Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Blog Review: Gluten Free on a Shoestring

So, I let the cat out of the bag.  I am living a Gluten Free lifestyle with my family.  In order to do this, it takes a village, because baking/cooking gluten free can be extremely difficult.  After I accepted my fate, I went directly to Amazon to search for some cookbooks.  The very first one I found was Gluten-Free on a Shoestring by Nicole Hunn.  (FYI: I plan on doing a review of each of her cookbooks but for now, it's the blog's time to shine.)

When the book arrived and I started to read it, I found out that this author had a blog.  What?  Honest to Pete - I was not into blogs. I mean, I knew people had them but I did not regularly follow or read any.  Zero - Zilch.  Until this one....

The Gluten Free on a Shoestring blog (http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/) speaks to me.  The photos are superb - you not only get finished product photos but step by step process photos to make sure you are on track. The writing style is witty and informative but not over the edge by any means.  And the recipes - THE RECIPES PEOPLE - are out of this world. Nicole posts every day unless she's working on a cookbook project but even then it's at least 3-4 times a week.  I find this 100% fantastic and I wonder how she does it.  She develops all of these recipes herself and has shown us a tiny glimpse of her process.  It is truly amazing.

Not only does her blog have oodles of recipes that you need to have in order to feel normal living gluten free, but she has deconstructed a number of  the 'on the market' gluten free flour blends and completed bake offs, so we would know how they performed in each baking situation.  These posts are definitely worth going into the archives for to see which one will fit your lifestyle and needs.  On top of all of this, she has also given us the actual break down of how these flours are made up so you can construct/mix them yourself and save oodles of money doing so.  (Select the "gluten free flour" button on the lower right hand side of her home page to link directly to this information.)

Usually at the end of the week (and not every week, because she likes to keep us guessing), she creates a montage of some sort.  One week it may be gluten free muffins, another week it's donuts, and yet another (like last week) it was whoopee pies!  So now she is sorting through the archives for us and collecting like minded recipes in one spot for our easy reference.  That is a blogger who appreciates her audience and is here for you. Yes - I mean you! and me too of course!

Another thing I really like about Nicole is that you feel like you get to know her but not in a creepy way.  She shares personal stories about being gluten free and how it affects her family of five.  You know how hard it is if you're gluten free to live a 'normal' foodie life, so having someone that understands and is dedicated to delivering replacements is a big deal.  A really big deal. So for that, I thank her from the bottom of my heart.

Though her cookbooks focus more on the cost savings regarding her method of baking/cooking gluten free, the blog does not go into this detail on a daily basis.  She does comment on where she sources her individual ingredients as far as which products are the best quality and price.  She shares storage solutions, and other money saving tips but if you are looking for more of this, then her cookbooks are the place to get the skinny, not the blog.

Nicole loves comments on her posts, so I try to leave a word of thanks or appreciation to let her know that all of her hard work is not wasted on the internet black hole.  She almost always responds, which is also super cool.  Through these postings, I have met a few GF ladies who live close by and have become friends.  Something that I never thought would happen nor was I looking for such an enhancement to my life, but surprise! - it did and that my friends is heartwarming.

So now it's time for me to rate this blog - again using a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is the worstie, worst, worst and 10 is the bestie, best, best):

Photos:  9
Writing Style:   9
Quality of Posts (recipes): 9
Frequency of Posts:  10
Overall Rating: 9

Please go check it out, even if you are not gluten free, you'll be bamboozled by Nicole and her blog as well!

Until next time...
J.K. Sasse

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