This is a heavy book, with beautiful photographs, but not overdone with pictures to the point that there aren't enough recipes. While the cover boasts of more than 350 recipes, my personal use is limited due to our allergies. The beginning of this book has an introduction which doesn't get into the details of the plan. It does not describe very well what the Satisfying, Energizing, and Fuel Pull recipe labels mean. If you're not interested in losing weight or following their plan, just ignore them. The intro also gives a little heads up that some of the ingredients and terminology in this cookbook are uncommon and may be unfamiliar.
I wasn't about to go buy any weird ingredients, so I was glad to see that some recipes are marked "NSI," which stands for "No Special Ingredients." The authors made an effort to identify dairy-free recipes as "DF," but their execution wasn't perfect. They do label many of their recipes DF, but they omit the label on some that would very easily be adapted (ie. use coconut oil instead of butter and both are listed as options in the ingredients) to DF without compromising flavor. A vast majority of the recipes are already gluten-free. Another area that I felt there was room for improvement was in the directions. A friend who's more familiar with THM said that many of their recipes used to not list measurements at all. I guess they've come a long way, since measurements are listed, but the directions aren't always accurate. If you're familiar with cooking, hopefully you'll catch the mistakes quickly. For example, several of the crock-pot recipes say to cook on low "all day" or high for 6-8 hours. Every crock pot may be different, but anything cooked on high is well done after 4 (and on low after 8) hours in mine, even if it was frozen solid when I started it. Cooking thawed drumsticks on high for 8 hours would have resulted in soup. No way would we have lifted them out of the crock-pot intact, no matter what utensil we used!
We tried the following recipes so far, which were all labeled NSI, DF:
Wipe Your Mouth BBQ: We really enjoyed this slow-cooker recipe that makes a sauce blend of tomato, pineapple and seasonings (we used only 1/8 tsp. cayenne and enjoyed it), and next time we will double the meat so we don't have as much excess sauce and we'll have leftovers! My entire family enjoyed dunking tortilla chips into the meat or eating it over rice. Definitely a make-again recipe.
Lemon Herb Drummies: This was one of those crock-pot recipes that makes your mouth water when adding the ingredients and smelling them cook all day, but the end result is mild. The meat didn't take in any flavor, and when we used rice to cook up the sauce, we decided this recipe wasn't worth making again.
Egg Roll in a Bowl: Knowing our children aren't cabbage fans, we halved the recipe for my husband and myself. We enjoyed it, and have been making similar recipes of fried cabbage with sausage in the past. There was a flavor lacking to make it taste more like real eggrolls, but I'm not sure what it is. A good meal if you like cabbage, but this won't curb a craving for egg rolls like we'd hoped.
Papster Thighs: Hands down excellent recipe. Budget friendly, very little prep, and the end result is restaurant-good. One could easily vary the seasonings to taste.
Green Fries: I really dislike green beans, and this is the only way I've found I like them other than in small amounts in soup. Enough said.
Sweet Potato Fries: We enjoyed the seasoning on these, but even following the "tips" only the fries that were less than 1/4" in width were at all crisp. Still, this was better than a similar recipe we tried. Will make them again and try cut thin and evenly.
Apple Crumble: I did not make this using "Gentle Sweet" because I'm not buying specialized ingredients for one recipe, so I am reviewing this having made it with straight up unhealthy white sugar. Less than 4T. sugar to serve my whole family dessert is still pretty darn good! This was okay. Half the family preferred another recipe which gets a more crisp top that is reminiscent of streusel instead of this recipe.
I would recommend this book to others searching for real food gluten-free recipes, regardless of whether they are looking to lose weight. If you cannot eat eggs or dairy, like us, you may want to borrow a book from a friend or the library before deciding whether to purchase it, since the number of recipes available to you will be greatly reduced. I have heard there are THM Allergy support groups online. If you're interested in losing weight, though, you may need to purchase "The Trim Healthy Mama Plan" by Pearl Barrett & Serene Allison separately to understand the premise behind these recipes to try manage your weight.
***In the interest of full-disclosure: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. I was not required to give a positive review; my opinions are my own.