Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing, Baby...Says Who???

One of the first things you have to figure out when newly diagnosed with food allergies is how and what to substitute.  Oh the endless possibilities...

What do you substitute for dairy (cow's milk)?  Soy milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, rice milk, etc.  My favorite is coconut milk (although it does have a hint of sweetness).  If you are making mashed potatoes or a cream-based soup, I would stay away from this one and go with rice milk or soy milk. If you need butter in something, Earth Balance makes a great vegan one that is my personal favorite.  It used to be hard to find, but I have been seeing it in all of my local grocery stores lately- even Target.  Like I needed another excuse to step foot into those endless isles of happiness.  LOL:)  If you need a substitute for buttermilk, mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of one of the milks previously mentioned.  Make sure you let it sit for a few minutes to thicken.  (I really like this version when I make Brady homemade Ranch dressing).

What can you use to replace eggs?  My favorite to use in baked goods is EnerG egg replacer.  It is a powder that you mix with water.  It does not have any flavor, but it helps your baked goods to fluff up.  A box usually lasts about 2 months in my house.  You can also use flaxseed meal and water, or in cookies, I like to use a mashed banana or applesauce.  You can also use agar powder and water or...baking powder and water mixed with vegetable oil.

I have come to despise peanut butter.  Actually all peanut products.  We buy a lot of SunButter (made from sunflower seeds) and WowButter (toasted soy).  Sesame seed butter (tahini) can also be used.  You can even get SunButter in individual portion packages and they make for great on the go snacks.  While some replacements or substitutions are not the same consistency as the real product, peanut butter replacements are the most true to form.  The taste is actually really close.  Who says the real thing is always better?

Have a gluten allergy or Celiac?  There are so many alternatives to wheat.  You can pick from about 15 different flours in the gluten-free section at the grocery store.  Brown rice flour, potato flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, oat flour, etc.  You may have to play around with a few to figure out which one you like the best.  I know several people who combine various flours to reach their desired consistency.  A lot of times texture can be an issue as well when finding a flour alternative. Experimenting is probably your best bet.

The possibilities really are endless when deciding what to use as a replacement.  It really all boils down to a matter of what you prefer.  Make sure you experiment, and keep trying new things.  You never know what you can come up with!

Since tomorrow is Sunday and everyone in my house will be watching football, here is a recipe for a  fun snack that everyone will love! 

Potato Skins
8 small baking potatoes
olive oil (my friend Rini has the best from Spartan Valley Olive Oil)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 c bacon bits (not Bacos- ewww)
sea salt
1/4 c finely chopped scallions
1 c Daiya cheddar shreds
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Poke several holes in each potato and brush olive oil on the skins
3. Bake on the center rack for about 30 minutes (or until fork tender)
4. Once fully baked, cut into halves and remove most of the flesh (leave about 1/4 of an inch)
5. Lightly brush the halves with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic powder and sea salt
6. Place the skins on baking sheet and return to oven
7. Bake for another 5 nminutes
8. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheddar shreds and bacon bits
9, Return to oven and bake another 5 minutes until cheddar shreds are melted
10. Remove from oven and top with scallions
Optional:  You can also top with Daiya sour cream for an extra treat or salsa if you want to make them extra jazzy.
Enjoy:)  Go Cowboys!

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