Cooking Lean Like Paula Deen (featured guest blogger)

5:38 AM

Less than two years ago, you could say my cooking abilities left a lot to be desired. Up until that point, I really didn't see the need to learn how. Since healthy eating had always been a focus, I felt the only dishes to make were the simple ones, such as grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. If I wasn't going to be preparing anything more complicated than that, what was the point in learning to cook? It seemed like the more ingredients a recipe called for, the more unhealthy it tended to be. And even when I did find a "healthy" recipe, it was too complicated for my culinary capabilities. I was stuck in a not-so-great place; a place where I was bored by lame food, tempted by the delicious dishes being made all around me and unarmed with the ability to do something about it. There had to be a better way to enjoy food and cooking, yet still live a healthy life. It was then that the light bulb turned on.

Cooking Light Magazine

I decided to dive head first into Paula Deen's recipes and make them work for me; adding excitement into eating and learning how to really cook, all at once. By tackling a couple recipes a week, I would learn more about cooking techniques, new ingredients, what works and what doesn't, all through simple experimental cooking. What a blast it has been! Not only has my enthusiasm and joy of healthy cooking grown, but so has my daughter's. At 2-1/2, she is always eager to help and I believe passing on this habit of healthy cooking and eating along to our children is one of the most valuable, important things we can do.

Real Women of Philadelphia with Paula Deen

So, with this plan in hand, I decided to blog about my experience; which is where Cookin' Lean Like Paula Deen began. There had to be at least one person out there who was facing a similar dilemma. If there was just one person who also wanted to cook healthy, fast and fun dishes but needed a little encouragement, then blogging about it could help. A year and a half later, I am so happy to see that I have reached that one person...and a few more.

Rachael Ray's Light: Vermont Chicken Pie

The Cookin' Lean Kitchen is all about taking great looking recipes from Food Network stars (Paula Deen, Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay and Ina Garten)and making them in a lighter, leaner way. If you see Rachael make a killer lasagna on her show and you want to make it for dinner, why can't you? Saying, "Oh, all that cheese is too fattening. I can't make that," is no longer part of my inner dialogue. Instead, I see that cheese-loaded lasagna and say, "Oh, I can lean that right up. No problem!" It's all about how you look at dishes and recipes. That is what I try to do by recreating all these recipes; getting others to see how easy it is to take any recipe you crave and to create it in a way that cuts fat and calories, yet holds on to the flavor. It's a new perspective on cooking. No dish is off limits. Cooking and eating is a lot more enjoyable that way. Who likes restrictions?
All my life, I have had an "all or nothing" relationship with food; gaining and losing without figuring out what works for me. I struggled to find the "balance"...until now. Deciding to take any dish I want and cooking it in a healthy way has been quite empowering. What I have taken away from this experience so far, is that it's not just about food. It is about taking whatever it is in our lives that is not right and making it work. If you want something, then find a way to make it happen. For me, it has been cooking. For you, it may be something different. The point is, when something isn't working, the solution lies somewhere within us.
I feel very blessed to have had such an exciting time with cooking; haven been given great opportunities to travel and cook along side some amazing chefs; ones who I look up to. I would have never imagined that this personal quest to acquire some cooking skills would have opened me up to so much. I guess you just don't know until you go for it, right?

I want to end by wishing you a very Happy & Healthy Holiday season. I will be cookin' up a ton of great holiday dishes and treats (like these Holiday Whoopie Pies); plus sharing some healthy ideas for food gifts. I encourage you to stop by and visit. Not only will you find tons of  "lean" recipes (adult and kid friendly), but you will also find tips for healthy cooking and living an overall lean lifestyle. This is my life's passion and connecting with others through blogging has been incredible. There is still so much to cook and learn and I look forward to all that is to come. I would love to have you all along for the ride!
Hope to see you around the Cookin' Lean Kitchen!
Good health and great dishes to you and your family!

I big thank you to Lindsay! about a year ago I started to loose weight and found it hard to find savory recipes that where that would help me in my weight loss endeavors and then I came across "Cooking Lean Like Paula Deen" I always know that I can find quality recipes that will not only be good for my waste line but good for my kids too. Lindsay is doing such a great thing over at her blog and you should definitely head on over to check it all out. -Julia

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  1. Thank you for sharing this! I have lost 40 lbs on Medifast and can't afford to stay on it any longer. I need something healthy so that I don't gain the weight back and I still need to lose 25 lbs. This sounds like just the thing for me!!

  2. I follow her too! she's awesome.


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