Category Archives: Book Review

Meal planning again

Hello everyone! And happy Labor Day 🙂 With a very busy work (but short!) week ahead, I knew a meal plan would help tremendously. I’ll also list “back-up” options in case I forget to thaw out or just feel too tired to cook 😉 Real life! 

Here’s the plan:

  • Buffalo Chicken Casserole from PaleOMG’s newest cookbook. I’ve already got this ready to go– and its so good! Here’s a link to a similar recipe– spaghetti pie
  • Pizza soup from Clean Eating With a Dirty Mind‘s new cookbook. I also prepped this and it’s very tasty. It’s like an Italian chili! 
  • Stuffed beef sweet potatoes with kale and avocado (just seasoned beef, microwaved sweet potato, sautéed kale, and fresh avocado!). 
  • Shredded beef with roasted sweet potatoes and salad. 
  • Crockpot chicken for some chicken soup. Here’s my method– throw a whole chicken in the crockpot with whatever seasoning you like for 8 hours on low. Pull the meat off the bone to use however you want. Since I’m making soup I’ll proceed with broth making. Then make soup by adding celery, onion, carrot and chicken. Serve over white rice. 
  • Back-up option: Zoe’s Chicken kabobs or Mediterranean chicken (grilled potatoes and salad as sides) 

I’ve loosely planned breakfast– I’ll have some sort of paleo muffin with eggs or a smoothie. Or (full fat, grassfed) yogurt with lots of mix-ins. For snacks, I’ve also got some orange gelatin gummies ready for the week. Also nuts, fruit, and cheese are easy to throw in my lunchbox. 

Whew. I feel better going into this week with a plan! Y’all have a happy Labor Day and take some time to jot down a few meal ideas with what’s in the fridge/cabinets. 

If you’re curious about the cookbooks I mentioned above… Which you should be… Here’s what they look like to really get you interested 😉   


Part 2 + Meals Made Simple Review

It might be a little later than I expected, but here is part 2 of the menu and the book review!

Part 2 of Feb. 19-25 Menu

Wednesday– (L) Meals Made Simple pizza with salad (D) Chicken with kale and roasted broccoli and sweet potato

Thursday– (L) Taco “Burrito” bowl with beef and cauliflower-lime rice (D) Meals Made Simple Pepperoni Pizza Pasta

Friday– (L) Creamy chicken and kale soup (D) Pepperoni Pizza Pasta leftovers

The Weekend– (L) Chicken soup leftovers OR tuna salad (D) Tuna cakes OR beef roast with carrots, potatoes, and onions

Meals Made Simple Review

First, I want to say THANK YOU to Danielle for the book. The book is awesome! I appreciate her so much for sending it my way to share with you guys 🙂

I got this beautiful book in the mail back in the fall and it has been pretty much used weekly. It is a mainstay in my countertop cookbook collection 🙂 I will give you a summary of the layout of the book, my thoughts on the book in general, and end with a little peak at my favorites that I have made so far.

Summary of the layout: Essentially this book takes you through meal planning and even offers 8 weeks of dinners. Y’all. EIGHT weeks. That is up there with Practical Paleo‘s awesome meal plans! She has a cool label system in the book so you can choose a recipe for what works within your meal prep time (or even lifestyle restrictions).

She offers recipes for the slow cooker, one-pot recipes, 30-minute meals, and even recipes that can be built using leftovers. I am all about cooking once and getting about 6 meals out of it. Danielle taught me in this book though how to cook, for example a whole chicken, using one method then using it in three different recipes to change up the presentation. So cool! Danielle also includes shopping lists to go with the meal plans, which can be a time saver for even the best list makers 😉

Overall thoughts and who this book would be best for: The goal of this book is to, in the words of Danielle, take the “guesswork out of meal planning and breaks it down to a simpler level.” And this book totally nails it. One tasty way that she does this is by sharing “tidbits” throughout the cookbook. This might be a substitute option, leftover idea, or prep advice for another dish. She really connects her recipes with one another. If you have her other book, Against All Grain, or read her blog, you know her photography is beautiful and that is the case with this book too. This book was so special to Danielle (read more here) and you can feel the love she poured into it.

On a side note, I am excited about putting together her “multi-flour blend” to keep on the counter (just have to replenish the almond flour). This will be wonderful for weekend pancakes/waffles/muffins 🙂

If a paleo/healthy lifestyle change has you a little intimidated because of the time commitment or meal planning, this is the book for you! This will help you see that it can be done whether you are cooking for one or five. She takes you through meal planning, grocery list making, shopping for the most bang for your buck, and then putting delicious stress-free meals together. Can’t get better than that 😉

Top recipes so far:

Dark Chocolate Almond Clusters— these were perfect for Christmas parties and gifts. The caramel is out of this world (and I may or may not have added the caramel to my coffee a couple of mornings!) and the salt just pushes it over the top. Delicious and so fast to throw together! I actually had leftover clusters and blended them up and melted for brownies. Oh yes I did!

Balsamic Chicken Pizza— this called for steak, but I had chicken and it subbed perfectly (her recipes are pretty forgiving on the subbing factor). The balsamic reduction is so decadent and makes you feel like you are eating at an upscale bistro. I didn’t press out the pizza dough enough and it still turned out well 🙂 And going along with the cookbook title, indeed, this recipe was simple (and fast) to throw together. Even on a weeknight 😉


Slow Cooker Thai Beef Stew— as I said below, HOLY FLAVOR! I have a bad habit of sticking to smoky or Italian flavors. And this expanded my spice world to Thai spices. Instead of a long list of spices though I just had to buy a jar of the Thai Kitchen red curry paste. I served it with organic white rice for workout recovery reasons, but you could totally do this with cauliflower rice and wouldn’t miss a thing. There’s just so much flavor in this dish, prepare to be wow’d!


Well you guys, that is the review! I could go on and on about it, but just go buy it! It is right at $20 on Amazon, you just can’t beat that. Let me know if you have this book and have a favorite I didn’t mention above. I am working on trying all of the recipes I have been marking/tagging 🙂

Have a great week of tasty food and remember there are SO many resources out there to help you be successful in whatever lifestyle you choose! Side note, we are working on the yearly lifestyle post– we have kicked off year 3 with our paleo lifestyle! Check out Stokes Paleo 2.0 and look for Stokes Paleo 3.0 soon!

*A special thanks to everyone that supports my blog. I love interacting with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. And in person, no link for that 😉 I appreciate each of you and love to hear from you!

Affiliate links were included in this post. The links will allow me to receive a small percentage of sales which helps fund the blog! So use the links to make purchases and know the Cookin’ Up Life team appreciates it… the team being: David the kitchen manager, Leo the editor/approver, and myself the blogger!