Comfort Food Makeovers

comfort food

Hello Dear Reader,

I want to buy this cookbook! Granted, I love cookbooks, any kind of cookbook: church, rotary, vegetarian, BBQ, cakes, whatever. And I always enjoy reading them just for fun. But when one comes along I actually want to use: that’s the one I’m going to buy.

The first time my soon-to-be sweetie made me his ‘favorite dish’ I was horrified:

  •   1 can un-drained corn
  •   2 cups white rice
  •   1 stick butter
  •    God knows how much salt

I tried not to balk-to Sweetie, it was a childhood favorite. Since the rice & corn obviously meant so much to him I ate it, but like his version of Red Beans and Rice, I have considerably lightened up his ‘just like my grandma made it’ home recipes. The poor guy continues to fall victim to my desire to cook delicious Southern recipes without all the extra fat, sugar, and white stuff.

This cookbook, by the editors of America’s Test Kitchen fits the bill. It’s got the great comfort foods we love, but the meals are lightened up in such an inspired way, you’d never guess. Really. The editors even state as much in the introduction to Comfort Food Makeover: All Your Favorites Made Lighter,

If you think ‘recipe makeovers’ means tofu lasagna or carob-chip cookies, think again- our recipes had to taste good and stay as true to the original as possible. If a revamped recipe didn’t hew closely to the full-fat original and didn’t cut it with our taster, then that dish didn’t make it into the book. Period.’

Think Crab Rangoon, General Tso’s Chicken, and Philly Cheesesteaks. Think Mac and Cheese and Chicken Pot Pie. Think New York Cheesecake and Tiramisu.  How do they do it?

Well they’ve made smart switches: baking not frying of course, but they’ve added things like panko bread crumbs to keep the crunch. In the Tiramisu recipe for example, it’s been lightened from 530 calories to 350 calories simply by switching out the high fat mascarpone for light cottage cheese, and 1/3 less fat cream cheese (Neufchatel). When you whip them in your blender or food processor the texture becomes similar to mascarpone. And it’s good Tiramisu. Promise.

Comfort Food Makeovers includes plenty of the ‘goodies’ you get from the America’s Test Kitchen shows like top makeover techniques, and product brand testing as well as tips for calculating nutritional information for each recipe. But read it for the eats. Grab a copy Dear Reader, and make your own delicious, healthier comfort food!

3 daises

Reviewer: Leigh

leigh 2

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Comfort Food Makeovers – All Your Favorites Made Lighter
By the Editors at America’s Test Kitchen
Photography by Daniel J. van Ackere
Additional Photography by Carl Tremblay

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Eat Clean, Stay Lean

eat clean

I have always been attracted to cookbooks, cooking, and baking. And I have always wanted to be a healthier cook. Unfortunately I’m a southern girl, used to southern foods so I always gravitate back in some way or other to old cooking styles. Lately though, in the last year, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. Since that time I‘ve worked hard to get us both on a healthier diet: off sugar, and on lots of fruits and veg, as well as eating clean.

Eating clean (organic, no chemicals) is not easy but I really like the design and format of Eat Clean, Stay Lean: 300 Real Foods and Recipes for Lifelong Health and Lasting Weight Loss. It was easy to read and seemed to make the choice to ‘eat clean’ more manageable, and doable. The book is bright and colorful with simple options for healthy food choices in a visual guide format. In this book foods are rated as not clean, clean and cleanest, so you see at a glance which foods are healthier and select the best food for your family.

The book begins with a discussion of what clean eating consists of, the benefits of whole foods, and the basics of clean eating: stop counting calories, focus on whole foods, eat organic as much as possible, choose clean packaged foods, and includes a chapter on other options for clean foods like farmers’ markets, co-ops, CSAs (community supported agriculture), and growing your own. The book goes on to talk about clean snacking, clean food storage, tricks for eating clean anywhere, and clean beauty products.

Within each section of Eat Clean, Stay Lean suggested recipes are included, allowing you to create simple home-cooked meals fast. Some recipes are what you would expect like smoothies, vinaigrettes, and soups but the book also includes fun recipes like spiced peach butter and whole milk ricotta. The book covers fruits and veggies, proteins, grains, spreads, snacks, condiments, treats, beverages, pantry staples and cooking styles.

Eat Clean, Stay Lean isn’t comprehensive, but because I found the book by Prevention Magazine a great way to get started on a healthier lifestyle, I give it 3 Daisies!

Reviewed by Leigh

Rating:  daisy 4daisy 4daisy 4

Eat Clean, Stay Lean: 300 Real Foods and Recipes for Lifelong health and Lasting Weight Loss
The Editors of Prevention
ISBN 9781623365295
Tags: cooking, food & wine, healing; general health & Fitness; Diet & Nutrition; Nutrition health & Fitness; Diet & Nutrition, Weight Loss
About the Author: Prevention is a leading ‘healthy lifestyle brand in the US with a total readership of 8.7 million in print and more than 6 million online’.http://www.prevention.com/food/easy-ways-eat-clean