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Prairie Flavors


Cooking Gluten-Free


By Laura Araujo Y Chocolate Chip Cookies. Photos by Laura Araujo


ou might have noticed a new or growing section in your local grocery store— an area stocked with gluten-free items like pastas, breads, cake mixes, and more. Gluten is a protein found naturally in wheat, rye and barley. It’s what gives elasticity to bread dough and aids in the leavening process—among


other functions. However, for some people with an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease, consuming gluten can cause serious health problems. The only way to treat it is to completely avoid foods that contain gluten. A growing number of people are also adopting a gluten-free diet based on sensitivity to gluten. Megan Lawson of Norman, Okla., is among those who have adopted a gluten-free


diet. The Oklahoma Electric Cooperative member is also lactose intolerant, a condi- tion she has had since infancy. As an adult, she began an elimination diet to help her determine if another food allergy was causing some of the physical symptoms she was experiencing.


“I realized I had an issue with wheat when I eliminated it. A week after, I felt much better when I woke up in the morning,” she says.


Rather than focusing on all the foods containing gluten she couldn’t eat, Lawson accepted her gluten allergy as a challenge to create new recipes. “I love baking and I like to experiment,” she says. “I’ll take a regular recipe and fi gure out substitutes for the ingredients. Then I’ll do a trial run.” Some of her favorites include pizza with caulifl ower crust, brownies made with black beans, and chocolate chip cookies made with oat fl our. (Oats are naturally gluten free but are often cross-contaminated during processing, so be sure to look for certifi ed gluten-free oats.)


Lawson shares her creations with coworkers at the University of Oklahoma, where she works full-time as the note-taking coordinator for the Athletic Department while also studying as a full-time master’s student in the English Department. When cooking for friends or family who can’t eat gluten, Lawson says it’s important to avoid cross contamination of kitchen equipment and utensils. Also, be on the lookout for gluten in unexpected places including salad dressings, soy sauce and even beer. This month’s Prairie Flavors features a few of Lawson’s favorite gluten-free recipes.


For more gluten-free recipes, visit: www.fooddoodles.com, www.detoxinista.com, www. adashofcompassion.com, and www.thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com.


Chocolate Chip Cookies Yields 1 1/2 dozen cookies


Megan Lawson is an Oklahoma Electric Cooperative member who enjoys cooking gluten-free recipes.


28 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


✓ 1 cup gluten-free oats ✓ ¼ teaspoon baking soda ✓ ¼ teaspoon salt ✓ ½ cup natural peanut or almond butter ✓ 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted ✓ ½ teaspoon vanilla extract ✓ ¼ cup agave syrup or honey ✓ 1 egg


✓ ½ cup chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Process the oats in a food processor or blender to make a fi ne fl our. Combine the oat fl our, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and mix well. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, coconut oil, vanilla, agave, and the egg; mix well. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and add the chocolate chips. Bake on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet for 10 minutes or until golden.


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