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Cookbook Review (and a Giveaway!): Simply Sugar and Gluten Free by Amy Green

I’m always delighted to receive copies of cookbooks to review. I love books. I love cooking. We’re a good match for each other, cookbooks and I. I’m always twice as delighted when the books come from people who are really nice and enclose hand-written cards with their cookbooks. And if the author has a pretty blog to go along with the cookbook, well, it just puts me over the moon.

So I was really excited when I received Amy Green’s cookbook, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. And she sent two extra copies to give away to two of you!

Amy began her gluten- and (refined)-sugar-free lifestyle in order to lose weight and gain health and vitality. She achieved her goal, and all of her recipes (in the book and on her blog) are focused on helping others do the same. If you think a gluten- and sugar-free diet is too much trouble, Amy will convince you otherwise.

The biggest selling point of Amy’s cookbook, for me, is the “20-minutes-or-less” part. See it on the cover there? I missed it at first, too. But notice that all of the recipes will take you 20 minutes or less of hands-on time. Let’s just say as a mom of four who has to cook two dinners most nights (one for me, and one for everyone else), I really appreciate this. Most of the time I have to put so much energy into making high quality food for me, that I don’t have much left to make a nourishing meal for the family. Amy gives us lots of dinner options that are easy, quick, and use items that I keep in my pantry. Many of them can be made in a slow-cooker, or made ahead and refrigerated (surely I’m not the only one who finds it easier to make dinner in the morning??)

The family loved the Slow-Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice and the Zucchini and Brown Rice Gratin. The latter is categorized as a side dish in the book, but I served it as a vegetarian main course with a big ol’ salad. I have a dozen more meals dog-eared to try out in the coming months, especially as we start harvesting from our summer garden.

Nearly half of the recipes are for snacks and desserts (Amy’s a girl after my own heart). I was so excited to find a dessert that I could eat, too! We all enjoyed Banana Blueberry Whipped Gelatin together one night, and agreed it will be the perfect dessert for when the weather turns hot in a month or so. We’ll definitely be revisiting this one again and again.

But the family favorite, by far, was the Banana Oat Bars. So easy to put together, and the perfect afternoon snack (or pre-soccer-practice pick-me-up), these Oat Bars will be in our fridge on a regular basis. Amy gave us permission to share the recipe with all of you, so you can cook up your own batch to try out her gluten-free, sugar-free recipes.

If you’re wanting to make the switch to a gluten-free lifestyle but don’t know where to start; to eat more whole foods and fruits and veggies but are afraid it won’t taste good; to cut out white sugar from your diet but think it means giving up dessert, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free is just the book for you. Amy’s recipes will make you forget you ever “gave up” anything.

We have 2 copies of Amy’s fantastic resource to give away, and entering is easy:


Print Recipe

Banana Oat Bars

Source: Simply Sugar and Gluten Free by Amy Green

Course: Allergen-Free Desserts/Snacks


  • 1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates
  • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats divided (not quick cooking)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbs grade-B maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon divided
  • 1 large ripe banana sliced
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly mist an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium heatproof bowl, cover the dates with hot water. Set aside. Or, cover the dates with water and microwave for 45 seconds.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process 1 1/2 cups oats for several minutes until you have a coarse oat flour. Add the remaining 1/2 cup oats, the walnuts, baking soda, and salt. Pulse 10-12 times, for 1 second each, until the walnuts and oats are chopped but not fine. Add the applesauce, maple syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Process until a dough forms. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the dates to the food processor, reserving the soaking liquid; there’s no need to wash the processor bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the soaking liquid, the banana, lemon zest, lemon juice, remaining 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and the nutmeg. Pulse several times to combine, then process until smooth. The paste should be thick but still liquid. Add a little more soaking liquid as needed.
  5. While the food processor is running, use wet hands to press two-thirds of the dough firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Once the banana paste is smooth, spread it evenly across the dough. Break the remaining dough into marble-size pieces, sprinkle them across the banana paste, and lightly press in.
  6. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until the oat topping is golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. Cover and store in the refrigerator. These also freeze well.

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Show Comments


  • I am trying to live a healthier life style and lose weight as well. I am quite overwhelmed with the whole process, and this cookbook looks like a great place to start. Reply
    Stacey Masterson June 7, 2013 AT 11:15 am
  • I've been gluten free {and dairy free} since the fall of 2012. My mom has celiac {I don't according to my blood test} but I was having other symptoms that caused me to remove gluten from my diet. The symptoms have abated and so I am staying gluten free :) Reply
    Wendi S June 7, 2013 AT 11:35 am
  • I've been a reader of Amy's blog. I struggle with insulin resistance, and went sugar-free for two weeks before getting discouraged with it. I would love to have this cookbook!! Reply
    Jessica Shrock June 7, 2013 AT 11:47 am
  • I'm not gluten free, but I think gluten free recipes are a great way to add more balance in my family's diet. Reply
    Amanda June 7, 2013 AT 11:48 am
  • I am trying to become gluten free for my family and really really working on becoming sugar free. I have some health issues related to candida overgrowth I believe so becoming both sugar free and gluten free is really a must if I want to straighten out my health. Reply
    Cassie D June 7, 2013 AT 12:22 pm
  • I became wheat-free as part an elimination diet and decided I may as well throw in (or out) all things gluten. I feel amazing being gluten-free and can't imagine going back! But after 6 months I'm starting to loose stamina and am getting low on new ideas for things to eat... Reply
    Julie T June 7, 2013 AT 12:40 pm
  • I have been gluten free for two years now and it has changed my life! Lots of adrenal/hormone issues were relieved with this diet change. The cookbook looks great! Reply
    Cathy S. June 7, 2013 AT 1:15 pm
  • I am Breastfeeding my son and he has terrible eczema. I am trying a gluten free and dairy free diet to see if the foods I am eating are causing his eczema. This cookbook would greatly help with this transition! Reply
    Jennifer Lazar June 7, 2013 AT 1:26 pm
  • Have been gluten free 5 years, but so many of the GF recipes are high in sugars. Looking forward to trying some sugar free options without sacrificing taste. Reply
    Tolly June 7, 2013 AT 2:50 pm
  • I've wondered about gluten-free recipes for baking, but have been afraid of cost and supplies/ingredients. Would love to win this book for a beginning effort. Reply
    Wanda O. June 7, 2013 AT 3:57 pm
  • We have recently found out that 3 of us have a gluten intolerance. We've been going GF for about 2 months now. Reply
    JoAnn June 7, 2013 AT 4:58 pm
  • I'm working on improving my health and losing weight as well by controlling carbs... This cookbook looks like the perfect inspiration to get me out of the lettuce salad rut!!! Reply
    Julie Johnson June 7, 2013 AT 10:39 pm
  • I'd love to get a copy of this. It sounds fantastic. Reply
    Cyndy June 8, 2013 AT 5:39 am
  • Pick me! Pick me! I love her blog and I want this really bad! :-) Reply
    Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents June 8, 2013 AT 5:44 am
  • We've been experimenting with gluten free--for health reasons for my son and various reasons for me--weightloss/maintenance and to see if it will help me sleep better. Reply
    Beth S. June 8, 2013 AT 6:26 am
  • We are currently cutting down and will eventually cut out gluten all together, for health reasons. We are also trying to cut down on sugar but that is harder :) This book sounds amazing!!! Reply
    Michelle June 8, 2013 AT 6:41 am
  • We went gluten free to help my husband who we decided had problems with gluten. The whole family is not there yet but working on it. Reply
    valerie June 8, 2013 AT 6:48 am
  • We are incorporating more and more GF into our diet and are totally refined sugar free already, but it has been a bit of a mindshift for me on cooking. This would be helpful. Reply
    Elaine June 8, 2013 AT 6:49 am
  • This cookbook looks really nice. I'd like to have a copy even if I don't win. I'm planning to try those banana bars soon, too! Reply
    Jeanne Tate June 8, 2013 AT 7:06 am
  • I love cookbooks too! Thanks for the opportunity to win this one. We have eliminated refined sugars and most gluten from our diet because my husband has cancer (lymphoma). Cancer feeds on sugar and gluten is one of the top allegens in our food supply today so it ws a no brainer for us to reduce/eliminate those from our diet (although no always easy). Reply
    Tina June 8, 2013 AT 8:58 am
  • I am gluten free to avoid headaches, muscle and joint aches, moodiness and spaciness that I do have when I eat gluten! I have been following Amy's blog and she helped me out when I was first starting. Love her! Reply
    Shiree June 8, 2013 AT 10:59 am
  • To lose weight and gain health, the same as Amy!!!! Reply
    Deborah A June 8, 2013 AT 12:59 pm
  • We went on a grain-free diet mostly for my mother's sake as it was helpful to her - and helpful to not have grains around! Reply
    Ruth June 8, 2013 AT 1:06 pm
  • I've been having a lot of digestive issues and I think it's related to gluten. I'm going to try the GAPS diet and see if that will help but I think I'm going to give up gluten for a very long time and lay back on all grains. Reply
    Melody June 8, 2013 AT 4:31 pm
  • I am gluten-free because I am battling chronic Lyme disease Reply
    Abby June 8, 2013 AT 7:37 pm
  • We just found out Monsanto had an unapproved field of gmo wheat in the USA. We are definitely going to find a different way of cooking, though we don't have a lot in our food budget. I'm hoping to find some recipes that are sustainable and fairly local for our family in MN where almond and coconut flour are not cheap. Reply
    Katie June 8, 2013 AT 7:40 pm
  • Gluten makes me itch Reply
    Katherine June 8, 2013 AT 8:57 pm
  • I need to eat sugar and gluten free because of yeast issues. Reply
    Elizabeth June 9, 2013 AT 1:37 pm
  • After 50 years of health problems, I finally tried paleo/primal eating. Gluten free and paleo is giving me my life back! I am still learning, but results so far are amazing! I need more recipes in my toolkit so that we don't eat out when I am tired from work. I pay such a high price later-- financially, and also suffer pain, my cfs comes back. and more. Glute Free and paleo is FOR me! Now trying to get my family on board! Reply
    Susy aka MotorcykleMama June 9, 2013 AT 8:50 pm
  • I am learning how to cook Gluten free because it makes me healthy. Reply
    Susy aka MotorcykleMama June 9, 2013 AT 8:51 pm
  • Thank you for a great giveaway. I have been contemplating going gluten free for several weeks now and this book would be a great start for me. I need help planning more meals by scratch. Reply
    Michelle Bibby June 9, 2013 AT 10:35 pm
  • Sounds like a great cookbook! Need some new ideas! Thanks! Reply
    Mareth June 10, 2013 AT 11:25 am
  • Oh, what a boon to this tired mom this cookbook would be! We try so hard, but creativity is lacking and snacks are needed ALWAYS! Thanks, Erin! Reply
    Sarah June 10, 2013 AT 3:08 pm
  • I am not going completely GF, but we have reduced our gluten comsumption and see a huge difference. I would just love to keep it up. Reply
    Yemi Brown June 11, 2013 AT 10:15 am
  • I struggle with Insulin resistance and have been slowly trying to replace my family's recipes with gluten free ones. I had gestational diabetes with my daughter and I noticed that wheat products were the absolute worst on my blood sugar. Winning this book would be such an amazing blessing! Reply
    K10 June 12, 2013 AT 9:26 am
  • This cookbook looks very interesting! I've found that I feel a lot better if I cut out refined wheat flour and sugar from my diet - no more hip pain, and just more energy in general. I haven't quite converted the family yet, but I am trying to help them move in that direction too. Reply
    Amber June 12, 2013 AT 3:16 pm
  • Good blog post. I certainly love this site. Thanks! Reply
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