Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Gluten-Free Spritz Cookies

August 7th, 2009 by Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN


Pressed cookies are fun to make and a delight to eat. Try this version to create your own wonderful tradition. If making dairy-free, you will need to adjust for liquid differences of butter substitutes. Use this guide: if you choose a soft butter substitute, use a medium egg. If you use a solid margarine, use a large egg. Do not use X-large eggs in any case. Remember not to shake down or pack the flour in a measuring cup, rather use a measured scoop and scrape the top with a flat blade to level.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups fine white rice flour
  • 2 tablespoon tapioca starch or cornstarch
  • 1 cup butter or substitute (not the light kind that contains water)
  • 1 cup fructose or sugar
  • ½ teaspoon gluten-free almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon gluten-free real vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg

 

Equipment

Cookie sheets. Shiny baking sheets work best. Dark sheets need a lower temperature of 350 degrees to avoid browning bottoms.

Process

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk together with wire whip. Cream butter and fructose. Blend in egg and extracts. Stir dry ingredients into the creamed mixture with a large wooden spoon. Blend well but do not beat. Dough should be soft. Chill dough 10 minutes.

Add a quarter cup of dough to the cookie press to check dough consistency. If dough is too sticky, add a tablespoon of rice flour at a time to correct. If desired, tint dough with food coloring. Press dough into desired shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet. Decorate!

Bake 8 to 10 minutes depending on oven variance. Cookies are baked when surface appears dry. Allow to cool a few minutes, then remove cookies to wire rack. Makes about 6 dozen depending on shapes.


Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Gluten-Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

August 7th, 2009 by Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

gluten free peanut butter cookiesThese delicious, easy-to-make (gluten-free, cane sugar-free, dairy-free) cookies were a sensation when they were first introduced as -- peanut butter kisses. They remain a standby today. Instead of topping the dough with a milk chocolate candy, this recipe incorporates unsweetened chocolate into the dough and uses fructose for those of us who do not eat sugar. Both eggs and peanuts are nutritionally dense, providing an excellent source of high quality protein. Chocolate ups the mineral and antioxidant value.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup gluten-free peanut butter
  • ¾ cup fructose
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free real vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 oz. shaved unsweetened chocolate

 

Equipment

Cookie sheets. Shiny baking sheets work best. Dark sheets need a lower temperature of 350 degrees to avoid browning bottoms.

Process

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream peanut butter, baking powder and fructose. Beat in egg and extracts. Dough should be firm.

Form into 1 inch balls then make desired shapes directly onto ungreased baking sheets.

  • Press with a fork to make flat shapes.
  • Roll into logs.
  • Form bells or other shapes with your fingers.
  • Make an indent with your fingertip, then fill with a fourth teaspoon of a fruit spread or a chocolate drop.

 

Bake 8 minutes depending on oven variance. Be careful not to brown. Allow to cool a few minutes, then remove cookies to wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen depending on shapes.

Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Gluten-Free Thumb Print Cookies

August 7th, 2009 by Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

These scrumptious cookies are rich in calcium and protein. They are delicate and tasty, yet easy to make.

Ingredients
  • 11/2 cups fine white rice flour
  • ½ cup tapioca starch
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup fructose or sugar
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks) or gluten-free margarine (not the light kind that contains water)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup fruit jam (not jelly) such as raspberry, strawberry, apricot, pineapple

 

Equipment

Cookie sheets.

Process

Mix flours, salt, xanthan gum, and fructose in a medium bowl.  Using a pastry blender, cut butter into the flour mixture until it looks like coarse crumbs.  Mix in the beaten egg and sour cream to combine. Form into a disc shape, then wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate a half hour to chill dough for easy handling.

To make cookies, form teaspoonsful of dough into balls, spacing about an inch apart on lightly greased baking sheets.  Using your thumb, make a deep indentation without going through bottom of cookie.  Fill indents with ½ teaspoon jam, then sprinkle tops with walnuts.  Bake about 15 minutes, or until golden.  Cool on wire rack.

A five year old Canadian boy, diagnosed with severe autism, was cured when the true cause of his mental disorder was found to be celiac disease and he was treated with a gluten-free diet and nutritional supplements.

Photo originally posted to Flickr as "Jack"

Photo originally posted to Flickr as "Jack"

His autism was cured because he was never really autistic in the first place. He had celiac disease, an immune response to wheat, barley, rye and oats that damages the intestines leading to malabsorption of nutrients.

Gluten-restricted diets have become increasingly popular among parents seeking treatment for children diagnosed with autism.(1)

What if certain children who are diagnosed with autism actually have celiac disease?

Neurological disorders stemming from celiac disease have been widely documented in medical literature. Some of these conditions include poor balance, tremors, migraines, chronic fatigue, schizophrenia, epilepsy, apathy, depression, insomnia, behavioral disorders, inability to concentrate and anxiety.(2)

Many of these issues are due to nutritional deficiencies resulting from the intestinal damage that celiac disease causes. If caused by celiac disease, they improve once gluten is removed from the diet and the intestine heals and functions properly.

Genuis and Bouchard, researchers at the University of Alberta, recently published the case of the 5-year-old boy who had been diagnosed with severe autism at a specialty clinic for autistic spectrum disorders. After an initial investigation suggested underlying celiac disease and varied nutrient deficiencies, a gluten-free diet was instituted.(1) His diet and supplements were adjusted to secure nutritional sufficiency.

The patient's gastrointestinal symptoms rapidly resolved, and signs and symptoms suggestive of autism progressively abated.(1)

This case is an example of a common malabsorption syndrome (celiac disease) associated with central nervous system dysfunction and suggests that in some cases, nutritional deficiency may be a cause of developmental delay.

Genuis and Bouchard recommended that all children with neurodevelopmental problems

Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Gluten-Free Apricot Jam Cookies

August 6th, 2009 by Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

These yummy cookies are easy to make and store well in the freezer.

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup butter or GF margarine or transfat free shortening
  • 2/3 cup fructose
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca or cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons GF baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp xanthan gum
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
Equipment

Cookie sheet.

Process

Beat first five ingredients together in the mixing bowl.

Blend dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then add to wet ingredients in the mixer.

Mix lightly until dough forms.  Make one inch balls.  Place evenly on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Using thumb, indent a hole in the middle then fill with apricot jam or your choice of other fruit jam.

If you like, sprinkle tops with chopped nuts as a variation.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes.  Do not allow the bottoms to brown.  Sprinkle with fructose while hot for added sweetness.

Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Gluten-Free Sausage Stew That Satisfies

August 6th, 2009 by Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

This nutritious, richly flavored stew with rice, peas and vegetables is easy to make and so tasty, it will be a favorite of the whole family.

Ingredients
  • 1 pound roll fresh sausage (found with the breakfast meats)
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½ pound dried green peas
  • 1 cup dry brown rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, minced or ½ teaspoon dried sage

 

Equipment

Heavy, deep pot with lid.

Process

Remove plastic covering from sausage roll and discard. Add sausage to a heavy pot, breaking it up with a fork.  Fry over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring with the fork or spatula until lightly browned.  Add onions and cook until nicely browned, being careful not to burn them.  Good stew needs good browning for rich flavor.

Add peas, rice, water, bay leaf, carrots, celery, salt and pepper.  Bring to boil, stirring, then lower heat to simmer.  Cover and cook 45 minutes, or until peas are soft.  Adjust water to desired consistency. Serves 4.

Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Gluten-Free Flat Bread on the Grill

August 6th, 2009 by Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Too hot to bake in the kitchen? Try this hearty flatbread on the grill! Goes great with whatever else is cooking. And don't forget -- yeast is an important nutrient.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 ¼ cup fine white rice flour
  • ¼ cup millet flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon (1 packet) gluten-free yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large fresh egg
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce (flat)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • ¾ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp rosemary (optional)
  • olive oil to brush tops of bread

 

Equipment

 8 pieces of aluminum foil cut into 6 inch squares and brushed with olive oil.

Process

Yeast needs warmth to work, so heat oven to just below 100 degrees, turn off.  Meanwhile, wisk the brown rice flour, white rice flour, millet flour, and xanthan gum together in a medium bowl (flour mixture).  If flours are cold from being refrigerated, place in oven to warm.  Set cold egg in a small bowl of hot water to warm.

In a warmed mixing bowl, add water, yeast and honey.  Let stand 4 minutes to proof (if does not foam, yeast is too old).  Slowly beat in egg, oil, applesauce and flour mixture to thoroughly combine, about 3 minutes.  Let stand in bowl in oven for 20 minutes to raise.

Remove mixture from oven and fold in salt, (rosemary) and tapioca flour (mixed first).  Mixture should come together away from sides of the bowl.  Form into 8 palm-size very soft balls and place on aluminum squares.  If too sticky to form balls, add a teaspoon of white flour at a time.  If too dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time.  Flatten into disks ½ inch thick for foccacia type or 1/4 for crisper bread (shown in photo).  A silicon spatula makes it easiest to shape.

Brush tops with additional olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt (optional).  Let rise in the warmed oven for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat the grill to 350 degrees F.  Arrange squares on the hot grill surface.  Cover with the lid and bake for about 6 minutes or until the bread has firmed.  Turn over and remove the foil.  Bake until browned on the outside, about 6 minutes more. 

Makes 8 breads.

Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Walnut Cake

August 6th, 2009 by Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Yes, cake can be both nutritious and delicious! Chocolate and nuts are great sources of antioxidants and minerals like calcium, copper, potassium and zinc for strength and vitality -- and good for the mind. Bitter chocolate (unsweetened) is unadulterated pure chocolate liqour that gives a deep flavor.

Ingredients
  • 1 ¼ cup fine white rice flour
  • ½ cup tapioca starch
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons GF baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ scant teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2/3 cup fructose 
  • ½ cup GF margarine or coconut oil
  • 2 large cold eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2/3 cup rice milk or soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon GF vanilla
  • 1 square bitter chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

 

Equipment

9 inch round cake or springform pan.

Process

Set oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease then flour a 9 inch round cake pan. Lining the bottom with a circle of wax paper cut to fit will make removing this moist cake easier, or use a spring-form pan if you have one.

In a medium bowl, blend the first 6 dry ingredients and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the fructose and margarine or oil for a minute.  Then, add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another minute.  Blend in rice milk or other liquid and applesauce.  Next, lightly mix in the dry ingredients until smooth.  Last, fold in the chocolate and walnuts with a large wooden spoon. 

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 35 minutes.  Toothpick inserted into center of cake should come out clean.  Allow to rest in pan for 5 minutes then remove to cool on wire rack.  Frost if desired.

Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Gluten-Free Pennsylvania Dutch Cabbage Slaw

August 5th, 2009 by Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Here is how my great grandmother made fresh cabbage slaw. With a dozen children on the farm, she was a busy lady keeping them healthy and well fed. This side uses the highly nourishing cabbage plant - scientifically proven to be good for the gut. Plus, here's a great way to use unpasteurized apple cider or rice vinegar...valuable probiotic foods that restore friendly microbes.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups shredded fresh cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons fructose or honey 
  • 2 tablespoon unpasteurized apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Black pepper and a sprinkle of salt to taste
Equipment

Serving bowl.

Process

Mix all ingredients in a serving bowl. That's it. Goes great with

sandwiches, burgers and most everything. Makes 2 cups.

Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

Gluten-Free Chicken and Brown Rice Soup

August 5th, 2009 by Cleo Libonati, RN, BSN

This simple recipe will produce a rich, delicious and highly nutritious soup.  Commonly recommended for people suffering from a cold, chicken soup is great for anyone at anytime.  Chicken thighs in this recipe contain zinc which is commonly low in people with celiac disease. 

Ingredients
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 pieces natural chicken thighs with neck and giblets
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup carrots, sliced
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup brown rice
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

 

Equipment

Large heavy pot.

Process

Add water, and chicken parts to a large heavy pot.  Bring to boil, removing white foamy scum that rises to surface.  Reduce heat to low medium and add rice and vegetables.  Cook 25 minutes or longer until meat is soft.