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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Recipes, A Bit Higher in Carbs
Overall, this is a good collection of recipes, whether you follow a diet lower in carbohydrates or not. Recipes such as tempura asparagus, loaded squash skins and herb marinated mushrooms are sure to fit in most diet plans!

First, the aesthetics.

This book has a larger "footprint" than George's other books - about the size of a sheet of paper. It's...
Published on August 8, 2010 by Jennifer Spinner

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Repeats From the Other Books
I have enjoyed Mr. Stalla's cookbooks. Great recipes! I was disappointed to find many of the recipes in this book are covered in the other books I have of his, that is disappointing, and that is why it gets 3 stars. Sure the recipes are great, but I only need one.
Published 18 months ago by Writerly Artist


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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Recipes, A Bit Higher in Carbs, August 8, 2010
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This review is from: Real Food Real Easy (Paperback)
Overall, this is a good collection of recipes, whether you follow a diet lower in carbohydrates or not. Recipes such as tempura asparagus, loaded squash skins and herb marinated mushrooms are sure to fit in most diet plans!

First, the aesthetics.

This book has a larger "footprint" than George's other books - about the size of a sheet of paper. It's chock full of bright, colorful graphics and my first thought was that the layout is REALLY busy and somewhat distracting. The first fourteen or fifteen pages detail the Stella story, an overview of his cooking/eating philosophy, a "pantry list," a listing of "good carbs," and an explanation of why this book includes foods previously eschewed - such as reduced fat dairy and higher carb ingredients previously excluded from his recipes (such as honey and whole wheat pasta). The introduction and recipes are written in George's friendly, chatty style, but the text of this book could have used a once-over from a good copy editor!

Now, for the food!

Approximately 120 recipes are split into ten sections: starters and snacks, breakfast and brunch, lunchtime favorites, poultry, meats, seafood, slow cooker cookery, veggies and sides, wholesome whole grains and legumes and desserts. The Stellas have endeavored to streamline the recipes for this cookbook and many of them have only a handful of ingredients, which I appreciate. In typical Stella style, the recipes are fresh and full of flavor, relying on fresh herbs and ingredients. What you WON'T find is odd-ball ingredients such as guar and xantham gums, protein powders or other low-carb thickeners. Splenda is recommended when sweeteners are required and the only "unusual" ingredients are almond flour, soy flour and soy milk.

I was introduced to "Stella Style" a few years ago through his program on Food Network and his recipes helped me to "think outside the box" (or can, as the case may be!) and cook in a fresher way. I've NEVER had a recipe turn out poorly and, to the contrary, they've always been a hit with the entire family.

This is a very good collection of recipes and, while some of the recipes are higher in net carb counts than one would want on the "induction" phase of a low-carb diet, they give a moderate, balanced approach to eating that makes sense for the long haul.

Recommended!
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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stella Encourages Flexibility In Healthy Real Foods Low-Carbing, September 22, 2010
This review is from: Real Food Real Easy (Paperback)
From the time he burst on the scene as the host of his very own cooking show on The Food Network called "Low Carb and Lovin' It," George Stella was a bona fide superstar as an amazing triple-digit weight loss success story and simply amazing cook with a heart for sharing healthy low-carb recipes to an audience hungry for delicious and nutritious options for their low-carb lifestyle. Unfortunately, The Food Network fell prey to the media-contrived notion that livin' la vida low-carb was just a fad that had become a thing of the past and let Stella go from his popular show which performed well in their ratings. I caught up with him in November 2009 by having him on my podcast show for an interview where he detailed what life has been like for him ever since, including his new cooking show on QVC as well as new book projects under the moniker "The Good Carb Chef." His first offering in this series is called Real Food Real Easy: 120 Recipes Made Fast With Only A Handful Of Simple, Fresh Ingredients.

I'm pleased to see Stella focusing on real food with this book because the low-carb lifestyle has gotten a bum rap from the massive influx of inferior "products" that do not contain real food in them whatsoever. Anyone who has ever seen George Stella cook or read any of his books knows that this is the heartbeat of everything he does. Put the focus on fresh, real whole food ingredients removing all the white flour and sugar and what you'll end up with on your plate is a healthy way to nourish your body. Stella knows this personally as he shares the incredible story of how his family literally transformed their lives through low-carb weight loss success. He's unashamed in naming Dr. Atkins as his greatest influence in helping them shed the pounds. But in his desire to find acceptable low-carb alternatives to the foods he loved, he created what he calls Stella Style which features many of the great recipes we have come to expect from the Stella-meister! You'll get a ton of brand new ones from the master himself in this new book.

The premise of this book is simple: healthy recipes, simple and easy-to-make, and with as few ingredients as possible. His goal was 5 or less but Stella explains that's next to impossible with some dishes. Even still, the basic principle of using fresh real foods that doesn't take much time or effort to prepare and cook to feed your family a healthy meal is what you get. Stella shares exactly what you need stocked in your pantry to make virtually every meal in this book for less than $15 each. There is an interesting section called "Good Carbs" where he explains why a low-carb diet isn't a "no-carb diet."

The "best" good carbs include the low-starch veggies like broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, and spaghetti squash while the "good" ones are sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and sweet onions. The vegetables with the highest amount of starchy carbs that ostensibly need to be avoided as much as possible are corn, peas, beets, carrots, lima beans, and parsnips. As for fruit, your berries, melons, coconut, tomatoes, and citrus are considered the "best" ones while peaches, apples, nectarines, kiwis and figs are considered "good." It's probably not a good idea to consume fruits like bananas, oranges, grapes, cherries, pineapple, and dried fruit because they are loaded with sugar.

On the nuts, seeds, and legumes end of things, once again Stella gives you guidance: almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamias, sunflower seeds, and pumpkins seeds, for example, are considered "good" while a more controversial list of "nutritious whole grains" include whole wheat, popcorn, whole oats, quinoa and more. Some people who consume low-carb diets have difficulty with eating grains, so make sure you are testing your blood sugar levels after eating these foods to see what impact they are having on you. The really "bad" foods to avoid, according to Stella, include white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, white flour, white or red potatoes, and trans-fats. Regardless of what nutritional plan you are following (low-fat, low-carb, vegetarian, or whatever!), these are the universally-accepted no-no's you never, ever, ever, ever want to put inside your body if you care about your health at all. EVER!

In addition to his embracing of whole grains, another sticky subject that Stella delves into with Real Food Real Easy includes the use of "reduced fat dairy." While he's long been a stalwart supporter of full-fat versions of most dairy products (other than milk which he avoids due to the natural sugars in the lactose), Stella reveals he's changed his mind about the use of low-fat dairy because the added sugars that used to accompany these products has been corrected and they're now low-carb friendly. Although his recipes call for low-fat sour cream or cream cheese, he does emphasize that "you are more than welcome to substitute for the full fat versions if that is what you prefer." He notes that he tends to avoid reduced fat cheeses since the taste and texture are not up to par for his desired quality in a recipe. And he notes to avoid all "fat-free" dairy because it "still contains too much added sugars to recommend." It's an interesting position he takes on the low-fat vs. full-fat dairy and it'll be curious to see how his fans respond to a shift in philosophy.

As for the specialty ingredients used in many of Stella's recipes, you'll need to stock up on almond flour (which you can make on your own at home in a food processor), bulk sugar substitute like Splenda (not the packets), and soy flour (which will likely be another bone of contention that some health-conscious low-carbers may object to since they are avoiding soy products). These are probably the three oddest ingredients in Stella's recipes and some people may express concern about the use of an artificial sweetener like Splenda in a book about "real food." Regardless of your position on Splenda, Stella makes it clear to choose a non-caloric sweetener that will stand up well in baking and he's cool with that. As for the soy, I'm sure you could always use more almond flour or even coconut flour in his recipes if you have an aversion to using soy flour. That's the beauty of the low-carb lifestyle--it's quite flexible when you're cooking to fit your specific nutritional desires.

Holding true to the Real Food Real Easy theme of this book, Stella offers up tips for people who erroneously think eating "real food" is too expensive. Compared with all the "great value" junk foods that are sold in your local grocery store, you can grow your own food for literally just a few dollars, stock up on key foods and freeze them, and allow the simplicity of the recipes in this book keep you from over-stretching your family food budget. And boy oh boy, the recipes are truly spectacular, too, with snacks, breakfast, lunch, chicken, meats, seafood, slow cooker, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, and desserts all given their own chapter for you to jump around to create your favorite dishes. And Stella makes it easy on you, too, by putting the prep time, cook time, and serving size at the very top of each recipe page. Just underneath the name of the recipe, you'll get all of the nutritional info like the calories, fat, protein, fiber, and net carbs. There's also a special "Shopping List" section off to the side of the recipe so you know exactly how much and what ingredients you'll need. And a unique addition I think you'll enjoy is the "George's Tips" section at the bottom of each recipe where Stella gives you an idea about how to make this particular dish even better. And if you like changing things up a bit, he also includes a "Variation" so you can double or triple the 120 delectable recipes sprinkled through this book!

One thing I couldn't help but notice in looking at Stella's recipes is the use of "trans-fat free margarine" instead of butter. There was no explanation included in this book about why he preferred the use of margarine over butter, but I presume Stella's position on this would be the same as what he said regarding the low-fat dairy. If you want to use butter instead, then use butter in his recipes. Again, the low-carb way of eating is adaptable to what is appropriate for you and your dietary needs. If reducing your fat is important enough to you and produces the weight loss and health improvements you are looking for, then go for it! The best thing about George Stella is that he is not so monolithic in his thinking that he thinks everyone should follow the low-carb lifestyle like he does. There are variations and he's the first to encourage you to embrace the plan that's right for you.

Real Food Real Easy is vintage George Stella and I'm pleased to see this energetic man still out there trumpeting the cause of low-carb living to a carb-addicted world desperately seeking answers to their weight and health problems. Stella is doing all of that and making it tasty in the process!
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good food, low carb or not, June 21, 2010
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I have had this book for about 2 months now. I have made several recipes and I have been pleased with all of them. I have all of George's books and his food is delicious, low carb or not. I want to point out that this book contains dishes that I would consider maintenance level. There is a section on whole wheat that I wouldn't use if I was just starting out. If you are still in the beginning of low carb eating you probably want to begin with one of his earlier books, Eating Stella Style and Low Carb Livin. That being said, there are still some great recipes in here for early on. Be sure to read George's story at the beginning of the book. He gives great advice on how to use his recipes.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific recipes, August 16, 2010
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This review is from: Real Food Real Easy (Paperback)
This is a great cookbook whether or not you are on a low carb diet. It has 120 easy recipes that are delicious and made fast with only a handful of simple, fresh ingredients! It even gives a shopping list. Includes Wealth of Health Waffles, Blueberry Cream Cheese Crumb Cake, Devilish Eggs Au Gratin, Zucchini Crusted Quiche, Philly Steak Salad, Marinara & Mozzarella Meatloaf, Skillet Turkey Tetrazzini, Cabbage and Kielbasa Soup, Loaded Squash Skins, Tomato and Feta Stuffed Eggplants, Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes, and Lip Smacking Lemon Bars.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book, November 1, 2010
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S. Chilton (O.C., California, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real Food Real Easy (Paperback)
I have George Stella's other Low Carb cook books, but I think this one is his best. It uses more every day ingredients, and he has become more inclusive, and realistic in his attitude towards carbs. This may not be for someone just starting out on the low carb journey, because your results won't be as quick. But they're healthy, satisfying, and I honestly think they would work for anyone. The recipes are easy, and they don't use ingredients that make you scratch your head thinking "Huh?". Worth a look.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars review of george stella's new book, May 2, 2011
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I really love the first book: Livin' low carb much better than the new book. The new book has recipes with much higher carb values, although the pictures are beautiful and helpful, I wish George would stick with the old formats.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing low carb or just healthy cookbook, January 12, 2011
This review is from: Real Food Real Easy (Paperback)
I liked the first cookbook from George Stella except for the dinner section because I was not interested in pork and Turkey. but his recipes are very delicious, easy and very simple ingredients and preparation.. ingredients that you can have at your house all the time (cream cheese, yogurt, berries,squash, bacon,parmesan)
so I bought this book even though I couldn't know what is inside it. It exceeded my expectations... more and more recipes,especially in the meat section, still very easy to make and very few ingredients (comparing with Atkins)and available (comparing with 500 recipes by Dana) all basic natural, no weird stuff like other books.

as usual the layout of the book is very organized and attractive. pictures for most of the recipes, I love this because I can just peek at the picture without reading the whole page and choose to make it.. (again comparing with the other books that have none).

he still use soy flour, heavy cream,cream cheese, which I don't have any problem with.
he made adjustments in response to previous concerns about calories, so he use half and half, egg whites, low fat cheese and yogurt, he added sweet potatoes and almond flour without compromising the success of the recipe.
he also enlisted the calorie counts in his recipes.
what he calls appetizers or snacks they work as lunch or supper for me.
there is also 9 slow cooker recipes,even more if you count the variations he gives.
the last section is for whole wheat recipes, which good for maintenance or for occasions.

all low carb baked products are dry whatever you use,(even if you use carbalose flour)so if you want to lose weight you need to live with that or just eat eggs and bacon and meat.
you do lose weight with Stella but if you want to lose only 10lb you need more aggressive approach like Atkins phase 1 or 2 and you'll see faster results.or you should be patient with Stella till you see results. Stella though is more liberate with fruits and deserts.. so see what you can do.

he also mention variation tips at the bottom that they are whole new recipes on their own.
some of the new recipes are: stuffed mushroom, eggs spinach ricotta frittata, lots of soups and salads, chicken, vegetables, flourless brownies, flan, lemon custard,macaroons, my favorite that I've been dying to find a recipe for is berries crumb, and finally birthday cake (not with soy) I don't want to spoil it.

eventually, If I just use this book for my lifetyle it will enough for me and I will be very happy.. I am picky about what to eat, and I have tons of cookbook.. I feel that Stella put his heart in this book and I am so pleased with this book....
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the recipes, just a little different from George's usual though, October 9, 2011
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When I sat down with this book to read through it (because that's the most fun part of getting a new cookbook!), I was surprised to see George emphasize more 'low fat' and using honey (I just sub sugar free honey). But those differences aside, the recipes in this book are just what you expect when you buy anything that George publishes!

I've tried several recipes from the book so far, and they have all been hits with the family. I've come to rely on the fact that I can grab any of his books in a hurry, and the recipe I make will turn out well. No surprises, no missing ingredients or cooking times that are off. I can see a recipe in the morning, get the ingredients on my way home from work, and that dish will come out just as expected when I cook it at night. (This is a big deal to me!) If you've ever experienced poorly written or hastily-published recipe books, you know how _%)(#)(# frustrating it is that your family is biting into raw chicken because the cook times are off, or halfway through the recipe it mentions a step or ingredient that isn't listed...yeah. Forget that, George won't do that to you!

He has a chicken wing recipe in here that I doubled and used on chicken legs. BEST BAKED CHICKEN EVER, especially cold out of the fridge the next day! His Southwestern chicken salad recipe, with the serving suggestion of avocado halves, hit the spot and made an economical meal when I got a great deal on some avocados. There is a wonderful beef stew crock pot recipe that was devoured so quickly that my plans for leftovers were shot.

There are plenty of recipes to cover everyone from Induction to maintenance, and so far I haven't found a bad one. As usual the photo layouts are inspiring, and the nutritional information is much appreciated. He also gives variations within the recipes that have really made me think more about how I can change up the usual plain and boring recipes of my own into something different with just a few additions. With little time to cook anything new and creative right now, I appreciate these suggestions!

George is high on my list of dependable authors when it comes to books I can count on, right off the shelf.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great George Stella Book, February 11, 2011
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I have two other earlier George Stella books and love them all. In this one the photography makes everything look so yummy. The good news is that the ingredients are few in the recipes, and the food turns out looking like the photos. The whole family is such an inspiration to all of us. I miss seeing the TV show. Saw all his episodes when the show ran for two years. You won't be sorry if you buy this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You really lose weight!!!!!, December 11, 2012
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This book has delicious recipes that will help you lose weight. I lost 35 pounds without exercising. It's all thanks to George Stella recipes for healthy eating. People are shocked when I tell them I lost so much weight and they see me eating. I love the slow cooker recipes. My favorite is the polish kielbasa soup. Have also purchased his other books. Read his story and it will help you make the determination and the willpower to lose weight while eating healthy.
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Real Food Real Easy
Real Food Real Easy by George Stella (Paperback - July 13, 2010)
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