Ricki Heller’s Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free Cookbook: Review and Giveaway

Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free Cookbook, Ricki Heller, gluten-free dessert cookbook, gluten-free recipes, dairy-free recipes, egg-free recipes, vegan recipes, gluten-free vegan cookbook, Diet Dessert and Dogs

Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free by Ricki Heller

Cookbook reviews (plus a giveaway!) like the one I’m sharing today are tough for me. Tough because although I’m a “wordy” person by nature, I truly can’t adequately express how highly I think of Ricki Heller and how much I love her new cookbook, Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free. But I will try. Just know that whatever I say falls short of the reality.

I met Ricki several years back via her blog, which was formerly called Diet, Dessert and Dogs. (FYI: If you love Ricki’s dogs, “the girls,” don’t fret; they’re still very much in the picture.) Ricki and I became really good friends almost instantly. She’s easy going, extremely personable, and super supportive to all. Add in her fabulous sense of humor, gift at storytelling and, finally, her ability to create phenomenal recipes that are gluten free, refined sugar free (and sometimes totally sugar free), and vegan (which means dairy free and egg free, too, of course), and well, what’s not to love? I don’t know anyone who is not a huge fan of Ricki’s!

And Ricki’s recipes are simply great! One does not have to have any need for special diets to love them, but if you do have a need for gluten free and “more-free” recipes, well, you’re in for a real treat when you try one of her recipes! Literally. Especially one of her recipes from her latest book which showcases her dessert-making prowess so very, very well!

I finally got to meet Ricki “in real life” this summer when I was in Toronto for the Canadian Celiac Association Conference (CCA) and I could not have been more thrilled! No offense meant to the CCA, but the experience of meeting Ricki far eclipsed its conference (and the conference was excellent)! I also met another longtime online friend for the first time that evening as she and Maggie Savage of She Let Them Eat Cake joined us for dinner. Needless to say, it was an awesome few hours.

Ricki Heller, Shirley Braden, gluten free easily, Il Fornello, Toronto, Richmond Hill

Ricki and I at Il Fornello in Toronto

For today’s review, Ricki graciously agreed to an interview to answer my questions on her new book, her personal story, her style of recipe creation, and the creative processes she follows for her blog and her cookbooks (and how they differ). I think you’ll enjoy our exchange. Ricki’s many wonderful traits shine through in her answers and they give you a peek into Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free from the best source possible, its lovely author.

Ricki’s new cookbook is subtitled Allergy-Friendly Vegan Desserts and it includes “100 Recipes without Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, or Refined Sugar.” The format is soft cover and it’s sized large enough so that you can place the book on your kitchen counter opened to a recipe without it closing on you. User friendly; gotta love that!  The size of the book also ensures that all of the recipes photos are larger than life. I especially love that and I bet you will, too! In addition to those features, I was very impressed with the initial 41 pages where Ricki tells her story, introduces ingredients, her favorite equipment, etc. These lead-in pages to the recipes are a quick, enjoyable, and educational read, which sufficiently “prime” you for making Ricki’s delightful desserts.

Below our interview, you’ll find instructions on how to enter a giveaway to win your own copy of Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free. Below that, you’ll find Ricki’s recipe for Grain-Free Autumn Fruit Crumble, which I made as part of my review. This recipe includes apples, pears, and cranberries, combined with coconut sugar and stevia to provide the perfect amount of natural sweetness. The topping is made in your food processor from ingredients that include walnuts, almonds, coconut sugar, and coconut flour. While I’ve combined those ingredients to use as a crust many times; I’d never used them as a topping and they work really well that way!

We enjoyed this dessert very, very much (and I’ll be sharing the rest with my parents who will love it, too!) although I did adapt it to my preferences just a bit. I left out the cup of whole cranberries, instead adding in a few dried cranberries, and upping the amount of apples. I’m not so much a cranberry lover, but I am an apple lover and was really pleased with the results when I went with my own taste preferences. I’ve been making Ricki’s recipes for a long time and have found that they always deliver made as directed, but they often can be “tweaked” with great success, too.

Instead of my own photo of the Grain-Free Autumn Fruit Crumble, you’ll see the beautiful photo from Ricki’s book plus one other of her Ultra Fudgy Brownies (inserted in our interview below). Swoon on the latter, right? All the photos in Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free were taken by the very talented photographer for Ricki’s book, Celine Saki, and are reprinted here with permission of Saki and Sellers Publishing.

Interview with Ricki Heller about her New Cookbook, Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free

Me:  Ricki, you use a fair number of alternative sweeteners, which tends to discourage some folks because they are unknown to them and often much more costly. It’s sort of like going from gluten-full all-purpose flour to say almond flour, the price difference is initially very shocking to those going gluten free and healthier. Of course, after using almond flour, we realize that it can take a good while to go through a 5-lb bag and we’re getting tons more nutrition for our money. Can you tell us how you came to use such sweeteners and why you rely on them? Also, any supportive words on the cost of some of these sweeteners? I know that you tend to use a combination of sweeteners more often than a single sweetener. You talk about that in the introduction of Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free, but can you address it some here as well?

Ricki:  Oh, please tell them not to be discouraged! There’s an entire chapter in the book about ingredients and substitutions, so if someone prefers not to use coconut sugar, or stevia, or whatever it is that I use, they can certainly swap out for something else. That said, I would encourage folks to at least try the low glycemic sweeteners, as they offer lots of advantages. True, they are a bit more expensive than white sugar, just as gluten-free flours are more expensive that wheat flour. . . I suppose we are paying a bit more to be healthy!

I first started using natural sweeteners when I was initially diagnosed with candida, an overgrowth of yeast in the body, way back in 1999.  But I think I really embraced the idea that I would never consume white sugar again a couple of years later while in nutrition school, after we learned that sugar basically is devoid of nutritional content and also spikes blood sugar levels (plus it’s processed with bleach, chemicals, etc.). At that time, I started using Sucanat (which stands for SUgar CAne NATural), an unrefined evaporated cane juice, and I really fell in love with the robust and slightly molasses-ey flavor.  I also sought out other natural, traditional sweeteners, like brown rice syrup, agave nectar, maple syrup and even date puree (which I love). Unfortunately, even those proved to be too high in sugars for my metabolism, and I was diagnosed with a severe case of candida again in 2009. Since then, I’ve been using only low glycemic sweeteners, primarily coconut sugar, coconut nectar, and stevia.

I tend to combine sweeteners for several reasons. First, by combining coconut sugar and stevia, I can use less coconut sugar, thereby decreasing both the cost and the glycemic load of the entire recipe (that is, how quickly the food causes blood sugar to rise). Stevia doesn’t raise blood sugar at all, so when it’s used alongside the coconut sugar, the total effect is more beneficial in terms of your blood sugar. This is great news for type two diabetics and anyone trying to stay on a low-sugar diet.  In addition, I know that some folks have reported an aftertaste with stevia. While I’ve never experienced that effect myself, by combining the two sweeteners, the flavor of the coconut sugar is what comes through in the final baked good and the stevia is virtually undetectable.  I’ve served my desserts to people who aren’t following any kind of special diet, and they had no idea there was stevia in their baked good!

Me:  In your book, you state that you’ve come to realize that you simply will not ever be able to handle refined sugar, even in moderation. Can you expand upon that a little bit for my readers? I’ll add that I think there are many of us–I use the “us” on purpose—who instinctively know that is the truth for us as well, but we keep reading the posts on ”everything in moderation,” “don’t restrict yourself so much or you’ll end up with disordered eating,” etc. So we try once again to eat just a little bit of something with refined sugar … only to have our bodies tell us once again that we can’t handle it. That type of experience is clearly in your history as well so, again, I’d appreciate your insight on it.

Ricki:  It took a second diagnosis with candida, as I mentioned, in 2009 to nudge me toward this realization. I had had a good response to the candida diet in 1999, and then I subsequently attended nutrition school in 2003, so I had a very clear sense of what was a natural, whole food, and that was the way I wanted to eat.

Once I completed the candida diet and my symptoms resolved, I began to eat and cook according to the principles of holistic nutrition I learned in school. This included good quality, natural sweeteners in moderation. I never really worried about the sugar levels of these sweeteners, since I saw them as “healthy.” And it’s true: maple syrup is a beautiful sweetener, one that actually contains nutritional value (by volume, maple syrup has more calcium than dairy milk!).  But maple syrup, sucanat, or dates, for instance, are all pretty high on the glycemic index, meaning that they affect your blood sugar levels pretty much the same way white sugar does.

I felt fine and stuck to “moderation” for quite some time, but after about 10 years of eating that way, I eventually slipped back into old habits, and before I knew it, I was consuming cakes, cookies, and other treats that had white sugar. Shortly thereafter, candida symptoms came back with a vengeance. It took a lot longer to get them under control the second time round, so I knew I had to make some serious—and permanent—changes to my diet if I wanted to live a healthy, happy life again.

I’ve come to love the treats I make with my low glycemic sweeteners, and as you can see from Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free, there’s no deprivation in my dessert repertoire! Pretty much anything you can make with conventional sugar, I can make with lower glycemic, natural sweeteners.

Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free Cookbook, Ricki Heller, gluten-free dessert cookbook, gluten-free recipes, dairy-free recipes, egg-free recipes, vegan recipes, gluten-free vegan cookbook, Diet Dessert and Dogs

Ultra Fudgy Brownies from Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free—There’s Definitely No Deprivation Here! (photo credit: Celine Saki)

Me:  I believe you talked about how lengthy my gfe blog posts are when you spoke on blogging at the Nourished conference. Those who write long posts tend to defy the standard advice on keeping posts “short and sweet,” so to speak. However, I’ve always thought that you were right there with me in enjoying telling the story and not doing posts that are not much more than quick little blurbs. In fact, I love your stories as much as your recipes! Obviously, you don’t get to share much of a story in a cookbook, although your introduction shares your personal story as well as your baking experiences over the years as needed background for the evolution of your recipes. Has being less of a storyteller and focusing first and foremost on your recipes been difficult for you in creating this cookbook or has it been a nice change of pace?

Ricki:  Who, me? Did I say that about your blog posts?? Clearly, I agree with you about going with your own natural bent when it comes to blogging, and I am, indeed, fond of stories! I have to say, though, that it didn’t feel at all like I was missing anything in the cookbook. I suppose because it’s a standard format, one that I think of as different from a blog post. A cookbook doesn’t usually call for long introductory sections, unless you’re doing a memoir-cum-cookbook, like those of Shauna Ahern (Gluten-Free Girl) or Molly Wizenberg (Orangette).  In addition, I absolutely love recipe creation. I could literally spend the entire day in the kitchen working on one recipe, and find that fun.  So dealing with the recipes on their own was no hardship for me!

Me:  I think there are many who aspire to write their own cookbooks, especially those of us who are food bloggers. You’ve done that several times now, each time a little bit differently I believe (as far as the process). What brief insights can you give us on what you learned writing this cookbook? How has creating recipes for this cookbook been different than creating them for your blog? Has there been anything that really surprised you? Good and not so good?

Ricki:  I’d say that the process of recipe creation is pretty much the same for me whether I’m creating for the blog, a cookbook, a magazine article, or something else. My process involves multiple tests of a recipe and sampling on as many people as are willing to try the final product (sometimes that means just my husband and, if the ingredients allow, The Girls).  Even if a recipe turns out perfect the first time, I always test at least three times. If it works the same way the second time, I know that might just be due to chance; so I test a third time to ensure that there’s no coincidence and that the final product is identical to the first time. When things don’t go so well, I can test ten or twelve times, or, as in one case for my first cookbook, around 50 times until I got it perfect.

For me, the major differences between working on the cookbook and working on the blog recipes involved the number of testers (there were 29 people from all over the world testing recipes for Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free) and the process of writing up the recipes.  With a publisher, the recipes will follow their particular format, and of course your final text is edited, so you may be asked to make changes to what you wrote. I was lucky in that there were very few changes made to my manuscript, but the publisher did ask for additional information that hadn’t been in my original draft. I think the book is better, and a more complete resource, as a result of those additions.

Me:  Finally, thank you so very much for very generously including me in your acknowledgements! I was very touched when I saw my name and so agree on the strong friendships and unbelievable support offered by our online community. Although now we can say that were are also IRL (In Real Life) friends since we finally met in person in June! What a great time that was! Thanks so much for all that you give to our gluten-free community, Ricki!

Ricki:  I feel the same about you and all that you do for the community, Shirley! And, as you know, you have been such an inspiration and a source of encouragement and support to me ever since we found each other’s blogs—that mention is only a small “thank you” for all that you’ve done. I’m so glad that we were able to transition to “IRL” as well, after all this time—let’s not wait that long again for the next in-person meeting, though!

Thanks so much for this interview, and for your enthusiasm for this book, too. It’s been great “chatting” with you!

As you can see, Ricki is absolutely delightful and extremely gracious! Thanks for the super sweet words, Ricki, as well as the gift of your “must have” new cookbook! 

The Giveaway

Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free Cookbook, Ricki Heller, gluten-free dessert cookbook, gluten-free recipes, dairy-free recipes, egg-free recipes, vegan recipes, gluten-free vegan cookbook, Diet Dessert and Dogs UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. The following winners will be contacted by email and will have 24 hours to respond. 

Kate:  “Thanks for the great review! I’ve been gluten free for about 9 months due to being diagnosed with celiac disease. I always love trying new GF recipes!”

Carolyn: “As someone trying to reduce refined sugar in their diet, this book would be wonderful!

Andrea:  “I have been gluten free for almost 3 years now and have been trying to adhere to a refined sugar free diet too.  I would love to have some good treats to make!  Thank you!”

Three people—yes, three gfe readers—will receive a copy of Ricki’s Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free cookbook. (One copy is being provided by Ricki and her publisher. I (gfe) am providing the other two. Please also note that I was provided a free copy of Ricki’s book, but the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own.)

~ Leave a comment on the post telling me why you simply must have Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free on your bookshelf! (required)

~ “Like” Ricki Heller on Facebook. Leave a separate comment saying that you did. (optional)

~ Follow Ricki on Twitter. Leave a separate comment saying that you did. (optional)

This giveaway will end Friday, October 11, at midnight EST.

The Recipe

Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free Cookbook, Ricki Heller, gluten-free dessert cookbook, gluten-free recipes, dairy-free recipes, egg-free recipes, vegan recipes, gluten-free vegan cookbook, Diet Dessert and Dogs

Grain-Free Autumn Fruit Crumble from Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free (photo credit: Celine Saki)

Grain-Free Autumn Fruit Crumble
This is another one of those “desserts that can be breakfast.” With the abundance of fall fruit and absence of grains, this dish offers a great lower-glycemic way to start your day. Add a bit more protein, and you’re all set! For best results, select crisp, sweet apples, such as Gala, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady, and firm pears, such as D’Anjou or Bosc.
  • 1⁄3 cup (45 g) coconut sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup (65 g) natural raw walnut pieces
  • 1⁄2 cup (80 g) natural raw skin-on almonds, preferable organic
  • 1⁄3 cup (50 g) coconut flour
  • 1⁄4 cup (40 g) potato starch
  • 1 Tbsp (30 ml) ground cinnamon
  • Generous pinch fine sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) coconut oil, at room temperature, preferably organic
  • 30 drops pure plain or vanilla stevia liquid, or to taste
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) water
  • 2 medium pears, washed, cored, and diced, peeled or unpeeled
  • 2 medium sweet apples, washed, cored, and diced, peeled or unpeeled
  • 1 cup (115 g) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp (1 ml) ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut sugar
  • Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
  • 1⁄4 tsp (1 ml) pure stevia powder or 1⁄2 tsp (2.5 ml) pure plain or vanilla stevia liquid, or to taste
  • Coconut Whipped Cream (see page 168), for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Grease a 9-inch (22.5- cm) square pan or a 6-cup (1.4-L) casserole or soufflé dish with nonstick spray or coconut oil.
  2. Make the topping: Place the coconut sugar, walnuts, almonds, coconut flour, potato starch, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture resembles a fine meal with no pieces of nuts visible. In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the coconut oil. Whisk in the stevia, vanilla, and water. Pour the coconut- oil mixture in a ring around the dry ingredients in the processor and pulse until it all comes together. It should look like moist clumps. Set aside.
  3. Make the filling: In a large bowl, toss the pear, apple, and cranberries together with the cinnamon and ginger. In a small bowl, mix together the coconut sugar, lemon juice, and stevia, and stir until the sugar begins to dissolve. Drizzle over the fruit and then toss again to coat evenly.
  4. Assemble and bake the crumble: Turn the fruit mixture into the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with the topping. Press down gently on the topping.
  5. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes (depending on the depth of your pan, you will need more or less time for the fruit to cook), rotating the dish about halfway through baking, until the crumble topping is deeply browned and the fruit is soft. Serve immediately or at room temperature with a little Coconut Whipped Cream (see page 168).
Serves 6 to 8.

See page 37, storing your baked goods. May be frozen.

 This post is linked to Allergy-Free Wednesdays and Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

Not just gf, but gfe!

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138 Responses to “Ricki Heller’s Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free Cookbook: Review and Giveaway”

  1. Brent on October 4th, 2013 9:32 am

    I have two children who are celiac and need to be dairy, egg free, and minimal sugar.

  2. Ricki on October 4th, 2013 9:36 am

    This is clearly not an entry–but a huge THANK YOU for this amazing review of the book, and for your incredible generosity in giving away two more books on your own! Thank you so much, Shirley–it was great fun being interviewed, but definitely more fun meeting in person (I laughed out loud at your comment about the CCA!). And I think your tweaks to the recipe sound delicious–I love that it’s such an easily adaptable recipe as well. :) Big hugs to you! xo

  3. Jill Werschin on October 4th, 2013 11:04 am

    I follow Ricki on Facebook and her blog. I am at the 5 month point of going gluten, egg, dairy and corn free. Life has really become hard and her new book gives me hope that I may still be able to enjoy treats again. Hope I win a copy.

  4. Kate K on October 4th, 2013 11:06 am

    My sweet tooth demands that I have this awesome cookbook! We try very hard to keep white sugar out of our diet, but cannot surrender natural sweets and treats. My son was diagnosed gluten intolerant a couple years ago, and I with very strong wheat intolerance, so gluten free is a must and I miss making him some of his favorites. I’m sure we’d find new favorites in this great treasure of recipes! Thank you for the opportunity!!

  5. Carolyn on October 4th, 2013 11:10 am

    As someone trying to reduce refined sugar in their diet, this book would be wonderful!

  6. Kate K on October 4th, 2013 11:10 am

    I liked Rikki on facebook for a second chance. ;)

  7. Anne-Marie on October 4th, 2013 11:13 am

    I have followed Ricki’s blog for sometime and just love her recipes! Her new book would make a wonderful addition to my collection…I have mostly savory cookbooks and not too many sweet ones! It’s important to me to limit sugar intake, so this book fits perfectly with my lifestyle. Thanks for a great giveaway!

  8. Anne-Marie on October 4th, 2013 11:13 am

    I like Ricki on FB!

  9. Anne-Marie on October 4th, 2013 11:14 am

    I follow Ricki on Twitter!

  10. Susan Spann on October 4th, 2013 11:17 am

    I have a notorious sweet tooth. This would be great for knowing more gluten free recipes to make my own sweets because I would like to cut the sugar back some.

  11. Lorena on October 4th, 2013 11:18 am

    I’ve been craving a crumble for a very long time, and just didn’t know where to look for a gluten-free one. I’m excited to try this one. Thanks to Ricki for being so invested and inventive on this so-called “adventure” of good health. Thank you both for putting this out there!

  12. Susan Spann on October 4th, 2013 11:19 am

    I like Ricki Heller on Facebook

  13. Kate K on October 4th, 2013 11:27 am

    and for 3, I’m following Ricki on twitter too, as @KatieInZona. Thanks again!

  14. Sarah L on October 4th, 2013 11:50 am

    I have been gluten free for 2 years now and I’m still building my gf cookbook collection and this would make a great addition. However, my good friend’s son (who turns 23 the end of the month) was recently diagnosed with a disease affecting his colon and the doctors have told him he must eliminate gluten (among other things) from his diet. If I win, I will probably give the book to her as she loves to bake and is lost not knowing anything about gluten free baking/cooking.

  15. Sarah L on October 4th, 2013 11:51 am

    I already follow and Like Ricki on facebook!

  16. Janet L on October 4th, 2013 11:58 am

    I was just about to order this book, but will wait until after the give away. I am gluten intolerant, and my grandson is egg, dairy, wheat, peanut and more allergic. This book would be so helpful in making treats.

  17. Kathy on October 4th, 2013 11:59 am

    Sounds like a great book! My daughter is currently off of dairy, eggs and gluten bc of intolerances and I’m trying to compile recipes for yummy things she can eat :)

  18. Jen@TwoCupsOfLove on October 4th, 2013 12:10 pm

    I’m vegan and gluten-free, and on top of that I have made an effort to cut back on the amount of processed sugar I consume. I miss baking treats, so a resource like this would give me a ton of options!

  19. Jen@TwoCupsOfLove on October 4th, 2013 12:13 pm

    I already like Ricki on Facebook.

  20. Jen@TwoCupsOfLove on October 4th, 2013 12:13 pm

    I already follow her on Twitter. :)

  21. Laura O on October 4th, 2013 12:21 pm

    I love Ricki’s posts and recipes and I keep seeing sneak peeks for the cookbook all over blogland. I must have it to finally satiate my need for cookies!

  22. Laura O on October 4th, 2013 12:21 pm

    Oh, PS, I already like Ricki on Facebook. Does it count?

  23. Nicole on October 4th, 2013 12:31 pm

    I have become increasingly sensitive to the effects of sugar in recent years and could really use a recipe book with treats that aren’t going to cause my blood sugar to spike. I would be thrilled to have this book in my collection!

  24. Nicole on October 4th, 2013 12:32 pm

    I follow Ricki on Twitter.

  25. Mark on October 4th, 2013 12:34 pm

    I love to bake and I always love to find new ways to make baking more healthy. Nut, bean and coconut flours are of great interest to me as I have over 50 food allergies and they are some of the flours I can actually eat. I also like to replace refined sugar anytime I can. I love to share my baked goods with everyone and show them that Gluten free can be just as good if not better than the way people have been programed to eat!!

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Liked and followed along time ago;-))))


  26. Melissa on October 4th, 2013 12:35 pm

    Everything you said about Ricki is true. She’s a delight and I’m so envious that the three of you ladies (you, Ricki, and Maggie) had a real-time meeting at the CCA conference. I wish I could have been there. Now, on to Ricki’s approach to food and her amazing recipes. The photos of these two recipes are gorgeous. It’s snowy and cold here today, so baking is on my agenda. I might have to try this Autumn Crumble. I’m not a stevia user, but I know how easy Ricki’s recipes are to tweak. User-friendly is a good description. Thanks for the review. I’m off to satisfy my Amazon 1-click ordering addiction. =) No need to put me in the drawing, and I already “Like” Ricki everywhere she goes!

  27. Patty on October 4th, 2013 12:36 pm

    My 13 year-old son has Celiac and is allergic to all animal protein. I’ve taught him how to cook safe dishes and it’s one of our favorite things to do together, we love the challenge. I’m also a gluten-free blogger and would be happy to review the book. Thanks!


  28. Kim L on October 4th, 2013 12:37 pm

    I like you on facebook

  29. Kim L on October 4th, 2013 12:37 pm

    I follow you on twiiter

  30. Kim L on October 4th, 2013 12:39 pm

    I would love to have this book on my shelf because I would like to learn ways of avoiding refined sugars and I have celiac so this would be a great addition.

  31. Danielle DaVault on October 4th, 2013 12:40 pm

    I would love to own a copy of Ricki’s book. I find myself constantly turning to her blog recipes for foods that I can eat. I have many food allergies and Ricki has mad it fun too bake for myself.

  32. Danielle DaVault on October 4th, 2013 12:42 pm

    I “Like” Ricki Heller on Facebook.

  33. Danielle DaVault on October 4th, 2013 12:42 pm

    I Follow Ricki on Twitter.

  34. Marsha on October 4th, 2013 12:44 pm

    When ever the family gets together I am the dessert maker. Since everyone must eat gluten free I am always looking for new ideas. I really like the idea of this book because so many gluten free desserts are loaded with sugar and that is just not healthy.This book would be a great addition to my collection.

  35. Peggy on October 4th, 2013 1:02 pm

    Oh, where do I begin? My Mom, myself are celiac, and my son is showing signs of being one himself. As well as dairy, corn, and other various allergies and intolerances, it’s hard to find recipes that allow for some flexibility in baking. I’d love to have this book, because I want to share better options with my family and children for desserts.

    Thank you so much for this opportunity!! :D


  36. Peggy on October 4th, 2013 1:03 pm

    I liked Ricki on Twitter!!!

  37. Peggy on October 4th, 2013 1:03 pm

    I liked Ricki on Facebook!

  38. Janelle Jordan on October 4th, 2013 1:03 pm

    I am unable to eat gluten but am the only one in my family that lives gf. However I cook all of our meals from scratch, so instead of making a gf dish and a gluten dish I just make it all gf. I have a few recipes that win the thumbs up that my 3 kids and husband can’t even tell are gf. In fact a few are preferred OVER the gluten version. I am looking for more gf dishes to please the taste buds of all 5 o us for ease and something new. Plus am looking for more recipes that require less sugar.
    ~ Thank you.

  39. Suzanne R on October 4th, 2013 1:36 pm

    Love the idea of healthier desserts & am especially interested in reading the chapter on ingredients & substitutions, there I must have it!

  40. Linda C on October 4th, 2013 1:44 pm

    I need healthier desserts like Ricki’s that everyone in my family can eat with their different food issues and that everyone else will love too!

  41. Sue Kamens on October 4th, 2013 1:46 pm

    I suffer from debilitating migraines. I have been gluten free since 2008, and while I didn’t know that migraines could be associated with gluten, the severity of my migraines dropped tremendously once I cut out gluten. I also have candida and now have to cut out all refined sugar. It turns out that sugar causes migraines for me also, as the frequency of my migraines has dropped significantly since I cut out sugar. While I am enjoying the improvements in my health, I find that food is not enjoyable any more because I have to be so vigilant about what I eat. I don’t use much “convenience food” any more since it all has sugar in it. I hate cooking, but I love baking. I have “relearned” how to bake twice… once without gluten, and then a second time without sugar, but I have not found recipes that taste as good as what I used to make. I would love to have Ricki’s book so that I can have treats that taste good and are “safe” for me to eat.

  42. Michele on October 4th, 2013 2:49 pm

    I need to make gluten free treats for school. Thanks so much for the review!!

  43. Michele on October 4th, 2013 2:50 pm

    I liked Ricki on FB

  44. Andrea on October 4th, 2013 3:09 pm

    I follow and “like” Ricki on facebook.

  45. Andrea on October 4th, 2013 3:11 pm

    I have been gluten free for almost 3 years now and have been trying to adhere to a refined sugar free diet too. I would love to have some good treats to make! Thank you!

  46. Judy McClelland on October 4th, 2013 3:19 pm

    I read the review and the interview and I believe this is exactly what I need to have for my husband and myself. He has celiac and diabetes. We almost lost him during the ten yrs. it took to diagnose him. Even the gastroenterologist didn’t know what to do and as a last resort had him swallow the pill cam and they found that he had a text book case but it was at the bottom of the small intestine, out of reach of the scopes. I am gluten intolerant and also eat gluten free. I have gained so much more energy by going gluten free. Now I am having problems with candida on my face and in my GI tract. I do feel that it is triggered by refined sugar. I am trying to eliminate all refined sugar at this time. This book would be very helpful for both of us. Thank you for making this offer of a give away available.

  47. Judy McClelland on October 4th, 2013 3:19 pm

    I “liked” Ricki on Facebook also.

  48. Nancy on October 4th, 2013 3:44 pm

    I absolutely love your site – As important as it is to eat gluten-free, being poor and supporting three households because of the economy, has made it difficult. I love your site b ecause of the simplicity. I would really, really love to win this book. Thanks You Nance

  49. Sarah on October 4th, 2013 3:48 pm

    I was an avid baker before needing to go GF. Sadly, I’ve stopped baking because the few things I have made didn’t turn out so great. I would love GOOD recipes!

  50. Miet on October 4th, 2013 3:53 pm

    We’re not introducing gluten yet to our 11-month old son, but of course we want to be able to give him some healthier sweets. This book would be perfect – I’m going to have to make a gluten-free birthday cake in one month!

  51. Miet on October 4th, 2013 3:54 pm

    I like Ricki Heller on Facebook (that’s where I found out about your site!)

  52. Felicia Saucier on October 4th, 2013 4:19 pm

    I have been following Ricki’s blog almost as long as I’ve been following yours, Shirley! My 10 yo dd is gluten intolerant as well as myself and my mom, so winning this giveaway would be for dd to start her own gf library of wonderful cookbooks!
    I appreciate this giveaway Shirley, as well as your interview with Ricki, sounds like you two are kindred spirits for sure!

  53. Felicia Saucier on October 4th, 2013 4:20 pm

    I Have “liked & follow” Ricki on FB for awhile now.
    Thanks for the great review and giveaway :)

  54. Suzanne Maley on October 4th, 2013 4:32 pm

    I really would like a copy of Ricki Heller’s book Naturally Sweet and Gluten Free. This book would be perfect as I am gluten free and recently have had to give up sugar. Thank you.

  55. Janet T on October 4th, 2013 5:07 pm

    Wow, what a great cover, I would love to spend the afternoon looking at the recipes and deciding what to make first!

  56. April on October 4th, 2013 5:34 pm

    I’m a huge fan of Ricki’s and have been looking forward to this book for a long time! Thanks for the giveaway!

  57. April on October 4th, 2013 5:34 pm

    Followed on FB

  58. April on October 4th, 2013 5:35 pm

    Followed on Twitter

  59. Emily on October 4th, 2013 7:38 pm

    I’d love this book because I know I’ve increased my consumption of simple sugars since giving up gluten:(

  60. Tracy on October 4th, 2013 8:21 pm

    I follow Ricki on FB

  61. Tracy on October 4th, 2013 8:22 pm

    I follow Ricki on Twitter

  62. Tracy on October 4th, 2013 8:23 pm

    I would love a copy of Ricki’s new book! I am gluten free and have discovered that I can not do “sugar” at all..I so need alternatives.

  63. lymieeatingcoconut on October 4th, 2013 9:19 pm

    I need this book because I am gluten-free, vegan, and sugar-free and I love Ricki’s recipes.

  64. lymieeatingcoconut on October 4th, 2013 9:20 pm

    I like Ricki Heller on facebook

  65. Sarah on October 4th, 2013 9:26 pm

    I ADORE Ricki and am in constant awe of her work! This would be a great addition to my bookshelf for when I’m trying to teach kids that healthy food can be delicious and accessible to boot, not to mention we have 3 diabetics in the family with sweet teeth!

  66. Sarah on October 4th, 2013 9:27 pm

    I follow Ricki on Twitter

  67. Sarah on October 4th, 2013 9:27 pm

    I follow Ricki on FB

  68. Olivia Emelie on October 4th, 2013 9:35 pm

    Hey! I’m allergic to everthing dairy, egg, gluten (and much more) and histamin-intolerant. I’ve been waiting so long for such a book to appear on the market …

  69. Maggie on October 4th, 2013 9:43 pm

    What a lovely review and interview. I loved reading it – great questions Shirley! I can’t wait till we three meet again ;)

  70. jessica on October 4th, 2013 10:38 pm

    I would love love love this cookbook because not only is my household gluten free due to celiacs but we are mostly plant based for last six months starting with allergy diagnoses to dairy and eggs. This has been a whole other adjustment in my gluten free baking adventure and I can use all the help I can get.

  71. Mary Kay on October 5th, 2013 7:57 am

    I recently started following your blog, and was really impressed by your interview and review of this book. My husband is gluten/sugar intolerant, so I am always looking for ideas for recipes that he can enjoy. Thanks for the give-away opportunity!

  72. Chantelle on October 5th, 2013 8:09 am

    Would love this book to continue to provide healthy grain free sugar free options for my kids.

  73. jacqui on October 5th, 2013 8:26 am

    we have so many allergies in my house, and are really trying to be plant based. This would definitely help out with recipes for “treats”!

  74. jacqui on October 5th, 2013 8:27 am

    I already “like” Ricki on Facebook.

  75. Margaret on October 5th, 2013 11:27 am

    I love the interview!! But then again I love your blog Shirley!! I have been giving your blog name to everyone I meet who is gluten free or interested in going GF. This cookbook look great and I would love to win it since the treats are my downfall. I will “gluten” myself for just a taste of something that looks great!! Not smart for sure but now I’m learning if I take a GF dessert to pot lucks then I don’t have to worry about poisoning myself!! I am going to take the Grain-Free Autumn Fruit Crumble to a pot luck this coming week. I will make two and put some of in my lunch bag in case there is none left for my afternoon break!! I have used your recipes and would love to use Ricki’s recipes for sharing at work, church or with my family. I have you and your blog to thank for helping my to go GF and learning how to stay healthy!! Thanks a million!!!

  76. Sherri on October 5th, 2013 11:51 am

    I would absolutely love to have a copy of Ricki’s new cookbook! I have MS, as well as food allergies (specifically to gluten and dairy) and this book could help me prepare more healthy dishes. Sometimes I find it hard to get creative and think outside the box and Ricki has made it easier to do just that.

  77. Sherri on October 5th, 2013 11:54 am

    I’ve been following Ricki on Facebook for several months now. I have it setup so I receive updates in my feed anytime she posts. :)

  78. Sherri on October 5th, 2013 11:55 am

    I follow Ricki on Twitter.

  79. Vicky on October 5th, 2013 1:26 pm

    What a fantastic interview Shirley! I have a copy of the book so please don’t enter me into the competition, it will slightly increase the chances of someone else being able to own it!

    The recipes are fantastic and in fact I’m cooking a couple of them tomorrow! I’ve made one already and it worked out fantastically!

    Aren’t the photos just amazing! The crumble is to die for!!! That is another recipe I will be making now we have bags and bags of apples to eat!

    I too enjoy the stories on Ricki’s blog posts, sometimes they have me falling off my chair, she is so witty!

    I loved the interview and learning a little more about Ricki, thank you :)

  80. Marj Bernstrom on October 5th, 2013 1:33 pm

    I would absolutely love to win this cookbook! Aside from being a collector, I have now assumed a new role in life. I care for my mother, (in my home) who (at age 90!) has just developed an intolerance to gluten. So, new at this, but wanting to satisfy her healthy sweet tooth, i am always on the lookout for new recipes. My first try with Gf cookies put my “old” recipe to shame!!Can’t wait to try more!! We are all benefiting from this new venue!

  81. Marj Bernstrom on October 5th, 2013 1:43 pm

    Liked Ricki on fb, but I don’t do twitter…to many other things going on…

  82. eileen on October 6th, 2013 11:36 am

    Love the interview, nice to get to know Ricki a little better.

    I need to get my household to eat less sugar and be GF without feeling deprived. The brownies look out of this world.

  83. Theresa on October 6th, 2013 11:17 pm

    This cookbook sounds amazing! Being type I diabetic and celiac this cookbook would be a godsend to me. I am always trying to find new recipes that will keep my blood sugar from spiking and that are gluten free.

  84. Janis S on October 7th, 2013 12:46 am

    I follow Ricki on facebook

  85. Janis S on October 7th, 2013 12:53 am

    I’d love to have a copy of this book because I try to limit my sugar intake. I’ve had problems with candida in the past and don’t want them again.

  86. MichelleC on October 7th, 2013 2:05 am

    While I have a gluten & some sweetners intolerance, my mother just found out she is allergic to dairy, gluten, and eggs…YIKES! I’d love to give this great cookbook to her for Christmas with one of the baked goods…ummm cookies… in the box as well.

  87. Becca F on October 7th, 2013 3:25 am

    I’m a vegan that’ allergic to wheat so this book would be perfect for me. It’s really hard to find books that are friendly to both!

  88. KarenW on October 7th, 2013 7:37 am

    I have daughters who are celiac and one who is on a candida diet. I would love to win this book to be able to make them some goodies!

  89. KarenW on October 7th, 2013 7:39 am

    I “like” Ricki on fb

  90. K. Roberts on October 8th, 2013 5:50 pm

    Thank you for the review. My family is gluten-free with a several other “free’s” thrown in. These recipes will help me to provide treats for them that we have been missing. =)

  91. B Kraus on October 9th, 2013 6:34 am

    I was diagnosed with celiac 5 months ago. I am looking for recipes to replace some family favorites and traditions.

  92. Angela H. on October 10th, 2013 9:46 am

    I should have the book because yesterday was my 50th birthday. I’m officially old now lol (AARP, here I come! LOL)

  93. Simona on October 10th, 2013 6:03 pm

    I just moved out of my parents’ house so i’m finally free to experiment in the kitchen and this book would be just perfect for treating the celiacs in my family!

  94. Simona on October 10th, 2013 6:04 pm

    I follow Ricki on fb

  95. Simona on October 10th, 2013 6:05 pm

    And on twitter @catinaweb

  96. Deborah on October 11th, 2013 9:01 am

    I would love to have more recipes using stevia and other natural sweeteners! I can’t eat cane sugar and my daughter chooses to only eat naturally sweetened items. This cookbook would be wonderful to have!!!

  97. Deborah on October 11th, 2013 9:07 am

    I liked Ricki on Facebook.

  98. Kate on October 11th, 2013 10:58 am

    Thanks for the great review! I’ve been gluten free for about 9 months due to being diagnosed with celiac disease. I always love trying new GF recipies!

  99. Michelle on October 11th, 2013 11:54 am

    I am a recently diagnosed celiac who works hard to avoid refined sugar. This cookbook would be great for my sweets loving self and family!

  100. Michelle on October 11th, 2013 11:56 am

    I liked Ricki on Facebook!

  101. Michelle on October 11th, 2013 11:58 am

    I followed her on Twitter as well!

  102. Karen Simon on October 11th, 2013 12:15 pm

    I had to go gluten free in January and now have been told about a month ago that I have a massive amount of candida. I am on something for it but I miss my sweet stuff! I would love to have your cookbook to make treats for myself and my family!

  103. Lois Hardy on October 11th, 2013 12:19 pm

    I would like this book because I have celiac and alot of other food allergies. I would really like some new recipes, to feel like I am treating myself.

  104. Sherri DeYoung on October 11th, 2013 12:20 pm

    This is great to hear. I am always looking for healthy gluten free recipes to make for my grandchildren and help others find it is easy to bake and cook gluten free, sugar free. Thank You for your work in this.

  105. Sherri DeYoung on October 11th, 2013 12:26 pm

    I would love to have this book and may give it to my daughter-in-law who has celiac along with her children.

  106. Patricia on October 11th, 2013 12:27 pm

    I must have this. I have been GF for over a year. I hate it when people ask when will you be able to eat normal. What is abnormal. I would like to show them that GF is not boring but the best thing I could have done for my health.

  107. Sandy on October 11th, 2013 12:32 pm

    Love the cookbook. I simply must have this cookbook because my husband was just diagnosed with celiac disease last December after a lifetime of stomach problems. He loves desserts and I am having an awful time making him anything that is edible. This book looks wonderful and I am going to try the recipe tonight.

    Thank you!!!

  108. Patricia on October 11th, 2013 12:32 pm

    I like Ricki Heller on Facebook.

  109. Sandy on October 11th, 2013 12:35 pm

    I am following Ricki Heller on Facebook

    Thank you

  110. Sandy on October 11th, 2013 12:37 pm

    I am following Ricki Heller on Twitter.

    Thank You!

  111. Brooke Organista on October 11th, 2013 1:09 pm

    I followed Ricki Heller on twitter

  112. Brooke Organista on October 11th, 2013 1:10 pm

    Followed Ricki Heller on Facebook.

  113. Brooke Organista on October 11th, 2013 1:12 pm

    I must have Ricki Heller’s cookbook because I have 4 kids that are starting out on a gluten free diet and all boxed dessert mixes are so over sugared that you can taste the grit. They deserve treats and goodies.

  114. Shelley Karnopp on October 11th, 2013 1:31 pm

    My special needs daughter needs to be gluten free and the whole family is eating that way to help her. I need this cookbook to help me make life better for all of us.

  115. Shelley Karnopp on October 11th, 2013 1:32 pm

    I am following Ricki Heller on facebook.

  116. jody estabrook on October 11th, 2013 2:41 pm

    I would love this cookbook because I am straying away from grains, gluten and refined sugar. I am also diabetic and look for natural sweetner and things I can make to keep my family satified, happy and healthy. Thanks for the giveaway! I also liked Ricki in Facebook but dont Twitter

  117. Donna T on October 11th, 2013 3:01 pm

    Interested in this cookbook.

  118. Sarah on October 11th, 2013 3:23 pm

    My daughter was recently diagnosed with Celiac and also struggles with blood-sugar issues. I would love to be able to make treats that I know will be safe for her to eat!

  119. Sarah on October 11th, 2013 3:23 pm

    I “liked” Ricki on Facebook.

  120. Stephanie Perry on October 11th, 2013 3:53 pm

    i have been on a mission to live a healthier life with whole natural foods, i started with eliminating dairy and now gluten, sugar will be next, would love a book to help me do the transition created by someone in the know!

  121. Miranda on October 11th, 2013 5:16 pm

    Just in time for the holidays! Because I want to bake goodies that I can eat and my family will enjoy too :)

  122. Karen on October 11th, 2013 5:18 pm

    I have two children and the third baby on the way. I do need this book to help me cook for my family! We have many food allergies and sensitivities that go beyond gluten and cooking is a challenge to always come up with ideas.

  123. Kerri on October 11th, 2013 5:52 pm

    My 3 year old has Celiac and would LOVE some new desserts that he can eat and not have to hear “no” it has gluten in it!

  124. Becky Smith on October 11th, 2013 7:54 pm

    I simply MUST have the cookbook because my 7 yr old son, who is having some health problems, would thoroughly enjoy a healthier approach to desserts! He would love helping me try all the recipes out.

  125. Michelle Moss on October 11th, 2013 7:55 pm

    CHOCOHOLIC!!!!!!!!! I have been sugar and grain free for 4 weeks now. I need something sweet, NOW, plz :)

  126. Becky Smith on October 11th, 2013 7:56 pm

    Followed on Twitter :)

  127. Becky Smith on October 11th, 2013 7:57 pm

    ….and liked on FB!

  128. Suzanne Austenfeld on October 11th, 2013 9:35 pm

    I love her recipes! They are perfect for me (hypoglycemic and celiac and lactose intolerant) and for my husband (type 1 diabetic). follow both her blog and Facebook page.

  129. Debs Brown on October 12th, 2013 5:23 am

    Well, this is superb! I’d never even heard such things existed, but am thrilled that they do, and that they have such lovely familiar bakes in them too. I’ve only been wheat free for six months and am finding it rather a shock when it comes to sweet things; knowing I need to cut back on sugar too doesn’t help – but this sounds like the solution to all my woes! Thanks for the review, really helpful.

  130. Kate earl on October 12th, 2013 3:43 pm

    I’m so excited to try these recipes! Thank you so much!

    • Shirley on October 21st, 2013 2:24 pm

      Hi Kate–Congrats again! Your copy should arrive in a few days! I know you will love it. :-) Oh and it looks like this giveaway is the first time you’ve left a comment on gfe … welcome and, wow, what luck!


  131. Andrea on October 13th, 2013 5:47 pm

    Thank you so much! I’m really looking forward to trying these recipes.

    • Shirley on October 21st, 2013 3:58 pm

      Congrats, Andrea! I love seeing loyal gfe readers win giveaway prizes. :-) And this is a terrific one! You should have your copy in the next day or two. ;-)


  132. Carolyn on October 18th, 2013 11:19 pm

    Woo Hoo! I finally won! Thank you Shirley! Can’t wait to try the recipes.

    • Shirley on October 21st, 2013 4:56 pm

      Carolyn–So excited that you won!! Your copy should be there tomorrow! :-) I know you’ll enjoy trying out all of Ricki’s wonderful recipes.


  133. Marj Bernstrom on October 21st, 2013 11:43 am

    I am past the 24 hour time-frame…but I would love to win your cookbook, since now I am trying to please my mother’s 90 year old sweet tooth! She lives with me and we just discovered she has an intolerance to wheat!

    • Shirley on October 21st, 2013 5:01 pm

      Hi Marj–I’m so sorry that you weren’t able to get back to me until 4 days later, well after the 24-hour window. I hate it when that happens! :-( I do appreciate having you as a gfe reader and I do hope you’ll get to win and successfully claim your prize another time in the near future. For your mom, be sure to check out my flourless and crustless recipes in my Recipe Index first and foremost. They make gf baking so easy and are sure to please your mom. :-)


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