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239 of 251 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Wonderful!
Thank you, thank you!!! I have bought so many gluten free cookbooks and have had terrible results. Gluten Free On a Shoestring is very easy to follow..Nicole explains everything and makes it seem so easy to bake. I baked her Pound Cake and my husband (who does not need to eat gf) said he couldnt tell the difference. Nicole is witty, smart and clever. I had the wonderful...
Published on March 4, 2011 by frank r barbara

versus
66 of 70 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but more excited for the sequel
I would give 3.5 stars if possible. It would be a 5 star except for the major con, listed and explained below:

Pros:
- very, very good basic recipes (tortillas, bagels, naan, etc)
- primer to gluten-free lifestyle
- a few good medium-difficulty items

Cons:
- inconsistent directions (see comments below) between cookbook and...
Published on July 8, 2012 by Amy Hall


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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I've been looking for!!!!, March 17, 2011
This review is from: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap (Paperback)
Thanks for "Gluten - Free on a Shoestring"! I have been gluten free for several months now. Going gluten free was fairly easy after I got the hang of it. I have been looking for a really good cookbook with not only good everyday recipes, but also with answers to questions about dairy free cooking. I am looking forward to cooking and baking with this book! For you new gluten/dairy free people out there. Going gluten and dairy free is not hard. It is overwhelming at first just because you have to adust your thinking and habits. Once you get started though it is really easy, fun and healthy. Thanks again for "Gluten - Free on a shoestring.

Kathy ElliottGluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the Recipes! Great Tips too!, July 1, 2011
This review is from: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap (Paperback)
I'm pretty new to gluten free, about 3 months. At first it can be quite overwhelming! This book is great at getting you on a great path to healthier, tastier, budget friendly eating. At first I ate mostly packaged food and boy is it expensive and leaves much to be desired. Nicole, the author gives so many little tips that are so helpful. Everything I have made has been awesome. It's great making "normal" food again. It's also great making dishes that non gluten free family/friends have no clue they are gluten free. This book is an absolute must if you are gluten free. It was like Christmas when I received this book in the mail. Check out her blog for even more recipes with great pictures and reviews. I'm always checking out her latest creations! The flour she mentions, Better Batter is also great. Buy in bulk and save a ton!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best white sandwich bread, October 16, 2011
This review is from: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap (Paperback)
I picked up this book to see if it really could help keep our gluten-free budget in line. Her ideas are solid and well thought out.

Many cookbooks have recipes designed around their own creation of flour blend and don't stand up to other blends. Not only does Nicole give you the confidence you need that you will succeed, her recipes work nicely with the flour blend I like.

Her White Sandwich Bread is so light and dreamy, much like the gluten-containing breads on the store shelves plus my one GF eater prefers it and my other GF eater that turns his nose up at other GF breads was so excited to have a PB&J again. The pie crust stood up better than expected too. Now I'm just waiting for the opportunity to make Cinnamon Raisin bagels. Thanks Nicole for a great go-to GF cookbook.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars own this one - whether you're new to GF eating or not!, July 28, 2011
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This review is from: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap (Paperback)
I wish Nicole had written this book when I first started my gluten free (GF) saga. She tells you all you need to know to set up a GF kitchen and eat GF without a lot of fuss and without cashing in your IRA. I have many GF cookbooks, and use them all, but quite sparingly compared to this gem. I've not made any dish in this cookbook that I didn't like. She has also encouraged me - a pretty damned good baker - to branch out. She even has a recipe for GF sourdough starter! Some is in my refrigerator right now! Nicole has a spectacular blog [...] which is humorous and on which she posts recipes. (She's writing a new cookbook even now!) I recommend that all newbies start your GF experience here, but old hats at the GF game should not pass on this book. The only other thing besides this book you'll need is Jule's Nearly Normal All Purpose flour and you'll have everything you need. (It can be found online; in my experience, it works like no other, and it can be cheaper than alternatives. I buy by the case.) If you live or work near a Trader Joe's market, you're golden, as they have many GJ offerings and are expanding all the time!

Update from 05/27/12: Every recipe I've done from this book tastes great. One thing I've learned baking from this book is that the key to GF baking success is mixing doughs longer. I mix all my other recipes longer now (e.g., from Nearly Normal Cooking For Gluten-Free Eating: A Fresh Approach to Cooking and Living Without Wheat or Gluten) and they come out better. I've had a little problem with the baking times here (I have to bake longer, or things fall) but I blame my schitzo oven, not Nicole. Even when I didn't bake the item long enough, the taste was great! Her book is my go-to cookbook now, and I'm a cookbook user. (After this, JOY OF COOKING is second; Fenster's 1000 Gluten-Free Recipes 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes (1,000 Recipes) and Nearly Normal Cooking For Gluten-Free Eating: A Fresh Approach to Cooking and Living Without Wheat or Glutenare tied for third.) FYI, Nicole also recommends BetterBatter Flour, available online, and I've used that too with great success. I've also mixed my own, which is easy enough if you can find ingredients cheaply in bulk (a recipe is in The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten-Free: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed. Happy baking/cooking everyone!
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the down to earth food in this book!!!, July 9, 2011
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This review is from: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap (Paperback)
I have been gluten free for 4 years now and I have bought many cookbooks in hopes of creating some great tasting food my whole family can/will eat. Coming from the Midwest we eat simple, homemade food that isn't fancy schmancy or ridiculously complex. I don't want to spend tons of cash at the grocery store or use 20 ingredients to cook one dish.

This cookbook has great tasting, affordable regular foods that families can eat seven days a week. I would have never dreamed you could do prep work ahead of time on GF dishes either. Not only have I found new great recipes, but I'm saving time during the week too!

Thanks Nicole for your innovation and perseverance in the kitchen!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and easy to use, May 17, 2011
This review is from: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap (Paperback)
When my daughter found out she was starting a gluten-free diet, she was game to try it, but cried when she realized that some of her favorite food items had wheat in them. Two days after I began to cook and bake from Gluten Free on a Shoestring, she said, "I like being gluten-free because of all the treats!" Unlike the other GF cookbooks I used, this one had easy-to-follow recipes that relied upon all-purpose GF flour mixes, rather than my having to scout out different flours to make a mix specific to the cookbook in question. I made popovers two days in a row-- once with dairy, once with dairy-free alternatives. I had never made bagels before, but I successfully made GF bagels with the recipe in the book. I baked some sweet treats, too (blondie cupcakes, perfect chocolate birthday cake, chocolate chip cookies) and froze the majority of the results to use for treats in the future. In addition to the cookbook, the fabulous Nicole Hunn keeps an active blog with recipes and suggestions for how to work gluten-free flours. She even helped me trouble-shoot a recipe in real time (and made me a convert to Better Batter Flour when I realized the bean-based flours were giving me grief).

On my wishlist: Volume II of GF on a Shoestring. I hope it happens.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good and Bad, October 4, 2013
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This review is from: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap (Paperback)
My background: I am a home cook of advanced experience. I like to cook, and I am passionate about nutrition, so I make almost every meal eaten in my home completely from scratch.

In context: Really, this book is a book for people who didn't ever cook from scratch before they went gluten-free. Suddenly they must learn to cook some basic things in order to not go broke. It is a very basic scratch cook book from a gluten-free POV. And when you look at it that way, it's good, but still not great.

First, the bad: it's clear that the author was not ready to write a cookbook. It has a LOT of filler.

There are multiple pages about using coupons, which really belongs in either a blog post or an article. "Extreme couponing", for example, is all over the internet, so it wasn't necessary to include it in the book; it is especially irrelevant when the whole point of the book is making gluten-free foods from scratch, rather than buying them pre-made. And "grow a vegetable garden to save money" is a trite and unrealistic proposal for many people, like apartment dwellers, those with mobility problems, those working 60+ hours a week out of necessity, etc (this is an ongoing issue in Hunn's writing.) Plus, growing a garden isn't always a money-saver; time, after all, is money, and so is labor.

In spite of the advice to grow a vegetable garden, the recipes herein assume that everyone shops at a grocery store with no thought to sustainability, seasonality, or really any other consideration besides cost.

All of the recipes use extra-large eggs. The recipe standard in the cooking and baking industry is the large egg, so why formulate recipes based on XL eggs? Ms. Hunn says it is because XL eggs have more moisture, but frankly, you can get moisture (as well as fat and protein) from adding more milk or a second egg. She also specifies kosher salt in her bread recipes, which is not only not the standard, but makes zero sense, as kosher salts vary considerably in size and aeration.

Her recipes also advise the reader to always roll out gluten-free dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. I don't use plastic wrap or any disposable plastics in my kitchen. People baked before plastic wrap, so it isn't necessary. I made her biscuit and bread recipes work without it, and I've since read (in her blog) that Ms. Hunn no longer uses plastic wrap to roll her dough.

I think when someone buys a book on cooking gluten-free, what they are looking for is recipes for gluten-free preparation of dishes that would normally include gluten. I know I am! Many, if not most, of the recipes in this book are for things that don't have gluten in the first place: chicken stock, roasted red peppers, beans, 3 kinds of hummus (talk about filler!), Spanish tortilla, granola, hash browns, glazed carrots, polenta, etc. Others are gluten-containing dishes that need only a small substitution to be gluten-free: gnocchi, zucchini fritters, chicken pot pie, mac & cheese.

I was initially excited about the bread section of the book. I have now made all of the breads and the recipes need a LOT of work. Although by all accounts Ms. Hunn's more recent recipes are better, the ones in this book are mostly poor. Both pie crust recipes are horrible. The "popovers" recipe makes a very dense, dry bread that is NOT a popover. The potato bread recipe calls for mashed potatoes as an ingredient, is poorly written, and has never ever turned out right for me. The dinner rolls recipe was obviously not tested, as it makes twice as many rolls as it says it will make; rather then being soft as the book says, they are very hard and chewy. The plain white sandwich bread might be the best yeast bread in the book, but it needs some adjustments. The brioche loaf is actually good, but far too sweet and cake-like.

One tip I have found to make the yeast breads taste better and have better texture: give them two rises. Ms. Hunn's recipes all call for only one rise, but a second rise makes all of these breads taste better and bake better.

I do like that Ms. Hunn bases her recipes on a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend, instead of requiring several different flours in every recipes.

The sweet potato biscuits and buttermilk biscuits are very good, but letting the dough rest in the fridge is absolutely necessary.

Ms. Hunn's blog is a wealth of information. It really is. She has obviously put a great deal of time, work, and expense into figuring these things out. She is also very positive and supportive toward people learning to cook gluten-free (though on her blog, she is sometimes snippy and defensive in response to comments she perceives as critical.) I'm intensely grateful for her blog and I want to support that work. I might buy her most recent book, which is supposedly much more advanced. But this book (her first) has been a big disappointment.
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47 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The flour she uses is unavailable outside the USA! Book is useless without!, May 30, 2012
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This review is from: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap (Paperback)
I just got the book, opened and read that the one and only gluten free flour she uses is the Better Batter one from BetterBatter.org. I went to their site only to find that they don't ship to Canada and that the only place in Canada to get it was at a Winner's/Home Sense. It isn't carried at mine, here in BC and as anyone who shops Winners knows, the stock varies from day to day, and NOTHING but NOTHING is a permanent stock item.

It is impossible to buy online and get it across the border into Canada. Even if Amazon didn't charge shipping cross border which they do-- free shipping is only in the States! I would still face punishing duties and taxes on such a product even if importing food across the border was legal which it isn't for individuals without an import license such as health food stores need.

So I'm returning this book. The recipes are essentially useless to me as the author stresses again and again that these recipes rely on that product. I thought about using Carol Fenster's mix but the ingredients in Better Batter are SO different that I doubt I would make anything edible. Since most recipes involve this flour with the exceptions of things like black beans and chicken soup, I'm not impressed.

The other groceries on a shoestring tips are all the usual that I've read from Miserly Moms, to Mary Hunt and Amy Dacizyns Tightwad Gazette material. If you are an accomplished frugalista this won't be new. This is the first book I've returned in YEARS of ordering from Amazon.

May I suggest that if you want to do gluten free cooking and baking cheaply and easily using readily available flour try Elizabeth Barbone's 2 cookbooks Easy Gluten-Free Baking and How to Cook Gluten-Free: Over 150 Recipes That Really Work. I've had great results from her recipes, and for a useful compendium of everything you need, kind of Joy of Cooking meets Gluten Free I suggest Carol Fenster and her home made g free flour mixture from 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes (1,000 Recipes)

The other two cookbooks I highly recommend for baking and cooking are both by Anne Byrn. The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free focuses on making her original cake mix dr recipes into gluten free cakes, cookies, bars and more. The recipes are based on adding stuff to any brand of gluten free cake mix. She recommends many different brands so you aren't stuck if your area doesn't sell that products. The recipes are goof proof. The other one is also by Anne Unbelievably Gluten-Free: 128 Delicious Recipes: Dinner Dishes You Never Thought You'd Be Able to Eat Again in which she turns out things like pie pastry, fried chicken etc. This focuses on breakfasts (granola, pancakes, waffles), lunches (quiche, soups, muffins), dinners (fried chicken, pasta) and desserts (crumbles, pies and some more cakes that didn't make it into the first book like angel food cake. She uses a series of interchangeable brands for mixes like Brownies, Bisquick, Cakes, Pastry and Pizza dough mixes. All with the homemade tweaks. The value in both these books is you get to choose the brands of mix that you can buy in your area, and doctor them up to a homemade taste.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wanted to Love this Cookbook, But it Fell Short of Expectations, March 8, 2013
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This review is from: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap (Paperback)
I can count on one hand the number of times I've reviewed a product, but I felt compelled to share my review in the hopes that it would be helpful to others like me. I bought this cookbook based on two things. First, having heard of the author recently via a google search that landed me on her blog, I immediately came to Amazon to find her cookbooks. Second, all the rave reviews for this cookbook here on Amazon, convinced me I would not be disappointed with all the wonderful to-drool-over recipes found in this cookbook. I was particularly interested in this style of cookbook for its wealth of GF baking recipes. I received the book and sat down to read the introduction and go through each recipe page by page, picking out recipes to make. And try them out I did. For the past 3 weeks I've tried a bunch of recipes from this cookbook, and will be returning it now that I realize this cookbook is all hype.

If you are already an adept cook, and eat a moderately healthy diet, and have already tried your hand at GF baking/cooking then this book will be a disappointment. The recipes are not what I would call healthy, and rely on a lot of starches and Better Batter Flour, a rice blended flour (first ingredient white rice, then brown). As others pointed out, the book's author uses Better Batter Flour exclusively. Although she mentions Bob's Red Mill can be substituted (or any other GF flour), I think it's safe to say the author did not trial test her recipes with flours other than Better Batter. I ended up buying BBF (which is way more expensive than Bob's or some other GF flours you can find pre-mixed at the grocery store) after trying Bob's with a few of the recipes with lackluster results (gloppy, tacky dough, that was impossible to work with in the ways needed for these recipes). I bought the BBF and made a few of the baked goods again, and while the dough consistencies were more like "regular baked goods," flavors and textures of the final products were off. Not bad tasting, just didn't taste like what they purported to be, and much more chewy. Scones that taste like croissants without the texture of croissants, and are chewy are not a bad thing, but not what I'm looking for if I'm following a recipe for scones.

If you buy this cook book for the baking recipes you will need to invest in Better Batter, which if not carried in a store near you, will need to be bought from their website. The author says her recipes are on a shoestring, but I beg to differ when a 44oz bag of Bob's GF Flour mix is just under $7 at my local supermarket, and BBF 2.5lb bag (equivalent to 40oz) will set you back nearly $12 + shipping costs. I'm not a fan of Bob's GF flour, which made me open to trying BBF. But, at the cost you can find pre-made blends and bulk GF flours to mix your own blends (with the ability to mix healthier flours), BBF is not for those of us truly on a shoestring budget. Also, I point out that BBF already contains xanthan, which according to the website is added so that you the buyer will not have to spend more money buying xanthan (which can be pricey), i.e. no extra costs with their flour. But, Hunn's cookbook has you add in xanthan in almost all of her baking recipes, again contradicting the "shoestring" budgeting expressed in her cookbook.

More than a few times I did double takes at some of the quantities for things like baking soda/powder, starches, and the like called for in some of these recipes. I consider myself a savvy cook/baker, and although I am just rounding out my first year of GF cooking and baking, I found this cook book was way too basic for me. Maybe it would have been perfect when I began GF baking/cooking last spring and would have been happy with any substitution for my most missed baked goods and the like. But, I'm looking for a cookbook with carefully tried and thought-out recipes for baking GF, and that's not what this cookbook is about.

While the baking recipes from this cookbook were ok, so long as BBF was used, the recipes for entrees were truly disappointing. For instance, I was excited to make gnocchi, and ended up with flavorless lumps. Consistently was fine, and the process was easy, but even with a homemade flavorful tomato sauce, the bland gnocchi were disappointing. After trying a few of the entrees, I've given up trying to find a reason to keep this cookbook. It's going back to Amazon.

Gluten Free on a Shoestring wasn't what I was looking for, but if you're new to GF baking and cooking, or new to cooking in general, this book may be a good introduction for you. At the same time I bought this book, I bought the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, which I have been using regularly along with Hunn's cookbook. If you're beyond the basics of GF cooking, and value well thought-out recipes using healthy ingredients, and don't mind a few hard to find items, I'd recommend that cookbook (I'll be putting up a review there shortly while I still have momentum!).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have!, July 28, 2011
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This review is from: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap (Paperback)
I bought this book when we first learned of my gluten intolerance, and had a hint my daughter has it as well. (She actually has EC). I love this cook book! It is user friendly, and full of useful knowledge. We have a strict gluten/wheat/dairy/soy free diet in our house; and since these recipes are already gluten free, it makes the cooking conversion easier for me. Highly recommend!
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Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap
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