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Carol's latest book, Gluten-Free Cooking for Two, is now available. Designed for small households, each perfectly-proportioned recipe serves two people. You will eliminate unwanted leftovers and reduce waste when you cook right-size meals with the 125 recipes in this book. Enjoy!! Celebrate with me!!! Gluten-Free Cooking for Two has won two awards: named one of ten "Best Gluten-Free Cooking Books in 2017" by Healthline.com and won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Living Now Book Awards in the "Natural, Nutrition, Organic, Vegetarian" category.
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Where in the World is Carol?

Carol's in the kitchen, cooking up recipes for her next cookbook and www.CarolFenster.com

Watch for Carol on "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden," a PBS-TV show airing on your local PBS station during 2017-2018.

Join Carol at the National Western Complex, Expo Hall level 2 in Denver on April 21,10:30 am during the GFAF Expo Conference. See you there!

March is National Nutrition Month: Eat More Beans

Beans are one of the unsung heroes of the food world. In fact, I call them the “Rodney Dangerfields” of nutrition because “they don’t get no respect” and they’re often the butt of jokes (pardon the pun). But they should be a big part of a gluten-free diet. Why? One good reason is that March is National Nutrition Month.

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Using Beans and Lentils in Gluten-Free Cooking

Using Beans and Lentils in Gluten-Free Cooking

Why Eat More Beans?

The nutrients in beans are especially important to our diet because gluten-free versions of commonly-fortified wheat foods such as breads, cereal, and pasta are rarely fortified. In fact, they are often made with flours that are not nutritionally equivalent to wheat. In other words, beans can help fill in those nutrient gaps.

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I personally like beans because they are almost the perfect food—naturally gluten-free, jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber―and they are very low in fat. They help us add fiber to our diets, making it easier to reach the recommended 25 to 38 grams per days. Plus, they are extremely inexpensive and available in all stores in a wide range of varieties.

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Free Booklet on How to Use Beans

I use beans in all my cookbooks (see my books on right-hand side of my blog home page) in many versatile ways: soups, stews, salads, casseroles, and baked goods such as muffins and brownies. But I also co-authored (with Shelley Case, RD) a free, downloadable 26-recipe booklet called Pulses in the Gluten-Free Diet to show you how to use beans in all forms of baking and cooking. It was commissioned by a Canadian organization called Pulse Canada. The term “pulse” is commonly used in Europe and Canada; in the United States pulses are typically called beans so I use that term in this blog and in my books. I also use them in my weekly online subscription service at GfreeCuisine.

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The Versatility of Beans

Beans are very versatile. For example, bean flour ―such as chickpea (also known as garbanzo) or white bean―can be used to make breads, cakes, cookies, and bars. You can also grind cooked beans into purees with a food processor and then use the puree to replace some of the fat in baked goods.

I’ve been known to add pureed beans to desserts such as brownies (see photo)

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies are easy desserts.

Pureed beans or bean flours can make Chocolate Brownies stay moist longer.

to boost the nutrient content. The advantage of using bean flours and bean purees is that they add moisture to baked goods and prolong their shelf life so they don’t get stale as quickly. Pureed beans (or lentils) can also be used as a binder in savory dishes such as meatloaf. And, if course we love hummus (a dip made from chickpeas).

How Much?

Experts recommend 1 ½ cups of beans per week. Stretched out over 7 days, that’s hardly ¼ cup per day… an amount easily achieved. When beans are the main ingredient…such as my homemade chili…it’s easy to get at least half of the weekly quota in one meal.

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Tips on Using Beans

The booklet discusses how to prepare dry beans from scratch in time-saving ways, such as using slow-cookers. If you choose to use canned beans, however, buy low-salt brands or rinse the canned beans until the water runs clear to remove 35 to 40 percent of the sodium.

Finally, if you aren’t accustomed to eating beans start adding them to your diet slowly…perhaps in ¼ cup increments so your body adjusts gradually to the increased fiber as you gradually work up to the recommended 1/12 cups per week. And, drink plenty of water to handle the increased fiber. So eat more beans and download your free copy of Pulses in the Gluten-Free Diet today!

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