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Ok, it’s that time again! Reality Tea’s Booze ‘N Books Club! With zillions of reality stars – and new ones popping up every second – and each one with something to sell, we here at Reality Tea decided to test out some of these fetes of literary greatness. And what goes better with books that are badly written than cocktails? So we thought we’d try something fun and review some of these gems!

Each month Reality Tea will be reviewing both a book and a cocktail. Last month we kicked things off by reviewing Bethenny Frankel, the queen of reality star promotions and the inventor of the Bravo Home Shopping Network’s, new novel Skinnydipping and one of the umpteen Skinnygirl cocktails. We weren’t so impressed with Skinnygirl White Cranberry Cosmo, but the book – a little bit better. We invited our readers to participate in the fun by submitting some of their own reviews – and we got some good ones and some photos to match

This month, we’re reviewing Bravo’s other Home Shopping Network queen – the controversial Teresa Giudice. Teresa has turned lemons into well, money flavored lemonade and she is paying her bills (and hopefully her creditors) with her immense popularity and her old-school Italian recipes.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star’s newest cookbook – her third – is Fabulicous: Fast & Fit. On the NY Times Bestseller list for the third week in a row, the book advertises healthy alternatives to Italian recipes in 30 minutes or less. Teresa isn’t stopping there, she also has a bottled cocktail (I wonder where that idea came from? wink, wink) called Fabellini. Well, we hardworking girls at Reality Tea reviewed both and lemme tell you our jobs are really crappy.

CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON FOR OUR REVIEWS!

THE BOOZE:

Aaahhhh…Fabellini… harkening back to my days in college when I appreciated the sweet zesty thrill of a wine cooler. I tried the peach version. Now, I love me a bellini. I think chamapagne ( I refuse to use “champs.” To quote Mean Girls – Stop trying to make that happen.). What makes a bellini fabulous is the freshness of it all. The juice, the fruit, the crisp champagne.

This is bubbly, sweet, and well… really sweet. Before getting tipsy, I think I got a sugar high. Naturally I needed to have at least three glasses to truly test the wares. Don’t accuse me of shirking my responsibilities!

Seriously though, this had that kind of hard imitation flavor taste to it that reminds me of Boones Farm or Peach Schnaps Wine coolers, but I think that’s to be expected with a bottled drink. It’s never as good as the real thing. Much like with Bethenny’s bottled bevs, I’d prefer a wine or making my own bellinis.

Another flaw with this beverage – the label was seriously amateur. I happen to love the Skinnygirl logos, but the Fabellini ones feature a drawing of Teresa and are a little corny. They have this inspirational paragraph on the back that describes the fabulous girl who is drinking the fabellini and she flips tables glamourously and screams whore with twinkling class; she races through country clubs on five inch heels in a mesmerizing sparkle. Ok, it didn’t really say that – but you get the drift.

RATING: Might be fun for a glass or two at girls night out. Save your money and make real bellini instead. Unless you’re a Teresa fan – and then by all means: buy, buy away!

THE BOOK:

Full Disclosure: I may just be the world’s worst cook. Literally. Tell me to caramelize onions and I might dump caramel sauce over some onions and call it success. I don’t like to cook, I rarely do it, and I thank the lord for blessing me with a husband who will eat anything – and pretend to like it. As Melissa Gorga would say, “Thank you, Jeeeeezus!”

The book has a lot of pictures – which I like since I’m never sure what things are supposed to look like. And in the back is all the nutritional content for each recipe. Teresa (or her co-writer) gives a lot of well laid out instructions and descriptions on how to do things.

Anyway, so Fabulicous: Fast & Fit IS for the faint of heart in the cooking department. I tried three recipes (with an assistant who ended up being head chef) and I have to say they were pretty simple. Teresa advertises that the recipes are “super easy.” This is no Julia Child style cooking! Since this is a review, I followed all the instructions to the letter (well, I tried at least) and we had a few different people try finished products.

The book is divided into different parts from appetizers through desserts. There’s a lot of good photos of Teresa – she must’ve hired a different photographer or different hair and make-up people because she looks great. She tells a lot of stories and you get a sense of her in the book. I didn’t notice any obvious “digs” so Caroline Manzo can keep her spanx on. Teresa address “friendship” and mentions that her true fans friends are far from the public eye. She didn’t name names of course!

Recipe 1: Veggie-Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms (pg 108). These were really good. There were a few drawbacks – my sous chef called them “labor intensive” for stuffed mushrooms. I felt like they weren’t as flavorful as I expected – I wish there was a little more oomph. You add cream cheese to these and that was really yummy. They also have wine – and really I’ll eat anything with wine. I don’t have a grill pan – are these a thing – so I kinda made it up and threw them on the burner. Which was maybe a mistake. Despite my mishaps these get an A from me.

Recipe 2: Naked Chicken Parmesan (pg 85). So, this couldn’t get easier if you tried – and it was really good. It literally took minutes assemble and then you put it in the oven and let it cook. I am a huge fan of chicken parm and I like things fried (I’m from the south), but I didn’t even miss the friedness. I’m giving the credit to the cheese. Is there anything better than cheese? No there’s not – so don’t bother answering.

Recipe 3: Pollo Involtini (pg 93). This was in the Gourmet section. So, yeah… things didn’t go as smoothly. My much more proficient “sous chef” was breathing down my neck and giving a lot of instructions. She said this wasn’t too difficult on a scale of one being take-out and ten being Michelin Star Chefs. She said this was like a 4. She meant that as a compliment, by the way.

There weren’t too many steps, but the flavor was rich. You have to stuff chicken breasts and tie them together. You lost me at “tie.” Chicken bondage isn’t my speed. My sous chef took over after not being able to bear my ineptitude. Anyway, it was good and I’d eat it again. It had a lot of veggies in it and wine. I think it needed more cheese. Or maybe a sauce.

RATING: If you’re a Teresa fan and you like Italian food go for it! If you aren’t a Teresa fan, well then you probably already stopped reading by now, but this isn’t such a bad cookbook no matter who the author is. If you aren’t much of a cook and you like yummy food, I’d say this is pretty good! My consensus – borrow it from the library, because you probably won’t be cooking these recipes for years to come.

Below are some photos from our fabulous readers!

Next Month’s Challenge: Next month we challenge you, dear readers, to review our selected Booze ‘N’ Book. For July, we will be featuring Vicki Gunvalson‘s book More Than A Housewife. And I know you all have plenty to say about ol’ Vicks! So, borrow it from the library (or buy it) – if you dare – and please give us your input.

We will also be sampling a membership for Vicki and Tamra Barney‘s very own Wines By Wives. We’ll be drinking with Vicki – so if you’re drinking with Vicki or know someone who is – let us know what you think of their selection of wines. Or if you’ve tried some of the wines they suggest – we wanna know!

THE RULES: Grab the book or the booze – or both – test them out and write your review. Keep them snarky, fun, and fresh – this is Reality Tea here – and be honest! Also, photos of you at your booze tasting or with the book are welcome! Reality Tea will also be reviewing the products, but we’d like to include our amazing readers in the fun!

The best reviews will be featured on the site! Send your reviews to editor@realitytea.com by July 1st and title them Booze ‘N’ Books July Review! Make sure to include the name you’d like your review published under – just in case you win!

Also, if you have a reality star’s booze or book you’d like to suggest for review, please let us know. It doesn’t have to be a Bravolebrity – we know the famewhore tendencies to product hawk extend to any and all networks!

HAVE YOU TRIED FABELLINI OR FABULICOUS: FAST & FIT? WHAT’S YOUR REVIEW?

Fruit & Prosciutto Crostini (pg 58)

Teresa’s favorites ( are you getting this Melissa?) Pignoli Cookies (pg 165)

 

Veggie-Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms

Turkey Meatballs (pg 78)

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