GIVEAWAY: Cooking Light’s Lighten Up, America! Cookbook

People, I love a cookbook. When I get my hands on a new one, I read it cover to cover like a novel. I’m thinking this is not normal? A few of my most loved/used cookbooks include:

Super Natural Every Day

Peas and Thank You

The All New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

The Best of Cooking Light

Frank Stitt’s Bottega Favorita

I might have a new favorite to add to the list. A few weeks back, Cooking Light sent me their new cookbook, Lighten Up, America! to try. The premise is super fun. Allison Fishman Task traveled the country finding regional specialties, then headed back to the kitchen to slash calories, fat and sugar.

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Once again, I read it cover to cover like a weirdo. What an engaging book! It’s scattered with stories about delicacies from all over the United States and great pictures of the original treats in action. I had a blast seeing if I had tried or even heard of the combinations.

In an effort to give the book a fair review (beyond pretty pictures and captivating back stories) I decided to try three recipes: St. Louis Butter Cake, Broccoli-Cheddar Soup and Butternut Squash Agrodolce, subbing acorn squash. We loved all three.

The butter cake was super decadent and the squash had a unique flavor profile. Vinegar + honey? Yes, please! The soup was probably our favorite. It gets a rich, creamy texture from potatoes. In short, I found the cookbook delightful, and the recipes easy to follow. The results were fabulous!

Broccoli

To win a copy for yourself, please reply to this post by midnight CST on 11/2/13, telling me your favorite food from your region or state. I’ll use random number generator to pick a winner and notify you by Monday.

Now then, to get this party started, my favorite Southern foods all seem to involve fried cornmeal! I love fried green tomatoes and hushpuppies the most. I also adore buttermilk biscuits, potato salad, and black eyed peas + cornbread. I could keep going forever, but I’ll suffice it to say that my cooking and tastes are definitely heavily influenced by my Alabama roots. Now then, your turn! What’s your favorite food from home? 

Baby Cakes

Oh hi. I’ve been mighty quiet lately. It’s the longest I’ve gone without posting a blog since I started this site in 2011. Excuses? I’ve got some good ones!

Me and my Shadow 1

My goodness, this is me. I took this photo yesterday, thinking there wouldn’t be much to show. Apparently I look far more pregnant than I realized. The good news is that the belly isn’t from downing all the yummy fall treats that are cropping up. Vore and I are expecting our first little Sprout in March 2014!

I am 17 weeks along, and loving that I can share the news. A few questions I am sure you will ask:

Were you sick? Yep. I felt like junk all summer. I had a very hard time getting creative in the kitchen because pretty much all I wanted was bread, crackers and bubbly water. So glad that’s past me!

Since you’re pregnant, are you eating meat? No. My reason for being a veggie is taste and texture based, and I wondered if I might crave meat while pregnant. It hasn’t happened. I am being careful to eat a high protein, plant-based diet filled with a variety of whole foods.

Will Sprout be a vegetarian? I suppose that’s up to the bebe. I’m pretty sure Vore will make animal protein an option. I don’t eat tofu weenies, so the baby won’t either. But veggies will always be piled high on our plates!

Now then, onto our other news. We moved! We loved our little townhouse, but the lack of a yard wasn’t working for the puppy or our growing family. We also wanted a location closer to downtown to cut commute time. Interweb logic says you’re not suppose to picture your current home (scary stalkers and whatnot) so I’ll give you a parting shot of our old place. Goodbye, suburban townhome!

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We bought a white brick house on a quiet street in a stellar school district. Vore only has to drive 10 minutes to get home from his work in the heart of Birmingham. He can join me for lunch! While the house was in pretty good shape, it does need a little love to make it look 2013. We’ve been living with workmen for the last 3 weeks, and I’ve been camped out at my parents’ so I can get some work done during the day. Thanks Mom and Dad!

We’re slowly settling into the new place, and loving where life is taking us. [Pregnancy, a puppy and a house, all in the space of a couple of months. We don’t mess around, huh?] I’ll leave you with a gratuitous shot of snoozing Reagan. Isn’t she a love?

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