If you have followed this blog over the past month or so, you have probably noticed that I am trying to avoid gluten and have reviewed a couple of paleo cookbooks. Today I am pleased to tell you about another cookbook that I have had the opportunity to review: Paleo Happy Hour: Appetizers, Small Plates & Drinks by Kelly Milton.
Kelly began her journey into the Paleo world in 2010 after hearing about it when she started attending NorCal Strength and Conditioning Gym in California. She created her blog, Paleo Girl’s Kitchen, as a way to stay on track and to share her recipes. After following the lifestyle for 30 days, she lost 10 pounds and experienced other positive side effects. (She was able to sleep better, bloating and gas were no longer an issue for her, and naturally sweet foods – like an apple – tasted sweeter.)
Kelly also discovered that when she went astray from the diet, her weight would go up. Paleo Happy Hour is the result of Kelly’s determination of making Paleo foods fit her lifestyle.
Flipping through the book I was reminded of being in a restaurant. The chapters are broken into sections much like a menu at a restaurant:
Chapters include Mimosa Munchies, Appetizers, Small Plates, Pub Grub, Saloon Sides, Sweet Treats, Delectable Drinks, and Condiments & Sauces. There are also guides and tips about parties and alcohol. In the back of the book there is a section for Party Menus which includes ideas such as Luscious Luau, Football Feast, Girls’ Night, Fabulous Fiesta plus a few more.
While I am past the partying stage, I find the book to be filled with foods that fit my tastes. Some of the recipes that I plan on trying include Pumpkin Waffle Strips, Herbed Biscuits with Bacon Jam, Sausage Mini Quiches, Pulled Pork with Barbeque Sauce, Guacamole and Plantain Chips, and Pecan Pie Bars.
The first recipe that I made from Paleo Happy Hour is Cookie Dough Bonbons.
I found a couple of errors with this particular recipe. The first thing that caught my attention was that 1/4 tsp of sea salt is in the ingredient list, but omitted in the directions. Since salt was listed after the chocolate for coating the bonbons, I simply sprinkled it on top.
Left over chocolate chips
The recipe calls for 1 cup of chocolate chips – too many in my opinion. (I cannot believe I just typed that!) Also, the dough was very crumbly so I doubled the amount of honey. The amount of semi-sweet chocolate for covering the bonbons was not near enough -about 1/3 of the cookie dough was left uncovered. These are what I ended up with:
Rich and Delicious
Even with a few mistakes in the recipe the bonbons turned out to be a great treat. The uncoated cookie dough balls will not go to waste – they have been chopped up and frozen. I will try to make some cookie dough ice cream in the near future.
I love Chinese cuisine and thought I would make Kelly’s General Tao’s Chicken Wings. They were easy to make and I think they are a good alternative to fried chicken wings. The most difficult aspect about them was getting coconut aminos. I had to order a bottle online.
I have been granted permission to share the recipe with you. I hope you enjoy it.
General Tao’s Chicken Wings
- 4 Tbsp coconut aminos
- 4 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1-2 Tbsp chili paste
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- ½ tsp arrowroot powder
- 2 pounds chicken wings
- Avocado oil in an oil mister
- 2 green onions sliced
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a small saucepan, stir together the coconut aminos, rice vinegar, sesame seed oil, chili paste, garlic, ginger, and honey. Bring the mixture to a low boil over medium-high heat. Lightly sprinkle in the arrowroot powder while whisking continuously to avoid clumping. Simmer for 3 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add a little more arrowroot powder, if desired, to thicken the sauce further.
Rinse the chicken wings and pat them dry. Line a baking pan with foil. Place a wire rack on top of the pan and spray it with avocado oil.
Brush the sauce onto the wings and bake them for 20 minutes. Remove the wings from the oven, turn them over, and brush on more sauce. Bake them for another 20-25 minutes or until the skin is slightly crunchy. If necessary, broil them on high for 2 minutes to get the skin crispy.
Garnish the chicken wings with green onions and sesame seeds.
All in all I find it to be a beautiful cookbook with inspiring recipes. That’s the beauty of cookbooks, in my opinion. With a good foundation, you can tweak recipes to suit your own tastes. Don’t care for a particular spice? Omit it or substitute one that you do like.
Though the name may conjure images of cocktails and other “adult” beverages, don’t let it fool you. The majority of the book contains recipes for dishes that will help keep you on the Paleo track.
You can find Paleo Happy Hour: Appetizers, Small Plates & Drinks at your favorite bookstore or on Amazon.