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This is a neat little cookbook. My only complaint is that I wish there were more recipes and more photos of the final dish. Still and all, a nice little work!

Up front, Devin Alexander makes clear the purpose of this book (Page vii): "{This book] is not actually a diet in the sense of a follow-it-to-the-letter-type deprivation diet. It's a diet in the sense of a 'way of eating.' It's a life style that affords you (and has afforded me) tons of freedom."

There are a number of cool features at the front end of the book--as with many cookbooks. The principles of the author's plan are presented on pages 1-14. Other basics are provided as well. But, as always, it is the recipes that are at the heart of this book. Just a few examples to illustrate. . . . There are some nice veggie dishes at the end of the book, some of which are pretty similar to dishes that I already make (although her spices and herbs would add some additional taste to my recipes). Broccoli limone. I have a similar recipe, but one that calls for serving the broccoli cold; her recipe is served hot. Either way, sounds delicious. Another broccoli dish? Oven fried broccoli with parmesan. I aim to try this one in the next couple days (fresh broccoli is already in the refrigerator).

Entrees? Spicy Szechuan Steal Salad. Looks yummy and sounds like a real treat. There is a recipe for marinara sauce that looks interesting--and different from how I make this. I am always looking for ways to fix pork tenderloin, which can be pretty bland if not cooked right. The recipe here calls for paprika, salty and pepper, onion powder, cayenne, olive oil, honey, and garlic. The rub looks like it would add some zest to the meat. The recipe is described well and looks quite doable (don't you hate cookbooks where many of the recipes are far too taxing?).

All in all, a nice addition to my kitchen library.
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on September 30, 2009
This morning, I had chocolate peanut butter pudding for breakfast. I just finished eating a bacon cheeseburger with parmesan seasoned fries for lunch. And I'm planning on having pasta with meat sauce for dinner, followed by a little chocolate molten lava-style cake. How many calories does all this add up to? 1,211! And this isn't nothing but "diet" and "low-fat" and "fat-free" fake food either! That should give you an idea of what this cookbook is like.

I never heard of Devin Alexander before getting this book, but now I'm very thankful for her, because she's done the work of figuring out how to make lower-fat, lower-calorie, lower-sodium versions of all kinds of dishes that you don't think of as "diet food." If you're frustrated by dieting because you just can't deny yourself things like chocolate, burgers, sausage, cheese, potatoes, rice, or just food with some FAT in it, it's Devin to the rescue!

Her recipes make it easy by telling you exactly what's in each serving in terms of calories, protein, carbs, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, fiber and sodium. All you have to do is figure out how many calories you need to take in each day to lose weight based on your current weight and activity level, plan your menus using Devin's recipes, get into some regular exercise, and you can do this without feeling deprived! Or if you're on a different kind of diet--say, watching your cholesterol or sodium intake--you can adjust your menus to reflect that.

Some caveats: 1. If you're like me, you will need to buy a lot of new groceries. Plan your menus to use up certain ingredients at the same time so you have everything you need for, say, a week of recipes and can thus shop for less stuff at once. 2. It will not always be cheaper to buy reduced-fat this and low-fat that; be prepared. But rest assured that Devin tells you when to use reduced-fat/sodium products vs. the fat/sodium-free products to ensure the texture and flavor of the dishes stays good. This is NOT food that sounds and looks good but tastes inedible! 3. You may not like every dish, but some of them will blow your mind (try the Chocolate-Not-Only-In-Your-Dreams Cake, for example), so try them! Chances are you will love most of them. Maybe even your picky kids will!

Some people think Devin's recipes use too much sugar. I don't, but if that bothers you, use Splenda where she calls for white sugar. Some of the sugar she uses is brown or raw, and I don't overall find it too much. I mean, she's watching the carbs so she can't add too much of it, really.

In short, this cookbook is a godsend for those who can't stick to a diet that requires them to eat "rabbit food" or give up all fat and/or carbs, and who could only tolerate that kind of stuff if it were loaded up with fatty dressing and cheese (and they know they're just kidding themselves if they do that). Get this book, cook from it, and enjoy what you like instead of feeling like you're in Food Prison!
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on March 15, 2010
I just wanted to thank Devin for writing this book. Thank you soooooooo much. All the foods I've been missing since I started dieting, all now within reach, with wonderfully easy directions. I read it cover to cover and love all the introductions to each dish.

For those who think it's too simple, I say it's deceptively simple and perfectly balanced. The best possible combination in a book of classic, comfort-food recipes. When I cook up those omelets and devour those burgers I can't BELIEVE how low calorie they are. Even better, the servings aren't small, they're unquestionably filling! In disbelief, I double checked every ingredient against my calorie counter, but it's spot on.

Basically a miracle in my mouth.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Devin. Who knew dieting could taste this amazing! I really think I might be eating more delicious food now than before I started the diet in the first place, and the weight's just falling off. All these recipes are keepers and my husband loves them. When I get down to my goal weight, this book will still be one of the first I reach for.

UPDATE:

So happy! Looooooove this book. I've made about half of the recipes in here so far and they're all pretty easy. The grilled chicken and brie burger was strangely my least favorite. The snap pea saute was the biggest delicious surprise. The chocolate chips pancakes were (oddly) the mose challenging. It's just the best. I've learned things about cooking no other cookbook has bothered to teach me. Such as, mix in the seasonings with the ground beef before you cook it. Or, make sure the pan's hot before you add the meat! These things may sound basic to some, but as a self-taught cook, I was completely unaware. My other favorite - the low-low calories in lean deli ham aaaaaand...center cut bacon!!!! Incredible 35 calories per slice.

I'm not going to go on, because the book should share it's own secrets. I want to meet this chick.
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VINE VOICEon August 24, 2009
I use this cookbook so often I just leave it sitting out under the glass of my cookbook holder (a great stainless steel and glass holder from Williams Sonoma). The recipes are really good, and they're more than regular recipes with lower or non-fat substitutions. Alexander has clearly gone to a lot of trouble to create the same tastes and feel as full-fat recipes.

There's nothing your average cook can't handle in this cookbook. The recipes often call for a lot of ingredients, and sometimes some obscure ones. For example, I'd never used chipotle peppers in adobo or panko bread crumbs, but the beginning of the book has a helpful section explaining where to find the items in your grocery store. That's part of why I like this cookbook so much - some of the recipes are quite different from what we normally serve in our home so it's an adventure using it.

Surprisingly, my picky eater children like the recipes too. First time I made Chicken Enchilasagna I had the hot dogs and buns out...my kids aren't fans of really spicy, saucy foods (pasta with butter is a favorite with them). They all liked it, and two of them had seconds, so if that's not a recommendation I don't know what is.

My favorite recipe: the mediterranean layer dip. Or maybe the "Chocolate not-only-in-your-dreams" cake, a flourless cake with only 200 calories, keeps and reheats well, and tastes like it has 5x the calories.

What can I say? It's a great cookbook not only filled with excellent recipes but you'll pick up some tips about modifying recipes yourself too. Definitely a great value.
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If you are not a kitchen king or queen, don't let the "decadent" part of the cookbook title throw you. These really are simple recipes but I'll admit, as someone who does love to cook, they do happen to taste decadent too...just not hard to prepare.

The book is well produced on full color and glossy stock with lots of photos and easy to follow instructions.

The dishes are true "Americana" family style...nothing too exotic, no hard-to-find ingredients. And soy meats are easily substituted. Think, for example:

fettu-skinny alfredo (made with fat free half and half, reduced fat parm and light butter)
chicken pasta with vodka cream sauce
eggplant parmesan
supreme and slender french bread pizza
honey-lime marinated london broil
mac and cheese with polish sausage
chipotle chili iwth blue cheese crumbles
mini meatloaves
chicken cordon bleu
super stuffed steak soft tacos
chicken piccata
appetizers
chocolate cake...

It's like your mama's kitchen, only lighter!

Should you wish to curb your diet to several meatless meals or mediterranean dishes, you won't find many main dishes here that don't have meat as a staple...but that is probably a "plus" for most Americans. That's a choice you have to make. I personally would have liked to have seen more fish or pasta dishes just to shake things up, but she provides so many good and wholesome dishes of such a variety that I didn't count this as a negative because there is still plenty to keep me happy in so many categories.

While I've seen diet books with crazy weird ingredients you'd likely find nowhere but the internet, or books with good dishes but that are full of artificial ingredients, this one pulls out to the lead of the pack with truly good ingredients, whole foods, no odd hard-to-find ingredients or tastes so exotic that most would be perplexed if one of the dishes was put before them. To the contrary, this is a cookbook that could be utilized by one person watching their waistline in a home and served to many others who weren't dieting and no one would be the wiser. Yet everyone would come out healthier. And with decadent meals placed before them.

There is no reason to not splurge when watching your weight and Devin Alexander proves this...good taste can still go hand-and-hand with "good for you" dishes. This is, most assuredly, a cookbook that will keep you satisfied, full, and make everyone in your home feel like there is no diet in sight....

pssst...but the dishes are almost all around 200-300 calories and low in fat.
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on May 21, 2008
I almost didn't believe "Fast Food Fix" could be topped but I just got my copy of the new book today it has amazing recipes, gorgeous pictures, and so much sensible advice that I can't wait to get started. I don't have a serious weight problem, I'm just looking for ways to eat healthy without spending an inordinate amount of time in my kitchen. Everything sounds delicious and she looks absolutely stunning on the cover; an inspiration as she's a real person, not some skinny Minnie. It's such a treat to have someone like Devin put her talents to good use. She has a great sense of humor and comes across as someone you'd love to go shopping and have lunch with. She'd even be fun at the gym! I will amend the review once I get some recipes under my belt but if they're anything like those in "Fast Food Fix" then this book will be even more of a winner.
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on March 21, 2013
I did initially judge this book by its cover (and more). However, I had given a glance through before I purchased. Granted, the recipes did seem appealing. So far, I have made a couple of recipes, including the small chocolate cakes in the ramikens. Those were good. Overall, In my opinion, I think the recipes seem tasty, and user-friendly and most people can make; if you are at least a decent cook. I like that Devin gives all the nutritional values, etc. I do believe we can find other, if not better books out there with more varied recipes.These are just too mainstream in my opinion and too close to how most people would already prepare their food. So, "why not just make it the way they are used to?..........Get my drift?" I think that's a recipe for disaster for some.
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on July 21, 2008
I hate health food, let me say that again: I HATE health food. But every recipe I've tried in this book has been great. I can't believe it's good for me, too. I love to cook and know a lot about flavors and this book has them in every recipe.

I also like the fact that the recipes don't call for far out ingrediants, most of the recipes you can make with items you have on hand. Plus, they are easy to make and quick.

Right now I'm eating the roasted potatoes for lunch and they are devine. I've been overweight all of my life and can never stick to a 'diet' because I just enjoy the taste of food so much. I can't stand bland. But these recipes are bursting with flavor. I am such a carnivore and couldn't believe that I'd be craving vegetables.

I've had this book for 3 weeks and I've already starting losing weight and everyone is noticing it and giving me compliments. I love it! And it's in large part due to this cookbook. I liked this book so much I went out and got the other ones she has.

Do yourself a favor and buy this book. Your tastebuds and heart will thank you.
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on April 26, 2010
I am a foodie - I love to cook for my family of 5. I have one hard to impress hubby ( a very meat & potato kind of guy) a veggie leaning 5 yo, a picky teen and an 8yo that will eat anything. Everything I have made from this book has been fabulous! We started with the choc chip pancakes (A+++), moved on to the mini cheesecakes (BEYOND good!!!!), the skinny scampi (even the non-shrimp eater liked it) and the breakfast nachos & breakfast sundae were wonderful and I have been CRAVING the chocolate peanut butter oatmeal pudding ever since stealing a spoonful from my daughter. Every recipe provides portion size & calorie count along with all the other important nutritional data. I am on the hunt for another cookbook from the author! HIGHLY recommend!!
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on May 27, 2008
In a world of 100,000 cookbooks, why pick this one? Because it picks up where you quit on dieting. Diets only work when you stay on them. With two out of three Americans overweight, it is obvious that most people are ignorant about food and how to eat, or just give up because dieting is the pits!
What you want to do is eat the food you like. This book helps you prepare food in healthier ways and eat sensibly. We saw the author mention this book on the "Today Show," and bought it on faith. It has been a revelation. We are preparing old favorite foods in new ways that reduce the fat and calories while actually tasting better. How many "diet" cookbooks have a recipe for BBQ bacon cheeseburgers? Or fried shrimp? If you know how to cut out the unnecessary fat and calories, you can eat well and sensibly. This book has changed our food purchasing, preparation and eating habits for the better. We actually look forward to seeing how we can fix almost anything in a healthier and tastier way.
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