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106 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2010
I've been gluten free for about 9 years now, and I can't tell you how many recipes and flour combinations I have tried - mostly without success, at least in the bread department. I wasn't sure about buying another gluten free cookbook, but decided to try it out anyway. I wanted to make the pizza first since bread recipes are the hardest (in my humble opinion) to re-create gluten free. The pizza was delicious and has been the first gluten free bread that I have tried that actually emulates its wheat counterparts. Buy the book! I'm sure you won't be disappointed. There is a wide variety of recipes: pizza, doughnuts, risotto, pumpkin dumplings, coffee cake, etc.
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177 of 199 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2011
I gave this book 3 stars for several reasons.

THE TITLE: Even though there are many terrific dishes, I would take serious exception to the fact that the cover says, "Recipes for easy, delicious meals". While most are delicious, few recipes are easy. If you are just entering the world of GF/CF, if you are a novice cook (ie. you've never made anything from scratch and understand little about the "chemistry of cooking"), or if you do not have quality kitchenware & a well-stocked spice rack - this book is NOT the place to start.

These recipes are not for everyday cooking. They are full (CUPS FULL) of sugars, oils, wide-variety of spices and many require specialty (or expensive) cookware. I would disagree with many of her prep-times until you are quite familiar with the recipes & after you already have all the ingredients set out & prepared (squeezed, cored, grated, beaten). I found that my cast iron pans were necessary to produce tasty results. Aluminum cookware just wouldn't cut it for the pancakes. The fact that she even suggests the possibility of producing a decent pizza crust without a stone is sad. (GF pizzas need a stone if you are going to get near to their gluten counterpart) In addition to the list at the beginning of the book, you'll need a stand mixer, donut pan, ice cream maker, and waffle-cone machine if you want to create *all* these treats.

ALLERGY ALERT: Please be aware - you *must* be *very* familiar with what ingredients *may* contain your specific allergens. Ms. Nardone does a poor job of warning the reader of what products must be purchased specially to maintain GF/CF status. Because of standard ingredients, common additives, or high potential for cross-contamination during manufacturing there is a *long* list of ingredients to be cautious of: chocolate chips/chunks, Worcestershire, broth, mayonnaise, polenta, chicken, sausage, etc. can be triggers for those with celiac, allergies, and sensitivities.

Additionally & *not* affecting the rating of the book, here are additional allergy concerns (yes, I realize that the book never claimed to be these things - but many families appreciate knowing in advance how versatile recipes are).

It is likely not appropriate if you are following at GFCF diet for Autism or ADD/ADHD. There is some food coloring, a LOT of sugars, and recipes without sugar tend to contain yeast.

If you are avoiding soy - you'll be pleased that her base "Silvana's all purpose flour blend" and "Silvana's pancake mix" utilize rice, potatos, tapioca, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. We found the recipes worked well with soy-free oils & shortening.

Eggs and corn are a different story. Many recipes call for eggs and we found soy-free egg replacements to diminish the results. Perhaps a soy-based egg-replacement would have fared better. She has entire sections devoted to corn that couldn't be substituted well.

CONTENT: At approximately 225 pages, one would think there are hundreds of recipes included. However, Ms. Nardone's husband is a professional photographer and as an apparent advertisement for his business (you'll conveniently find his website on the back flap) - nearly half this book is full-page pictures of finished dishes. Sadly, there are only two recipes utilizing one-inch-square "in progress" photographs to encourage you that you are on the right track. Yet there's a full page of her son playing croquet, another full page of him playing in the sprinkler, another hugging his sister, another playing scrabble, etc. - cute, but not useful.

There are approximately 140 recipes if you include the base "Silvana's all-purpose flour blend" and "Silvana's pancake mix". Over 100 of the recipes call for her "specific blends". The rest are salads and soups which tend to be gluten free anyway. Yet, with providing this specific blend - she fails to provide "basic" recipes using her blend. Want some good ole fashioned pancakes? biscuits? a decent loaf of bread? You're out of luck. While, according to the author, you can substitute standard AP flour (um, why am I reading this book if I can use wheat?) in her recipes - the converse is not true. Attempting to use her blends in other recipes was a complete failure. So, you'll need to keep a stash exclusively for this book.

Just getting started requires a serious investment in time & ingredients. Bear in mind that you'll need to make at least 3 batches of her "all-pupose flour blend" just to start using her book. Nearly 2 batches will be used just to then make a single (approx 10.5 cups) batch of her "pancake mix". If you'd like more than the cup of her all-purpose blend that's left over you'll need to make a 3rd batch.

Even with these "pre-made" mixes - you're still looking at measuring out additional sugar and salt in the recipes.

Conclusion: If you need a serious sugar-rush, have exhausted the basics of GFCF cooking, have acquired decent skills in the kitchen, have ample time to prepare and are ready to branch out - this is the book for you.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Our home has been gluten free for nearly a year now and I have tried and bought many GF cookbooks. This one is by far superior to the rest in flavor and plain kid-friendliness.

The author is a professional cook who, when she found out that her child needed to be gluten and casein free, tweaked the recipes that her child liked to make them fit his new diet.

I have tried a number of things from the book and am most impressed with just how normal the taste and texture of the foods are. Our family favorite so far is the banana bread which we have already made 3 times in as many weeks! Her recipe for blintzes / crepes works perfectly and the oven roasted french fries (she washes off the starch before cooking) were a total hit. Her double corn bread is sweet and moist and our family polished it off in one night!

I am looking forward to trying out the oven fried chicken fingers, bacon apple cornbread stuffing, apple pie, glazed doughnuts and, wonder of wonders, home made ice cream and home made waffle cones!!

Another thing I recommend this book for is the simplicity of the recipes. the ingredient lists are not a mile long and the recipes are quick to put together.

The flour combination that the author uses is not terribly nutritious - it is made up of rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour and xanthan gum - but since the more nutritious mixes (with millet, sorghum and chick pea flour, etc) have a definitely odd flavor to them this mix wins hands down just for being tasty enough for kids to be willing to eat it. Besides, the author uses a large quanitity of nuts, fruits and vegetables in most recipes so that they are nutritious on the whole.

The book is not limited to simply recipes for flour based recipes. There are some delicious salads, meat dishes, drinks and deserts in here.

The best thing about the book is that the food is appealing to both adults and kids. If your home is gluten free this is the book for you.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2010
I love the recipes for the pancakes. I have tried other pancake recipes, but they are always "off" texture wise, but Silvana's pancakes have the right texture & crumb! I can't wait to try the pizza and the taco recipes!!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 23, 2010
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Gluten-free cooking can be exceptionally challenging, especially when trying to do baked goods, breads and pizza doughs. Many gluten-free recipes overwhelm with the number of ingredients required to substitute for wheat flour and frequently end up heavy and leaden.

Silvana Nardone takes a different tack to both of these problems. First, she starts with a single, time-saving flour blend. This makes about 4 pounds of "flour". This "flour" is then used to make her pancake mix. Having these two mixes on the shelf makes the recipes that follow far more streamlined than the usual gluten-free recipes.

Secondly, she keeps it light with the use of rice and tapioca flours and potato starch. This avoids the heavy, stronger flavors that mixes with buckwheat flour or bean flours impart to foods.

You will be amazed at the results. The cinnamon-toasted belgian waffles had me marveling "I can't believe it's gluten free!" The corn bread recipe is excellent.

Not all is classic wheat flour-type baked goods, however. This cookbook takes you from the first meal of the day to the last, offering a range of recipes for any and all occasions. The list of chapter headings:
Breakfast
Starters and Salads
Soups, Rice and Pasta
Sandwiches and Pizza
Main Dishes
Vegetables and Sides
Desserts

There's some real culinary creativity in this cookbook - waffles are used not only at breakfast, but savory variations provide a basis for an evening meal and the bread for lunch time sandwiches. Hash browns are pressed into a waffle iron and support apple sausage and a fried egg for a hearty meal. Puffed rice cereal substitutes for bread crumbs and are transformed into garlic crumbs with which to top spaghetti and meatballs on corn spaghetti. Dumplings are made with pumpkin puree and their orange shows lusciously against the green of the radicchio in "pumpkin dumplings with bacon and radicchio". "Penne with walnut cream sauce" is next on my list of recipes to try.

The real beauty of this cookbook is that it's not just for those needing to cook gluten and dairy free. These are great recipes for anyone. If you can use wheat flour, it's a simple substitution to use one cup of regular flour rather than Silvana's gluten-free blend. Anyway you cut it, this is what a cookbook should be - cooking done with creativity and love.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2010
My book arrived as promised. It is an outstanding cookbook for gluten/dairy free cooking. The fact that the author is a "cook" and her son is the gluten free person made this book of recipes delicious. We've used many of the recipes using her flour formula already. The brownies were out of this world. Hopefully, the author will create and share more recipes.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2011
Paging through this book I wanted so badly to love it. The pictures are beautiful and inspiring. But here's where I take issue:

1) as others have said, many ingredients are not typically gluten-free. The rice dream rice milk she uses (which is pictured in the book) contains barley. Don't believe me, call the company. It use to state that barley was an ingredient, but apparently rice dream decided it was low enough percent that they no longer list it. In fact, many rice milks contain gluten, but you have to call to find out. Also, rice crispies in the meatballs and meatloaf...i only know of one brand that doesn't contain gluten and it's specialty. No way can you just use kellogs. To those who have been doing GFDF for some time, this is well-known, but those new to this diet need to take caution and check all your labels and do not assume it is GF just because it is an ingredient in this book

2) I expected this book to have recipe catering to children, given that these are supposedly recipes for isaiah, her son. With exception of deserts, my kids aren't going to eat majority of recipes.

3) The deserts are LOADED with an obscene amount of sugar and she only uses white rice flour. Wow, if these were "everyday recipes" in our house my kids will be diabetic by age of 18. The doughnuts are half sugar and half starch with coffee thrown it... holy crash and burn!! I did make them as a special treat and they were insanely sweet beyond what a doughnut should be and I have one HUGE sweettooth.

4)No luck with hashbrowns done in waffle iron, although pic looked like they would be amazing.

5)Frito chicken fingers were just gross. Way too salty and greasy.

6) The fact that you have to make a huge batch of the flour is just stupid. Why not just list what you need for that recipe. I had to do all the conversion myself and it was just annoying.

I would honestly give it less than 3 stars but my friend loves this book, so maybe I am just having bad luck with recipes I have tried. I will say this is not at all healthy eating, which most celiacs/gluten intolerant individuals really require to heal themselves afters years of damage.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2012
I love this book!!! My husband bought this book a couple years ago when it first came out, as we had recently started dating and he suddenly had a gluten free girlfriend on his hands. I am fairly well-versed in the mysteries of gluten free cooking, but as someone new to it, many of the books he looked at were overwhelming with endless lists of strange ingredients. He went for this one because liked the uniqueness of the recipes, as well as the fact that they all rely primarily on two signature gluten free flour blends that Silvana gives you in the front of the book--no need to stock twenty different obscure flours just to work your way through the recipes. Not only are the recipes easy to follow, many of them are also very innovative in flavor combination and concept (savory waffles in place of sandwich bread), making them downright fun to make! If you want an immediate return on investment with this book, make the chocolate birthday cake with whipped chocolate frosting on page 207. Oh my gosh, that recipe alone will leave you convinced that you made a fantastic purchase!!! Out of this world! She has a little note by the recipe that she could "eat [it] every day for breakfast lunch and dinner", and it is so true! Even my non-gluten free husband could not stop eating that cake! So simple and perfect, but it's those kind of recipes that the other gluten free baking books never seem to get right. I recommend it as one of the top three to anyone who asks me for recommendations on Gluten Free cookbooks, for ease of use/ingredients and quality final products. You will not be disappointed by this book!!!

**As a note, a handful of the reviewers gave lower star ratings, noting that many of the recipes are not terribly healthy given her reliance on "white" gluten free flours and sugar, with which I would agree. As someone who tries to cut as much sugar and processed carbohydrates as possible, I would also point out that she is not claiming to write a book devoted to that lifestyle. If you are avoiding processed carbs and sugars, chances are you're not looking for a book that highlights donuts, pizza, and chocolate cake, but if you are looking for gluten free/dairy free options for new takes on those and other comfort classics, this book gets top marks!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 30, 2010
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
PREFACE **I am not Gluten sensitive (at least I don't think so) and I do not hace Celiace disease**

Now that I have that out of the way, I can review this book as someone who isn't into the whole gluten free lifestyle, either by necessity or by choice. My SIL is gluten and dairy sensitive, and since I love to cook and entertain, this book seemed to be the perfect jumping off point in order to cook meals that we all can eat when they come over.

Some of the ingredients, at first glance, seem to be a bit hard to find, but in truth, a bit of seaching has turned them all up at once grocery store or another where I live. I really like the blend of flours that she suggests...something about making them and mixing them is just a ton of fun.

We have tried the pizza dough several times and have loved it. Now, I still miss my gluten heavy all mushy and good normal pizza crust, but this one comes in a close second and will please any pallete. The cookies are good, and I haven't found once recipe that I dont like....and my SIL has said the same thing.

While we haven't made it through all the recipes in the book, we are sure to keep it close at hand and help us cook meals and snacks that she can eat and that we can all enjoy together. In fact, after using the cookbook in my home, she went out and bought a copy for herself.

As I learn more and more about the gluten free lifestyle and the necessity of it to happen due to sensitivities and Celiac disease, I am more impressed with the range of foods that are available...and this book goes a long way (in my elementary opinion) to showcase just that. While I am sure it is not the be-all-end-all of gluten free cookbooks, I have found it to be a gentle primer and one that isn't so daunting to the uninitiated.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2010
Going dairy and gluten free was really hard for me to do. I am not the type that wants to give it up and I felt clueless doing so. I got this cookbook and its downright amazing. Every single thing is wonderful in it. My husband is a dairy, meat, and gluten type of guy. He said and I quote "dont take this the wrong way, but since getting that cookbook your meals are soooo good." He also said you would never know you are eating dairy and gluten free. Our friends come over and they have no idea that everything is gluten free. Silvana's flour acts just like wheat all purpose flour.
This cookbook was a lifesaver. If you know anyone going gluten or dairy free, I highly recommend this book. It makes you feel like you can eat the same food as everyone else.
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