Monday, May 30, 2011

Joy Bauer Slim & Scrumptious Cookbook Review

I was approached by Joy Bauer's company "Everyday Health" to partner with them in reviewing several of Joy's books. Of course being the cookbook fanatic, I am starting with the "Slim & Scrumptious Cookbook", which after reading cover to cover I knew I had to cook all the dishes! 

This cookbook is laid out in a very nice order, has lovely photography & clear instructions. The nutritional breakdown is complete and easy to read. Joy has included many different flavor profiles, healthy choices, & family friendly meals.

After I picked the books up from UPS, I went to Panera for dinner with my husband. Being a casual dining place & knowing I couldn't wait, I took it in with me to browse through while I ate. Together we read the whole book! He loves food, I love to he loves new cookbooks too!

I chose the Creole Catfish with Cucumber-Radish Slaw, Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potato Fries, & the Dark Cocoa Almonds. Let me first say that if you are going to try the almonds, be prepared to become addicted!

The Creole Catfish is a simple quick main course. If you have never eaten Catfish because you think it's bottom feeder fish, let me tell you American farm raised catfish is some of the cleanest & healthiest fish around!  I for one will not eat catfish that is not farm raised & grain fed. Don't even get me started on the shrimp from other places...I'm from the Texas Gulf coast & can tell with the first bite if my shrimp isn't! In Nebraska its hard to get fresh Gulf shrimp, but when I find it I buy lots!

I blackened the catfish in an iron skillet using my New Southern Pantry Cajun Seasoning. I avoid most salt in dishes & I have found it's hard to find a quality Cajun seasoning that isn't so heavy on the sodium. The photo shows a remoulade sauce that I made, that wasn't Joy's recipe. The catfish is just as good without it, but using greek yogurt in place of the mayo keeps it healthy!

Cucumber & Radish Slaw was a new recipe for me. It's very simple & has lemon zest & black pepper which really blends well with the vegetables. It's a light & beautiful side dish for summer

Now the sweet potatoes..oh my I am glad I only cooked enough for the two of us because I would have eaten every last one of those! We made a dipping sauce of greek yogurt & chipotle hot sauce, & when you dip these crunchy , breaded (yes bread!) sweet potato fries in that you forget your eating something healthy!

The Dark Cocoa Almonds .....well lets just say...these are just divine! I had tried this with another recipe but the cocoa wouldn't stick well and they were a mess. Joy's recipe uses frothed egg whites before dipping and it works like a dream. I'm sure I didn't eat the correct serving size, but don't think I ever could with these. I'm anxious to try the other two almonds varieties; Cinnamon-Sugar & Chipotle. I will say I added a little of myself to the almonds, added cinnamon & cayenne to half the recipe...WOW!

Joy's recipes are simple to make, taste wonderful & are healthy for you. I love the fact that sugar is not a evil word in this cookbook. I have been diabetic for 20 yrs and decided several years ago that most artificial sweeteners & dietetic food did more harm than good. Moderation and light application of sugar is my choice on most things. Do I always eat correctly...absolutely not! Do I try to do it 95% of the time, yes. Remember healthy eating & weight loss is a marathon not a sprint!

Go to your favorite book store & check out Joy's cookbook "Slim & Scrumptious".  You will love the easy recipes & everyday ingredients!

Next up is the Upside-Down Pan Pizza...yes pizza in a nutritionist cookbook! I have died and gone to food heaven! Might even make a salad & some Berry Berry Crisp!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Healthy Home Cooking with Taste!

Home cooking and healthy eating are possible. We need to start at the beginning and look at how our grandmothers cooked and look at what they used. Most of our grandmothers or great-grandmothers were children or young married women during the Great Depression and World War II.
They had to grow or raise all their foods and had limited choices, so they learned to make do with what they had. They had freshly killed beef, chicken, or pork. They ate fresh eggs, & had fresh milk to drink. Gardens were a neccessity because there were no Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe's to buy their organic fruits and vegetables.

If we returned to that lifestyle most of us would loose our minds. I am probably not milking a cow! I have great respect for those who do, but I tend to be a little nervous with my head that close to a cows hind hoofs!
I would raise chickens, but the chicken poop stinks to high heaven and I would be a pariah in my neighborhood.
Raising your own vegetables is a very fun and exciting thing, try that one.
When we start eating whole foods like...carrots, lettuce, chicken, beef, pork, eggs...then we are starting on a healthier way of life.
Pick the places you eat out very carefully. Panera Bread was just rated #1 in eateries with healthy choices, just happens to be on my top 3 list of places I will eat without feeling guilty & ill when I leave.

People in the grocery store hate me. If I am buying a new product I read the label..completely. When I hit words that sound like a Chemistry exam..I put it back on the shelf! Pre-packaged meals have to contain preservatives or they would not be safe to eat, but how safe are the things they preserve them with? That's a question that many are trying to answer, but for me I try to stay away from anything chemical in my food.

The old saying "You are what you eat" is very true!
  • As a RN, I know that many illnesses are from what we ingest.
  • As a diabetic, I know that carbohydates matter.
  • As a cook, I refuse to use things that are loaded wih chemicals, sugar, salt and msg..they only add these to make their product taste better. Let's just get better products!
Southern food is very well suited to healthy lifestyles. Okay now after everyone cleans up the coffee they spilled while laughing through that one... There are few Southern recipes, or any recipe for that matter that can't be cleaned up to fit a healthy lifestyle.

Tex-Mex is one of the staples in our home, and it's probably one of the best to make heart & nutrition healthy. Now does that mean cheese dripping out of every tortilla in the! It means grilled chicken & veggie fajita's with quacamole salad! It means healthy black beans and brown rice with Carne Asada, topped with fresh salsa...get the picture? Fish tacos are really popular right now & they are a nutrtionist dream.


I am starting a review on Monday of Joy Bauer's "Slim & Scrumptious" Cookbook. It has such great recipes, so I am going to cook my way through this book with photos & reviews. Thank you to Joy & her staff for asking me to partner with them and review her books on New Southern Pantry's blog.

First up will be Creole Catfish with Cucumber Radish Slaw, Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potato Fries, & to finish the meal..Dark Chocolate Almonds. Sounds so delicious, can't wait to get cooking!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Common Grace"

One of my greatest pleasures is beautiful dishes & accessories for my home. Being a Southern girl, we were taught from childhood to treasure the things of the past. We loved vintage when it wasn't cool or collectible. The love came from the history it brought and the memories of those who loved the items before. Hand me a crystal punch cup and I will think it's lovely, but also that it is only useful for one thing..punch. Tell me it was my Great-Great Grandmother's set & it turns into magic.

I have been lucky enough to inherit quite a few (okay my husband would say way to many) sets of china, silver, stemware & serving pieces from our grandmothers. I would never part with those,and someone one day will have to take them and love them.

Now my dilemia is I have one son who at this time is not married. I have to find a wife for him. Maybe I will go to the antique shops and watch for a young girl who is hanging around the crystal counter!

I have an antique & vintage business that really helps me in my addiction. I get the thrill of the hunt & if I can let go of it, I sell it so I can buy more. Maybe it's a Hoarders meets The Apprentice, but I'm happy and it supports my need to go junking! 

When I was searching for a name I kept falling back on "Graceful". That was not exactly what I wanted to say, because somedays I feel less than graceful! The one thing women everywhere share is the need to feel beautiful. Even if some don't know that is what they are looking for, we all share a common grace...we are female. So the name "Common Grace" seemed to fit my image of all women regardless of who they may be.

Having lived in several different regions of the country, I know that all women love beautiful things and whether crystal or pottery, ( I have collections of both) it is what identifies them. The best feeling in the world is when you finally "find yourself." Never knew what that meant when I was young and always worried that I would never develop my own style. When I finally found myself doing what I wanted without worrying about what someone else thought, I realized I was there!

Southern Ladies Club was a gift to my sister when she turned 40 last year. I have enjoyed sharing the first week of that with you. She was not so excited that I reminded her everyday on Facebook that she was 40!
Day 6- Southern Ladies Club insiders tip.
Things must match or compliment each other or we feel somwhat overwhelmed. Whether it be clothes, linens, or accents for our home, we tend to feel incomplete if they aren't coordinated.
Those that don't understand this are a very sad, mismatched lot that we would graciously help with the shopping if they ask.
 Never let anyone tell you this is a form of neurosis! We happily dance in our own minds when everything is coordianted!
Day 7-Southern Ladies Club-insiders tip -Be very patient with people not raised in the South. They don't understand why you do what you do either.
Be aware that sometimes they may speak slowly to you as if you were a child.
We understand that the beauty of the South came from the hearts & minds of women and we feel the need to spread that knowledge to others.

A true lady is always gracious to others even if they ask you; 
“ Are we having paper or plastic at this wedding reception?”
to which you sweetly reply while holding back a screech..."Crystal Sweetheart, Crystal!"