December 29, 2020
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Blurb: After a decade of yo-yo dieting and a lifelong battle with the scale, Brittany Williams topped out at 260 pounds and knew she needed to make a lasting change. She shed an astonishing 125 pounds in a year—and has kept it off for 3 years—by getting off the diet rollercoaster and getting back to basics. She ditched processed foods, curbed her takeout habit, and cut back on inflammatory ingredients like gluten, dairy, and sugar. Through her best-selling books and popular blog, Brittany has inspired millions of fans and readers to lose weight, improve their wellness, and forge a healthier relationship with food.
As a busy mom of three, Brittany knows how important it is to create nutritious meals that will please the pickiest eaters without breaking your budget. Featuring 125 recipes that all cost less than $10 to make—most can be made for less than $5—Instant Loss on a Budget is proof that wholesome food doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, Brittany feeds her family of five for just $75 to $100 a week!
Brittany has mastered the art of creating recipes that taste indulgent, yet are surprisingly good for you. With recipes like Chocolate Brownie Donuts, Mini Everything Bagels, Smoky Baby Back Ribs, Barbeque Chicken with Cilantro-Lime Coleslaw, and plat-based options like Tikka Masala Lentils, The Ultimate Veggie Thin-Crust Pizza, and Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, this book offers something for every reader and every craving. You can even indulge your sweet tooth without sabotaging your progress with desserts like Frozen Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie and Raspberry Crumble.
Complete with balanced meal plans, budgeting advice, and cost-cutting hacks, this gluten-free and dairy-free cookbook makes it easy to set goals and stick to them. Investing in your health is the best investment you can make: Discover how much lighter and happier you can feel with Instant Loss!
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Right off the bat, Instant Loss on a Budget by Brittany Williams would seem to be a hit. After all, who doesn’t want to cook healthy meals cheaply? I was very much on board until I started reading.
I liked the fact that weekly menus as well as shopping lists are included. For people who need to see the complete picture, this is very useful. However, the dishes seemed to mostly consist of “one-pot” meals, which bordered on monotonous. I was not fond of the fact that nutritional information was left out. This wasn’t an oversight but a purposeful decision on Williams’ part based on the possibility of substituting ingredients. My feeling was: but still, nutritional info regarding the recipe as written would have been useful.
Once I started reviewing the recipes, I noted that Instant Loss on a Budget is a gimmicky cookbook centered on the use of gadgets. Now, I love gadgets and I love to cook but frankly reading an entire cookbook in which simple tasks like beating eggs in a bowl with seasonings now must occur in your multi-talented high-speed blender . . . because . . . it’s quicker? (Seriously?) . . . drives me a little nuts. All of the recipes either involve said high-speed blender, an air fryer, or a multi-talented high pressure cooker. It really would have been nice if the blurb has stated that clearly (I presume the “instant” in the title is an allusion) so that I could be prepared.
While I’ve never heard of Ms. Williams, I do admire her savviness in finding a healthful path for herself. However, it is very clear that she is not a chef. In the introductory chapters in which she discusses useful kitchen items, she erroneously compares cheap knives to expensive chef knives indicating that they’re interchangeable because they both require care to keep them sharp and in working condition. And a Maserati and a Ford Fiesta are also interchangeable because they need gas and servicing.
A good number of the recipes utilize unusual ingredients like different types of flours (cassava, for instance) that may not be readily obtained. Some of the recipes made me cringe such as the Brunswick Stew, which I used to cook a lot when I ate meat, now incorporates barbecue sauce and is served on mashed potatoes (the author claims that this is the way it’s served in the south, Southern California, maybe?). So, yup, even if I were still an omnivore, I’d hard pass on many of these recipes.
Logistics is also curiously missing from this book. The author suggests that the lentil masala could be served over the Jamaican rice and peas. But both recipes use your Instant Pot. Imagine how much easier it would be if the dishes could be cooked simultaneously and served together rather than waiting for that Instant Pot to cook one and then the other.
I am “meh” about Instant Loss on a Budget. While recipes like the cauliflower ones sound tasty, I just can’t imagine using an Instant Pot to cook them and the author provides no alternatives. I can definitely see where new cooks who are floundering in the kitchen would find it a useful tool for feeding their families, but even here, with the limited ingredients, this could be hit or miss. Also, since the author has specific dietary concerns, I can see where individuals with the same issues would find the recipes helpful. If, however, you actually enjoy cooking, I can’t imagine that you would find much of use in Instant Loss on a Budget.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
3 out of 5 butterflies