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Substitute Yourself Skinny by Chef Susan Irby

Title:  Substitute Yourself Skinny

Author:  Chef Susan Irby

No. of Pages:  230

First Released:  May 2010

Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books):  “In this calorie-slashing collection, Bikini Chef-to-the-stars Susan Irby offers 175 inventive recipes for switching up ingredients that keep calories to a minimum. Here, you’ll get expertly crafted recipes that include offerings for every meal of the day, such as: Flat-Belly Eggs Benedict (with turkey bacon or lean prosciutto instead of bacon or ham)–save 465 calories Smoked Gouda Burger (with turkey bacon and a whole-wheat bun)–save 716 calories Monterey Chicken Pasta (with sugar-free BBQ sauce and reduced fat cheese)–save 345 calories Molten Chocolate Cake (with less cream and more strawberries)–save 262 calories Complete with Thin Tip shortcuts to trim calories in little ways throughout the day and serving size suggestions, you get all the flavor–minus the muffin top.”

Comments and Critique:
  As someone who works in the food industry and is a self-professed foodie, I love cookbooks.  Unfortunately, my waistline does not like the fact that I love food so much, and I have had to adjust my eating habits over the years.  I have been a regular follower of Hungry Girl for several years now, so I am extremely familiar with the idea of substitutions.  Between my experience with Weight Watchers and Hungry Girl, I’ve been a substitution queen for years now.  Hence, I was a bit skeptical at what new ideas Chef Irby, the Bikini Chef, could have to offer.  I decided to put Substitute Yourself Skinny through the ultimate test – the family test.

I am very happy to report that this cookbook passed muster!  My husband was able to follow some fairly complex instructions, and the entire family enjoyed the recipes we made for dinner.  They were delicious but did not, in any way, feel like we were cheating ourselves with low-fat food.  Baked manicotti with cheese, chicken cordon bleu – they were both flavorful and sinfully delicious yet low in calories and in fat.  This appears to be one recipe that allows us to have our cake and eat it!

The book contains 175 recipes divided among six different categories: breakfasts, lunches, dinners, sides, snacks and appetizers, and desserts.  Each recipe contains a before-and-after calorie comparison, as well as a further nutritional breakdown of the “skinny” version.  They each also have additional tips and secrets to help add flavor while cutting fat and calories.  While there are a few pictures of foods interspersed throughout the book, they are all in full color and luscious.  My stomach growled every time I came across a picture!

I was impressed with the fact that all ingredients used were fairly common.  There should be no need to run to a specialty store or have to order an item online.  The recipes are fairly easy to make; some are definitely more complicated to make than others.  The fact that they include some of the more popular comfort foods is a definitely plus, as is the fact that there is little in the way of prepared foods to use.  It just seems more family-friendly, more natural to not have to take ingredients from a box.

I like to cook, and I love comfort foods.  If Substitute Yourself Skinny is going to allow me to cook and prepare delicious, healthier comfort foods for my family, it will quickly become very popular in my house.   I have already earmarked many more recipes to try on my family.  I can’t wait!

Thank you to Caitlin Price of FSB Associates for this review copy!  This book counts towards the Rainbow Reading Challenge. 

Image: Signature Block

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