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199 of 202 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 26, 2008
I buy a lot of recipe books, but most I don't use much. This one is different. I'll be cooking with it all the time.

A collection of 125 recipes, it is not meant to represent an entire diet. Instead, it's a cookbook of especially yummy dishes that just happen to be healthy, too. The recipes can be the foundation of a new way of eating, or serve as treats if you have already reached a healthy weight.

Author Devin Alexander makes it easy. Each recipe is either 100, 200, 300, 400 or 500 calories (within 10 calories), so it's easy to track your calories without a calculator. The dishes are, for the most part, healthy versions of your old favorite fattening ones. So, for example, instead of the typical 746-calorie, 38-grams-of-fat slice of chocolate cake, you can have a slice of Dark Chocolate Layer Cake with Buttercream Frosting for 294 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Each recipe also includes how many grams it contains of carbohydrates, cholesterol, fat, saturated fat, fiber, protein and sodium. Most also have this data for the traditional recipe, so you can easily see what you're "missing."

As someone who has managed a 55-pound weight loss for 16 years, Alexander knows her stuff. At the beginning of the book, she gives you options: Do you want to count calories or not? The author details a simple diet plan either way (based on your gender, age and activity level), shows you how to put together a weekly meal plan, and covers the importance of exercise.

The book itself is beautifully produced, with glossy paper, lush color photos and color-coded text.

Here's the chapter list:

1. What you need to get started
2. Breakfasts
3. Burgers, sandwiches and wraps
4. Salads
5. Entrees
6. Starchy sides
7. Veggie sides
8. Savory snacks
9. Sweet snacks
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95 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2008
This is a great cook book for people who are dieting and really enjoy cooking! All of the recipes are 300 calories or less and the portion sizes are normal/reasonable.

The recipes are fairly simple, but there is actual cooking involved--no microwaving. I enjoy cooking, but am not a gourmet and this cook book is perfect for my ability level.

These recipes are also great for a family. My husband and daughter (age 4) enjoy the food and don't know that it's "light."

Some of the items are a little hard to find--you need access to a natural foods grocery store with a large selection, like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, or a regular grocery store with a large selection of natural foods or specialty items. If you don't have that available in your area, this cookbook could be a little frustrating, as so many of those ingredients are used.

Also, be prepared to make an investment in your pantry if you plan to do a lot of cooking from this cook book. I have a fairly well-stocked kitchen and found myself needing to add several spices, sauces, and types of flour, which were a little on the expensive side.

On the whole, this is an outstanding cook book with great tasting food!
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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2008
...how to eat with your boyfriend without packing on the pounds! The best thing about the recipes in this book is that no one (including your boyfriend or mine) will know that they are "good for you." I love being able to make satisfying (and quite easy) meals so the urge to just eat out or get take-out doesn't raise it's ugly, expensive head 3 or 4 times each week! And I think this would be awesome party food as well - I'm thinking I could do my next party entirely from this book.
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 21, 2009
The Most Decadent Diet Ever written by Devin Alexander author of The Biggest Loser Cookbook is full of 125 recipes and a small section outlining the reasons for making changes and her own personal journey. She makes pantry, weekly diet, and tool suggestions as well. This is a basic, simple recipe book covering all three mealtimes and snacks/desserts. I only found three recipes that I will use on a regular basis. The recipes are not complicated with massive amounts of ingredients and are similar to the "normal" recipes in your average cookbook but made with simple healthier exchanges. A cook who regularly adapts his or her own recipes to make dishes more nutritious won't find many new and must-have recipes in this book. But if you are just beginning to make different food choices and don't have the first clue how to begin, it could be a great resource for you.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2008
I had to chuckle over some reviews upset that it's a cookbook, not a diet book, and other reviews that claimed it's a diet book, not a cookbook! LOL!

It's both or either, depending on what you are looking for. A diet to follow if you want one, or just great tasting recipes that are healthy if that is all your are looking for. If you missed that, well...go back and take another look. It is a CINCH though to use in tandem with Weight Watchers as the recipes tend to be 100,200,300, etc calories and nutritional information is included for easy figuring of point values.

Some recipes use sugar substitute, and she explains that the client the recipe was created for ASKED for that. MOST recipes use the real thing so do be aware if you are diabetic that the recipes are not sugar free. However, any cookbook that can create a chocolate cake with TONS of chocolate icing at only 250 calories for a HUGE piece of cake(and Not ONE speck of sugar substitute was used!) and satisfy this chocoholic's craving is a winner in my book!
My hubby is a Texan who thinks every meal needs to have real meat in it, preferably BEEF. But he also really needed to lose some weight. I have made most of the recipes in the book and so far, he has been happy with everything I'm made and even requests some recipes over and over. He's lost 40 pounds in 4 months and has meat every meal. Granted most are made with chicken, but beef is included 2-3 times a week so he can live with that. :) We recently went out to eat breakfast and I had to chuckle that my "I love deep fat fried food, the greasier the better" hubby commented that the eggs were greasy! It was the bacon I noticed, but we both had to laugh at how quickly we had learned to appreciate great food without all the grease! That makes me happy because I know now that this is not a "fad" we are going through, but a life long way to cook that will keep us healthy and trim. I'm learning how to adapt my old recipes to Devin's way as well. These are recipes that we are willing to eat the rest of our lives, that don't make us MISS my old way of cooking and that is the key to a life change. You have to know you can live with it forever if you are going to do it forever and Devin has shown me that is doable.

Because of Devin, I've gone looking for other cookbooks that work for us. Many cut fat and calories by removing all the goodies or reducing them to barely tastable in a recipe and don't replace them with anything that makes up for it. Not acceptable to us. They still have to taste good and satisfy or we can't stick to the plan and start cheating. Devin's recipes do just that.

Evelyn Triboles books are also excellant if you love Devin's books. Evelyn's Healthy Homestyle Deserts is tooooo yummy! GIve it a try if you can find it!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2010
First off, I know in my title I've compared this book to Hungrygirl 1-2-3 book. I understand that Hungry girl is all about speed and reduced calories (at pretty much any cost - Artificial everything, prepackaged everything).

This cookbook is about REAL food that tastes GREAT and is low in fat and calories. It's an important distinction.

I try my best to focus on eating more natural foods, local foods, whole grains, etc. This book allows me the flexibility to do so without sacrificing health for "diet".

I like that the chef provides a story about the inspiration behind the recipes plus additional cooking notes for those that are less experienced in cooking. These comments have helped me alot. The intro to the book is very informative and I find the index very good for locating recipes when in a rush.

I didn't have a problem finding any of the ingredients. They pretty much were in my local Wegmans. I imagine most mega grocery stores will have the items. Target is a good second option (If you have a supertarget try there). If they are dry ingredients you can also find them on Amazon.

I've made so far: The chocolate chip pancakes. Amazing tasting, speedy and a great breakfast. Breakfast nachos! Better than expected and took all of 5 minutes. Sausage Biscuit, a more time intensive meal but I found the end result great. I actually used the leftovers to make things other than sausage biscuits such as a reasonably sized sausage sub for lunch as well. The biscuits were so good that I ate a couple on their own!

Dinners; Chinese pepper steak, was delicious. Smashed potatoes were very good. Grilled corn was yummy. Deserts, I've had the Not only in your dreams cake. Sooooo gooood! I'm planning on making the Carrot cake soon! I honestly can't say enough good things about this book. It's been great for me and so far my husband has loved everything. I have to sometimes make a few more servings so he can take them to work the next day! The recipes have been fairly easy to double up or even reduce.

I was so happy with this book that I've showed it to coworkers and recommended it. Plus I bought two more of Devin Alexander's cookbooks. Fast food fix and "I can't believe it's not fattening". As a side note: The remade Big Macs are spot on and delicious (at a reduced fat/calorie count) <- recipe is in Fast food Fix.

If you're looking for speed, then the "I can't believe it's not fattening" book is more for you. The chef still tries to gear one to low fat items while keeping things healthy but fast! There are some great ideas in that book too. The glazed pork chops were very good!

UPDATE: It's December and I'm still love this book. I use it at least once a week. Last night I made the salisbury steaks w/ rich gravy plus the italian seasoned fries. Soooo Good! I had it for today's lunch too.

Here is the best possible review I can give: I make items for people from this book, and they have no idea it's low fat or low calorie or anything! They love it! Haha! I always wait until they are done eating and then I say.. You know that was only 200 calories. They are always shocked and amazed. I've read a few reviews that say that ..oh this book isn't special it only replaces items that are fattening with their low fat counterparts. I don't think that's true. It's how they are combined with other ingredients that helps them taste like the real thing. I know I have tried many a time to just substitute low fat ingredients for full fat ones, and then it doesn't taste anywhere near the real thing. Devin has a way of making all the ingredients combine so well that the end result is just perfect! I highly recommend this book.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2008
I never leave reviews for products but I am so happy with this cookbook I just feel like I have to share. I can totally relate to Devin when she talks about being obsessed with her weight and dreaming about eating bad food and just constantly worried about body size. All that said I have read many intros to many cookbooks and can relate, but the recipes never live up to my expectations. The recipes in this book are so easy and they are delicious and healthy. I have a husband who does not need to watch his weight he is very active and eats whatever he wants therefore he never really wants to eat "healthy" food. I have two picky children under five who don't like anything I cook no matter what. Guess what they all love recipes from this book. I feel like I can really quit obsessing over food by eating what I want but healthier versions. Thank you Devin for a realistic approach to cooking and weight loss and maintenance.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2008
Finally! Thank you Devin for getting creative with food and making dieting something that can be fun and great tasting. I have already indulged in several of the recipies and they really work and taste great! As usual, Devin has done all the work and testing to ensure it meets her top of the line standards and we, the readers, get to enjoy the fruit of her labors. Tasty! One of my very favorite chefs and I highly reccommend this cookbook to everyone - even those not looking for diet recipies-because this is common sense great tasting healthy food.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2009
While reading reviews for "Cook Yourself Thin", I ran across recommendations for this book and recognizing the author's name, thought it would be a good buy.
Glad I checked it out at the library before spending the money.
I'd seen Devin Alexander's show a few times and was looking forward to some new and interesting recipes. Instead, I found a collection of standards with common sense substitutions. Nothing new or creative, just the basics- replacing high fat ingredients with their low fat versions. Open Faced Ham and Cheese Sandwich? Use light ham, light cheese and one piece of whole grain bread. Not really a revolutionary take right? Not really worthy of a two-page entry in a cookbook either.
I did think to check out the dessert section before writing it off completely but there was nothing new there either; the most innovative recipes calling for the substitution of applesauce for some of the fat. Really? You can find these low-fat dessert revamps at any recipe/vegan recipe website.
I could see how this would be a great book for a novice cook, but if you can remember to buy the "lite" version of your standards, you don't need this book.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
The Most Decadent Diet Ever: The Cookbook that Reveals the Secrets to Cooking your Favorites in a Healthier Way, presents a sensible diet plan and easy to prepare recipes.

The diet plan includes proteins, vegetables and carbohydrates, so all food groups are included. The recipes are heavy on meat from my point of view, but will appeal to many, as they are based on American favorites.

The book includes a sample 7 day meal plan. It also has tips and words of encouragement to help the reader. Deven Alexander shares what she stocks in her pantry and helpful tools to have in the kitchen.

There are lots of breakfast recipes, which is nice for those seeking variety for this meal.

I tried the open-ended buffalo chicken wrap and it was quite delicious. I also tried the spicy Szechuan steak salad and really enjoyed it.

Entrees included honey-glazed spiced pork tenderloin, skinny scampi and chicken piccata.

Alexander gets it: flavor can trump fat for making food taste good. To that end, she uses lots of flavorful--but not fattening--spices, oils and such.

What I don't like is the use of "fat free half and half", which consists of nonfat milk, milk, corn syrup solids (sugar), artificial color, and sugar. There are healthier substitutes.

Overall, if you like "All-American" type food, you will enjoy this cookbook of lower calorie--but still tasty--recipes. You will not feel deprived!

Ny the author of the award winning book, Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify and Energize Your Life, Your Home and Your Planet.
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