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Recipes for the Good Life Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 4, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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About the Author

Patti LaBelle is an American R&B soul singer and songwriter who began her career fronting the group Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles.  The group later changed their name to LaBelle and enjoyed worldwide success with the hit Lady Marmalade. Patti then went solo and had a number of chart-topping songs.  She is best known for her passionate stage performances, wide vocal range and distinctive high-octave belting. Her autobiography, Don't Block the Blessings, remained at the top of The New York Times bestseller list for several weeks.  She has also had success with her two previous cookbooks, LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About and Patti LaBelle's Lite Cuisine: Over 100 Dishes with To-Die-For Taste Made with To-Live-For Recipes. 

Karen Hunter is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a celebrated radio talk-show host, and co-author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Confessions of a Video Vixen, On the Down Low, and Wendy's Got the Heat. She is also an assistant professor in the Film & Media Department at Hunter College

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Good Life

Over the years I've talked about how devastating it was to lose all of my sisters to cancer and all before the age of forty-four. But what I haven't talked much about was how I decided to live my life after they died. I was certain that I was going to be the next to go, so I started "living to die." It was like I was on Death Row, and instead of living each day to the fullest, I was just going through the motions of life. I stopped caring, because, after all, I would be dead soon, right?

Well, age forty-four passed me right by and I was still around. Then I hit that magic number -- fifty -- and I thought, "Why am I still here?" When I finally figured out that God wasn't ready for me yet, I made up my mind that I would stop living to die and start really living to live! By the time I reached age sixty, I was living out loud, living each day to the fullest, living my best life -- living the good life!

To me, living the good life means many things. It means living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of the body I have by exercising and eating right (most of the time!). It means surrounding myself with good people with good energy and getting rid of anyone and anything that might be a drag. I sometimes find myself telling people, in a nice way, of course, "Who do I look like, a professional therapist? You better get away from me with your problems!" Living the good life means enjoying each day -- whether it's sunny or rainy -- and finding the joy in it. Living the good life means treating myself like a queen.

You don't need a whole bunch of money to live your good life. I've had money and still didn't take care of myself the way I should have. I would work and work and work and not get enough sleep, not drink enough water, not exercise at all and let people drain me with their negativity. I didn't pay attention to the little things. I was both rich and broke at the same time. So, living the good life is not about having lots of money (don't get me wrong, it's more fun with money). Instead, living the good life is simply about putting yourself first. It's about doing things for yourself and making you a priority in your own life. Many of us spend so much time taking care of others and making sure those we love are happy, but you can't help someone else until you take care of yourself first. And it's tough to show everyone else love unless you love yourself first.

It starts with the little things -- taking a warm bath once a week, pampering yourself, getting a pedicure or finding a fragrance that makes you feel good. I never realized how much the little things mattered -- something as simple as your bedding can make a big difference in your life. I used to sleep on anything. I didn't care if my sheets came from the dollar store. I didn't think it mattered. Then, about twenty years ago when I was living in Los Angeles, I stopped into this cute store that sold things for the house. They had these cotton sheets with a high thread count -- I didn't even know what a "thread count" was back then. But when I slept on them for the first time, I felt like I was sleeping on silk clouds. It was the best night's sleep I had ever had, and I refuse to go back to cheap sheets now. But it's really not about the sheets or about them being more expensive than the sheets I used to sleep on -- it's about giving myself the best, because I deserve it.

I have a guest bathroom in my house that is filled with pictures, a couple of my gold records, a letter from a former president of the United States, and beautiful trinkets and flowers. All of the fixtures are elaborate and over the top, just the way I like it. It's so fierce that people walk through it as one of the entrances in my house and don't even notice that it is a bathroom. But it is a bathroom -- Miss Patti style. I want people to feel as wonderful as I do, no matter what room of the house they're in.

My entire home is dedicated to celebrating the good life. There are photos of me everywhere because I love me. But what I love just as much are the photos of people who have touched my life -- some who aren't with me anymore, such as my parents, my sisters and brother, my friend Luther Vandross, and my dear musical director, Bud Ellison. Those photos make me feel like they are right there in the room with me and it brings me joy to look at those smiling faces and remember the good times we had together. A lot of my memories with my loved ones are set around a dinner table, sharing a meal and sharing good conversation. Food has always been at the center of my joy, from the fish fries my parents had every weekend to the barbecues I have in my backyard today. Food can bring people together, to laugh, to eat, and to simply celebrate life. Most people know me for my voice, and that is truly a gift from God. But food and the ability to share it with others is also a gift -- a gift that you can give to those you love. It is with that spirit that I share my third cookbook.

My first cookbook, LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About, was filled with recipes that I loved, but those meals could sure clog some arteries with all the eggs, cheeses, and butter. I love that food and it makes me happy, but I can't eat that way today -- at least not every day. My second book, Patti LaBelle Lite Cuisine, was my way of enjoying some of those same foods from the first book with a few modifications. I had to find a way to make meals that fit into my new lifestyle as a diabetic. Although I had diabetes, I was not going to let diabetes have me. I was going to live my life and enjoy my food, but I had to do it another way.

In this cookbook there are some recipes like the ones in my first cookbook, because that's some good food! But there are also plenty of healthy choices, like the ones in my second cookbook. This book is about living a balanced life. It is a celebration of life. If I want some chocolate, I don't deprive myself. If I want some of the fried apple pie that's in this book, I will have a slice. Everything in moderation. It's about being fierce, being balanced, and being happy. Living your good life is about having it all!

You'll see throughout the book that I have used products from my Patti LaBelle Good Life product line. The philosophy behind the brand is that the good life can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of background or how much money you have. It's not about spending a lot of money -- it's about making what you do spend count, taking pride in what you have, and pampering yourself in little ways that make you feel special. This is the thinking behind my signature line of products -- it's accessible to everyone, reasonably priced, simple, and from my heart. So, here's perhaps the most important recipe in this entire book, so memorize it -- it's my recipe for living the good life: keep it simple, make it special, share your heart, and pamper yourself!

Copyright © 2008 by Patti LaBelle


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439101523
  • ASIN: B001UE71GG
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,485,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Clifton Roberts on January 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I found the recipes in this book look tasty, but almost all seem to require buying Ms. La Belles products. There are no alternatives given, just her own name brand products. I was very disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
I just received This cookbook . i have her others and really enjoyed them. No one told me that in order to cook with this cookbook you would have to "BUY" products from Ms Labelles' website. The book offers no substitutions for items if in fact you dont have "HER" products on hand.. I then went to the website it tells you in the book and alot of the items you can not even buy from her. So the recipes sound delicious but who would think that unlike her other books this is a sales pitch for you to Spend more money...
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Patti Labelle has always been a favorite of mine, and I am old enough to be able to say I remember her when she was part of a group! Anyway, I was looking forward to this cookbook, got it, and although the recipes are great, I was a little disappointed because I wanted pictures of the finished products. It is always nice to see what the creation you are making is supposed to look like. So, maybe for future reference, Ms. Labelle will not only include the stories, but pictures of the meals/recipes as well.
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Recipes for the good Life is a winner , yes Ms. Patti knows how to put a book together and then wrap it up ina wonderful cover "herself" man the pages are great photos, and if you don't know how to cook some of us are can queens but like Patti says if you can read you can use her book, love in every page thier are lots of cookbooks out on the market but this one you can feel the love that she puts into her meals I love her "greens" I'm guilty of being one of the people that would over cook my greens becauses thats the way my mother and her mother before cooked , well now cooking them greens for 30 minutes to 45 minutes NOT all day you can taste the flavor more with the turkey wing much better than using pork "sorry mommy" but smoked turkey wings are much better and gives the greens that sick. \
Thanks one more time Patti now girl get that deal with them POTS AND PANS, more over Racheal Ray love your orange Pots but here comes Miss.Patti
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Very good cookbook, but a lot of the recipes call for Patti's seasonings for the food. There is no where to find out what is in the seasoning to try and make it on my own. Food still comes out well, but it would probably be better than it comes out. Good cook book, but let me use my seasoning.
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I have 2 other Labelle cookbooks and although I wouldn't give up "Labelle Cuisine" for anything, I resolved myself like Patty did, to eat healthier. Book #2 "Lite Cuisine" didn't do it for me. Her current book strattles the 2 choices of book 1 death by easy, wonderful, artery clogging, great food or book 2 to cook from recipes with unfamiliar, hard to find, expensive ingredients not to mention the added time preparing them. This is the book I go to now for recipes for everyday cooking and to just get ideas to make up my own dinner. I will use Book 1's wonderful recipes on occasion. Maybe after using book #3 a while maybe I'll graduate back to book #2 and also have the funds to eat lite.
I have almost 70 cookbooks and when I size down one day, Labelle Cuisine, Recipes for the good life, Taste of Home Cookbook and Dinner Quilt will stay with me. I've given it as a gift twice.
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I must admit, I really do not like cooking. However, I have purchased all of Patti's cookbook and this one is another WINNER. Patti took her time and provided recipes which are easy to prepare but excellent and healthy too eat.

Thanks Patti, is will make a GREAT Christmas gift for my family members and friends.
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Boy, do I love some Patti. When I found out she had a new cookbook, I was quick to order it. You see, my grandmother loved Patti LaBelle and would often talk about her singing and cooking on the road as if they were good friends (even though I knew they never met personally). Anyway, my grandmother used to cook big Sunday meals saying this is how Patti would do it. Well, these recipes remind me of those happy times.

LaBelle uses her down home conversations along with her old school recipes to share good food with the masses. The recipes provide ideas on how to cut back on calories, sugar and fat. LaBelle has embarked on cooking much like she has on music with both feet to the fire - she now has the Patti LaBelle Good Life product line that includes pepper products and blended seasonings. The recipes in this cookbook are diverse - some challenging, some simple, many have multiple ingredients, while most have Patti's signature seasonings.

The chapter names exhibit Patti's flare with names like: Hot n' Spicy (like me); Smack Yo' Mama Seafood; Down-Home Stick to your Ribs Meals; Bangin' Barbecues; and Cakes, Pies & Other Things I Shouldn't Eat. All cooks will find recipes that they can prepare while you can also find instructions on to can vegetables, pickle beets, fix some mean greens, and light as air quiche. The one thing that could set this cookbook off would be more pictures of the dishes and Patti preparing them. If you have ever seen Patti in concert, she definitely kicks off those heels and puts her foot in these dishes (like my grandmother used to say).

Reviewing for Real Page Turners
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