Review: The Ultimate Low-Calorie Meals Book from BH&G

As the Autumn cookbook season continues it’s time to take a look at another recent release from the good folks at Better Homes & Garden, The Ultimate Low-Calorie Meals Book.  And this one is tailor-made for helping folks drop those Christmas pounds.

The Ultimate Low-Calorie Meals BookNew in the Ultimate series, The Ultimate Low-Calorie Meals Book offers hundreds of recipes and ideas that make eating healthy and watching your weight easy and delicious. These recipes are ideal for light and nutritious everyday meals that form the basis of a healthy lifestyle. Filled with dishes the entire family will love, recipes are clearly marked with icons that let you quickly identify recipes that are ready in 30 minutes or less, high in fiber, and low in sodium.

Packed with more than 400 delicious and nutritious low-calorie meals and hundreds of beautiful photos, The Ultimate Low-Calorie Meals Book is a great resource at a great price.

  • Features more than 400 flavorful calorie- and fat-conscious recipes, including main dishes, snacks, sandwiches, pizza, desserts, restaurant favorites, and make-ahead meals
  • Includes more than 300 gorgeous full-color photographs that make every page inspiring and easy to follow
  • Special Healthy Eating Basics chapter
  • Special features include substitution charts that help make every meal more calorie-conscious, up-to-date diet and nutrition advice, and much more

A book like The Ultimate Low-Calorie Meals Book is perfect for those who want to start the New Year by eating a little leaner.  With hundreds of easy to prepare recipes taking up nearly 500 pages you could conceivably eat something from this book every single day and not repeat a recipe for over a year.  That should keep that New Year’s Resolution from burning out in week two.

The book is well organized and chock full of colorful food porn.  But hey, why take my word for it?

Christmas Ideas for Foodies: Fairytale Brownies

So recently I won something from  I don’t remember what it was for but the reward was a gift box from Fairytale Brownies.   You know, the confectioner made famous by their two appearances on Food Network’s long running hit show Unwrapped.

Co-founders & childhood friends Eileen Spitalny and David Kravetz have been baking the right way since 1992.  Their mission with Fairytale Brownies is to make treats with premium, all-natural ingredients that give a luscious blend of refined flavors.  Mission accomplished.

Fairytale Brownies Truffles - 9-PieceI received a 9-Piece Fairytale Truffle box – one full pound of moist, dark chocolate indulgence.  Included in my purple treasure box was a Caramel Truffle, Chocolate Chip Truffle, Original Truffle, Pecan Truffle, Raspberry Swirl Truffle, Toffee Crunch Truffle, Walnut Truffle, White Chocolate Truffle and Espresso Nib Truffle.  Each were simply amazing.  My favorites were the Chocolate Chip Truffle (a great crunch) and the Espresso Nib Truffle (because chocolate is what coffee is supposed to taste like).

This is a great gift for the true chocolate lover in your life.  Sure milk chocolate tastes good but you don’t get a true chocolate experience from milk chocolate.  You get a milk fat and sugar experience.  No, for a true chocolate experience it has to be dark chocolate – that’s where the phenylethylamine is full throttle.  Phenylethylamine is the chemical in chocolate that makes women feel like they are in love (and kills dogs too but that’s a different story).

Now check out those Unwrapped appearances:

Christmas Gift Ideas for Foodies: Gift Cards

This one almost writes itself.  With Hanukkah in full swing and Christmas just around the corner I know some of you may be wondering what to get that food obsessed relative.  The problem is that you are not obsessed with food so you don’t know what they might want.

Gift CardsWell I have a solution that will help you out with that foodie and anyone else on your gift list that is hard to buy for – gift cards.  Some complain that gift cards are impersonal but I believe they can be some of the most personal gifts you can give.  When someone gives me a gift card it is like saying, “I really want to give you exactly what you want but I don’t know what that is so here go get it; it’s on me.”  That’s cool.

I order my gift cards from because they have a great assortment of shops and, admittedly because I have a friend who works for them who turned me on to how neat a service they have.  They have a dozen vendors to choose from and you can pay for everything at the same site.  Three of those shops are perfect for your freaky food obsessed friend – Amazon, JC Penny’s and the most obvious, Omaha Steaks.  Amazon and Penny’s have all kinds of cooking equipment, appliances and toys to choose from while Omaha Steaks has, well steaks.

And while you are there you can get cards for those other hard-to-shop-for folks on your list because they also have cards for Zappos, Tigerdirect, Dell, Circuit city, Champs and Foot Locker.  These email gift cards never expire and can be redeemed for millions of products. And best of all you can get cash back when you buy hunting, fishing & camping gear as well as clothing, computers, books & home improvement products!

Christmas Ideas for Foodies: The Orion Cooker

Always on the look out for new ways of preparing dead carcass I ran across this little gem.  The science is sound and the look is quite Star Trek-ish.  Now if the good folks at Orion are looking for a quasi-celebrity chef to endorse their product I may know someone who is up for the job.  Hint, hint.  Nudge, nudge, say nor more.

Here’s what they have to say about their new fangeled smokerizor thingy:

The Orion CookerThe Orion Cooker is a new, innovative outdoor convection cooker that uses three cooking processes simultaneously: convection, steam and smoke (if desired). This cooking process couldn’t be any easier and yields incredible results every time. Using 100% indirect heat to create a convection current, there is absolutely no cooking maintenance with drastically reduced cook times. When compared to traditional smokers, the Orion Cooker is unmatched in cooking speed. Smoke six racks of ribs in 1 hour and 15 minutes, or a twenty pound turkey in 2 hours and 15 minutes.

The Orion Cooker includes 3 rib hangers to accommodate 6 racks of ribs, 3 cooking grates providing 398 square inches of cooking surface, and a poultry stand and lifting handle which holds a 24 pound Turkey. Fantastic prime rib, beef brisket, Boston butt and seafood. Just fill it, fire it and forget it!

Orion Cooker Manual: Click here to download (PDF 1.44mb)
UPC code: 853998001012

Warranty: 3 Year Orion

Chicken 3-4 lbs. 1 hour 10 mins
Whole Turkey 20 lbs. 2 hours 15 mins
(7 mins per pound)
Whole Turkey 15 lbs 1 hour 45 mins
(7 mins per pound)
Prime Rib 7-8 lbs 1 hour 30 mins
(12-15 mins per pound)
Beef Brisket 6-7 lbs 3 hours
Beef Brisket 13-14 lbs 4 hours 30 mins
Baby Back Ribs 6 racks 1 hour 15 mins
Baby Back Ribs 3 racks 1 hour 10 mins
Pork Roast 7 lbs. 1 hour 15 mins
Boston Butt 5 lbs. 3 hours 30 mins
Boston Butts (2) 6-7 lb Butts 4 hours 30 mins
Pork Chops 1.5″ cut 35-40 mins
Salmon Filet 2-3 lbs. 30 mins
Chicken Wings 20 wings 45 mins
Chicken Wings 40 wings 1 hour

* Cooking times are approximate

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

Stu’s Latest Kindle Single is Just $2.99

Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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