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Sitting down to eat a freshly prepared, home cooked meal at tea time on a daily basis is something we all aspire to, but in reality this is quite impossible. What could be even more impossible than this? Trying to eat a freshly prepared, home cooked meal and stick to your points whilst following the Weight Watchers diet. That's what! Celebrity chef cook books are filled with deliciously decadent recipes that are all too appealing yet laden with calories. Surely it isn't possible to follow a healthy diet plan and feed your family at the same time? Having to cook one meal for your family and one meal for yourself can be even more of a chore. Thankfully, this "Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food" cook book provides you with a whole host of recipe ideas to suit everyone's taste, feed your whole family in one meal and stick to your Weight Watchers points at the same time. Perfect!
The "Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food" cook book can be found in the recipe book section of most good book stores including Waterstones and WHSmiths. This recipe book can also be found in the book aisles of certain supermarkets. I have seen this book stocked in Asda, and purchased my own copy from Tesco. You can also purchase "Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food" online from book retailers, with the best and most successful outlet being Amazon.co.uk.
"Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food" has an RRP of £12.99, as printed inside the cover, and I imagine this is what you will pay if purchasing direct from Weight Watchers, or from a high street retailer such as Waterstones/WHSmiths. If you shop around, you should be able to pick this up from a supermarket for much cheaper. I purchased my copy from Tesco for £5. Online stores that stock this book should also be much cheaper than RRP, with Amazon.co.uk currently stocking this book at £6.75.
The book itself is pretty big in size, and square in shape but only around half an inch thick. The cover of the book is not a hardback, but I also struggle to call it a 'paperback', as it is made of a stiff and slightly thick, plasticised cardboard. The fact the cover itself is plasticised is a great little feature, as it means that any accidental spills and drips spattered onto the cover during your cooking progress can simply be wiped off and leave no damage behind. The front cover is made up of four different photographs, each appearing very appetising. Across the middle of the front cover runs a pale violet-blue colour banner showing the Weight Watchers official logo and giving the title of the book. Below this there is a quick description of the book which states 'Healthy, great-tasting recipes all the family will love'.
The inside content of the book is divided into different sections, as listed on the index page. The first section of "Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food" is an introduction to both the book and who/what Weight Watchers are. This is more of an 'in a nutshell' description, rather than an indepth novel of an intro. The introduction section to this book is only a single page long, and in all honesty, it isn't essential to read this page.
The second section within the "Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food" cook book is titled 'Basic Ingredients'. This section is again only a single page long, but lists all the ingredients that are used in every recipe. This page covers milk, eggs, fats/oils, cheese/yogurt, fruits/vegetables and gives you a little pep talk on planning ahead.
The third section "Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food" has to offer is again, a single page long. This section is titled 'Store Cupboard Suggestions', and lists all the ingredients that this book recommends you have stocked in your cupboards for future use. All ingredients listed are used at some point within the book, and reading down the list there isn't any ingredient listed that ridiculous and misplaced. It's suprising to find that I have most of these bits and bobs in my actual cupboards, and the few that I don't can be easily purchased from any supermarket.
"Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food" cook book then really begins in its fourth section. This section is entitled 'Breakfasts and Brunches', and contains 18 recipes suitable to feed yourself and your family from breakfast through to that time between breakfast and lunch where you always get a bit peckish. This section has a wonderful variety of recipes, and there's definitely enough selection to find something to suit everyone. From the full english breakfast fry up, to a bold berry smoothie, this section covers the entire scale of breakfast/brunch. There are recipes for well known breakfast, such as overnight museli and omelettes, to more adventurous selections such as eggs florentine and cinnamon french toast with apricots. You'll never want, or need, to skip breakfast again!
The fifth section inside "Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food" is entitled 'Lunches and Light Bites'. This section of the book has a whole host of recipes to cook up to give yourself a well needed change from the norm. Sandwiches can get terribly boring if eaten day in, day out, so this section of the book gives you 27 options to choose from to bring a little more excitment to lunch times. From the traditional fayre of various soups and salads, to something more adventurous like welsh rarebit or spring rolls. The large variety of lunch options provides something for everyone and has recipes ranging from the stupidly simple to the 'dive in feet first'. Definitely lots to try in this section to take a break from your regular routine and get a little adventurous at lunch time.
"Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food" sixth section is entitled 'Simply Suppers' and is bursting with recipes for tea time treats. 34 wonderfully appetising recipes lie within this section of the book, all scrambling for your attention. The variety of tea time recipes listed in this book is wonderful, ranging from pasta dishes to chillis and curries. A selection of home cooked family favourites such as fish pie, shepherds pie, hotpot and pork with mash means that you can always cook up a batch of comfort food to warm the family through. There are plenty of exotic, quirky and new recipes to try too, including basque chicken casserole and one pot goulash. Go on, give your family something new and delicious tonight!
The final section in the "Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food" cook book is probably the best, and my favourite. Oh yes. Make room for 'Delicious Desserts'. Pudding will always be my most loved part of a meal, so this section of recipes is close to my heart. A mouthwatering 29 recipes make up this section of the book, and each recipe brings something new to the table in the fact that you'd never expect to be able to eat such things whilst dieting! From old school favourites such as crumbles, ice cream and sweet pies, to recipes from overseas such as banoffee pie, lemon meringue and chocolate profiteroles. The range of recipes inside this chapter is vast and wide, with something for all times of the year, and all members of the family. Comfort yourself in winter with a bowl full of bread and peach pudding, or get a taste for the season with summer pudding. Whatever dessert you choose, there is a recipe for every taste, every level of cooking expertise and every member of the family. Yum yum yum!
Throughout the book there are plenty of vegetarian options within each section, which makes it great for everyone. The vegetarian recipes found in this book are also a break from the normal 'nut cutlet' and 'mushroom bake' type recipes that veggies get fobbed off with on a regular basis. Vegetarians have a wide choice of new dishes and foods to try such as home made veggie burgers, vegetable chilli, greek spinach and filo pie, and tofu kebabs with peanut sauce. Not only are these great options for veggies, but meat eaters can enjoy something new too!
The recipes in this book are laid out well on the page. Each recipe page features the recipe name, with a little description of the outcome underneath. On the majority of the pages there is a photograph to go with the recipe, but unfortunately some recipes do not come with a photograph which is a bit of a let down. In the top right hand corner, the weight watchers points value per serving is shown. Above the ingredients list you will find the amount of people each recipe serves. The ingredients list is laid out in a clean and precise way, giving clear measurements for each ingredient. The recipes are shown in a step by step manner, meaning they are easy to follow and use language which is void of all technical nonsense - just good old plain english! Brilliant for those of us that are novices in the kitchen. At the bottom of each recipe page is a blue banner section which gives a breakdown of each recipe, stating the points per serving, and total points value per recipe. It also gives the amount of calories per serving, and states the amount of time it takes to make. There is also a 'V' symbol on every recipe that is suitable for vegetarians, and a '*' symbol for every recipe that is suitable for freezing. This banner box also features a 'variation' for each recipe, giving you more ideas on how to change up the individual recipes to create something new or tailored to your own preferences.
The photographs within the book are wonderfully tempting, and shot in a way that makes you want to get out your pots and pans and whip up a meal of magic. There are photographs for the majority of the recipes, but as stated above, not all recipes have a photograph. This irritates me a little, as I do like to see what each recipe's outcome should look like. I'm lost without a visual aid! Some recipes get their very own full page photograph, but some recipes get no photograph at all - hardly fair! However, this little complaint over, the photographs are superb, delicious looking and enough to inspire you to want to make mealtimes a little more home cooked and a little less boring!
My opinion of this book is filled with great positivity. I think this book is fantastic. The "Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food" cook book has everything you need to plan a weeks worth of meals for yourself and the entire family, and enable you to stick to your Weight Watchers points without the worry of overindulging. For me, the recipes inside this book are basic enough to be easy to follow and finish, but with enough variety to stop me from getting bored of eating the same old things all the time. The recipes have a very 'homey' feel to them, and definitely encompass the idea of home cooked comfort food. The portion sizes per person are generous, and each recipe creates enough food to feed a regular size family (and a few more, in some cases).
The only downside for me with this book is that in my 'family', there is only myself and my girlfriend. Our household is only made for two, and the majority of these recipes are made for 4 people, with the exception of a few being made to serves 6 to 8 people. Halving the recipes for 4 persons is simple enough for the two of us, but when it gets to dividing up the larger serving recipes to serve just the 2 of us, the proportions of the ingredients can get a little out of shape and cause some havoc with the cooking process. I can't 'really' complain because this book IS called "Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food", and therefore the recipes ARE designed for the average 4+ person families.
Overall, this book is a must for those following the Weight Watchers plan, and looking to give their family a hearty, healthy, filling and nutritious meal whilst sticking to their own points.
Useful product information:
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (5 Jan 2009)
Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 23.4 x 1.8 cm
** Also posted on Ciao under the username little_feets88 **
I have been successfully following the Weightwatchers plan for a while now but I sometimes struggle thinking of new and interesting meals to cook for my family that they will enjoy but that won't throw my weight loss plans off line. With this in mind I purchased the Weightwatchers Cook Smart Family Food book from Amazon. Its official price is £12.99 but when I bought it before Christmas it was definitely cheaper than that, as with all books it is worth shopping around.
The book is quite large at about 9.5 inches square but it is only about half an inch thick. The cover is ideal for a cookery book, it is not a hard-back, it is a plasticised card which means that it is not too heavy and it is also wipe able if you get any marks on it. The front cover has four appetising pictures of different sorts of food and the tag line is "Healthy, great-tasting recipes all the family will love".
The book is split into various sections:
This gives a very vague introduction to the Weightwatchers ideals and then lists store-cupboard suggestions and some information on sizes of eggs and types of cheese and milk used in the recipes. I think the store cupboard list is quite long covering everything from canned lentils and chickpeas to low-fat peanut butter which I never buy to the more ordinary sugar-free jellies and couscous which I do. I think this shows that the recipes are likely to appeal to a wide range of tastes and they shouldn't be too restrictive.
---Breakfasts and Brunches---
I am afraid I am a person who likes speed and simplicity in the mornings so I tend to opt for cereal and fresh fruit but if you prefer something more interesting there are a variety of hot and cold meals to choose from including a lower calorie full English breakfast, Kedgeree and Muesli. There are also some recipes for muffins and banana bread. I have not tried any of the breakfast section although having just read the recipe for Hot Cross Buns at only 2 points I will definitely be trying them.
---Lunches and Light Bites---
This is a section that I have referred to quite a lot. It covers a whole range of meal options from soups, Welsh Rarebit and Kebabs to Roast Chicken and Beef Fillet. The Leek and Potato soup is one of my favourites as it is so easy to prepare, is low in points and can also be frozen. The individual Vegetable Pizzas however have never made it to our table as I think my children would go into panic mode if I told them they were having pizza but with no cheese in sight! However the Veggie Burgers went down exceedingly well.
This section is aimed at quick and easy evening meals. Quite a few of the meals are based on pasta which always works well in my family and I can always fill the rest of them up with some extra pasta whilst controlling my portion size so it works well for all of us. Our particular favourites are the Penne with Meatballs in a tomato sauce and a Creamy Chicken Pasta bake with soft cheese and courgettes. If I am cooking for myself then I tend to make the simple vegetable risotto which I find very tasty as well as filling. Once again there is a recipe for the dreaded cheese-free pizza, this time with broccoli and gherkins on the top, I have more sense than to try and dish this up to my children, they don't mind broccoli but they want it with gravy and meat not a pizza base!
I am not actually very partial to desserts and rarely have them; I prefer fruit or yogurt after a meal and that is a habit my family have as well. For this reason I have not really used most of this section as I only tend to make a proper dessert if we are having visitors and then I would be a little disinclined to dish up "diet" food. Also I only have a Points allowance of 16 due to my age and height so I don't tend to have any spare points for "treats". However some of the dishes do sound very appetising, I am intending on making the Summer Fruit Roly Pavlova when the need next arises as that sounds very nice. I have made the crumble recipe which has low-fat margarine and oats and I was very pleased with the results and everyone enjoyed it. My children have made the Fruity Chocolate Fridge Cake which uses dark chocolate and low-fat biscuits to cut down the calorie content. However it was only after they made it that I realised it used egg-whites and really I prefer them not to eat uncooked eggs, even the whites, so they will probably not make it again.
When I was thinking of purchasing this book I had flicked through it in a local shop and I had liked the straightforward page layouts with ingredients on one side and instructions on the other and also the clear, bright illustrations of the finished dishes. However I did not study it closely and it wasn't until I purchased it that I realised that not all of the dishes have illustrations. This is a shame as I always like to have an idea of what the finished dish will look like. At least three-quarters of the dishes have pictures but I would have liked to have seen them for every one, especially as some pictures are duplicated on the title pages and the covers.
This book does have a nice selection of meal ideas but I think that it is lacking variety if you are vegetarian. Although I am not a vegetarian several of my friends are and I like cooking vegetarian meals for a change and there were not many to choose from and several seemed very similar such as the dreaded pizzas!
Other information about the recipes is displayed in an easy to read consistent manner. The WW points value is given at the top of the page but further down it also lists calorie content, cooking and preparation time, suitability for freezing and if it is vegetarian. There are also useful tips and cooking basics.
This book is a very basic cookery book. It does not require much culinary skill to make any of the dishes which is great for simple family cooking during the week. I have teenage children and they can successfully follow the recipes themselves. I think it would be nice to see a more advanced section to allow preparation of more interesting meals that require a little more work. I am not the world best cook but I can get nutritious appetising meals on the table but sometimes it is nice to learn something new.
This is a useful book and I am glad I bought it. However it would be better with more pictures and a wider range of skills in my opinion. That said I believe a lot of people these days do not get much opportunity to learn any cooking skills so a basic, simply worded book with easy to succeed with dishes like this will be of great benefit. If you are an accomplished cook then this is not the book for you but if you are looking for new ideas for low-calorie family meals then this is certainly worth looking at.