Monday, May 19, 2014

Book Review of Gluten-Free Made Easy...Featuring Peanut Butter Power Balls

Today, I’m sharing my thoughts about a new cookbook that’s just hit the shelves. Gluten-Free Made Easy is written by food blogger and cookbook author Christi Silbaugh and Michele Vilseck. Christi lives in San Diego and has been eating gluten-free for several years. Her blog is Mom, What’s for Dinner, and it focuses on tasty gluten-free recipes. I’m especially thrilled to be spotlighting this cookbook, because I’ve met Christi in person and witnessed her vibrant personality and fun-loving nature firsthand! We met at Foodbuzz Fest in San Francisco in 2012, and we hit it off right away. We were part of a fun foursome of food bloggers who hung out together that weekend. We’ve stayed in touch via our blogs since then, and I was so thrilled to have a chance to receive an advance preview copy of her cookbook a couple of weeks ago.

Gluten-Free Made Easy is comprised of recipes that are family-friendly and easy to make – whether you eat gluten free or not. We don’t have dietary restrictions that require us to avoid gluten in my household, but I still found tons of eye-catching and mouthwatering recipes as I flipped through the book. When I was trying to decide which recipe to feature today, I had such a hard time. Would I go with something savory like "Kung Foo" Korean Beef , something sweet like the unique Avocado Cream Cheese Cookies…or maybe a portable breakfast or snack to tote to work? The second I saw her Peanut Butter Power Balls, I knew I had found just what I was looking for. Easy to make, healthy, delicious…and portable? Sign me up! These protein-packed snacks can be assembled in less than 15 minutes. Store them in the fridge in a covered container, and you’ve got the perfect on-demand breakfast or post-workout snack.

Peanut Butter Power Balls
from Gluten-Free Made Easy
  • 1 cup peanut butter [NOTE: I used crunchy peanut butter]
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3 cups gluten-free oats [NOTE: I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats]  
  • 1 cup dried fruit or nuts [NOTE: I used dried cranberries]
  • ½ cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup vanilla protein powder (optional)
Step 1: Add the peanut butter and honey to a large mixing bowl. Using a sturdy spatula or spoon, blend the honey and peanut butter until totally combined.
Step 2: Add the gluten free oats, dried fruit or nuts, ground flaxseeds, chocolate chips, and protein powder to the bowl. Using a hand mixer or a very sturdy spoon, mix the ingredients until they’re thoroughly combined with the peanut butter-honey mixture.
Step 3: Roll the mixture into balls roughly the size of ping pong balls. If you keep your hands slightly moist, it will help the job go much easier. Place the rolled power balls on parchment paper. To store, layer the peanut butter power balls on layers of parchment in an airtight container.
I made these tasty little bites on Sunday night so I’d have a portable weekday breakfast or quick after-work snack on hand for this week. These two-bite treats are so good, and I love knowing that they’re packed with protein and fiber! The peanut butter provides creaminess, the honey provides a touch of sweet, and the oats provide an earthy flavor and texture. The dried cranberries provide a tart chewiness….the chocolate chips add a touch of decadence. These babies are going into my regular rotation – they’re too tasty and simple not to!

You can find this fantastic cookbook online via Amazon, as well as at Barnes & Noble locations throughout the country. Christie’s publisher provided me with a second copy of Gluten-Free Made Easy to share with one of you! To enter, follow the instructions below. I’ll accept entries until 1159 p.m. this Friday (May 23rd). I’ll notify the winner via e-mail this Saturday. If you have family or friends who are trying to follow a gluten free eating plan, be sure to have them come to enter. Christie’s book is proof that gluten free doesn’t have to mean deprivation…just some new ways of cooking and baking your favorite foods.

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Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of Gluten-Free Made Easy to facilitate this review and giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.

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