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Lighten Up, Y'all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome Hardcover – March 3, 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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The ultimate guide to preserving and canning is the perfect complement to America's Test Kitchen's recommended canner.
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“As a Southerner, I appreciate that Virginia makes real Southern food with real ingredients. A natural teacher, Virginia helps to dispel the myth that all Southern food is fatty and not good for you. She also reminds us that being healthy isn’t always about saying no—her delicious recipes are all about making good choices and saying yes!” 
— Carla Hall, cohost of The Chew and author of Carla’s Comfort Food

“In Lighten Up, Y’all, Virginia Willis reminds us that Southern cooking is not all about overindulgence, butter, and fried food; rather, Southern food emphasizes the delicate ingredients that are indigenous to our region. She lightens up the dishes we love while staying true to the flavors we desire.” 
— John Besh, chef and author of Cooking from the Heart

Virginia Willis’s passion for the Southern food she grew up with, her top-notch culinary expertise, and her personal journey to be healthier have culminated in this wonderful book, which celebrates the fresh diversity of Southern cooking. With one incredible recipe after another, it is a real gift for health-minded food lovers!” 
— Ellie Krieger MS, RD, host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite and author of Weeknight Wonders

“With Lighten Up, Y’all, Virginia Willis opens the door to a new way of cooking, which focuses on the bountiful fresh fruits and vegetables that are the true staples of the Southern larder. She writes recipes that will make you feel good cooking in the kitchen, and feel even better eating the results.” 
— Hugh Acheson, James Beard Award–winning chef and author of A New Turn in the South

“Virginia Willis has always been both hilariously funny and incredibly astute in her Southern taste. Her recipes, like Beer-Battered Shrimp with Spicy Ketchup, Broccoli and Cheese “Rice Grits,” and Miso-Glazed Catfish with Edamame and Spicy Winter Greens, ring the bell for us. They are creative, nourishing, comforting, and easy to cook at leisure. Lighten Up, Y’all is a manifesto of gracious living in any era or place: be cool, eat well and mindfully, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water!” 
—Matt Lee and Ted Lee, authors of The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen

About the Author

VIRGINIA WILLIS is the author of the acclaimed cookbooks Bon Appétit, Y’all; Basic to Brilliant, Y’all; Grits; and Okra. Willis is a columnist for FoodNetwork.com, a contributing editor to Southern Living, and was named one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know” by the Chicago Tribune. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (March 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607745739
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607745730
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.9 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Virginia Willis' "Lighten Up, Y'all" is another great cookbook from this French-trained, Southern-reared chef. Southern cooking has somehow been saddled with a non-healthy reputation and Chef Willis explains how this simply isn't true. She offers old favorites with a low-cal twist as well as new combinations of unlikely ingredients (Broccoli and Cheese "Rice Grits" and Brussels Sprouts with Raisins and Pecans, for a few "new style" recipes) and well as reduced-calorie tried-and-true Southern dishes (Mac and Cheese, Makeover Broccoli and Hand Pies, Baked Apple with Salted Caramel Sauce, among others). Like her other cookbooks, she remembers her childhood and kitchen lessons with delightful stories and also has interesting and insightful asides about ingredients and cooking techniques. Run, don't walk to get this spectacular guide to healthy eating and luscious recipes.
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Format: Hardcover
We for sure are southern cooks & love to cook from scratch, so this cookbook peaked my interest enough that I knew I needed to get it. The moment I opened the cover & read "The Key to a happy, healthy life is to treat your body- And food you feed it - With Love" I knew I was going to enjoy this cookbook. My daughter is homeschooling & taking culinary arts so she reads through cookbooks like they are novels literally eating up every morsel. She kept telling me great tidbits of this book as she poured over it looking for the recipe she would make first.

This cookbook covers a large enough area of cooking it would be great as a gift for anyone just learning to cook or that likes collecting cookbooks. It covers areas such as, Starters & Nibbles, From the garden, Poultry, Soups & stews, Sweet indulgences & 5 other just as amazing chapters. So if you are looking for a cookbook that covers a meal from beginning to end this is the cookbook you have been looking for.I was given the chance to receive this to try it out & review.
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Format: Hardcover
Lighten Up Y'all is full of delicious recipes that are so flavorful, even though they are low fat and healthy. One of my favorite recipes is the Chocolate Brookies. They are the perfect mix of crispy cookie and chewy brownie - crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. And the surprising thing is there is only one tablespoon of butter, not a stick. And you don't miss it because they have so much flavor. Another favorite is the broccoli and cheese "rice grits". The creamy texture you get without all the cream makes for such a delicious dish, that could be served as a side or on Meatless Monday's as a main course. This book offers new takes on traditional Southern dishes and you don't even miss the mayonnaise and butter. This is a must have for any kitchen.
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Format: Hardcover
I am loving the new and lighten recipes that are being showcased in books lately. Especially those of Lighten Up Y'all by Virginia Willis. She not only shares recipes that are on the lighter side, but that also have been some of the most popular southern variety which are rather indulgent. I usually only eat southern food a few times a year because of the higher calorie content and now that they have been lightened for me I know I will be happy to include them in my repetoire of cooking on a regular basis. I absolutely love southern food and all the history and love surrounding the deliciously amazing recipes. I cannot wait to try my hands at the recipes in this fabulous book all are making my mouth water in anticipation. I can only hope that Willis make this a series where other recipes or richly caloric foods will be reduced for those looking to lighten up their cooking. I received this book from http://www.bloggingforbooks.org/ for this review. http://www.randomhouse.com/book/228130/lighten-up-yall-by-virginia-willis
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Format: Hardcover
First, I have to say that typically I love hardcover picture book style cookbooks. I love the glossy pictures of the recipes and the step by step illustrations of techniques. Unfortunately, this title did not live up to my expectations. First, there is not a picture of every recipe. This is huge for me. If I am looking at a nice hardcover cookbook, I expect a picture of every recipe. Second, the pictures that are included often show something random, like the author holding a planter of flowers or walking through a forest with a bag of produce; what do these have to do with cooking? The good news on this book is that the recipes seem to require pretty normal ingredients…things that if you don’t already have in your cupboard should be easy enough to find in any mid-sized grocery store. The instructions provided are also clear and easy to follow. I give this book 3 stars because what it loses on eye appeal, it makes up for with ease of use.

I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you to bloggingforbooks.com
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Format: Hardcover
I am not a dieter, but I do practice everything in moderation. Which may be another reason why I’m into the lightened up cookbooks right now, because lighter dinners mean dessert, right? ;) This book is exactly what I look for when I am looking for a light cookbook. Real ingredients – not a whole bunch of low-fat/nonfat ingredients, a variety of recipes – not just salads or boring chicken recipes, and recipes full of flavor. And I love that there are many southern favorites, made a little healthier. In the introduction, Virginia says something that really struck a chord with me. She says “this is not a book about saying “no.” This is a book about saying “yes!” This book is about what you can have, not what you can’t.” I’m all about making smart choices, and this book is just that!

I made the Grilled Balsamic Flank Steak, and it was a home run. It was so simple, and definitely something I'd make again and again!
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