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Happy new year to all

In ringing in 2013, we can commit to ourselves for a healthier new year. One way to be involved in healthy eating is through gluten-free recipes. Each year that goes by we hear of more health problems from an overindulgence of gluten.

Not all our doing, gluten comes to our diet through so many more things than just bread. I would encourage you to do an Internet search of “hidden gluten.” In this fashion, you can make informed choices about which products to feed yourself and your family. Another major influence in reducing gluten in our diet is to make our own baked goods from gluten-free ingredients.

Each year, our grocery stores stock more and more of these gluten-free choices. As well, gluten-free cookbooks abound in the marketplace. When making a gluten-free recipe I would encourage you to keep notes on how things turned out, including any suggestions you might make for improvements.

I would encourage you to consider trying a gluten-free diet for just 15 days. As you embark on this endeavor, write up some notes about how you feel on a daily basis. How you feel when you get up in the morning, how you feel during the day? Do you have any periods of sleepiness? And last, how do you sleep each night? After going gluten-free for 15 days, compare the notes of how you felt two weeks ago to how you feel today. You may be very surprised.

Gluten with children can be especially difficult in behavioral problems and the ability to learn and retain. If you have any kids in the house enroll them into your program and have them do it with you. They can help you shop for the ingredients and make the recipes. When going out to eat it is OK to bring your own gluten-free breads or muffins so you won’t feel tempted by the bread basket. Also, you can mention to your server your gluten-free preference. You can be sure today’s restaurants are familiar with this.

Let’s start the new year off with something sweet.

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

¾ cup garfava bean flour

½ cup sorghum flour

1 cup cornstarch

1 cup tapioca flour

½ tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 sticks unsalted butter

1 Tbl pure vanilla extract

1½ cups chocolate chips

1 cup toasted pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350, line two baking pans with parchment paper.

Sift together all the dry ingredients, except for the sugars. In a mixing bowl cream the sugar with the butter then beat in the eggs and vanilla, scraping as you go. Add the dry ingredients and mix slowly to just incorporate. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop the cookies onto your baking sheets with a soup spoon or a number 40 scoop. Bake for 10 minutes until well set on the edges. When removed from the oven allow to cool for 5 to 8 minutes before transferring warm cookies to a wire rack.

Look for Chef Darrel’s blog on the website of our sister paper, Daily-Chronicle.com. Anyone with questions or comments for Chef Darrel is welcome to call him at 630-235-0672.

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