Anyone watch The Real Housewives of NYC? Guilty pleasure…I do. It’s the only Real Housewive’s that I’ve actually gotten into, though I’ve given the others a chance. This season is nuts by the way! The other night I finally saw Kelly go looney on pregnant Bethenny on my DVR. Seemingly for reasons mostly made up and intensified in her head. I won’t get into it since you may not watch the show…but according to Kelly, making lemonade out of lemons is the same as making a mountain out of a molehill and a bad thing. Hee hee, it was a nice laugh that I needed:) Even if you don’t watch the show, you really need to see this! Well, that and LuAnn’s interesting song…cringe, did she really do that? And now I’m feeling guilty for saying that… oh, but I’m leaving so much out.
Anyway! Bethenny Frankel (author of The Skinnygirl DISH) has been my favorite character the whole time, and I bought Naturally THIN when it came out. I used to buy diet books and advice books back in the day, but haven’t for quite a long time since I’m pretty laid back and mostly healthy – I don’t need them. I made the exception with this one since I like her funny, direct style. It was fun to read her philosophy then and make some of the limited recipes she included in that book. Her philosophy is similar to mine but I definitely eat more than she does! I’m naturally thin but not as thin as Bethenny! She’s tiny! This book came out the end of December ’09 – but I was feeling way too First Trimester sick to think about checking it out then, so this review is a little late.
The Skinnygirl DISH is more of a book for total novice home chefs. She encourages you to make substitutions and to play with your food- which would be a great thing for my mom to read since she follows recipes to a T and will not substitute anything. She’s so bad that if an old book says margarine, she’ll buy that instead of butter for that particular recipe even though I have grilled her to stop buying margarine (she buys the hydrogenated kind of course). Bethenny also tells you what to stock your pantry with- which is good for many of my friends with bare pantries, but mine is filled the the brim (all suggested pantry stockers already included) and also what kitchen tools you should have handy in your kitchen – which of course, I already have as well. She also clarifies some cooking terms (like what is a sprig) – for those novices that may get intimidated before they start their cooking adventure. I’m not saying I’m a chef by any means, but the first part of this book is for those that are intimidated in their kitchen and don’t know where to start!
Have you had the internal battle with yourself about using non-stick coated pans? I have, a lot. But in order to use my awesome All Clad pans, I end up using a lot of oil or butter so things don’t stick…and sometimes I’d just like to use the non-stick pan with a little spray coconut oil. I smiled when I saw her highlited section on these very non-stick pans. She theorizes that the chemicals from the non-stick pans may not be much different than the carcinogens that are released when you’ve heated oil for too long… If you worry too much about this you’d be stuck at home instead of living your life. Thanks Bethenny, I feel better, and have had a few eggs on non-stick pans since and feel just fine about it:)
On to the recipes! Overall, the recipes are meant for you to make them at home easily with the ingredients you already have, or are not afraid to buy. I like this because I’d be more likely to make these recipes than going overboard and spending tons of time just to find out that my 2 year old doesn’t want to take a bite and my husband maybe had too big of a lunch that day. I’ve already made my own similar versions to many of these recipes – but they’re great healthy alternatives to most recipes out there.
Of course, I had to try a couple of them out…and I went the baking route. I love oat flour and so it’s great that most of Bethenny’s baking recipes are with oat flour! How convenient for you she also has YouTube instructional videos on many of her recipes! Here’s the oatmeal raisin cookie that I made. Utilizing Bethenny’s “Use what you have” philosophy (which is what I always do), I only had some Whole Foods organic cinnamon applesauce in little single serving cups for my son… I’m thinking, awesome! I love using cinnamon applesauce in recipes – but I had never tried this applesauce before and in retrospect, would definitely not buy it again. It’s a very strong tasting applesauce and the cookies, though they came out soft and fluffy, tasted like the applesauce. Dang it. Nobody liked them and it wasn’t the recipe, it was the applesauce!
One business trip my husband took to New York last year, a friend sent him home with some awesome chocolate chunk banana bread from a Brooklyn bakery. I snarfed it up and have been craving it ever since. Bethenny’s recipe looked like the perfect solution to me! Here’s her YouTube version of Boo Boo Banana Bread! I used Scharffen Berger 62% chocolate chunks – which was definitely the way to go in this recipe- if you can’t find them, I’d definitely opt for dark chocolate chunks in place of chips. Of course I had to make another mistake though…what is wrong with me lately?!!! This recipe calls for 2-3 bananas, or 1 cup. So, instead of measuring and having to deal with cleaning another dish , (I always buy the smallest bananas I can find not the mini variety, but the small traditional ones) – I assumed 2 1/2 bananas would be close to a cup. Hmmm, it had to have been way more because my bread was insanely moist and just would not cook through more! Next time, I am using 2 bananas and if it still looks too watery, I’m going to throw in another 1/4 cup of oat flour or so! It looked too watery to me but I threw it in the oven anyway, I should listen to my gut. The edges and the outsides were all absolutely delicious though and I ate as much as I could salvage. I probably could’ve toasted the inside in my toaster oven but judging from the mass quantity of that bread that I ate in one day, I trashed it:( I am regretting it though since I hate wasting food and I’m still craving that bread and the SB awesome chocolate chunks I threw out! Anyway, the flavor of this banana bread was spot on excellent and I’ll definitely be making this one again and again…once I figure out the proper amount of banana of course!
Bethenny also includes her Skinnygirl drink recipes- which I sadly cannot consume right now. Well, I’m really happy to be pregnant but my sweet boy keeps going through some terrible two tantrums and not wanting to sleep lately, so a little evening cocktail here and there would be nice.
Overall, I liked reading Bethenny’s chit chat style of writing and the relaxed way she goes about her recipes. The first part of the book is more for a newbie, but there’s great information and recipe ideas to inspire all of us throughout the book. I usually end up getting inspired by cookbooks rather than cooking from them. Also, the end of the book has some guest chef recipes as well – from Bobby Flay, and Top Chef contestants Hosea Rosenberg, Lee Anne Wong and Ariane Duarte. Top Chef is my favorite Bravo show!!!