Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Cook Yourself Thin Faster - Lauren Deen



Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. Book reviews (novel, non-fiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If you post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up any time over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

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One of my Game On buddies, Julie @ Booking Mama, recently reviewed a cookbook that caught my attention. I am still dieting, so how could I not be intrigued by a book whose subtitles include "A delicious way to drop a dress size", and "Have your cake and eat it too", and "Over 75 new recipes you can make in a flash". I can't say I really believed that I would drop a dress size by cooking these recipes, but what I did believe was this was a collection of yummy, healthy meals.

So I ordered it from the library to give it a test run. (Which, by the way, I would say good luck with that. I make messes when I cook!) The book gives some good, general, practical advice about losing weight. Calculating the number of calories you need to eat per day to maintain your weight. Keeping a food diary. Five changes you can make in your lifestyle to help you lose weight. Nothing revolutionary here, but reminders are always good.

The book is then divided up by chapters based on the meal (breakfast, starters, mains, sides/soups/salads, and dessert) with a dozen or more recipes in each section. All recipes are simple, with few ingredients and few steps, with caloric content and pictures for each. You are not required to use anything fake (fake butter, fake sugar...processed stuff). They just help you find healthier choices with your ingredients. And it pays off. The recipes I made were tasty, and every dish was between 250 and 350 calories per serving, the same as a Lean Cuisine dish.

I made Chicken Cordon Bleu, Orange Beef, Pork with Apples, Shrimp and Grits, and Fish and Chips. All the dishes were met with happy little faces and tummies in our family, which is the ultimate goal. This has been my biggest challenge throughout my dieting adventure since the beginning of the year. I normally cook a full meal every night, and many of the dishes are rich and savory. How to wean my family from the delicious, often fattening dinners to something that won't cause sounds of retching from the dinner table? This cookbook was one answer.

I probably got the most groans of appreciation from the pork with apples:

1 1/2 pounds loin pork chops
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
cooking spray
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
3/4 cup apple cider
2 TBL heavy cream
Pound the pork chops to flatten. Season with S&P. Spray saute pan with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook for another 4 minutes until cooked through. Remove the pork to a plate and keep covered. Saute shallot and apple until slightly golden. Add the apple cider and cook until the liquid begins to boil. Add the heavy cream and stir. Return the pork to the pan, toss with the sauce, and serve immediately.

Calories: 270

I don't think I will actually go out and buy this cookbook, but will just occasionally check it out when I am in need of new meals. Do you have any go-to cookbooks that are healthy and simple? I am always looking for new material!


P.S. I am down 17 pounds since the beginning of the year!


23 comments:

Frances said...

Ellie Krieger has some wonderful cookbooks, and a lot of her stuff is available online as well.

Down 17 pounds? You must be looking gorgeous!

bermudaonion said...

Congratulations on losing all that weight! I bet it is tough to cook for everyone else when you're dieting!

Staci said...

Yay on the weightloss!! This sounds like one to browse through and copy a few recipes for use!!!

Molly said...

17 pounds?! Good for you!

Have you bought that new bikini for hawaii yet?

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

That pork chop recipe sounds wonderful. I had to look twice when I saw heavy cream. 17 pounds is amazing for only two months. Good for you.

JoAnn said...

17 Pounds - wow, congratulations!!!

Julie P. said...

Wow! First of all, thanks for the shout out! I'm glad you enjoyed the cookbook. Secondly, I am so proud of you. I know how much work is involved in losing weight and 17 pounds is amazing!

Beth F said...

Awesome on the weight loss. Wow!!!!

I'll keep this cookbook in mind for the next time I can get to the library -- I'm always nervous cooking out of library books too!

Heather said...

interesting sounding recipe. I started again keeping my food journal, seems the only way I can keep myself from overeating.

Kim said...

Hooray for you on the 17 pounds! This cookbook looks like one I should pick up and browse through...
*smiles*

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Congrats on the weight loss - that is a wonderful accomplishment! As for go-to cookbooks, mine is Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

That pork does sound yummy. I'm always surprised by the food that you can mix and match and get a good result.

patebooks said...

Congrats on the loss of those pounds. I wish there was a way to read yourself thin! Julia Cameron's book The Writer's Diet did me no good -- I should have known a book filled with italics and cliches -- wasn't going to do it for me. Write a page or have a cookie?! I go for the cookie every time.

heidenkind said...

Wow, congratulations!

Bonnie said...

I'm going to check this one out, maybe from the library. It sounds like it has some great recipes. I like to use recipes that are not encouraging the fake ingredients so that sounds good.

Congrats on the 17 weight loss! That's awesome. I'm trying to lose weight myself so I understand the challenge.

Just Mom said...

17 pounds - good for you! I love perusing cookbooks - more than actually cooking!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Congratulations on losing all that weight - that's fantastic! Can't wait to see the Hawaii bikini pictures! :--)

Jenners said...

You go girl!!! 17 lbs. is fantastic!

If you are looking for a good lighter cook book, I would highly recommend "The Most Decadent Diet Ever" by Devin Alexander. I've tried quite a few recipies and they are really good and feel like "the real thing" instead of the some of the Weight Watchers tasteless versions of dishes.

Susan said...

Congrats on the fabulous weight loss! I know for a fact that there's a lot of work involved there.

My favorite go-to is Cooking Light Complete Cookbook. I've taken the magazine for umpteen years and many of my tried and true recipes from the mag are in the cookbook. Their recipes are practical and tasty. And the book is user-friendly in a ring binder that lies flat. They almost always keep their percentage of fat under 30%, which doesn't leave you feeling as if you just ate a Lean Cuisine, but a regular meal.

Esme said...

Congrats on the weight loss-I am sure you feel better-It is time for me get down to business there-I have had a serious work obligation since Jan 4 that has sproradically taken me to the gym for sanity-but time for business. Pork with apples is a favorite of mine.

http://chocolateandcroissants.blogspot.com/2010_02_01_archive.html#3332949962694309765

is my contribution.

Kathleen said...

You are awesome lady...down 17 pounds? Congratulations on that as I know it ain't easy! The recipe for the pork looks yummy. That is a big challenge when you are cooking for a family and you are the one trying to lose weight. You will enjoy all of the hard work you did on your program when you go to Hawaii and feel great in your suit!

Zibilee said...

This sounds like just the cookbook that I need to own! I am also amazed by your 17 pound loss! I am having my own struggles with the inches right now, so your success really inspires me! I will have to try to grab a copy of this book when I can. It sounds great!

Melissa said...

Congrats on the weight loss!!