Review and Giveaway: Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free by Amy Green

This giveaway has ended, and the winners have been announced here. Thank you all for reading!

In case you haven’t heard, my good friend Amy over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free has written her first book, Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free: 180 easy and Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less, and it’s just been released! I couldn’t wait until my copy arrived in the mail, and when it did, I plopped myself down on the couch and read the whole thing, cover to cover. I’m so proud of Amy’s accomplishments. This book is gorgeous, with amazing recipes for everything from buckwheat crepes to cauliflower soup to multiple brownie recipes, all free of gluten and refined sugar. As I am trying to cut refined sugar out of my diet, Amy has become a valuable resource. This book couldn’t have arrived at a better time. It was only a matter of deciding which recipes to try first, so I could share with you just how awesome this book is.

Of all of the tantalizing recipes, it might seem odd that the first thing I made was her Slow Cooker Ketchup (also available on her blog). I haven’t actually eaten ketchup in a long time. When you don’t eat french fries, burgers, or hot dogs on a regular basis, there’s just not that many ketchup opportunities left. I’ve also found that store-bought ketchup, which typically is full of high-fructose corn syrup or sugar, is intensely sweet – something I’ve lost a taste for. Amy’s ketchup, however, is more than just sweet – there are layers of spices, some tang, and a lovely full flavor. I used some of it later in the week for some chipotle sloppy joes (on a slice of gluten-free bread) and oven fries, and felt like a kid again. It was so, so good.

But I wouldn’t do a review of a cookbook purely based on ketchup. That just wouldn’t be right. After all, I’ve sampled Amy’s baking before, and I know what she’s capable of. Her baked goods are phenomenal. When I came across her Fig and Date Bars, I paused. She said they tasted like fig newtons. Fig Newtons? Oh yes, these were so about to happen in my kitchen. I couldn’t wait.

Did they deliver? I would definitely say so. I loved the sticky, sweet but not-too-sweet fig and date filling, and the crumbly topping was just perfect. I brought them to the office, and all day, people would venture back into the kitchen to sneak another one. Our company President even enjoyed some and shared them with his granddaughters (who were visiting that day), and remarked how good they were. (He didn’t know they were gluten and sugar-free until afterwards!) If they pass the test of the gluten and sugar eaters of the world with flying colors, I say that’s definitely a win.

Just look at them. How could you resist?

Do these recipes have you interested? I hope so, because I have FOUR opportunities for you to win a copy of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free! Want to know how you can enter to win? Scroll down to the bottom of this post and find out! The giveaway will end at midnight CDT on Saturday, April 23, 2011. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully so you can be entered as many times as possible!

Fig and Date Bars, reprinted with permission from Amy Green, excerpted from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

1/2 c pitted Medjool dates

1/2 c dried black Mission figs, stemmed and cut in half

1/2 c walnuts

1 c sorghum flour

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t xanthan gum (I used guar gum)

pinch of kosher salt

1/4 c cold butter, diced (I used ghee (also called clarified butter), which is lactose and casein-free)

2 T honey or agave nectar

1 t freshly grated orange zest

1 T freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly mist an 8 X 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a medium heatproof bowl, cover the dates and figs with hot water. Set aside. Or, cover the dates and dried figs with water and microwave for 1 minute.

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, chop the walnuts until they are in small pieces but not mealy. Add the sorghum flour, cinnamon, baking soda, xanthan gum, and kosher salt. Process for 30 seconds or until the mixture is combined and the walnuts are a little finer. Sprinkle the butter evenly across the walnut mixture and drizzle in the honey or agave. Pulse until a dough forms. Turn the dough out into a large bowl.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the dates and figs to the food processor, reserving the soaking liquid; there’s no need to wash the processor bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid, the orange zest, and orange juice. Let process for several minutes, until smooth.

While the food processor is running, use wet hands to firmly press two-thirds of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Once the date and fig mixture is smooth, spread it evenly across the dough. Break the remaining dough into marble-size pieces, sprinkle them across the fig and date paste, and lightly press in.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through, until the top becomes lightly golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and store in the refrigerator. These also freeze well.

Makes 16 2X2 inch bars.

Now, for the giveaway!

In order to be entered into the giveaway, simply leave a comment at the end of this post. Your name will be entered once into a drawing for a chance to win one of four cookbooks.

If you want more chances to win, then listen up!

For a second chance to win, follow Ulysses Press on Twitter and leave a separate comment here telling me you did so.

For a third chance to win, friend Ulysses Press on Facebook and leave a separate comment here telling me you did so.

For a fourth chance to win, like Ulysses Press’s new Health and Fitness fan page and leave a separate comment here telling me you did so.

(An added bonus for you, when you follow/like Ulysses Press – they often host giveaways and other fun stuff!)

For a fifth chance to win, like Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free on Facebook and leave a separate comment here telling me you did so.

For additional chances to win, Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter, post about it on Facebook or your blog, and leave me comments telling me you did those things.

And remember – the giveaway ends at midnight on Saturday, April 23, 2011.

Comments

  1. Brandae says

    I love Amy’s blog and recipes! I recommend her site to everyone. :) Great giveaway – hope to win a book! Brandae

  2. Janet McGregor Dunn says

    Looks like an excellent book. I’m going to try the recipe above. It’s hard to find gluten-free AND sugar-free. I’m both… Hope I win a copy!!!

  3. Janet McGregor Dunn says

    I just sent a friend request on Facebook for Ulysses Press. Can you tell I would really like to have a copy of the book. Truthfully, I’d be friending & liking either way, but the possibility of winning the book means I’m doing it faster .

  4. says

    I love ketchup! I may write a complete cookbook review based on a stellar ketchup recipe. HA! Thanks for sharing this cookbook with us. Any cookbook that you read cover to cover must be outstanding!

  5. Janet McGregor Dunn says

    I’m tweeting on two of my twitter accounts (@fatnflab and @thegatable). They feed to our fan page and to the Nofatn Flab regular Facebook page, and to a couple of blogs. Working hard to get a copy of the book… whew ;-)

  6. FoodStudent says

    These look delicious, I think I’ll retweet, and try this recipe out with my celiac daughter. We love your posts.

  7. Karen says

    Ok. I have to try the date fig bars. You surprised me. I figured the book would be full of recipes calling for Stevia and since Stevia and I don’t get along too well…. But now you have my interest! Those look wonderful. They are healthy and no stevia! Now, of course, I need the book! Winning would be oh so much more lovely than purchasing it. LOL… Thanks!

  8. says

    Don’t enter me in the giveaway, Alta, as I’ve got my own copy on its way. :) Just wanted to say great review, and congrats again to Amy–it looks like such a wonderful book. :)

  9. Melinda Smith says

    My 8 year old GfCf son is a huge foodie and would love to disect this cookbook and tell me what he would like us to make!

  10. Judy says

    It would be fantastic to win Amy’s cookbook! I have been GF and my goal is to make meals for the family so we eat together!

  11. says

    I would love a copy! I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t bought my own yet, but then I haven’t bought any textbooks for school either! Grad school means no unnecessary purchases for a while…

  12. Emily K says

    Odd…. I didnt leave a comment, but my name appears here already…. Is it automatic? I did do all of the above, so hopefully its valid. -Emily Koehler

  13. Jordan P says

    My best friend’s GF and always struggles to get a good dessert when we’re out! I’d love to surprise her with some of these treats!

  14. Dionne says

    I “liked” Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free on Facebook. Thanks for sharing the recipe…can’t wait to make these bars!

  15. says

    Also, how can I like Simply Sugar and Gluten Free on Facebook? Every time I click on the link it takes me to my Facebook feed of the pages I like via my page but I can’t find SS&GF?

    Thanks!

    • tastyeatsathome says

      Zoe – I am not sure!?! Sorry. I click on the link and it takes me right to her page. Has anyone else had this problem?

  16. Niv says

    I will definitely be trying this recipe. I follow you and Amy by email. Looking forward to win this giveaway.

  17. Kati Wilson says

    Being 22, diagnosed with Celiac’s 2 years ago, paying off naturopath bills and studying at a holistic health college, buying prepared gf foods is not an option with my budget. It would be great to win this cookbook! Thanks

  18. Gail says

    Amy’s recipe of the fig and date bars looks wonderful. I look forward to winning a copy of her book so I can try more of her recipes.
    Gail

  19. Jennifer says

    Please enter me in the drawing for one of these cookbooks. I am just beginning my sugar-free lifestyle and was googling for resources. What a treat to find so many great blogs!

  20. Melissa says

    relatively new to this world sans gluten, this recipe is making me drool, as the book most likely would as well. Keep it up, the blog is fabulous!

  21. Diane Eardley says

    I posted this on my Facebook page as my friends will really enjoy it. I can hardly wait to try the recipe for fig and date bars!

  22. Dee Fedor says

    I have everything to make this recipe except the orange for the zest and juice! Darn! gas is $3.99/gal as of yesterday. I would love to win a book

  23. Carol Cripps says

    I would love to have a copy of this book. After being gluten free for about a year, I still don’t consider myself an experience gf cook, and getting rid of refined sugars is, for me, the next step in getting healthier. BTW, I like your blog, too!

  24. Jodi says

    The fig bars look awesome and so does the book- can’t wait to make the bars and really hope to win the book.

  25. Laura W says

    This cookbook looks amazing! We’ve been a GF family for a little over a year now & are looking for ways to cut back our sugar intake. Love the blog!

  26. Coleen says

    I love both dates and figs and those bars look amazing. I would love to try some more recipes from the book.

  27. Yvonne says

    I love experimenting with gluten free baking and cooking and I always try to avoid refined sugars and use agave nectar or maple syrup or even coconut sugar instead. I am eager to learn more from this cookbook!

  28. Linda Swirzewski says

    I have also “liked” Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free on Facebook for another chance to win. Keeping my fingers crossed! :)

  29. Kat says

    I would love a copy of this book. My family and I are trying to eat GF and less sugar, so this would be so helpful!

  30. Melissa C. says

    I would love to win this cookbook. Can’t wait to try these bars, I have been looking for a great recipe to replace fig newton bars!!

  31. Dawna Austin says

    Wow.. a book that deals with BOTH sugar and gluten issues!!! I’m so excited! It’s so hard to cook for my family when recipes either contain gluten, or if they are gluten-free, they are loaded with processed sugars. I can’t wait to try these recipes!

  32. Michelle S. says

    I’ve been struggling to go gluten-free and dairy free for a couple of years now and I love your blog. Can’t wait to try those fig bars. I would LOVE a copy of that cookbook as I would also like to cut refined sugar from my diet.

  33. Susan F says

    I would love this book, I am going to make that Fig and Date bars asap as Fig Newtons used to be my husbands favourite cookie until last Sept when he was diagnosed

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