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“Snack Girl to the Rescue” Book Review

I discovered a wonderful book this week that I’m excited to share with you and to recommend to my AnneTheRD nutrition counseling clients, too: Snack Girl to the Rescue: A Real-Life Guide to Losing Weight and Getting Healthy, by Lisa Cain, Ph.D., author of the blog Snack Girl.

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I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa on the Almond Board of California trip last month. She’s hilarious, and a group of us had a wonderful time laughing through dinner on our last night. When Lisa mentioned she had recently come out with a cookbook inspired by her own weight loss journey, I was really interested to check it out. (Thank you to her publisher for sending me a complimentary review copy.)

I have to say – I was REALLY impressed with this book. I was expecting simply a cookbook, but what I found was a wonderfully laid out step by step plan for how people can get their health back on track in a sustainable, simple, non-gimmicky or extreme way. In fact, the entire first half of the book is dedicated to topics such as healthy weight and body image, emotional eating, how to tackle everyday temptations (like that office candy jar), how to outsmart food marketing, and how to start making changes in a non-overwhelming way. She succeeds in making something that is a completely overwhelming process seem attainable – and better yet, perhaps even enjoyable.

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I particularly love the emphasis on enjoying your food, and not taking an extreme approach. Healthy change is only sustainable if it’s done in a way that isn’t too restrictive for you to continue to live your normal life – and to enjoy yourself a bit while you’re at it. Lisa shares advice about working to make your favorite foods healthier, looking for products with a short ingredient list, getting started in the kitchen if you have no idea what you’re doing, and even unsticking your butt from the couch. She also discusses many of the standard challenges that we face nowadays, offering advice on topics such as “My Car Drives Itself to the Drive-Through”, “How to Cope with the Avalanche of Free Food”, and “Going Out to Restaurants Without Wearing an Elastic Waistband.”

As for the recipes, here is the approach, in her words. Lisa is a mother of two, so she knows firsthand that cooking needs to be quick or it won’t happen.

“I want to inspire you to cook. Not by using fancy ingredients and time-consuming steps, but by creating recipes simple enough to make every day and tasty enough that you’ll want to.”

A lot of the recipes are healthier versions of classic favorites (that have been kid-approved, too). Another thing I love about her approach? She’s on the full-fat dairy train, despite the fact that her meals aim to be lower in calories. As she said, a little less of the real thing is better than a diet imitation – healthy food has to taste good for you to want to make it again – and to eat it. Amen, sister. Even better: there is an emphasis on recipes that have minimal clean up (e.g. one pot meals). If there’s any criticism I have for this book, it’s that I wish there were photos to go with the recipes – but if I have to sacrifice pretty pictures in order to get a solid book with realistic advice that I can recommend to clients, it’s worth it.

I decided to try out two of the recipes in the book this week. First up was Lisa’s Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup.

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I LOVE split pea soup, and so does Matt, so I decided to make this for our Tuesday Night Challenge this week (as you know, each week one of us takes the reigns to find a new to us recipe, and does all the cooking and clean up so the other can relax – it’s a great way to challenge yourself to mix it up!).

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I used my “How to Dice an Onion in 15 seconds” approach – wins every time! And so fast there are no onion tears. :)

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Since busting out our crockpot this week I’ve become obsessed with it again. SO EASY and awesome to do the meal prep in the morning when I have more energy, and then in the evening your food is ready when you just want to chill. Perfect.

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Set it and forget it – sweet!

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7 hours later (you could leave it for longer if you wanted – our crockpot has an auto “warm” setting for a few hours after it’s done cooking which is nice if I’m gone all day) and dinner was served. Another great tip from Lisa is that if you don’t have time to prep the ingredients in the morning, do it the night before and just place the whole crockpot insert with all the ingredients in it in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning, take it out, turn it on, and go about your day!

The final step to the split pea soup was to take out the ham hock, then use a stick blender (or regular blender, but that can get messy) to puree it up a bit.

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Add back in the ham hock (chopped into pieces), and enjoy! Matt and I had it with crackers and unpictured cheese on the side. Delicious, comforting, and super cheap and easy to make, too. Win!

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I froze half the leftovers for an easy dinner later, which was an added bonus.

On Wednesday, I tried another of her recipes: Hunter Slow Cooker Chicken Stew!

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This recipe is a take on cacciatore, and again thanks to the crockpot is insanely easy – chop a few things, toss them in the crockpot, go do other stuff. Here’s the recipe, if you’d like to try it, shared with permission from Lisa! I followed the recipe exactly but added potatoes as our starch – it was a tasty addition.

Hunter Slow Cooker Chicken Stew
(serves 5)

  • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 (8 oz) package presliced and washed white mushrooms
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on the low setting for 7 hours. Serve over pasta or rice or with a slice of bread on the side. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

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LOVED this – will definitely be making it again. Three cheers for more leftovers, too!

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I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have!

Comments

  1. 1

    I hadn’t heard of this book – it looks great!

  2. 2

    Thanks for this in-depth review of the book. Far too often to people take extreme diet measures out of desperation only to stumble and fail because it is unattainable in tve long run. It is so nice to hear when a realstic approach is put out there.

  3. 3

    Eating healthy can really taste gooood, I love this! I was looking for a slow cooker recipe for this weekend, thank ya very much =)

  4. 4

    Sounds like a great find! Very realistic recipes for real people’s schedues and time constraints. Happy cooking!

  5. 5

    I absolutely agree with you Anne! It’s such a wonderful book – a fun read with a common-sense approach to healthy eating, all spun together with her hilarious dry sense of humor. So glad to see you feature it!

  6. 6

    Sounds like a great book! She seems from just from her chapter titles – love it. Ordering now :)

  7. 8

    I’ve never heard of this book! There are so many out there, it’s nice to hear reviews on them, so we can pick them out!

  8. 9

    This sounds like a great book! After losing 80 pounds myself through eating real food & exercising, I know all too well about the gimmicks out there. A lot of people don’t know what to eat for weight loss and then how to sustain it. So many foods are marketed in a tricky way now.

  9. 11

    The cookbook looks wonderful! A question though – in your pictures for the chicken stew it looks like potatoes are part of the recipe but they are mentioned in the recipe you posted. Are the photos for something else? Thanks!

  10. 14

    All recipes should be designed for minimal dishes! This book looks fantastic and so does that recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  11. 15

    I love slow-cooked foods, you can just pop them in and leave them, go to work and when you get back home – delicious dinner served. Your recipe looks really good. Thanks for sharing this. – Angel S

  12. 16

    I’ve been wanting to check her book out. Thanks for the review & showing the recipes. Super easy!!

  13. 17

    Thanks for highlighting this book for us! Sounds great —

  14. 18
    Faye Holloway says

    Hi Anne,

    Will you give me the recipe for the split pea soup? My husband and I want to make that – looks so yummy! I really just need the ingredient list since you gave a great description of how to do it.

    Thanks!

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