Customer Reviews: Sophie-Safe Cooking: A Collection of Family Friendly Recipes that are Free of Milk, Eggs, Wheat, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish and Shellfish
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on March 9, 2007
The whimsical illustration on the cover of Sophie-Safe Cooking is the perfect representation of its contents. Simple, down-home recipes, created from a mother's love. There is just one thing missing...okay, there are eight things missing...milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Emily Hendrix authored this delightful collection from the tasty meals and treats she created for her food allergic child, Sophie.

So what's left? Admittedly, I am guessing that Emily's pantry is sparse, with large bags containing a handful of ingredients. Yet, what is in it gets some seriously creative mileage. I like that Emily uses only easy to find, everyday ingredients. Though natural foods and spices are her focus, trips to an expensive specialty grocer (i.e. Whole Foods) are completely unnecessary when following her recipes. Apple cider vinegar is about as exotic as it gets.

Sophie-Safe Cooking houses over 100 recipes very neatly laid out, one per page. Most of the recipes contain less than ten ingredients (always a top feature for me) and for the most part the directions are just a few straightforward sentences. Emily adds in helpful, but brief, notes with several of the recipes. Most of the recipes are Sophie-Safe versions of familiar family favorites, such as Granny's Meatloaf, Shepherd's Pie, and Chocolate Cupcakes (frosted of course!). While a few unique concepts caught my eye, like the Whipped Pinto Beans, Zucchini Brownies, and Taco Vinaigrette. My one and only complaint: the size is handy (6 x 9"), but it is difficult to reference while cooking without a stand to hold the book open.

It should be noted that many of the baked goods rely heavily on oat flour. For those who may have gluten concerns with oats, but would like the benefits of Emily's recipes, Gifts of Nature produces certified gluten-free oats. Purchasing oat flour is a convenience, but unnecessary. Just grind up oats in a blender, food processor, or my favorite, the spice grinder until it becomes flour.

Speaking of oats, the first recipe I trialed from Sophie-Safe Cooking was the Oatmeal Muffins. They were delicious, and gone in minutes! I like that most of Emily's baked goods are somewhat hearty, yet wonderfully sweet and tasty for kids and adults alike. At first I was unsure if the serving-size was correct, but I then realized that they are portioned for little ones. My husband and I each downed two muffins slathered with peanut butter (no peanut allergies in our house), without a pang of guilt.
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VINE VOICEon January 1, 2008
There is nothing earth shattering in this cook book. The recipies are of common foods with the substitutes that are already well known in the food allergy world. But, if you are a parent who just got the news that your child has multiple allergies, this book will be a good place to start. The recipies are easy and "kid" friendly. Plus, they are close enough to the regular recipies you already know how to make, so that the transition will seem less overwhelming. I, however, found the recipies to be unenlightening, and nothing that I hadn't figured out by poking around on the internet. The HUGE issue with this book, however, is that nearly every recipie relies heavily on oat flour or oats as a substitute. This is fine if you have a child who is not oat allergic, or a true celiac. The current recommendation for celiac children is that they ALSO avoid oats. And, in fact, recent studies have reinforced that many, if not all, commercial oat products contain unsafe levels of gluten. Unfortunately, cooking without oat flour (which substitutes nicely for wheat in almost all recipies) is much much harder. You can't just replace the oat with rice or some other flour.

So, the bottom line for me is that this is a good starting point for food allergic families who do NOT have oat issues. But, for true celiac children, or for oat allergic, this book is more or less useless.
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on May 10, 2007
This cookbook is just wonderful. My 5 yr old son is allergic to all 8 top allergens. This is the only cookbook that I've come across that addresses all 8 and the recipes are unbelievably delicious. I found this just before my son's birthday and I made the Chocolate Cupcakes and used the Frosting recipes to decorate them with. I'm so glad that he can finally bring cupcakes and not just ice pops for his class party! I think the class liked them as they were gone rather quickly. The cupcakes are so moist and yummy. The Apple muffins are really good, too - a favorite of my 2 1/2 year-old (also with FAs). I look forward to trying more recipes from the book. I highly recommend this cookbook to families struggling with multiple food allergies. Thank you!
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on November 2, 2007
I have a 2 year old who is allergic to dairy, eggs, soy, wheat, shellfish and nuts so I feel that this book was written especially for us. I have a pile of cookbooks for her but this is the only one that stays on my counter in my cookbook holder. The best part of this cookbook is that it uses everyday ingredients that I have at home. This enables me to make her something on the fly. Yesterday was the Cinammon Applesauce cake. I had every ingredient and it was so easy. My daughter also loves the meatloaf (I added garlic and gluten free bread crumbs to the recipe and removed the red pepper), chicken tenders (which I make with either corn flake crumbs or gluten free bread crumbs instead of potato chips). My next item to try is the chocolate cake. Oh, and let me tell you how amazing the fudge brownies are!!! Those get 5 stars alone. Even my 4 1/2 year old who is the pickiest eater with no allergies eats everything I cook from here. The main substitutions that the author has made are oat flour instead of wheat flour (and I send her my compliments for informing the readers how to make oat flour at home to save the cost of buying it - huge hit), rice milk over cow's milk and cocoa powder instead of chocolate. The one thing that is in some recipes is butter or margarine but I use an equal amount of palm oil shortening.

For anyone with a food allergy (adult or child) this book will be your bible since it covers all the big allergens out there. I cannot recommend this book highly enough as I feel it has opened up so many windows for my daughter for foods that were previously banned from her diet (like brownies and cake that was not the weight of a brick).
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on April 25, 2007
I ordered this book when I first found out my infant son was allergic to dairy & egg. I ordered another book too but I have found this book to be so easy to use. The recipes are delicious. Our two favorites are Chicken Enchiladas and Sausage Scramble. Even my toddler who is not allergic, loves the recipes. The dessert are delicious too! I would strongly recommend this cookbook for anyone who struggles with food allergies in their family. It has allowed me to cook ONE meal for all of us without anyone missing out!
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on April 3, 2007
THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVER!!! I have been looking for something just like this and was so pleased with my purchase. Now I never have to worry about allergies for any reason and all of the recipes I have tried are delicious. I personally love the fudge chocolate cookies and zippy guacamole. I recommend this book to ANYONE, you can never been too careful when entertaining and if you do have family members with allergies this book is full of wonderful great recipes that will make your life easier. I know it made mine!!! GREAT BOOK!!!
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on March 9, 2007
Being a mother of 4 kids, all with mutiple food allergies, I can't say how much this book has been used and appreciated! The recipes are so easy to follow and the ingredients are always very easy to find. This is just a great collection of wonderful recipes. My family always enjoys the meals and especially the desserts!!! I would highly recommend this book for any parent struggling to find ideas on what to feed a child(or family) with food allergies...I just can't say enough about this book! Thank You!!!
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on November 17, 2010
Do not waste your money on this book.

First, a large portion of the book is for recipes that have little or nothing to do with allergies. I would expect a book for people with dairy and wheat allergies to be primarily baked goods and breads, gravies, desserts, coating etc. One of the recipes is for chicken soup (not even homemade) that is canned broth, frozen vegetables and cooked chicken (seriously, that's it). She has recipes like a fruit smoothie: freeze banana and other fruit and blend them until smooth...really?

Second, there is one recipe per page, and many of them take up less than 1/3 of the page (what a waste of paper). I guess they needed to make it look like a real book.

Third, ALL of the recipes call for oat flour. So while there are some recipes for breads and baked goods, they are of little value to most. Many people with gluten issues cannot eat oats and need recipes with less common grains like quinoa. She offers absolutely no other options or instructions for replacements.

Fourth, she explains absolutely nothing about dairy replacements. She just says "margarine" and says you will have to work that out. Well, let me tell you, what kind of butter/shortening/margarine makes a huge difference in baking, ESPECIALLY if you are baking without gluten.

This book was a complete waste of my money!! Instead look at The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook And Survival Guide. Luckily I bought it at the same time. There are lists of foods by group, how to do a rotation diet, and recipes for nearly every grain in existence. Lots of serious information!

Food allergies and health issues are a serious problem. This book will not aid you in your quest for safer and better allergy-free eating.
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on August 28, 2007
This cookbook is wonderful! I have a son who is allergic to nuts, eggs, wheat, and milk. In the past, I purchased several other cookbooks that were supposed to be kid-friendly and allergen-free only to find that almost every recipe called for a major allergen. I would then have to spend the time flipping back and forth in the book looking for replacements and/or purchasing really expensive ingredients. It was so frustrating and time consuming and the food never tasted very good.

This cookbook is wonderful! I don't have to worry about finding a substitute since every recipe already has removed the allergens. Last night, he had his first cupcake! What a joy to be able to have real cakes and treats to celebrate.
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on June 10, 2007
This book is wonderful! I am breastfeeding and I must avoid the allergens of my 11mth old son (milk, beef, soy, peanuts, treenuts and eggs) while feeding his 11mth old twin (peanut allergy), 3yr old brother and my husband good food. I have made the oatmeal muffins and chicken strips thus far and they were both wonderful. We're having porcupine meatballs tonight w/ ground turkey instead. I really appreciated the introduction and Emily's "You can do this page." Also she has a website where she can answers questions about recipes.
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