Top 10 Paleo Must-Haves

I’ve got a guest blog post live today on Paleo Plan… it’s a list of my Top 10 Paleo Must-Haves. Long-time readers will not be surprised to see cumin, coconut oil, and jicama on the list.

Here’s an amuse bouche to whet your appetite:

When I switched to eating paleo in 2009, the food I mourned the most, ridiculous as it sounds, was my morning bowl of blueberries with cottage cheese. I’d already been grain-free for a year, so the grief over the loss of bread and rice had long passed. But that 1/2-cup serving of cottage cheese felt like the last fetters of the food world I knew falling away.

Eventually, I learned that butternut-squash-ground-beef-hash topped with a fried egg was a far tastier, far more powerful breakfast. I also came to understand the importance of keeping the kitchen stocked with go-to foods for those I-need-to-eat-right-freaking-now moments.

Want the whole enchilada? Head on over to Paleo Plan

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  • Susan Stone says:

    Well Fed is the most inspired cookbook I have ever used, and I collect cookbooks. Everythings is so rich with flavor and the instructions so perfect! Thank you and keep them coming.

  • aseafish says:

    Thanks for the fun foodie talk and for not taking any of it too seriously.

    One of my favorite instructions in Well Fed comes after removing the sliced almonds that have been browned in coconut oil. It reads simply, if I remember correctly, “Resist the temptation to eat them.”

  • Brenda says:

    I completely agree with Susan and Marcy. I am completely gaga over your cookbook. Thank you so much for investing your heart and soul into this project. I can’t even tell you how much it is helping me. I didn’t eat a single vegetable until I was in my late twenties, so learning how to eat healthy has been really challenging for me. Now at 34, equipped with your amazing recipes, I am to eat in a way that I never thought would be possible for me. Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Congratulations to you for making the switch to a superhero diet. YAY, vegetables!

      Thank you so much for your very sweet words; I appreciate it so much.

  • Eric Anondson says:

    Just had the chocolate chili. Utter awesome sauce. It’s on our regular rotation now.

    My wife also seems to collect cookbooks, plus she’s a graphic designer. She fell in love with the design right of the bat. I can’t wait to try some of the variants of all the recipes!

    • Mel says:

      Hi, Eric! LOVE “awesome sauce.” YAY!

      Our designer Kathleen is amazing, right?! She did such a beautiful job translating our imaginations into a real, tactile cookbook. Glad your wife approves!

      Wishing you tons of fun in the kitchen!

  • Kathy says:

    The line about keeping the fridge/kitchen stocked for those must-have-food-to-the-face moments is SO true.

    I try not to let myself get that hungry, but there are days when you just gotta chow!

  • Lisa says:

    Your cookbook is the freakin bomb!!!!! Love love love it. Best paleo cookbook out there hands down!!

  • Margaret Ray de Arenas says:

    I bought Well Fed two weeks ago and it was love at first taste!!! Susan Stone (above) is my sister and I sent Well Fed to her for her birthday – which actually is actually still several weeks away. But I couldn’t wait that long to share the incredibly yummy goodness of your recipes. We have been calling and texting each other almost daily just to talk about each recipe we’ve tried and share our excitement. With your recipes, I am now able to get my picky 18 yr old son to eat dinner with me without having to cook two meals! <3<3<3

    • Mel says:

      Oh! I love this story. Thanks so much for letting me know. So fun that you and your sister are swapping Well Fed stories — and that’s great news about your son. Fantastic!

  • Meredith says:

    I have to confess that I now carry WELL FED in my bag at all times. To work, to the grocery store, to the gym. I show it to complete strangers, on a very regular basis. On days when I don’t carry it with me, it’s because my husband has taken it to work to share with his co-workers. A friend asked me what I did with it all day, since I obviously couldn’t cook at work, and I explained that sometimes I look at it and plan what I’m going to make that night, and sometimes I just like having it nearby. I’m pretty much obsessed and, if Austin were closer, I might become a stalker/fan. (Don’t be alarmed. I’m far away and not the stalker type.)

    I made Sunshine Sauce for the first time last night and had to seriously resist the urge not to DRINK IT. Instead, I used it in Chicken Pad Thai with Zucchini Noodles and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. But, as I’m whipping up the Sunshine Sauce and chopping veggies for the Pad Thai, I casually say to my husband “I wonder if there are other people in the world who eat as well as we do.” And, without missing a beat, he says, “Well, we know Melissa does.” 🙂

    • Mel says:

      I read this on my phone on my bus ride home last night, and it made me so happy. Thank you! I adore the mental image of you with Well Fed in your go-bag. AWESOME!

      Wishing you many more happy cooking adventures. And you can tell your husband, that sometimes, like yesterday, I eat weird stuff because I didn’t prepare well enough. My cobbled together lunch was a can of sardines, a pile of Bohemian Brussels Sprouts, and a mound of raw jicama. Everything tasted good on its own, but kind of a weird combo, no?

  • Nikki says:

    I just finished My Life in France! Loved it but our power was out for 4 days and I couldn’t cook a thing.

    After reading all these great comments it looks like your cookbook is next on my list! Thanks for the wonderful recipes, your stovetop carnitas are to die for.

    • Mel says:

      Glad you like the carnitas — I TOTALLY recommend Well Fed 😉

      That book has been feeling so inspired. I almost want to read it again right away!

  • Rachael says:

    mel, as a recent college graduate living on my own for the first time, your cookbook has become my ultimate resource for recipes and cooking. i am developing a real comfort with using spices and trying to make new dishes. i owe a lot of that to you. i’m slowly dipping my toes in the paleo pool, but my energy level is significantly low. any suggestions or recommendations of foods i should be eating more of?

    i really appreciate your help. i am so excited for you have to more free time, can’t wait to see what you will accomplish!


    • Mel says:

      Oh, yay! I’m so glad Well Fed is helping you learn a new way of cooking.

      Unfortunately,you have to play around with paleo a little to get your calorie intake right. My first question to you is if you’re eating enough. When you cut out the junkie stuff, you need to replace the calories.

      Second question: are you eating enough protein. Most women need about 3-4 ounces at each meal. If you’re very active, you’ll need a little more.

      Third: Are you getting enough fat? You don’t want to go overboard, but fat is a great energy source.

      Finally: Are you eating very low carb? If yes, you might want to add more veggies. You want 2-3 cups of veggies per meal.

      Hope this helps!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’m a 41 y/o wife & mom of 3. I’ve been cooking a long, long time. At least, that’s what I THOUGHT I’d been doing. I’ve cooked something from your cookbook every single night for the last 2 weeks and we cannot get enough. The flavors are simply fantastic. And I wish I’d known about cookups YEARS ago. Brilliant! They have made dinnertime not only doable, but enjoyable.

    I’m so happy I’m not the only one who carries this cookbook with me everywhere and talks about it to random people.

  • sarah says:

    where can I find the recipe for squash and ground beef hash you mention in the short blurb?? sounds so yummy!

  • Morten G says:

    You can also pickle cauliflower. Good in themselves but also wonderful as an ingredient in remoulade.

  • Alison says:

    What do you think of this “Paleo Plan”?

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t seen their materials, so I can’t say. I know the people behind it seem committed to doing a good job.

      Any one out there tried Paleo Plan?