thoroughly. If making 4 large pretzels, divide the dough into 4 large pieces. If making smaller pretzels, divide the dough into 8 equal sized pieces.
- Roll one of the dough pieces into a long snake about 18-inches (45-cm) long (shorter for the small pretzels) and then make a U shape. Twist the two ends of the “U” together, crossing once then twisting again and bring them to the base of the U where you can secure the twist by pressing it into the base. Transfer the pretzel to the boiling water bath and allow it to cook for about 3 minutes. Remove the pretzel with a skimmer and transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. You can just make straight pretzel twists without having them be a traditional pretzel shape.
- Once all of the dough pieces have been boiled, baste them with the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 g) of ghee or cooking fat, sprinkle with the coarse sea salt bake them for 15 to 20 minutes. The longer you bake them, the crispier the exterior will become. The inside should be soft. These are best the same day or frozen and reheated in the toaster oven or conventional oven.
FOR LITTLE HANDS: Allow your child to help mix the pretzel ingredients and to help shape the dough. If pretzel shapes are difficult, allow your child to help roll out the snakes.