Sunday, August 10, 2008

Book Review: Eat, Shrink and Be Merry!

Yes, you read that title correctly - it's Shrink, not drink - and that's only the beginning of the fun word-puns that fill this very funny, very informative and truly delectable cookbook written by the already-successful Podleski sisters.

Eat, Shrink and Be Merry, Janet and Greta Podleski's third book, is absolutely wonderful. I love reading cookbooks from front to back, and they have made it so easy to want to read this book. Not only is it laugh-out-loud funny, but it's so chock-full of interesting and essential tips that you won't find yourself picking it up simply to browse for a recipe. It's not possible to just look for a recipe with this book. I know; I've tried.

No matter how many times I looked up a recipe in the index, I found it was impossible not to read every little tidbit on the page and just get to cooking. I did get to cooking though, and each and every recipe is fabulous. They've taken healthy eating to a whole new delicious level.

Do you know what really causes a beer belly? Do you know why it's important to thoroughly chew your food? Do you know where all that cholesterol in your body is coming from? You might be surprised at some of the answers, and these girls give them and many more in this book.

Did you know that every recipe in this book (except one!) is good for you? That includes this Shocklate Cheesecake (really!):

Everybody now ... Ooooh, ahhhh!

How about a recipe? Let's go with Worth Every Penne - a better-for-you and ramped-up version of classic pesto. Yum!

Worth Every Penne

Whole wheat penne noodles with chicken, bacon, vegetables, and pesto sauce

To coin a phrase, “Pesto is the besto!” Okay, so it’s a dumb phrase.

We usually make perfect cents. Take this spectacular pasta recipe, for instance: It’s penne wise, but not pound foolish, since we use high-fiber, whole wheat pasta and load up on the veggies and lean chicken. Worth the effort!


2 tbsp basil pesto
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp liquid honey
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups uncooked whole wheat penne noodles (about 8 oz)
4 slices reduced-sodium bacon, chopped
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped red onions
3 big handfuls baby spinach leaves
12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (see tip in margin)
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan or Romano cheese, or
1/2 cup crumbled light feta cheese (2 oz)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

To prepare sauce, whisk together all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Cook penne noodles according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.

While pasta is boiling, cook bacon in a large, non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Remove and discard 1 tbsp bacon drippings from skillet. Add mushrooms and onions to skillet. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add spinach leaves and tomatoes. Cook until spinach is wilted. Stir in chicken and cook just until chicken is heated through. Add cooked penne noodles and mix well. Add reserved sauce and mix again. Remove skillet from heat. Sprinkle pasta with Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings

Per serving: 331 calories, 10.6g total fat (2.9 g saturated fat), 27 g of protein, 31 g carbohydrate, 5.7 g fiber, 50 mg cholesterol, 270 mg sodium

Not convinced that you should own this book? Here's a clip of these two extremely adorable (and smart, and funny) women doing their thing:

If you'd like a copy of Eat, Shrink and Be Merry, (I know you do!) please visit the website HERE and take a look around.


Deborah Dowd said...

Anne, this cookbook sounds really fun! And right now since we are in the midst of dieting at our house, having another resource for good and healthy recipes with a side of humor is just what the doctor ordered!! Thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

Ok, Ok, you convinced me. I love a good cookbook too.

Maureen said...

You convinced me too, Anne! It sounds like a delightful cookbook - and your review was fun to read too.