Tag Archives: Review

Review: The Performance Paleo Cookbook by Steph Gaudreau

The Performance Paleo Cookbook | lizniland.com

When I started to really focus on a less-processed way of eating and stumbled across the paleo movement, Stupid Easy Paleo was one of the websites I scraped for recipe ideas and learnt so much from. I’ve followed its creator, Steph Gaudreau, around the interwebs ever since and was so pumped when I heard she was releasing a real hold-in-your-hand cookbook chock-full of her signature speedy, simple & delicious recipes.

So full disclosure: here I am just hangin’ out with Steph in Thailand last year on a Culinary Adventure. While I don’t know her well, what I have got to know about her is that she’s incredibly passionate about helping people live healthier, more balanced and effective lives. And because she’s a life-long athlete herself, Steph has a special interest in forging paleo-fueled sports superstars.

Just hanging out | When in Chiang Mai: Elephants & Ziplining | lizniland.com

The Performance Paleo Cookbook is written “for anyone who is passionate about performance” but alongside the recipes for pre-workout protein hits, shakes and post-workout carbs, you’ll also find recipes like Apple Fennel Slow Cooker Chicken and Blackened Fish Soft Tacos with Mango Slaw. And they are hardly worth hiding from the more casual athletes amongst us!

My most favourite recipe in the book would have to be the Hasselback Sweet Potatoes. My dad would occasionally roast us up a batch of white potato hasselbacks and while they were delicious, I think the sweet potatoes are a much more impressive vehicle for hasselbackin’. They take a while in the oven but I reckon it’s totally worth the effort.

Hasselback sweet potatoes | Performance Paleo | lizniland.com

One thing I love about Steph’s recipes is that she rarely uses where-the-hell-am-I-supposed-to-buy-that ingredients. Relying on the beauty of natural flavour combinations and herbs & spices, Steph still churns out deceptively simple, dinner party-worthy feasts like Mocha-Rubbed Slow Cooker Pot Roast and Honey Garlic Lemon Chicken Wings. And if you don’t have a particular ingredient in the house, or you want to switch your proteins or veggies around, it’s all pretty foolproof in most cases. Which is pretty much what I did with the below custards.

Using the recipe for the Lemon Vanilla Custard with Blueberry Sauce, I hacked my way to a Jaffa Custard – oranges instead of lemons, a scoop of cacao and a cacao & coconut oil topping instead of the blueberry sauce. Gotta love a successful experiment!

Jaffa custard | lizniland.com

Athletes – and that’s anyone from weekend warriors to full-on sports wonders – will get the most out of The Performance Paleo Cookbook, regardless of whether you’d normally identify as “paleo”. While the book is targeted at active types, don’t think you’ll have to feed your visiting grandmother from a different tome. My granny would be happily all up on the majority of the dinner options!

If you’re a fan of Steph’s recipes from the Stupid Easy Paleo website, or you have her e-book, The Paleo Athlete, this cookbook is well worth the investment.

x Liz

Review: The Happy Cookbook by Lola Berry

The Happy Cookbook by Lola Berry | lizniland.com

Plenty of cookbooks have great recipes, sweet anecdotes and pretty pictures. Fewer cookbooks are worthy of a spot on the top shelf for regular inclusion in the meal planning process. And fewer cookbooks still are capable of inspiring a new way of eating and preparing food. 

Up there with my favourites Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar For Life and Mel Joulwan’s Well Fed 1 & 2, Lola Berry’s The Happy Cookbook has had me shopping differently, preparing food differently and even rethinking my meal components.

Zucchini Fritters| The Happy Cookbook by Lola Berry | lizniland.com

I’ve rediscovered dill, and not just for pairing with fish. I’ve simplified weeknight dinners without sacrificing flavour. I’m having messier, less Insta-pretty meals but getting bucketloads of nutrients.

Between recipes like the zucchini fritters and my favourite, Crispy salmon and kale mix-up with avocado and dill, Lola gets her holistic health coach hat on with mini wellness tutorials on topics like sleep, biophilia (the healing power of nature, fyi) and mindfulness.

Crispy salmon & kale| The Happy Cookbook by Lola Berry | lizniland.com
 
Another favourite discovery in The Happy Cookbook has been the Superfood Bircher. I often make a full batch and leave it in a covered bowl in the fridge – it gives us both a timesaving breakfast for 3 days straight. Gotta love that! I also occasionally make smaller serves of it in grab-and-go recycled juice jars.

Superfood Bircher| The Happy Cookbook by Lola Berry | lizniland.com

If you’re looking for a cookbook that you won’t want to put away, Lola’s new one is just the ticket. While there are recipes to impress special guests (hello Paleo ganache chocolate birthday cake!), primarily The Happy Cookbook will keep you and your farmer’s market haul happily feasting all throughout the week.

x Liz

Review: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

Review: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso | lizniland.com

#GIRLBOSS is a part-autobiography, part-business advice book from Sophia Amoruso; the 30-year-old founder and CEO (until last month) of fashion e-tailer Nasty Gal.

I found this an easy, entertaining and inspiring read, perfect for those who are seeking more out of life than their current 9-5 job. And while it’s geared towards entrepreneurial types and career-driven individuals, I think it’d be an empowering read for any young woman – not just those aspiring to be the boss-lady either.

#GIRLBOSS was part of the A Beautiful Mess Book Club last year so I decided to write to the same questions they posed in their discussion.

1. What was something you related with?

As a comparatively straight-laced, straight-A-achieving, relatively untroubled kid, I thought it would be tricky to relate to Sophia’s story. Obviously dumpster diving & hitch hiking were not commonalities I could claim, but the striving to find your niche and succeed on your own terms was something that I really appreciated.

“I always suspected that I was destined for, and that I was capable of, something bigger”.

It may just be the ‘curse’ of the Gen-Y dreamer but I think the rebellion Sophia shows against a life of suburban mediocrity is inspiring. She is living proof that a laptop, a solid idea and hard work can get you places.

I also loved reading Sophia’s approach to feminism.

“#GIRLBOSS is a feminist book, and Nasty Gal is a feminist company in the sense that I encourage you as a girl, to be who you want and do what you want”

I really identify with this kind of definition. Too many people, not just women, avoid labelling themselves as feminists thinking that it’s all about women. Obviously what women are able to do is a big part of it, but the whole “be who you want and do what you want” is a message that every man, woman & child the world over should hear & be able to live. Whether a bloke wants to run a business or do the 3pm school run (or both!) it should be just as supported as a woman’s right to do so too.

I’ve just finished reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg & it covers this concept heavily. I’ll write up a post on that soon – I loved it though!

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso | lizniland.com

2. What was something you felt challenged by?

The chapter titled “Money looks better in the bank than on your feet” is definitely a challenging phrase to my ears. I wouldn’t say I’m irresponsible with money but my eyes do glaze over at talk of budgeting and spreadsheets.

In the fashion world, sensible financial chatter is rare – Carrie Bradshaw sums the general consensus up nicely with “I like my money where I can see it: hanging in my closet”. Sophia uses examples from both a more personal perspective and from the position of a #GIRLBOSS to show that this is not a sustainable attitude.

I’m lucky to have a partner that forces me into financials every so often but the messages in the book hit me loud and clear!

And the shoplifting was definitely challenging to my lofty ideals that everyone is always trying to be good and do the right thing! That said though, I love that by explaining the consequences of her actions, Sophia has the opportunity to discourage would-be wannabes without sounding hypocritically preachy.

#GIRLBOSS by Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso | lizniland.com

3. What was something you learned and put into action?

I was really surprised how much practical advice #GIRLBOSS had to offer. I’m working towards building my own business and although Sophia started Nasty Gal from the point of nothing to lose, her ability to just launch and learn is truly enviable.

“I was addicted to my business, and to watching it grow everyday”

It seems like the strict timelines of eBay really prepared Sophia for the consistency and dedication needed for following through with her business. Consistency is something I know I struggle with so #GIRLBOSS has provided a good kick up the butt to sort that shiz out.

#GIRLBOSS also drives home the overarching importance of absolutely nailing customer service.

“I just went with my instincts and treated my customers like they were friends” has arguably been one of the keys to Sophia’s success. By focusing on what her customers really want, and utilising a natural talent for content marketing, Sophia has created an authentic tribe of loyal followers. In her early business days, Sophia would post on social media and create a blog post about every eBay auction she had running, just to advise potential customers of what was available.

By legitimately filling a void in their lives, meeting their needs and solving their fashion and styling problems, she has been able to share her products with her followers without feeling all slimy-salesy.

And this. I want to read it everyday.

“Abandon anything about your life and habits that might be holding you back. Learn to create your own opportunities. Know that there is no finish line; fortune favours action.”

Fortune favours action: that’s something I’m going to put in action!

 

Have you read #GIRLBOSS? What did you think of it?

 

Image #1 by me, the others are from deathtothestockphoto.com.

Review: Nourish by Lorna Jane Clarkson

It’s becoming increasingly apparent, through whatever wholefood-focused eating plan you follow, that low-fat dairy, wheat-based filler and low-calorie pre-packaged snacks are old news. Nourish champions a movement for less dairy, meat and simple carbs and more veggies, fish and healthful fats like coconut, avocado and olive oil.

Review: Nourish by Lorna Jane Clarkson| lizniland.com

While it’s not groundbreaking stuff for those who’ve spent some time moseying around a paleo-inspired path, it’s a promising sign that young girls looking up to the designer of their tights and crop tops will fill up on more than just air and apples.

No regrets | Review: Nourish by Lorna Jane Clarkson | lizniland.com

Proving she’s got the chops for much more than dreaming up tank top designs and fitspo slogans Lorna Jane Clarkson’s recipes are mighty tasty and most are simple and quick to whip up. I’ve had this book for quite a few months now and it is a top shelf favourite.

Assuming you’re down with chia seeds, all up on gluten-free whole grains and hip to your nut “mylks”, Nourish is a totally accessible cookbook and healthy living manifesto which goes well beyond green smoothies and salads.

Breakfast smoothie | Review: Nourish by Lorna | lizniland.com

The recipes on the highest rotation are the frittatas and the Breakfast Smoothie (don’t tell Sarah Wilson what’s in it though – hello banana, honey & mango!). That smoothie gets varied depending on what’s in the fridge (I’ve subbed the banana & spinach for avocado & it worked a treat) and we usually eat a couple of eggs with it for added protein too.

The frittatas are a great way of using up leftovers too – an excess cooked chicken thigh, some sagging greens and scrapings of a forgotten jar of pesto have all made their way into this recipe. They’re those special recipes that, once you nail the basic format, you can choose your own adventure.

Frittata | Review: Nourish by Lorna | lizniland.com

This Christmas our young teenage nieces got a copy of this book. They’re at an age where the food they eat now will shape what kind of food they eat when they move out of home & have to fend for themselves. The girls are keen to learn about new foods and taste test different things so it’s a great time to get them excited about real foods.

The thing I like most about Nourish is, as the name suggests, the focus on nourishing your body – not on eating to a particular label or restricting anything in particular. By filling yourself up with good food and focusing on having things that your body needs, you can stay healthy without it becoming an obsession.

Lorna Jane is becoming a healthy living juggernaut but I couldn’t be happier with the message she’s peddling. Inspire away, LJ!

Review: Let’s Eat Paleo by The Merrymaker Sisters

I’m a cookbook fiend but in an already tightly-stuffed apartment, there’s only so many books a girl can keep in stock.

Enter, the e-book. Now normally, I do like my cookbooks to be a touch splattered with the dinners of days gone by. But, for The Merrymaker Sisters and their cute new e-book, Let’s Eat Paleo, I’ll try & keep the mess to a minimum (garlic-scented iPhone anyone?)

Let's Eat Paleo

Let’s Eat Paleo provides an easy introduction for those new to paleo life & a refreshing approach to daily dino chow for those already in the know. And if you like your paleo treat eats, The Merrymaker Sisters oblige with a variety of sweets including tarts, smoothies, cakes & brownies.

Having made a few recipes from The Merrymaker back catalogue, I was excited to see which delights had made the cut for the 50 paleo recipes included in the PDF. While there’s plenty of new additions, my favourite recipe from the girls – the De-Snicker-licious Raw Cake – deservedly makes an appearance, as does the Spinach & Leek Meache which I keep meaning to whip out. It’s got Sunday night supper written all over it!

De-snicker-licious cake

The bottom half of this extravaganza I made last year is the De-Snicker-Licious Raw Cake – it lived up to its name!

Other recipes I can’t wait to crack out include Sweet Potato & Kale Pancakes, Raw Bircher Muesli, Mustard & Chive Scones, Lamb Korma in the Slow Cooker and Shepherd’s Pie in a Capsicum (why did I not think of this!?). I’ve also got the Creamy Chicken & Tomato Pasta plotted into the meal planner this week – stay tuned for my verdict & happy snaps later in the week.

In addition to the recipes, there’s an inspiring intro which focuses on the paleo lifestyle, not just the paleo diet. It’s obvious from the blog & Instagram feed The Merrymaker Sisters maintain that they’re active little vegemites who know there’s more to maintaining health & wellbeing than running endless kilometres on the treaddie! It’s so great to see this attitude being spread by young Aussie women.

If you want some fun foodspiration, a way to support young local talent or just a handy little e-cookbook, Let’s Eat Paleo is a splatter-proof investment.