In case you haven't heard, big news arrived to the gluten free community last week.
From the FDA:
"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a final rule that defines what characteristics a food has to have to bear a label that proclaims it "gluten- free." The rule also holds foods labeled "without gluten," "free of gluten," and "no gluten" to the same standard."
This is welcome news to the 3 million Americans who have Celiac Disease and the many more who may have gluten sensitivity. Setting labeling standards like these helps to ensure that food manufacturers are giving consumers the information they want and need to make informed purchases. But reading a label is only a small piece of the puzzle. We have - in this country for sure - become awfully reliant on pre-prepped, manufactured food... much of which contains gluten. Learning to cook gluten-free is a crucial part of sucessfully adhering to this way of life.
And with that thought, I'd like to officially launch the newest Feature column to the Healthy Aperture Blog - Buy the Book.
In this column we'll explore book recommendations for healthy living. Some will be cookbooks, others may be more "nutrition handbook". But all will be the types of references worthy of adding to your own bookshelf.
Up first, Fast and Simple Gluten-Free by registered dietitian, Gretchen Brown (disclaimer: Gretchen is also the Features Editor here for the Gluten Free Kitchen, the blogger behind Kumquat and a personal friend.)
Title: Fast & Simple Gluten-Free
Author: Gretchen Brown, RD
Focus: 30 minutes or less, gluten-free recipes, family-friendly meals
Why to buy: The photography in this book is (as Gretchen's photography always is) inspirational and empowering. Being diagnosed with Celiac Disease can feel - as I understand it from friends - like a prison sentence because the perception is that food will never taste good again, will be complicated and will be boring. Thumbing through Gretchen's book is appetizing to the point where you can't wait to get in the kitchen to cook.
Added bonus: The recipes in the book are well-rounded, meaning that you could cook from this book no matter what the dietary needs are of your family or dinner guests. While Gretchen offers new ways to make traditional gluten-filled favorites (think pizza and muffins), she also focuses on recipes that naturally lend themselves to being gluten-free (think chicken enchiladas made with corn tortillas)
How did the book cook? I never like to recommend a book of recipes without testing at least one. I actually served as a tester when the book was being written, so I'd already tested the Pina Colada Cupcakes (page 159). They were delicious. Using coconut flour and a gf all-purpose blend that Gretchen recommends, they were a little denser than traditional "boxed mix" American cupcakes. But they were actually more tender and over the top yummy in flavor, a trade off that's completely worth it in my opinion. I thought it best that I test out another recipe post-publication though before recommending it here on the blog. I made the Cinnamon-Almond Cookies (page 125). Another success! [My husband ate like 5 when he got home from work]. I'm running a variation on Gretchen's recipe below with a few tweaks I made (note: Gretchen's version uses regular sugar and egg, rather than the combo of flax and coconut sugar/Swerve and makes 1 dozen larger cookies, rather than my 24 smaller ones). Suffice to say these cookies - courtsey of the husband review - are a tasty choice for any family member or guest, gluten-free or not.
(*prices subject to change and may contain affliate links)
Soft and Chewy Cinnamon-Almond Cookies
Ingredients (24 cookies)
- 1 tablespoon flax meal
- 4 tablespoons water, divided
- 1 cup (140 g) almond meal
- 6 tablespoons (75 g) coconut sugar or sugar
- 6 tablespoons (75 g) Swerve sweetener (erythritol) or sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine flax meal and 3 tablespoons water; let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine almond meal, sugar, Swerve and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Stir in remaining water and flax slurry until well combined.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop dough by scant tablespoons onto paper; flatten to 1/2-inch thickness (spray hands or bottom of a cup with cooking spray to avoid sticking). Bake for 15 minutes in batches. Cool on a wire rack.