FitLit: Skinny Bitch in the Kitch

Much to Chef Jenn’s dismay, I don’t love to cook. I don’t even really like to cook. But I do it because a girl’s gotta eat, and I can follow a recipe like nobody’s business. Because of those recipe-following skills, I somehow got suckered into reviewing a cookbook. A vegan cookbook.

Now, I didn’t read the original Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. But they do sum up their philosophy in the introduction of their second book, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. It basically talks about how horrible animal products are for “you bitches” and how humans are the only species to drink another animal’s milk. We’re also the only species to go to the moon, but I don’t want to start a fight. And what about cats? They love milk.

Don’t get me wrong, I am sooo not against people choosing to be vegan. Or vegetarian. I just don’t like being insulted for enjoying the occasional animal product. I actually frequently cook vegetarian meals and have sworn off meat for days at a time (my first stint with vegetarianism was after a state fair). But I find that it’s just not something I can swear off forever, and YES, I FEEL TERRIBLY GUILTY. Some people think the Skinny Bitches are hilarious, but I didn’t love being berated or called names.

I did put my hurt meat-lover’s feelings aside, though, and embraced veganism (almost) wholeheartedly when I jumped into the cookbook to make one appetizer, one main dish and one dessert. I was so dedicated, in fact, that I made four grocery store trips to buy everything I needed. I also went broke buying the goods, but that included purchasing whole bottles of oil and other multi-use items. The FBGs are nothing if not dedicated.

My main problem with the cookbook, believe it or not, wasn’t the attitude or the hard-to-find ingredients. It’s the fact that for using the word “skinny” in the title, there was not a single nutritional fact in the entire book. I had to break out my pencil and calculator to get the “skinny” on the calorie counts in the dishes. We’re not calorie counters, but it is nice to have a general idea of what you’re putting in your body.

Stuffed Mushrooms
The stuffed mushrooms called for basic ingredients like mushrooms, red peppers and shallots, along with herbs and spices. I did have a problem finding refined coconut oil, and mistakenly bought the unrefined version. I already had bread crumbs on hand, so I didn’t buy whole wheat bread crumbs for the occasion. I also gave up on finding vegan parmesan and went with what I had on hand.

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The mushrooms did turn out to be pretty tasty and were easy to make. The hubby kept popping them into his mouth, so clearly he didn’t hate them.

The skinny: This total recipe had 701 calories in it. Split between four people, you could have five mushrooms for 175 calories.

Pad Thai
This Pad Thai opened my eyes to a whole new world of chefery: Cooking with tofu. I’d never cooked with it and actually had to call Jenn to find out where it is in the store (packaged section of produce, for the record). It is SIMPLE to cook with, and I’m now sold on it. The ease of finding the tofu was balanced out by hunting down other ingredients for the noodle dish: agave nectar, mirin and sriracha sauce.

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While the Pad Thai wasn’t the Pad Thai of my dreams (I have insanely high standards for Pad Thai), it was a really tasty noodle dish. The tofu absorbed all of the delicious onion, garlic and sauciness, the noodles were a great texture, and the whole dish tasted light and clean.

The skinny:The recipe says it makes 3-4 servings. I had the above-pictured portion for dinner, my hubby had a large portion and went back for seconds, and then I had the leftovers for two days of lunch. In my opinion, it’s more of a 4-5 serving dish. If you split it into 3 servings, the calorie count comes to 688 calories per serving; if split into 4 servings it drops to 516 calories.

Chocolate Cake
The dessert endeavor had me all over the grocery store hunting down never-before-seeningredients as well. Safflower oil was a stranger to me, as were vegan chocolate chips, evaporated sugar and soy creamer. While the cake was baking, I whipped up the frosting, which turned out to be delicious. When my taste-tester hubby took a scoop of gooey frosting from the stove top he said, “That’s what I imagine Willy Wonka’s chocolate river tastes like.” It really was that good.

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I was a little nervous the cake would have that vegan-y health food taste, but it only tasted yummy.

The skinny: At 12 servings, the cake and the frosting weighed in at 533 calories per slice. However, at 16 servings, the cals drop to 400. I even think those portions are out of control, as the cake is super rich and made in a 9×13 pan. I think I was easily able to get more like 20 portions out of the cake, dropping the calorie count to a more reasonable 320 per serving. A splurge, but totally worth it.

I won’t be joining the Skinny Bitch fan club any time soon, but this book really did open my eyes to new grocery store aisles and ingredients that I had no experience with. Now that I have some of the basic ingredients listed throughout the book, I just may give some of the other recipes a try. After all, I need to use up some of these insanely pricey ingredients.Erin



Comments

  1. christie i. says

    I have read the book or the cookbook as I am content in my omnivore lifestyle but I have started to dabble into vegan cooking since I am avoiding (not giving up completely) dairy. I may check out the cookbook because I love chocolate cake.

    Oh, and my cat loves milk. :)

  2. Jess says

    I haven’t read either books, but a girl I work with is vegetarian and made one of their bean salads that was absolutely delicious. If you’re looking for a new recipe to try out of the book, that might be a good one.

  3. tfh says

    I’m so happy you did this review– honestly, I am too turned off by the title/attitude to read these books, but I’ve been curious (esp. as a former vegan). I might have to go to the bookstore and copy out that recipe for the frosting by hand. (Would that make me a bitch?)

  4. Erica says

    Hey girl! Thanks for the review! I read the book and was turned off. I really thought they brought some great facts about eating animals to light and have def altered my eating habbits a little as a result. However, the book was completely one sided and they never even took a glance at the other side of most of the issues. I understand that they want to push their view (duh thats why they wrote the book), but I don’t feel an argument is ever solid if you don’t look at the other side. The dishes look pretty good although the calorie counts do seem high for something deemed “skinny”. hmmm. Thanks again for the review!

  5. Erin says

    Phew. I was worried vegans would march out and stone me via blog!

    Jess: Thanks for the bean salad tip. I’ll have to whip it up!

    And tfh: Shoot us an email for further details!

  6. VeggieGirl says

    I’m a vegan, and was NOT impressed with those “Skinny Bitch” books at all – all they do is feed into the stereotype of all vegans being preachers (which I am definitely not, and never have been or will be). Thank you for your review!

  7. Elizabeth says

    I’ve read most of one of the books and skimmed the cookbook and I have to say that, although I agree with trying to be vegetarian or vegan (I’m a flexitarian and think that not eating meat is one of the best things that we can all do to help end poverty and drastically affect global warming), I really didn’t like their attitude. As someone who has struggled with her weight and has always been a “plus-size” girl even when “skinny,” I found their attitude of “if you just tried harder, cared more, and did this you’d be hot and skinny like us” to be quite off-putting. Especially since it’s setting up the standard that “skinny”=”hot”=”good”… which sucks, because there are a lot of good reasons to be a vegetarian that do have to do with moral and ethical and health reasons (many of which they point out amidst their tirades) and I imagine a lot of other women and men who have been ostracized because of their weight won’t be able to glean anything positive or life-changing from this book because of their basic argument that doing this will make you the right kind of person, a “skinny” one…

    Does anybody know of a better “let’s be vegan” book than this, perhaps one that’s attitude fits better for people that are outside of our society’s beauty norms and not just needing/wanting to be a bit more svelte/healthy? And isn’t too hippity-dippity like the “Peace Diet”?

  8. Elizabeth says

    Thanks Alexis, I’ll check it out!

    So does “polar opposite” mean you only eat animal products and no plants? :)

  9. Cynthia @ Healthy Hollywood says

    Great review! It was definitely ambitious to make three dishes with products you don’t normally cook with and it looks like you got great results! Kudos! Now, about that chocolate cake… yum!!!

  10. dietbook says

    You summed up my feelings about the Skinny Bitch series rather neatly. :-)

    That said…WOW those recipes sound fabulous. Particularly (of course!) the chocolate cake.

    V.

  11. Ruthie says

    I agree with veggie girl. I am a vegan but I don’t preach it. If you see my tattoo and think, hey I’m interested in that too, I’ll tell you about it, other wise to each her own. In fact it kind of ticks me off that these girls are out there making another stereotype of our already overly stereotyped lifestyle.

    Another thing, why do some vegan cookbooks feel the need to implicate that we use weird ingredients all the time?! I’m making bean soup (can of black beans, can of tomatoes with chiles and can of corn) for dinner tonight, with a loaf of cornbread, where the only weird ingredient is soy milk in place of dairy (I replace the egg with two tbs of applesauce). I never cook with fancy mushrooms, shallots or coconut oil either. Veganism should be easier on the budget, not harder.

    Phew! Enough said.

  12. grounded fitness says

    blah blah blah dont eat animal by products blah blah.

    personal choice- fine. but dont tell other people not to for “health reasons.” pretty sure cave men ate raw flesh for thousands of years and it didnt hurt them too much.

    we are also the only animals who drive cars, have written language and have sex for pleasure. we arent like other animals.

    wait, dolphins have sex for pleasure, but thats because they are really smart.

    http://www.groundedfitness.com

  13. Tish says

    like my good friend mateo always says, we were given incisors for a reason : )

    bite into that meat girl!

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