Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Skinnygirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life
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I have to start by saying I consider myself a pretty fine cook...we are a two chef household with strong culinary backgrounds. It's hard to impress me with new info. I'm also a weight loss coach...balance! Yin Yang!

Yet this book is very different than my other cookbooks. I actually read it cover-to-cover the day I got it. It's not just recipes. If you are totally new at learning how to cook healthy dishes, you will feel as though you've just had a crash course. Better yet, if you attended culinary school I swear there is enough "teach an old dog new tricks" info in here to continue learning...at least there was for us. While I already knew things like using pumpkin or applesauce in place of fat in cakes (it makes a spice cake BETTER and MOISTER and pumpkin is high fiber, high water, low glycemic so it takes as many calories as are in pumpkin to digest it so it's an amazing fat replacement in baked goods), I learned scores of new things...I now stock my cupboard, for example, with oat flour. After using it in her cake recipe I was floored. I have also been trying to create a low calorie and low fat hummus (yet yummy) for ages with no tahini. She beat me to it. I also hate the taste of low fat or no fat sour cream and her greek yogurt and lemon juice trick in the recipes has changed my Southwest dishes for good. The substitutions really do change your mind and the book is just as much about teaching the reader a lifestyle more than handing them some recipes.

That said, I wasn't happy not to find nutritional information in the book. Granted, I get the reasoning behind it since I read Bethenny's first book (if you didn't, you'll also get a good overview of it in here) and her mindset against dieting but, instead, enjoying good healthy food in moderation...however, statistically most of us eat 40% more calories than we think we do. For those of us who don't mind journaling our calories or who actually feel empowered by it, I hope that she adds a link to a website in which she lists them. This way, she takes away the obsession she is against in the caloric "food noise" in the book, but also allows those of us in control of our calories in vs. calories out to go that extra mile to get the info if we are gonna plug it in on the computer anyway...

...and that's exactly what I did this morning. I have been cooking from this book for days and I kid you not, I became convinced that the calorie count was left out because the food was TOO good and she had to be fooling us into thinking it was healthy. If you make the cake called "How Is This So Moist Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze" as I did this morning, you'll understand. This is actually 1000% better than my fattest chocolate cake recipe laden with calories. I mean it is mind blowing good. And very filling. So I was positive I had to have eaten about 700 calories this morning until I actually plugged in the full recipe and included the peanut butter glaze (it makes more than enough glaze; you'll even have some leftover) and discovered the cake and pb glaze was just 150 calories/ serving. It is incredibly great without the peanut butter glaze too so I'm guessing that omission would even bring it down to 100 calories for something that tastes uber fattening and isn't! This recipe alone was worth the price of the book. In fact, Bethenny, the author, noted in the notes about this that the first time she made it she accused Jason, (her husband- according-to-the-front-page-news-as-of-yesterday), of throwing a stick of butter in it while she wasn't looking. I have no idea either how these ingredients make something that rich and low calorie but it's my new fave. I began plugging in the dishes I had made into my nutrional info converter and all were high in health and all natural, low in calories, low in fat, many high fiber...she should include the stats. It's a selling point, not a negative.

Try the lychee martini or skinnygirl cosmo (great tips on keeping drinks low cal!)
Try the guilt-free artichoke spinach cheese dip.
Pad Thai
Pasta Carbonara
Lasagna
Chicken Wings
Baked Ziti
Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad
Kettle Corn
Spicy Chipotle Dip
Quacamole
The pasta with the mushroom sauce using truffle oil is good enough to serve at a dinner party. We fell over ourselves eating that one two days straight in my house
Goat Cheese Dip
Spanish Spiced Rubbed Chicken with Mustard Green Onion Sauce
Red Velvet Cupcakes

You get the idea. What's unique is she lists scores of substitutions with each recipe so you really get the idea how to use what you have, transform a dish, make it go further, or how to pick up substituting low fat and low calorie ingredients in all your other dishes in ways you might not think of.

Also, I add non-fat greek yogurt to her excellent hummus recipe and it makes it super creamy and even higher in protein.

Better yet, while most of my diet cookbooks use substitutions that make a dish a tad more artificial, these are all natural and that always boosts taste.

Know going in: There are no photos in the book. While that never bugs me, I also know it does bug some people and it may be important to you. Also I wish the pages had been glossy (easier to wipe clean) rather than the school-book style novel paper which also made the ingredient list hard to read since it was in a lighter grey. I did need my reading glasses because of that. I think it may have been fine if the font was bigger and maybe they made the font smaller to keep the book at 300 pages which is one of the cut-off points for books, but, if so, I wish when they'd decreased the size, they'd changed the color to black like the rest of the recipe.

Conclusion: In my perfect world, the pages and binding and font color would be more like a cookbook than a novel but I read it like a novel since it's full of information. The dishes, and I mean every dish I've made from it, has been 5 star and we never feel deprived cooking easy dishes with everyday ingredeints we have at home or can substitute with her suggestions. If nothing else, taste that dang addictive and decadent chocolate cake with peanut butter glaze. So I forgave throwing on my reading glasses after I tasted the dishes. Now get that nutritional info on a website somewhere and I'll be eternally grateful--That said, I still love it.
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VINE VOICEon December 29, 2009
Dish. This word can mean a recipe, or information that is not generally known or available. This book has plenty of both. It's ideal for people who want homemade meals that are simple and healthy.

Celebrity author Bethenny Frankel takes a breezy, this-is-easy approach to healthful cooking and eating. She uses the ideas in her book Naturally Thin to create this combination cookbook and guilt-free eating guide. Sprinkled throughout the 60 recipes are baking tips, party guidelines and, best of all, extensive use-what-you-have variations that make preparing these dishes a breeze.

As an example of how Frankel makes cooking and eating hassle-free, she recommends buying hummus and salsa instead of making it, and buying bread instead of baking it yourself. Unless you love to make these foods, why bother? There are great versions in the store to purchase. Save your cooking and baking for dishes you can't buy.

If the book had photos, this would be a five-star review. Cookbooks really benefit from showing you the dishes they describe.

Here's the chapter list:

Introduction: What's the Skinnygirl Dish?

Part 1: The Skinny
1. How I cook and how to make it yours
2. Show me your kitchen and I'll show you mine
3. The Skinnygirl chef's essential kitchen rules
4. Use what you have: Core concepts
5. Learn from my kitchen blunders
6. Channeling your inner chef

Part 2: What to make: Recipes, Conversation and Inspiration
Breakfast breakthroughs
Light lunches
Delicious dinners
Snacking simplified
Skinnygirl drinks and cocktails
Skinnygirl desserts to die for

Part 3: Skinnygirl Special Features
Lightened-up holidays and special occasions
How to throw a Skinnygirl party
Top Chefs, Skinnygirl recipes
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on March 21, 2010
Yes, it does not have photos but I dont care! Bethenny takes the time to review kitchen essentials, how many cookbooks do that? Maybe some feel they are too advanced cooks to need that but it can never go wrong!
Every dish I've tried so far is outstanding! I'll be using this book for many years to come. Highly recommended!
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on June 25, 2010
Positives:

I am an experienced cook who loves cookbooks, and my style of cooking has evolved to be much like Bethenny's. I love her approach to cooking, and even this experienced cook learned a few (very useful) things! I loved the desserts especially, and do wish there had been a few more.

I think it would be a great book for anyone who is afraid of cooking. She does a fantastic job, in an entertaining way, of taking the fear out of all of it, and explaining, in everyday simple ways, some techniques and tools to give confidence to anyone who hates to cook, or is just learning. She also doesn't use a bunch of hard to find ingredients, which frankly, was very nice. It's just not that kind of book. It's very practical and sensible, and I have enough cookbooks with exotic ingredients. This is more everyday cooking, simple but good (or great.)

The price is outstanding!

I read it cover-to-cover in two evenings, and really loved it. The end includes a couple of complicated recipes from chef-friends of hers, and frankly, that was a good way to end this book. It showed, quite clearly, why some people are too intimidated to cook.

The complicated ingredients, available in some big cities, but not in the boondocks, the many, many steps involved in each. Now, for someone like me, those recipes might sound like fun. For MANY, they illustrate the joy of simplicity Bethenny gave you in the previous 250 + pages. They really make you appreciate her previous recipes.

Negatives:

The paper and especially the light print of the recipes. Horrible!

No photos.

No calorie or nutritional information. I know it fits with her philosophy, but to me, it's a problem. Diabetics, or people who would like to combine Bethenny's ideas with their regular diet plans will be frustrated.

-----

Don't buy it if all you are looking for is complicated recipes.

Do buy it if you like the idea of making most recipes healthier, and like the idea of "substitute this for that" suggestions which increases the number of recipes in the book.

Also, a quick tip, you can make your own oat flour by processing Quaker Oats in your food processor or blender, save money and time searching for a healthier alternative to white flour that way.

DO buy it for your college bound kid who only knows how to make popcorn and hamburger helper.

It's a really nice book, and I am glad I bought it. I will be giving a copy to a God Daughter who is on her way to med school. She will LOVE it, and it's perfect for a busy person who wants to eat well.

She loses a star for the negatives above, but it would have been a 5 star review.
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on June 28, 2010
As someone who is aspiring to eat more natural and whole foods, I've often struggled with "processed" foods just being easier to grab and use. This books teaches you that it is just as easy to eat natural whole foods - you do not have to spend hours in the kitchen to eat healthy. So far, I've made her greek yogurt "sour cream" - - awesome! And, I've made a few variations of her vinaigrettes. I have always been a slave to bottled salad dressings and hate that they contain chemicals I can't pronounce or high fructose corn syrup. In just about the same amount of time it takes to crack open a bottle of processed salad dressing, I was enjoying a salad with whole and natural ingredients and it made the salad taste brighter and fresher!

The book also reviews simple cooking techniques for the novice cook but the tips are also a nice reference for those of us who may have fallen into a rut with some of our own personal techniques. For example, she gives a great technique for making scrambled eggs (simplified my method by about 3 steps) and her eggs turned out perfect!

She offers "use-what-you-have variations" for most of the recipes in the book, removing a lot of the stress that some of us feel if we find ourselves with little time to prepare a meal and not all of the ingredients called for in a specific recipe. The book stresses that cooking is not rocket science and, learning a few basic tips, will help you improve as a chef in your own home and equip you with the skill and know-how to substitute or make variations while you cook.

The book has really helped me stay away from overly processed foods and also re-think the way I prepare food in general. My fridge is now always stocked with lemons and fresh herbs and - just those tips alone - have helped improve my cooking. After reading the book I 'get' what it means to cook the Skinnygirl way.

There are many more tips and "rules" in the book that are very useful. It's an easy read filled with Bethenny's classic wit and wisdom.

Keep in mind if you buy this book, it is not a recipe book. Yes, it has many wonderful recipes, but this book is much more than that. If you are looking for just a recipe book with pictures, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a book that will teach you how to live and cook the Skinnygirl way (using fresh ingredients, making healthier choices while you cook), this is the book for you.
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on January 2, 2010
I am a fan of Bethenny Frankel (as a writer AND a reality show star) and I really enjoyed her first book, "Naturally Thin." I used the recipes from her first book often - especially the joyful heart muffins and cookies. That being said, I am not a fan of her latest book, "The Skinnygirl Dish."

Many of the recipes are rehashes of better recipes from other lowfat cookbooks. You'll find standard recipes for roast chicken, lemon asparagus, roasted root vegetables, AND the best recipes from the first book. If you already have any lowfat/healthy cookbooks, there isn't anything new here.

The book itself is bound in a large paperback edition with superthin pages and NO photos. It looks more like a novel and less like a cookbook (I am quite messy in the kitchen and I need sturdy pages that I can crease open). My copy of "The Skinnygirl Dish" is already slightly bent out of shape.

And lastly, the book is touted as having over sixty recipes and thousands of "Use What You Have" substitution charts. These charts are a gigantic waste of space...and they are basically common sense. For example: no regular milk? Try soy milk! No red peppers? Try any other color pepper! Really Bethenny?

Despite these negative observations, I like Bethenny's voice as an author and some of the recipes are worthwhile. As a big fan of her previous book, I was just disappointed in her first cookbook. It could have been much better!
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on March 23, 2010
I read this book in one day! I have always loved Bethany since the real housewives of NY season 1 but have just really gotten into eating more natural foods for a healthier life style. I have been one of those people who would buy fat free everything and alot of processed food. I think Bethany has great ideas on living a skinnygirl life style healthfully including not constantly relying on the scale and obsessing over your weight and counting calories. I saw that many people complained that the book didn't have pictures or calorie counts which in other cook books probably would have bothered me but in this book they did not need them! She gives you so many ideas on different ways to make things with what you have in your own kitchen and according to what you like which is very helpful because I have a picky husband and a one year old daughter and cannot always get out to the grocery store. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to start living a healthier, skinner life and feel good while doing it!
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on March 30, 2010
I was looking for a low-cal recipe book and found it in The Skinnygirl Dish. Ms. Frankel does a great job of combining flavors for a low-cal, low-fat lifestyle. But the real reason I wanted to try something like this was because I wanted to lose a few extra pounds. That's a given, I suppose, and this book is helping me reach my goals.
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on January 6, 2010
I wouldn't consider myself a beginner home cook at all and the book worked for me. I loved this book.

I used to get crazy trying to cook healthy and search all over town for the specific ingredients to certain recipes. This book just made cooking and food simply for me and reminded me it didn't have to be so complicated. Sure, I knew I could use rice milk instead of her suggested soy milk but there is so much more in there.

Highly recommend this book for someone who is interested in learning how to make simple, healthy, tasty meals cooked with whole foods.
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on July 5, 2010
The book is simple yet amazing! Bethenny begins with the basics of what tools and foods you need to create great meals, and I really appreciated this detail. I can't wait to throw out all of my barely used utensils and gadgets and start fresh. This is much more than a cookbook...it has given me a new outlook on cooking in general. I love the basic concept of balancing proteins, carbs, etc. throughout a single day. It's such a simple idea, yet it really works! I find myself cutting back on carbs at breakfast and lunch whenever I have a craving for a nice pasta dinner. It works, because it's simple and there are no points, calorie-counting, etc. I can't wait to try some of the recipes and then to begin experimenting on my own.

Just a couple of suggestions...the light print on the recipe titles and ingredients lists are very difficult to read..it would have been so much better if this important information were in bold type. And, as a bird owner, I wanted to point out that there are some dangers in using non-stick cookware as recommended in the book - I wish I could use them, but if left on the stove, they can give off fumes that can be deadly to pet birds.

Overall, this book is unique and amazing and I would strongly recommend it. I watch the Housewives of NYC and have grown to admire and respect Bethenny's straightforward manner, and her approach to cooking and a balanced diet is also simple and makes a lot of sense. And who wouldn't want to look like her! I only wish I had read this years ago when I was starting out...I think I would have been more confident and open to experimenting in the kitchen. I plan to buy it for all of my nieces.
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