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:
Source: Simply Sugar and Gluten Free by Amy Green
Course: Treats (Bars, Balls, and Cookies)
Yield: 16 bars
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly mist an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
- In a medium heatproof bowl, cover the dates with hot water. Set aside. Or, cover the dates with water and microwave for 45 seconds.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.