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on July 27, 2016
If you have Celiac Disease, then Nicole Hunn is the one of the best cookbook writers and recipe inventors to pay attention to! She has a blog and a newsletter and maybe more that I may not be aware of. She tests her recipe's over and over again to get them just right so when you use them yourself, you won't be disappointed. I am throwing away my old GF cookbooks and using hers from now on. The first recipe I used of hers was for her Lemon Bars. Delicious! People said they didn't realize they were gluten free! That is the point! Who wants to stand in the hot kitchen for hours just to have to toss out a gooey mess because it turned out awful tasting or just plain awful? Not me! She is sweet enough to let you know what you can or cannot substitute in her recipe's too. I have never met or spoken to Ms. Hunn, and this review is totally unsolicited by anyone, well, except for Amazon, of course.
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on January 8, 2017
So I've purchased all her books after looking at the first one. The first thing I thought is -wow -there's a few ingredients in the AP flour. Do I really want to make this? And should I order the flours that she suggested to make this? I have spent a lot of money on stuff that has a weird texture or a weird taste - the worst was cooking it and the stuff was nothing close to what I ate when I did eat gluten about 12 years ago. Yep- I was gluten free way before it was cool ( allergies and other issues). Anyway- I thought go big or go home- right? I ordered through amazon all the ingredients needed for the AP gluten free flour. Oh my glob- I have used this to make just a couple of things like chocolate chip cookies and my cobbler recipe- The texture and taste is perfect. Perfect- do you hear me!! I can't remember when I have ate something gluten free and thought I feel normal. So thank you Nicole Hunn for figuring all this out.
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on March 27, 2011
THIS IS THE MOST INFORMATIVE, INSPIRING, GLUTEN-FREE COOKBOOK I HAVE EVER OWNED!! Believe me, my shelves are lined with GF books. After being diagnosed with Celiacs Disease over 2 years ago, my head was in a whirlwind. From cover to cover "Gluten Free on a Shoestring" has taken the guess work out of everything! Nicole has done all of our research for us. From Online Coupon & Supermarket Web sites to Company Web Sites, her tips are wonderful & she tells us what to buy & from where. The recipes in this book are delicious, easy to follow, & don't require a lot of "odd flours" that are expensive! I have made RRP & plain Hummus(both oh so yummy), Ricotta pancakes(Delicious),Banana-Blueberry Muffins(To die for:O)Sweet potato Biscuits (ate these w/ Meatlove),Graham Crackers & Banana Cream Pie (Truly ambrosial~thought I'd died & gone to Heaven!!)Seeded Bagels (regular size is perfect for a sandwich),Spinach Pie( Am I in Greece?) As you can tell, I'm cooking my way through "Gluten Free on a Shoesting" & truly enjoying the recipes. I've purchased this coobook for my Mama as well. She cooks for me when I come to visit & is enjoying this book as much as I am. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU PURCHASE THIS COOKBOOK, IT'S THE ONLY GF COOKBOOK YOU'LL EVER NEED!!Thank you, Nicole for all your research, time, effort, & hard work so that others may live a delicious healthy Gluten Free life.
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on July 13, 2016
I baked this pizza using cup4cup flour purchased on amazon and this books
recipe on page 44. Needless to say the results were amazing! I love her simple recipes that tackle the basics and essentials...highly reccomend this book!!
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on July 8, 2012
I would give 3.5 stars if possible. It would be a 5 star except for the major con, listed and explained below:

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

- inconsistent directions (see comments below) between cookbook and website, for the same or similar recipes

I love Nicole's website and have successfully made several recipes from it to date. Her basics are pretty good, and very easy, less fussy versions of other recipes. For example, the bagel recipe doesn't have any eggs in it, so I have made two batches already and it's a VERY simple recipe. What I was looking for in a cookbook was a good collection of simple, straightforward, reliable gluten free recipes for the basics. Hers work.

HOWEVER - and this is a big however - some of her technique and other commentary is inconsistent between the book and her blog. For example, on her pretzel recipe, she tells you to chill the dough and roll it out "with wet hands." However, when she makes pretzel bites on her website, which uses the same dough, she comments that the dough is "very wet," and so she tells you to add a little flour - and not to wet your hands, but flour them. I tried rolling out pretzel dough with wet hands and was very sad with the results; I checked the website, curious to see pictures, and found out I was doing it wrong even while following her directions. In the same recipe, she tells you to dip the pretzels in a baking soda bath; on the website, you boil them - which as I'm looking at my pretzel bites I just made (from the book), would have been a very helpful extra step as they did not brown very well.

So, in summary, using her cookbook in conjunction with the pictures and other helpful information on her blog would be the best way to get your $ out of the book. The ingredients are spot on, just use the blog for the pictures, technique, and tips. Frustrating, since I bought a book so I could NOT take the computer into the kitchen, but still very good recipes all the same.

I'm hoping the next cookbook will (a) have some better pictures and (b) some updated instructions, as the author seems to have learned a lot since she wrote the first one!

** A note to those saying that the recipes only work with better batter: not true at all. I use a home-made blend, recipe from KAF, ingredients bought at our local grocery. WEIGH your ingredients. A cup of her flour is 140g; just put 140g of whatever flour you use instead. Works great.
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on February 20, 2015
The author/recipe developer shares so many recipes on her blog (supported by Pinterest), that I bought the book primarily as a thank you (and because I really prefer reading a book to reading online across-the-board). I never expected to be so crazy about it. I can easily believe the claim on the back cover: "Gluten-free cooking has never been this easy -- or affordable!"

It is a FABULOUS resource - **especially** if you are relatively new to cooking and eating gluten free -- or suffering from sticker shock at how much more it costs for much less food -- or less than successful with complicated GF recipes with ingredients you can't really pronounce, much less locate - or simply bored with your mainly meat & vegetables approach, craving a sandwich and some comfort food (or cookies you don't have to hoard like Midas!)

The cookbook just arrived today, and I've been reading it like a new novel - front to back for several hours - since it is peppered with "real-person friendly" tips, recommendations and reflections. She names names & discloses strategies & sources - like how to stock a GF kitchen (equipment & staples as well as "grocery list" items), which brands she prefers for which products (and where she finds the best deals), what freezes well, etc.

Most recipes include a "Shoestring Savings" box (for example, pie crust on a shoestring $1.25 per crust, purchased frozen $3.00; her dinner rolls: 27 cents vs. $1.87). The ones that don't are variations based on the basic recipe (i.e., buttermilk biscuits vs. sweet potato biscuits). She also discloses the difference between buying at a grocer, buying at a big box store in bulk & buying online (by source - and is BIG on Amazon, btw - read the book for why you might be too). She lets us know why, when & for which products she does what.

What I like BEST is that this is a *basics* cookbook - meaning that, just as with non-GF basics cookbooks (like that plaid one many of us know and referenced often before we gave up gluten), once you understand how to toss together a few of Hunn's GF recipes, all but cooking newbies will be able to vamp with aplomb: coming up with your own GF favorites and adapting non-GF dishes with a high likelihood of success on the first try.

My "mind's tongue" is fairly experienced (and I have tried/adapted a few of her online shares), so I am SURE that the recipes in this cookbook will be as good as she claims. I'll come back & adjust my review, if not - but don't hold your breath.

I know I will refer to it frequently - and I can't imagine you'd be sorry to have purchased it for your kitchen reference library either. Hope this helps you decide to do so!

Aware that my rave might read like I have an agenda - NOPE! The author & I have NO relationship. I'm simply thrilled I popped for the book.
(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie - ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
- ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder -
"It takes a village to transform a world!"
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on November 17, 2013
My wife was diagnosed celiac over five years ago, so we aren't new to gluten-free baking and cooking. As the primary cook in the house, I'm always on the lookout for new recipes, approaches, and the like when it comes to preparing gluten-free meals. Having read the reviews here and looked over some of the recipes on the author's site, I thought this book would provide some good, easy alternatives for when I don't have the time or energy to put together a more complex or involved recipe.

I thought wrong.

It's not that the recipes in this book are bad, per se, but neither are they good. Textures are off, flavors are bland, and many of the baked goods come out tasting largely the same. In addition, there are occasional ingredients that plain get me scratching my head. I'm not sure if they are there to add to the flavor profile, serve as some sort of binding or moisturizing agent, or simply got put in because the author likes them. Each of those are fine, but if you are going to have non-typical ingredients, then it would be nice to know if they are essential to success or something that can be left out if they are not to your preference.

Generally, almost every recipe I've made from this book has ended up with my wife and I looking at one another and saying, "So, if we want it to taste good/hold together/be lighter next time, we should probably..." The thing is, you CAN cook & bake gluten-free fairly easily, with satisfying results. It just takes a decent amount of hunting and experimenting. I had hoped the author of this book had done that, thus saving me a bit of trouble (it's certainly marketed that way), but I was wrong.

If you are just embarking on gluten-free cooking and aren't expecting much or wanting to invest a lot of effort, this book is a good starting point. If you have any experience with cooking gluten-free, though, this is not a book you will miss. My only regret is not using it enough to realize this before my return window closed.
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on March 18, 2016
I almost never leave reviews for items I buy on Amazon, but my immediate success with this book compels me to do so. The book arrived yesterday afternoon and that evening I made Irish soda bread from Hunn's recipe (picture attached): wow! A fantastic end to a St. Patrick's feast. My best friend, who grew up eating the wheat-flour version, said it turned out perfectly.

I can't wait to try all of the other recipes!
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on April 28, 2014
As an award-winning baker and lover of gourmet food, when I discovered I was gluten intolerant, the task of figuring out how to live/eat gluten free seemed daunting at best. I am highly sensitive to even GF products that are produced using equipment that is also used in the manufacturing of wheat products (hello to thirty hours of suffering). Having made the mistake of purchasing a GF cookbook that required me to mix up different blends of GF flours pending the type of recipe I was making (very expensive, and the eight bags of remaining 'flours' completely useless to me now), with few of the recipes I tried being anywhere close to tasty, I was ready to try some of Nicole's recipes even though they seemed far too easy. I'd already read the first two very informative chapters on GF basics and had found that I could use my own choice of GF flours in any recipe. FYI, I use Namaste Foods Perfect Flour blend for cakes, breads, pizza dough, muffins, thickening soups and sauces, and in casseroles. I use Gluten Free Mama, Mama's Almond Blend All purpose gluten-free flour for cookies, scones, brownies and bar cookies, pie crusts and crisps. I usually give a restaurant or a cookbook three chances if a meal or recipe is less than desirable. I am delighted to share that every recipe I've tried in Nicole's cookbook thus far has been truly delicious, exceeding all expectations. While I've only tried six recipes, three of them have been made 4 - 10 times each (Meatlove, White Sandwich Bread, Pizza Dough...the other three were Irish Soda Bread, Popovers and Brioche Bread...all YUMMY!). In fact, while I am looking forward to trying SO many more recipes in this book, I am a little hesitant about baking some of the dessert recipes for fear that they'll be so amazing that I'll begin to have trouble fitting into my clothes! Gluten-Free on a Shoestring is a GF cook's dream, offering loads of recipe options from breakfast to dinner and dessert, with ample selections for appetizers, breads and cultural meals in between. In short, save money and time, and hit the ground running- you won't be disappointed.
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on September 27, 2012
I bought this book and "Easy Gluten Free Baking" at the same time, along with a selection of Better Batter mixes and 10-12 flours, starches, whey, etc. I wanted to try it all and see whether the GF flour mixes were better, or just more convenient. I already knew that the Bob's Red Mill mixes were not the way to go. Your preference will depend on whether you want to buy one mix in bulk, or buy and store 10-12 individual items.

If you like to use the flour mixes, this is the best book to start with to gain confidence and reassure yourself that quick and tasty cookies, breads and cakes still exist without wheat flour. It's convenient to have a go-to GF mix rather than having to measure out 4 or 5 different items for each recipe. Storage space is less of an issue with a mix as well. Downside? Cost; the mixes are more expensive than using individual items.

Of the 5 or 6 recipes I've made, most were excellent. The banana blueberry muffins are a staple now, easy instant gratification. The pie crust was easy, really tasty and sturdier than the one from the other book. I plan to try the flour tortillas soon. Freezing works very well, so I make extras and have treats when I don't feel like cooking. I'm not sure why there's a black bean recipe though; I have never put wheat in my beans when cooking them. The bagels were a disaster but it may have been my fault.

You may find yourself wanting to buy a stand mixer and food processor if you don't have them, and all GF baking books suggest cooling on a wire rack to avoid sogginess. These items aren't necessary, they just make it easier.

I love Nicole's blog, and her book is very chatty and friendly in tone. It's like cooking with an irreverent friend you've known forever. The recipes go together easily and are well worth the time spent. She offers lots of useful general information about how GF is different. As a bonus she explains how to cook GF "on a shoestring"; I'm sure she means savings from home cooking vs. buying pre-made. I already cook at home; I am most concerned about the most economical way to do that. GF flour mixes cost up to $4.20 per lb plus shipping vs $.40 for wheat flour at the supermarket. After checking out the options, the best way to save using mixes is to buy Better Batter in 25 lb lots ($3 per lb, free ship) and freeze what you don't need. It's less beany than Bob's Red Mill and the results are very close to what we are used to from wheat.

Overall I highly recommend the book. Others have chided her for not offering a personal GF mix vs purchased, but her immediate goal is getting you away from the limited, overpriced, stale supermarket GF options and into your kitchen. Mixes are the best way to get us started on the path. Handing my GF hubby his first delicious hot-from-the-oven banana muffin after over a year of no-treats GF eating was well worth the price of the book and a case of mixes.

Once you have gotten a taste of the possibilities (and have the money and storage space!) you can explore rice, brown rice, sweet white rice, sweet sorghum, soy, almond, garbanzo, fava and potato flours, along with corn and potato starches, dairy whey, nonfat dry milk (NFDM), xanthan gum, cream of tartar, etc. See my other reviews for a good baking book using individual ingredients.

Edit 9/13: Still love Nicole and her blog, and am hopeful for her new baking book. Her yeast breads have never worked for me, so if you are craving great easy breads, please read my review of Bette Hagman's GF Gourmet Bakes Bread. Yes, you have to maintain a flour mix, but it's SO worth it.
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