Cookbook Review: Lighten Up, Y'all Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome

Sunday, February 22, 2015

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To be honest, I lost interest in Southern cooking after watching Paula Deen drowning all of her dishes in butter. However, Lighten Up, Y'all by Virginia Willis caught my eye because of the premise it put forward--taking Southern comfort food and making it lighter, healthier, and completely guilt-free. I’m not sure about the guilt-free part but I definitely feel less guilt about the calories.

The author started off the book by sharing her weight struggle and reasons for taking Southern food in a new direction--lightening up favorite Southern recipes while keeping traditional flavors intact. She focused on making it a lifestyle choice rather than jumping into yet another diet. For each recipe, she included a note as to how she lightened up the recipe and the recipes are relatively simple for a home cook like myself.

We didn’t grow up eating a lot of Southern food but we definitely have a few favorites. There were some recipes that we would have liked to see in the book but didn’t such as chicken fried steak or fried chicken. The apple, raisin, and carrot slaw has become a regular lunch dish for me with the addition of grilled chicken. We have always made turkey meatloaf but her mushroom gravy made it even more delicious. There are so many recipes we look forward to trying such as the coffee braised pot roast, strawberry shortcakes, and stove top apple pie.

I really enjoyed reading Lighten Up Y’all and thought it delivered on its promise. My only gripe is the lack of pictures, especially for those who are not familiar with Southern cooking and would want to know what the final dish looks like. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves classic Southern dishes but want to eat healthier and more wholesome Southern food.

*Some of the dishes that I made from this book are posted on my instagram account if you're interested in how they turned out
*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher

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