Eat Like A Dinosaur:
Recipe and guidebook for gluten-free kids
Written by: The Paleo Parents
I was so excited to hear about this book! After contacting Stacey (Paleo Parent Mom), she generously offered to send me one to review. But I am often impatient when it comes to books. I checked my local library had found they had a copy on the shelves NOW. The next day (I love almost instant gratification when it comes to books, don’t you?) I got my copy. And my review copy came a few days later.
The fact that it is written for gluten-free kids is very enticing. My kids are gluten-free and here was a chance to hand them a book with an imaginatively illustrated story towards the front of the book and than loads of recipes to browse through that they can actually eat. Not only is it gluten free, but also it’s based on whole real foods. What a concept!
I gave the kiddos post-its strips to mark the ones they wanted to try. Both kids (I’ve got an 8-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter) found many, many – almost too many – to mark. They went post-it crazy!
So I asked them to narrow it down to just a few from each main category. (My daughter did remark that several looked great but they were already stuff we made regularly – like kale chips, sweet potato fries, 50/50 bacon burgers, deviled eggs, meatballs, etc.)
Whenever I review a cookbook, I gotta test the recipes. What looks great in a photo or description might not be so great when you actually eat it. And of course, that’s the whole point. It’s gotta taste great to make the cut. For this review, I choose recipes that are not part of our usual repertoire.
Let’s Get Cooking!
The book is professionally formatted with friendly illustrations and easy to read recipes, and cute graphics. The page numbers are small dinosaur shaped with the numbers inside. Too cute. There are helpful stickies by most recipes with special hints, tools, or notes such as “Meat thermometer is helpful”
This book was much thicker than I expected. There is a ton of information here beyond a lot of recipes (over a 100 recipes). The first section, Key, outlines the book’s organization with attention to the top eight allergens (first four are fish, shellfish, tree nuts and eggs and the last four are not in this book at all; dairy, wheat, peanuts and soy). They also gently warn you to carefully judge your child’s capabilities in the kitchen with you.
Chapter 1 is called “The Boring Chapter for Parents” and it gives an interesting overview of the Paleo Parents family, How to get Kids to Love Broccoli and Tools & Ingredients for your Kitchen. I gotta say this chapter is well done. There are lots of ideas on how to get your kids to change their habits/palates without a lot of fuss. So don’t skip this chapter, even if you don’t have kids, a lot of the advice and suggestions will/can apply to you too.
The Recipe Chapters
The Paleo Parents cleverly named their recipes so it sounds fun to eat – they are so smart. (Seriously, this is a great way to get kids excited about trying something new). What kid wouldn’t prefer to eat “Roast Beast “over boring old “Roast Beef”? See how easy it is to make it more appealing. 🙂
Another brilliant idea (wish I had thought of it and I might have to steal this idea in the future –with credit given of course) is to have a little hands icon next to the steps that most kids can do when making a dish.
The first section is Main Dishes. After conferring with the troops we decide to make Eggs in A Nest (see anther fun recipe name). This is pretty straightforward. It’s got three ingredients. You put some loose breakfast sausage into a muffin tin and make a nest. Crack an egg into it and top with a little olive oil. Bake it, cool and eat. (I admit that I didn’t top it with olive oil since I don’t like to bake with olive oil as it can oxidize easily)
These were quite good. Of course, they were greatly setup for success since I just scored some fresh maple bacon loose sausage from 4505 Meats this weekend. Anything with bacon and well-seasoned sausage is going to make this recipe shine! We will definitely be making these again.
Next up was Zucchini Latkes. A quick recipe if you have a food processor, a bit longer if you have to grate the zucchini by hand. These were the kids’ favorite of the three official recipes we tested. Technically these are listed in the Sides chapter, but they tasted like dessert to us. A mixture of grated zucchini, egg, a bit of cinnamon, honey, vanilla and a dash of salt. Mix them up and fry them in coconut oil. YUM!
You might want to double or triple this recipe since it just makes 4 small latkes. I bet they are great cold as a snack. But again, we didn’t get to test the cold ones. My little piggies ate them right up.
We also tried the Mini Nut Butter Cups. This is a combination of eggs, banana, sunflower seed butter, salt and chocolate chips. This turned out so-so. And I think part of it is that sunflower butter is not that yummy on it’s own. At least my family didn’t much care for it right out of the jar. We did purchase the recommended Trader Joe’s brand (which does have sugar as an ingredient FYI). Perhaps fresh ground sunflower butter would taste better. These were quite dense. The batter and the cooled cups were much better than the ones right out of the oven. Which is odd…usually warm out of the oven rules…but that’s how we graded it. Overall, the kids liked them but it won’t be one they ask for again. Sorry no pictures of this one, I totally spaced.
Pesky Little Things that Bothered Me
Hey, you do want an honest opinion, right? Isn’t it suspicious when there is never a downside or anything less than stellar about a particular review?
One thing I wish was different, was the use of the microwave. I’m not a big fan of microwaves and there are several recipes calling for the microwave. Of course, there are workarounds on this. But I can see where many people used to “cooking” with a microwave will see this as a advantage and a time saver.
Another thing that struck me as odd was the serving sizes on some of the cupcake recipes. I don’t know about your muffin cup pans, but mine have space for 12. I own one pan. So to make 18 is bothersome. Why not scale the recipe to an even dozen or two? Nit picky, I know.
The Special Treats section is looong! So you can’t complain that there are not a lot of options.
A few of these special treats require making separate recipes to end up with the final product. The Samoa Cake Balls was a recipe my kids tagged but you got to prepare the Caramel Icing recipe, and the Caramel Sauce one and THEN the Red Brownie one to get to the final Samoa Cake Balls. Unless they are getting married, that’s too much effort for me to make for a treat. But if you want to spend a lot of quality time in the kitchen with the kids, they may be worth trying.
Thumbs Up! I say BUY this book 🙂
Eat Like A Dinosaur is well worth adding to your collection. If you are new to whole food cooking, than this book will make it super easy for you to jump in. Hey if kids can make most of this stuff, than surely you can too! And even if you are a seasoned pro, I bet you will still find some new twists on old favorites. I guarantee you will find many gems in here.
You can order Eat Like A Dinosaur here or better yet win a free copy by entering the giveaway!
If you want to win a copy of Eat Like A Dinosaur use the Rafflecopter entry form. Lisa’s Counter Culture will give away ONE book.
Note: I didn’t receive payment or compensation other than a copy of Eat Like A Dinosaur for this review.