Southern Family Favorites

Review: Substitute Yourself Skinny

For many Americans the battle of the bulge is predicated on the fact that diet food tastes nasty. Those pre-portioned pseudo-meals shipped directly to your door are not only dreadful tasting but processed to the point you can’t really call it food.  They may make your tummy smaller but they wreak havoc on your liver, pancreas, heart, kidneys, et al.  Nothing that tastes bad is good for you.  After all your taste buds are as much a part of your body as your abs and glutes.  Why abuse them?

Susan Irby on Wannabe TV ChefSusan Irby has made her career by designing foods that fit what she calls “the Bikini lifestyle.”  It is an approach that has earned her the nickname the Bikini Chef.  Often identified as spa food, her style features healthy, local, sustainable ingredients prepared with sophistication.  But Irby’s food also has comfort and that’s what makes her healthy fare so satisfying.

Susan’s latest book is her best offering to date of figure-flattering flavors.  Substitute Yourself Skinny (Adams Media, 2010) includes 175 super-slimming recipes and dozens of gorgeous color photos.  This is one diet book that deserves serious food porn props!  Irby’s previous books include $7 Healthy Meals (read review) and $7 Quick and Easy Meals (read review) as well as Cooking with Susan, Southern Family Favorites.  All are available at  For more on Irby check out my exclusive interview from earlier this year.

The true voodoo of Substitute Yourself Skinny is not that Susan takes great, time-tested recipes that are packed with flavor and substitutes one or two high fat or high calorie ingredients for healthier alternatives while maintaining the soul of the dish.  No, the real magic is that Susan teaches you how to do it yourself.

Despite what the mail-order meal people would have you think, the path to getting that Bikini body is through your kitchen.  There is no such thing as a healthy diet that does not involve fresh ingredients cooked from scratch.  If cooking for yourself sounds horrific then what you eat is not the source of your excess tonnage, your laziness is.

Irby addresses this by making her recipes easy and quick.  First she starts you off with a shopping list of the staples needed for eating healthy and cooking quickly.  Then she offers recipes like I’m Feeling Lazy Lasagna and others engineered for that busy family on the go.

Susan Irby the Bikini ChefFinally, and most astonishingly, Irby has filled the pages of Substitute Yourself Skinny with foods you actually like and even crave: Creme de la Creme Cream of Broccoli Soup, Cinnamon Raisin Waffles, Not So Scalloped Potatoes, Biscuits and Gravy, Cajun Red Beans and Rice, I Love New York Cheesecake, Slidin’ Home BBQ Sliders, Sausage Pizza, Banana-rama Banana Pudding Cake and Fudgy Chocolate Brownies to name just a few.

Each delicious recipe is accompanied by a calorie count, serving size and nutritional breakdown.  Scattered throughout you will find helpful bits of information the author calls Skinny Secrets.  As mentioned before the photographs are stunningly clean and colorful.

Check back tomorrow to see how you can get your very own copy of Substitute Yourself Skinny for FREE!

7 Questions with the Bikini Chef Susan Irby

7 Questions is a series of interviews with the culinary movers and shakers you want or ought to know better.

Susan Irby is the personification of the term cheflebrity. She has her own radio show, she’s done TV and she’s published several cookbooks including the soon-to-be-released Substitute Yourself Skinny with Susan Irby The Bikini Chef.  She has cooked with the likes of Todd English and Robert Irvine and for the likes of Patrick Swayze, Baby Face Edmonds and Katey Segal.

Susan was kind enough to answer 7 Questions:

Susan Irby - the Bikini Chef1. How old were you when you first started to cook?

SI: Does birth count?  As early as I can remember I was helping my mom in the kitchen in Georgia.  She really taught me all the basics of cooking and nutrition.

2. When did you decide that you wanted to make food your career?

SI: In 1999, I experienced a huge disappointment in the corporate world.  I knew my career was going nowhere in that arena.  It was then I self-published my first cookbook, Cooking With Susan, Southern Family Favorites.  That moment changed my life forever.

3. Which chefs have influenced you the most?

SI: Besides my mother, Chef Francesco Berardinelli whom I worked for in Florence, Italy and Master Chef Marc Meneau whom I had the pleasure of working in his kitchen for several days in France at L’Esperance.  Los Angeles based Chef Celestino Drago of Drago Ristorante has also been a great mentor to me, and Chef Azmin Ghahreman of Sapphire, Laguna Beach.

4. If you hadn’t followed this career path, what other career could you see yourself in?

SI: I always wanted to be a reporter for CNN.

5. What’s the highlight of your career so far?

SI: My new book, Substitute Yourself Skinny with Susan Irby The Bikini Chef.   The recipes are deliciously bikini and I am very proud of the book and the photography.  It comes out in May.  I hope you get a copy.  :)

6. Can you explain the Bikini Lifestyle?

SI: In addition to being the title of my radio show, a bikini lifestyle is about incorporating flavorful healthy foods, fitness, and balancing all in a busy, often stressful, lifestyle.  Everybody can be bikini… it’s all about balance.

7. What’s next for Susan Irby?

SI: That’s a good question.  I feel passionate about teaching kids how to eat nutritious foods that taste good.  I have for over 10 years.  The newly publicized “obesity epidemic” is not new to me.  I’d like to publish a cookbook that kids can relate to which helps overweight kids get excited about eating healthy and improving their overall health.   Teaching is a passion for me, so I’d like to expand my radio show to further educate families on how to enjoy life while learning that being bikini can be fun and the food can taste good, even delicious!

Follow Stuart via “the Online”

Sip & Chew with Mike and Stu

Add to Google


Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

Stu’s Latest Kindle Single is Just $2.99

Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


Subscribe to this blog

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

ISO 9000 Culinary Arts Certification