Friday, February 21, 2014

Skinny-licious Blog Tour

Skinny-licious by Shauna Evans is the latest edition to the Cedar Fort Publishers family of cookbooks. In addition to Skinny-licious, the author has also written Sweet and Savory and the forthcoming 30 Minute Meals for Families, both published by Cedar Fort.
In this cookbook, Shauna Evans shares her weight-loss issues and journeys. She follows the 8-Hour Diet Plan created by Davis Zinczenko and the recipes in this cookbook are based on that diet plan.

The cookbook includes recipes in four different areas: lunches, snacks, dinner, and desserts. There is also a page at the end of the book that shows you how to create your own flavored vitamin water.
  • Lunch - This section features a number of light lunch recipes including smoothies, soups, salads and dressings, and wraps. You can eat Lobster Rolls, Greek Pasta Salad, and Barbecue Chicken Salad and still watch your figure.
  • Snacks - The snack section of the cookbook features several different dip and salsa recipes. I tested the Cinnamon Sugar Chips with Fruit Salsa. I loved the combination of pineapple, peaches, strawberries, and apples. Delicious!
  • Dinner - These recipe featured lean meat choices and reduced fat dairy products, and many of the recipe feature exotic flavors such as Chicken Coconut Curry, Tarragon Orange Halibut, Stuffed Peppers, and Shrimp Red Curry.
  • Desserts - Yes, you can eat desserts (in moderation) and maintain your weight. Shauna focuses on fruit or dairy based desserts and limits flour-based desserts. This section is filled with many ice cream, frozen yogurt, and ice pop recipes. You can also find more tradition dessert recipes such as Apple Betty and Creme Brulee.
If you're in to healthful recipes and want to expand your cookbook collection in this area, you may want to consider adding this book to your shelf. The cookbook features recipes that have a broad appeal and most of the recipes are accompanied by a full-color photo.

To learn about Shauna Evans, visit her web site, Sweet and Savory Seven.

Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with a review copy of the cookbook; however, the opinion expressed here is my own.

Monday, February 3, 2014

My Favorite New Southern Living Cookbooks and a Giveaway

All cookbooks published by Oxmoor House

I think I've told you before how much I love Southern Living cookbooks. They are some of the favorites in my collection. I turn to them again and again for cooking inspiration. In addition to the wonderful recipes, the cookbooks are filled with beautiful photographs and engaging descriptions and essays. Three recently released titles that I'm currently enjoying are Feel Good Food, No Taste Like Home, and The Slim Down South Cookbook. Here's what each of them has to offer.

Feel Good Food: I've noticed changes in Southern Living cookbooks over the past couple of years. The cookbooks now have a contemporary vibe from the photos to the page designs. It just seems so much more updated than the classic Southern Living cookbooks that I have in my collection.  Feel Good Food is one of those contemporary cookbooks. The terms that come to mind as I flip through the pages of the cookbook are cheery and sunny. Each page features a bright green design that livens up the place.

Livening up seems to be the main theme of this cookbook with chapters named: Rejuvenated, Nostalgic, Gracious, Refreshed, Warmth, Indulgent, and Celebratory. Each recipe features a vivid, full-color photo and the cookbook is enriched with menu suggestions and personal stories. With recipes such as okra-shrimp beignets, strawberry-lemonade muffins, zucchini bacon spoon bread, and sweet potato cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, the cookbook is bound to expand your Southern cooking repertoire. In my kitchen, I cooked the southern-style collards and sweet tea brined chicken. Those recipes just shout Southern Living and eating!

No Taste Like Home: I can't think of enough words to describe how wonderful this cookbook is! It is written by Kelly Alexander who takes us on a culinary tour around the south. The uniqueness of this cookbook is that it is divided into regions including the Heart of Dixie (middle and north Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi), Cajun Country (Louisiana), Big, Bold Texas, the Piedmont & the Mountains (North Carolina and Virginia), the Bluegrass, Boubon & Barbecue Trail (Kentucky and Tennessee), and my neck of the woods the Coastal South (Baltimore, Charleston, Savannah, and Miami).

Each region features a detailed description of the area and includes commentary from famous chefs, writers, and celebrities from that area. And, of course, there are tons of recipes. Even though I'm from the Coastal South, I traveled to Cajun Country and made the Hot Crawfish Dip. Now, if you decide to visit the Savannah section of the cookbook, you can feast on Georgia Peach Deviled Eggs, Hoppin' John Hush Puppies with Green Tomato-Corn Relish, and Crispy Oven Fried Chicken. This cookbook is a good investment as there is so much more to it than recipes. It is a reference guide to the culinary south which I will turn to again and again especially when I see a road trip in my future.

The Slim Down South Cookbook: When I looked through this cookbook, I was surprised to find that  I tend to cook in the same way that is depicted in this cookbook. I don't cook with a lot of butter; I'm definitely an olive oil fan. I also choose to use lower fat options such as chicken broth over cheese and cream. This cookbook comes at the perfect time when I've decided to make some healthy choices with my family's diet.

This cookbook is written by Carolyn O'Neil, a registered dietician, and features Slim & Savvy Southerners who share how they make healthy choices in their Southern kitchens. The book also features a 14-day SLIM Eating Plan to help jumpstart your weight loss. This cookbook isn't about limits. This cookbook highlights the limitless ways you can prepare and enjoy a delicious, healthy meal that is full of flavor.

Thai Noodle Salad, BBQ Peach Summer Rolls, Hoppin' John Parfaits, Cornbread Crab Cakes, Country Chicken & Buttermilk Soup, BBQ in a Jar should pique your interest. Each recipe is accompanied by a full-page photo that will make your mouth water. Are you concerned that you have to cut out desserts in your slim down? No, this cookbook features dessert recipes, too, such as Angel Food Cake with Lemon Glaze, Classic Strawberry Shortcake, and Key Lime Pie. I cooked Shrimp and Grits (recipe featured below). It was absolutely delicious!! I loved the combination of shrimp and fresh spinach with that splash of lemon juice. You have to try it.

Shrimp and Grits
from The Slim Down South Cookbook by Carolyn O'Neal, MS, RD
Makes 6 servings, Hands-On 25 min., Total 30 min.

Parmesan Grits:

½ tsp. table salt
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper

Creamy Shrimp Sauce:

1 lb. unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
⅛ tsp. table salt
Vegetable cooking spray
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1¼ cups reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth
½ cup chopped green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. table salt
¼ tsp. hot sauce
2 cups firmly packed fresh baby spinach

1. Prepare Parmesan Grits: Bring ½ tsp. salt and 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in cheese and pepper. Keep warm. 

2. Prepare Creamy Shrimp Sauce: Peel shrimp; devein, if desired. Sprinkle shrimp with pepper and ⅛ tsp. salt. Cook in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink. Remove from skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Add oil; heat 30 seconds. Whisk  in flour; cook 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in broth and next  5 ingredients; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened. Stir in shrimp and spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach is slightly wilted. Serve immediately over grits.  Serving size ½ cup grits and about ⅓ cup shrimp sauce

CALORIES 235; FAT 6.1g (sat 1.9g, mono 2g, poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 19.1g; CARB 25.2g;  FIBER 1.4g; CHOL 119mg; IRON 3.3mg; SODIUM 749mg; CALC 177mg

Disclaimer: The publisher provided me review copies; however, the opinion expressed here is my own.


This is the perfect month to introduce some healthy meals into your cooking routine. I'm happy to have the opportunity to add The Slim Down South Cookbook to your collection. To enter the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter widget below. Please be patient as the widget loads. The giveaway will run until February 15, 2014 . Thanks for reading A Well-Seasoned Life and good luck!!

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