Saturday, August 7, 2010

cookbook stash: cook yourself thin

After my dismal review of the Hungry Girl cookbook, I thought I would share a better and healthier alternative.

I was browsing the book section at Wal-Mart a year ago looking for some of my guilty pleasure Charlaine Harris novels. I didn't find any I hadn't read, but found this treat of a cookbook instead: Cook Yourself Thin by Harry Eastwood, Candice Kumai, and Allison Fishman. Learning from my past mistakes, I skimmed the book and found most of the ingredients were fresh and lacking in preservatives. Seemed good to me. I bought the book and read it in its entirety when I got home.

The Cook Yourself Thin philosophy focuses on reducing your calorie intake while making fresh, colorful, and real food. The only low-fat items you find will be low-fat dairy, and they favor the use of natural sweeteners, like honey. This lifestyle is about adapting and discovering, not restricting.

There are over 200 pages of helpful information and recipes. Not every dish has a photograph, but it seems like roughly half of them do. Photos in cookbooks aren't a necessity for me, but it's always nice when they are included. The recipes are arranged very simply: breakfasts, main dishes, and sweets.

This book has some great features. It is lacking in the benefit of a professional opinion from a dietitian or nutritionist, but the three authors are all chefs and seem to be well-informed about basic nutrition. At the beginning there is a quiz to determine your "dieting downfalls". It's not meant to be anything scientific, but it can pinpoint some of your concerns. There is a section about calories: what they are, how many you should eat, and how many are in some common foods. I appreciate that they warn against those "lite" and "sugar-free" products that Hungry Girl basks in.

There is also information on kitchen equipment, swapping high caloric foods for a healthier alternative, and even a section on exercise. The focus in this book is on monitoring your calorie intake, so you won't find a long list of nutritional information. There is simply a calorie-per-serving for each recipe.

This is a great book for a beginner cook who is looking to eat a healthier, fresher diet. You won't find any Splenda or non-dairy creamer in these recipes!

Best features: information on calories, food swaps
Recipes worth trying: Stuffed French Toast Sundaes, Portobello Mushroom Benedict, Homemade Granola, Penne alla "Not-ka", Healthy Potato Skins, Easy Herb Roasted Chicken, Peanut Butter Dream Bars, Roasted Peach Crisp
Yay or Nay? Yay! Great recipes for the health conscious.
Purchase here: Cook Yourself Thin: Skinny Meals You Can Make in Minutes

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