Lighten Up, Y’all Brings Southern Food with a Healthy Kick {Book Review}

* Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of Lighten Up, Y’all from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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About Lighten Up, Y’all

A collection of classic Southern comfort food recipes–including seven-layer dip, chicken and gravy, and strawberry shortcake–made lighter, healthier, and completely guilt-free.

Virginia Willis is not only an authority on Southern cooking, a French-trained chef, and a veteran cookbook author; she is also a proud Southerner who adores eating and cooking for family and friends. So when she needed to drop a few pounds and generally lighten up her diet, the most important criterion for her new lifestyle was that all the food had to taste delicious.

The result is Lighten Up, Y’all, a soul-satisfying and deeply personal collection of Virginia’s new favorite recipes. All the classics are covered—from a comforting Southern Style Shepherd’s Pie with Grits to warm, melting Broccoli Mac and Cheese to Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie. Each dish is packed with real Southern flavor, but made with healthier, more wholesome ingredients and techniques. Wherever you are on your health and wellness journey, Lighten Up, Y’all has the recipes, tools, and inspiration you need to make the nourishing, down-home Southern food you love.

My Review

So, I have been living in New York for coming up on a decade now, but my roots are Southern.  If there is one part of me that hasn’t been fully converted to life in the Northeast, it’s my taste buds.  I would still rather have a chicken fried chicken sandwich than beef on weck any day.  The only issue with classic Southern food is that it isn’t exactly the picture of health.  Lighten Up, Y’all is the perfect cookbook for displaced Southerners (or anyone else) who is looking to enjoy classic Southern flavors while lightening up on the fat content.

This is a really nice cookbook – there isn’t a whole lot of “extra” writing here – some tips on lightening up your diet in general, and then it dives right into the food, which I think is a good thing!  Lighten Up Y’all is divided into 10 sections, with my avorites being “Grains, Grits, and other Starchy Goodness,” “From the Garden,” and “Sweet Indulgences”.  This has some amazing Southern favorites – Smothered and Covered Chicken and Gravy, Buttermilk Biscuits with Turkey Sausage Gravy, and other tasty treats, as well recipes with a more contemporary feel, like Summer Squash “Lasagna”.  The great thing about these recipes is that they use easy-to-find ingredients, and are truly light – most rely on healthy oils like olive oil or canola oil, and there are certainly no “deep fried” anythings.  But the recipes all sound amazingly tasty!

If you enjoy Southern food, but are trying to keep your diet healthy, you should definitely give Lighten Up, Ya’ll a second look!

 

Defcon Darcy Book Blast + $10 Amazon Giveaway

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DefconDarcy-COLORRGB72Fisher Stanton, Valley High School’s Nantucket wannabe, has a cheating girlfriend. When he hires Darcy Walker to chase her to a local club, in true Darcy fashion she stumbles upon a dead body. Thing is, this body has secrets…and Darcy’s mysterious friend, Jaws, and the reporter, Tito Westbrook, have a vested interest. Both enlist Darcy to find the person responsible who has eluded them for years, but Darcy doesn’t solve crimes for free anymore, especially where Jaws is concerned. Knowing Darcy’s Achilles heel, Jaws blackmails Darcy into working for him.

In a true test of wills, Darcy and Jaws battle head-to-head to see who can outsmart the other—Jaws needs Darcy to help him end a bitter grudge war; Darcy needs Jaws to divulge the mystery surrounding her mother’s death. Haunted by a past that shaped her present, Darcy will stop at nothing to get answers. Even if it means breaking the law and being disloyal to her new boyfriend, Dylan Taylor, in the process.

DEFCON DARCY gives Darcy’s demons a name and ties up loose ends that made Darcy into the verb that she is. What she thinks she knows as truth, isn’t. What she wishes wasn’t true…is.

The problem is, when your life goes DEFCON 1, not everyone lives to tell about it.

Put Defcon Darcy on your TBR list! Goodreads

Buy on Amazon

 

AJ LapeAbout the author:

A. J. Lape is the Amazon bestselling author of the Darcy Walker Series. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, two daughters, an ADD dog, a spoiled hamster, and an unapologetic and unrepentant addiction to Coca-Cola–and a lifelong love affair with bacon. If the FBI ever checks her computer, she’ll be wearing prison orange due to the various “wiki” articles she looks up…all in the name of career research, of course.
Find out more about A. J. at http://www.ajlape.com

 

Find A.J on:

Twitter | Darcy’s Twitter | FaceBook | Fan Club & Street Team | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

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Twice Upon a Time + Win a Queen of Hearts Coffee Cup!

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Fairytales don’t always happen once upon a time. Fables don’t always have a happy ending. Sometimes the stories we love are too dark for nightmares. What if waking Sleeping Beauty was the worse thing the Prince could have done? What if Rapunzel wasn’t in that tower for her own protection—but for everyone else’s?

Assembled by The Bearded Scribe Press, Twice Upon A Time combines classics and modern lore in peculiar and spectacular ways. From Rapunzel to Rumpelstiltskin, this unique collection showcases childhood favorites unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Both traditionally-published and independent authors will take you on a whirlwind ride through fairytale and folklore, myth and majick. Cherished stories are revisited and remastered into newly-treasured tales of hope and heartache, of adversity and adventure.

SM Bloodings’ story –

Red survived a great deal on Earth; the first world war, then the second, the loss of her husband, and the deaths of her children. She didn’t, however, do so with her heart intact.

Upon her death, Dreamland swooped her up, dumped her in the Sea of Dreams, and began the process of turning her into nightmare, using her soul as a shining light of hope to those lacking it.

She failed.

Trapped in a strange place called Wonderland, Red must choose to live on as a nightmare, or to disappear back into the Sea of Dreams.

This is the story of the Red Queen of Wonderland told in a Dreamland setting.

Meet the Author:

SM “Frankie” Blooding lives in Colorado with her pet rock, Rockie, and Jack the Bird. Jack has refused to let her to take up the piano again, but is warming to the guitar. It might help that Frankie has learned more than two strings. She’s added a few more Arabic words to her vocabulary, but don’t invite her into conversation yet—unless, of course, you’re willing to have a very . . . slow . . . conversation.

She’s dated vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, weapons smugglers and US Government assassins. Yes. She has stories.

She’s also an investigator with a local paranormal investigation group, Colorado Paranormal Rescue!

Find out more about her at:

Facebook /Twitter /Website

Featuring stories from Bo Balder, AJ Bauers, Carina Bissett, Rose Blackthorn, S.M. Blooding, Rick Chiantaretto, Richard Chizmar, Liz DeJesus, Court Ellyn, S.Q. Eries, Steven Anthony George, Dale W. Glaser, Jax Goss, K.R. Green, Kelly Hale, Tonia Marie Harris, Brian T. Hodges, Tarran Jones, Jason Kimble, Shari L. Klase, Alethea Kontis, Hannah Lesniak, Wayne Ligon, RS McCoy, Joshua Allen Mercier, Robert D. Moores, Diana Murdock, Nick Nafpliotis, Elizabeth J. Norton, Bobbie Palmer, William Petersen, Rebekah Phillips, Asa Powers, Joe Powers, Brian Rathbone, Julianne Snow, Tracy Arthur Soldan, C.L. Stegall, Brian W. Taylor, Kenechi Udogu, Onser von Fullon, Deborah Walker, Angela Wallace, and Cynthia Ward.

Edited by Joshua Allen Mercier. Cover artwork by Luke Spooner.

Watch the Book Trailer

Enter to win a Queen of Hearts coffee cup from Author SM Blooding

Ends 3/1/15 @ 11:59PM EST open to US addresses
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Avenge by Amity Hope + Win $25 Amazon Gift Card

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Avenge-Redo full sizeTristan Johnson is not an easy guy to get to know. He’s quiet, shy, and borderline elusive. That never stopped Samara Cavanaugh from claiming Tristan as her best friend, her tutor, her longtime crush.

She knows Tristan better than anyone. Sam was the one person that Tristan had allowed himself to get close to. But even Sam wasn’t aware of the secrets her best friend had been keeping.

When Sam’s life was in jeopardy Tristan didn’t hesitate to protect her. Now that he’s gone, Sam will do whatever it takes to get him back.

Buy on Amazon

 

Malice full sizeSamara Cavanaugh has grown up in a world filled with magic users. She’s used to bizarre and peculiar. But when a stranger checks in at The Bella Luna, the bed and breakfast her family owns, the strange occurrences in Granite Falls escalate.

Many people are leery of Levi, their new guest. He claims to be in town doing research but Samara’s friends aren’t so sure that his claim is as innocuous as it appears to be. When two of her classmates disappear, her friends seem convinced Levi had a hand in it.

Those closest to her have been keeping secrets from her. Those secrets put everyone close to her in danger.

Suddenly, her unrequited crush on her best friend, Tristan becomes the least of her troubles.

On Sale for $.99 January 19th -31st Buy on Amazon

 

About the author:

Amity lives in beautiful northern Minnesota with her two sons, two cats and their Rottweiler.

She has a degree in elementary education and worked in that field for ten years before deciding to self-publish.

Her first self-published novel, Twisted, was listed by Amazon as a Top 100 Kids & Teens Kindle Book of 2012. It hit Amazon’s Teen & Young Adult Contemporary Romance Best Sellers List in several countries. Truths and Dares held the #1 position on Amazon’s Best Sellers in Teen & Young Adult Contemporary Romance eBooks in the UK.

If she’s not writing, or spending time with her boys, she’s most likely reading

Find Amity on Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Giveaway ends 1/31/15 at 11:59 pm EST
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100% Plant Based Konjac Sponge Infused with French Green Clay {Product Review}

* I received a free sample of the Konjac Sponge Infused with French Green Clay in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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The 100% Plant Based Konjac Sponge Infused with French Green Clay is 100% NATURAL, ECO-FRIENDLY and BIODEGRADEABLE, and is a great beauty sponge to add to your beauty regime.

As I have aged, my skin hasn’t exactly improved.  I’m actually more prone to having bouts of acne and blackheads than I did as a teenager.  Not to mention some of the anti-aging products can make my pores feel clogged after a bit.  An exfoliation routine is super important for me, but many of the products with chemical exfoliators are too harsh for my super sensitive skin – so I often have a bit of a dilemma on my hands!

This beauty sponge contains Konjac fiber, which is is grown on the pristine volcanic plains of Jeju Island in South Korea, free from chemicals, pollution and irritants.

When you open the sponge and get it wet, it soaks the water right up and just about doubles in size – it starts out quite hard.  However, once it is wet it is very soft and glides over your skin.  It gently exfoliates, cleanses, and is naturally pH balanced.  This is the perfect exfoliator for me – it is soft but still exfoliates – and the price can’t be beat, unlike expensive electronic gadgets.  

My favorite feature of the Konjac sponge is its shape – the tear drop is PERFECT for getting into the blackhead ridden creases around my nose! And the other best part is that the sponge is:

-Free From Chemicals, Pollution and Irritants

-100% Biodegradable and Sustainable (You can even plant it in your flowerbed or compost when you want to retire it)

-Not Tested on Animals, and Vegan Friendly

-Has NO Added Dyes or Colorants

PERFECT!  I am always trying to add more natural products into my routine, and the 100% Plant Based Konjac Sponge Infused with French Green Clay definitely fits the bill!

You can purchase the 100% Plant Based Konjac Sponge Infused with French Green Clay  on Amazon for only $10!

$10 Paypal FLASH GIVEAWAY! Today Only!

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It’s almost the weekend and it’s time to celebrate!  Enter below for a quick FLASH giveway – but it’s only for today so get all the entries you can!!

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Bella Spill-Proof Dog Mats {Product Review}

* I received a free Bella mat for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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If you have pups like I do, you know that your fur babies can be as big of a mess as your human kiddos.  So I was super excited to try out the Bella Spill Proof Dog Mat.

The Bella Spill Proof Dog Mat comes in an adorable bone shape and sits under your dogs’ food and water bowls.  I have the small mat and my dog’s full sized bowls easily fit inside of the mat.  My dog is pretty sensitive and she refused to eat her food in the kitchen – it took a while but she finally will eat on our hard word floors.  So it makes it even more important that we prevent spills and splashes – or else our hard wood will be ruined.  Before we got a Bella® Spill-Proof Dog Mat, we were constantly wiping up spills and sloshes with a towel, and food would scatter all over the place when she would eat.

One of the best things about the Bella Spill Proof Dog Mat is that it is slip resistant- it has little rubber feet so Sunny can’t push the mat across the floor.  It stays in place and catches any food pieces that she drops.  It makes clean up as simple as dumping the mat rather than sweeping the whole floor.  And it cleans really easy no matter how big the mess – I just rinse if off in the sink.  Also, I don’t worry about Sunny eating directly off the mat, since it is non-toxic and BPA free.

So if you have a messy eater or need to protect your floors, I highly recommend that you check out a Bella Spill Proof Dog mat!

M9B Friday Reveal Blitz: 2014 M9B Books you may have Missed with Giveaway

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Hello everyone! Welcome to Month9Books 2014 Books you may have Missed Blitz!

Check out all M9B 2014 titles below and enter for a chance to win 1 of 3 prize packs of eBooks! International

Click on the cover for book information.

 

 

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(3) winners will receive eBook prize packs of 5 Month9Books of your choice! International

Win $20 to start your New Year off right!

 

I hope you had a fantastic holiday season, and as a thank you for my readers this year, here’s a chance to win $20 Paypal!  Make sure to bookmark and come back daily to enter!

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Open to 18+, Int+.  Must have valid Paypal address to win.  Winners must respond within 24 hours of notification email or a new winner will be selected.

 

 

 

New Release from Melissa Foster + Win $100 Amazon Card {Giveaway}

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Huge Giveaway from NYT & USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Melissa Foster

To help celebrate the release of her newest Romance, bestselling author, Melissa Foster, has created a fun Street Team for readers of her books and lovers of the Romance genre. As part of this launch, she will be giving away lots of prizes—and I mean lots. From chocolate gift baskets to autographed books to super swag, she will be giving away more than 20 prizes, and as many as 520!

If the Street Team reaches 500 members by Monday, December 22, every single member will score an Advance Review Copy of her upcoming novel, Seaside Secrets. That means that you can enjoy the newly released Seaside Sunsets and then immediately read the next installment in the series. Pretty cool, huh?

Not in the mood to join the team? Not a problem! You can still enter the Rafflecopter contest for your chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card and autographed book.

Now that I know you’re excited, read on to learn more about Melissa’s Street Team and her newest release, Seaside Sunsets.

About Melissa’s Street Team

Do you LOVE Melissa Foster’s hunky heroes and smart, sexy heroines? Want to tell others about her books and help spread the word while gaining exclusive peeks at upcoming releases? Join Melissa’s Street Team, and become one of her most trusted fans!

Fab fan benefits:  Personal interaction with Melissa, lively discussions with other super fans and romance junkies, sneak peeks into future publications, exciting challenges with great prizes/swag, and fancy badges for your website, blog, and social media profiles.

Join today:  www.facebook.com/groups/melissafosterfans

About Melissa’s Newest Release

*SEASIDE SUNSETS WAS CHOSEN AS ONE OF AMAZON EDITORS’ BEST ROMANCE BOOKS OF DECEMBER 2014

For the first time since developing the second largest search engine in the world, billionaire Jamie Reed is taking the summer off. He plans to work from the Cape and spend time with his elderly grandmother–and falling in love is not in his plans.

From the moment Jamie and Jessica meet, the attraction is white-hot. Once-overly-focused Jamie can think of little else than sensual, smart, and alluring Jessica, and Jessica discovers a side of herself she never knew existed. But when Jamie’s business encounters trouble and his attorney and best friend intervenes, he proves that the blond beauty is too distracting for Jamie. To make matters worse, it appears that Jessica might not be who she says she is, turning Jamie’s life–and his heart–upside down. In a world where personal information is always one click away, Jamie must decide if he should trust his heart or watch the woman he loves walk away

Recommended for readers aged 18+

Get Seaside Sunsets on AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunesKobo, or Google Play!
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