Thursday, October 08, 2015

Review: Happy Go Paleo by Irina Macri + Creamy Roasted Fennel & Tomato Soup

Title: Happy Go Paleo: Fun, healthy meals from my 80/20 kitchen
Author: Irena Macri
Genre: Cookbook
Publication Date: 23rd September 2015
Pages: 232
Book Source: Penguin Books Australia

Synopsis: A little paleo goes a long way

'Happy Go Paleo' is exactly what the name suggests: an easy-going, relaxed approach to the paleo diet. I love paleo as a lifestyle, a diet focused on whole foods, a simpler way of living, spending more time outdoors and getting fit through functional movement. I want other people to discover my 80/20 paleo philosophy and how fantastic it can make you feel.' 

In this book, internationally renowned blogger Irena Macri creates complete paleo meals to show how accessible healthy eating can be. Here are over 100 of Irena's best recipes of whole foods, good-quality protein, nuts and seeds. Fun to make, delicious to eat and using everyday ingredients, all recipes are gluten free and refined sugar free to help you craft your own paleo and healthy eating journey!

My Thoughts:
Regulars to my blog will know that this year I've been trialling gluten free/no inflammatory oils/no refined sugar/clean eating in the hope of decreasing inflammation and getting improvement in my nerve-damaged hands. Well, no improvement (worth a try) but I've come across some wonderful cookbooks and delicious recipes that anyone who loves food will enjoy. 

I love Irina Macri's 80/20 take on the paleo lifestyle. Now I still have dairy and I do not and will not EVER eat offal again (I was made to eat lambs fry and steak & kidney as a kid, a traumatising experience I tell you *gag*) and just the thought now makes me dry heave. Mind you I haven't eaten a weetbix since I left home either #40yearsweetbixfree but I digress ... 

I don't need the label but I love the paleo philosophy of whole food, nourishing food and Happy Go Paleo is a more relaxed approach which most people find easier to stick with. Rigidity is misery-making so I particularly like Irina Macri's thinking "that a little paleo goes a long way ..."

Happy Go Paleo is well set out with useful categories, the photography is droolworthy and I love the nutrition notes included for each recipe and the substitution tips. 

Breakfasts & Lunches - yum ... my type of brekky

Nourish in a Hurry - speed & ease recipes. The Creamy Roasted Fennel & Tomato Soup I made came from this category. And Baked Salmon with Homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce will definitely be on the menu at some point.

Cheap Thrills - paleo on a budget

Favourite Feasts - feast and themed meals that require a little more time and effort but don't panic they're not difficult. There's even a Game of Thrones Feast HA

Treats - hmm maybe not treaty enough for me but I'd give the Honey & Coconut Caramel Sauce a go. 

Basics - like bone broth and activating nuts & seeds 

Two-Week Meal Plan 

Might try these Barbecue Grilled Prawns next. Don't they look yum?
photo: Happy Go Paleo

I made Kefir Chicken first because it looked delicious and I've been making my own kefir (probiotic milk) since April. It's chicken marinated in kefir or greek yoghurt and garlic, tumeric, cumin, cinnamon. Sounds good right? Meh ... bland, disappointingly tasteless.  

The next recipe was a winner, I wasn't even sure I liked fennel that much but this was delicious, it even got the tick of approval from the fussy son ;)

Creamy Roasted Fennel & Tomato Soup

Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins 

2 medium bulbs fennel, thickly sliced
4-5 medium Roma tomatoes each sliced into 6 wedges
1 large brown onion sliced
1/2 long red chilli, deseeded and diced 
1 tsp sea salt
4-5 tblsp melted ghee
2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
pinch of nutmeg (optional) 
1/4 cup coconut milk, plus extra to serve

Creamy Roasted Fennel & Tomato Soup - Paleo, Whole 30

Preheat oven to 220°C (conventional)

Place the fennel slices on a large baking tray. Top with tomatoes, onion and chilli, then sprinkle all over with sea salt and drizzle with melted ghee. Roast for 20 minutes, then scatter the garlic over the top and roast for further 10 mins. 

Transfer the roasted vegetables, together with the juices to a large saucepan and add stock, bay leaf and nutmeg. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. 

Transfer the soup, in batches if needed, to a blender and process until thick and smooth. Alternatively, use a handheld stick blender and blend in saucepan (that's what I did, easy and less washing up lol) Add coconut milk and stir. Serve with a swirl of extra coconut milk and a few basil leaves. 

Creamy Roasted Fennel & Tomato Soup - Paleo, Whole 30 -

Honestly none of the recipes are too complicated. Happy Go Paleo isn't just a lovely cookbook to browse but a very usable one. 

Irina Macri has a fabulous website Eat Drink Paleo with great recipes, articles and gorgeous photography. 

Connect with Irina Macri
Happy Go Paleo: Fun, healthy meals from my 80/20 kitchen

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs.


  1. Replies
    1. I really liked that it wasn't strict/fanatical lol ... really just healthy eating

  2. Laughing at the weetbix - come on! I don't mind one now and then, used to love them dry with lots of butter and honey!! One of my nutty food loving sisters got into paleo but not sure what she is doing now. She has just been on big trip with hubby around Greece and Italy and loved all food there.
    Soup sounds good. Me.. I just want someone to cook for me!

    1. Mia eats 2 weetbix I could dry retch just watching her lol. When you say 'nutty' sister were you meaning nut-loving or a little loopy lol ... I like my treats too much to rigidly stick to any one thing but I do enjoy healthy/clean eating mixed in with yummies. All bets are off when holidaying ;)

  3. Weetbix *shudders* I was made to eat that when I was in daycare, until it was a soggy mess. Trauma

  4. Sounds like a great book. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    1. gorgeous photography wins me over every time Pat, and most of the recipes I've tried so far have been delicious!

  5. That shrimp looks delicious! And I have a weak spot for tomato / fennel soup. I never tried it with coconut milk, but I bet it's tasty -- and perfect for my family members who are lactose intolerant.

    1. I didn't even think of that Beth, I use a lot of coconut milk in Asian cooking, I love it. Hope you get a chance to try this recipe.

  6. I've never tried Weetbix, don't even know what it is so I'll be looking it up. I like fennel but my daughter can't stand it.

  7. I'm not 100% sure what Weetbix is but I'm really with you on the offal! The textures get me. This cookbook definitely appeals to me. I like the sounds of the recipes and her mentality. While I have no intention of going Paleo I'd really like to check this cookbook out. Thanks for sharing! I really love the cover on this one. It looks so friendly.

  8. I may be the only person who actually likes Weetabix! :) Thanks for featuring this book -- the Paleo philosophy is something I need to learn more about.

  9. That was funny, "40yearsweetbixfree" - guess I am too, not knowing what they are :) That fennel and tomato soup sounds especially good, probably the fennel mellows out the acidity of the tomatoes.

    1. ahh yes you're right Claudia, it did mellow the tomato zing. Good combination :)

  10. I love fennel and tomato soup, but have never seen them combined...sounds yummy! And, I recently had dinner with a friend who suffers from severe Chron's and she said PALEO has been her savior. Really the only thing to make her feel better.

  11. I don't like fennel - but will have to give that soup a go! Cheers from Carole's Chatter!

    1. I didn't think I was a fan either Carole, but have to admit I'm sold on this combination ... very tasty!

  12. Ooh, the soup looks yummy! I like cookbooks that don't push their agenda and just give a gentle healthy nudge toward better eating. I can't lie and say we eat very healthy meals now, but I have been told by my doctor to make better food choices and move more, so we're bringing our treadmill downstairs for me to get easier access to, and I'm evaluating (almost) everything I put in my mouth.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  13. I have been trying to motivate myself to go Paleo or a similar diet (Trim Healthy Mama is a little more forgiving). My sister loves the Paleo/whole foods way of life but then she is into crossfit too...

    I don't think Happy Go Paleo is available in the U.S. but I did come across a similar cookbook that looks good called Part-Time Paleo.

    I'm impressed that you make your own kefir! I've never tried it but I've heard that homemade yogurt and nondairy milks and nut butters are better than store bought.

  14. Creamy Roasted Fennel & Tomato Soup sounds perfect for fall. This sounds like it had a lot of useful information. Great review :)

  15. I should probably take a look at this one! I'm trying to do more cooking since Gage is at school all day.
    So, have you tried to give up dairy? It can also be inflammatory. In my opinion, going gluten free is way easier than going dairy free. I plan on doing both in an elimination diet after the holidays but I tried last month and made it 4 days before I broke down and had cheese :)


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