Great Article from the Heirloom Girl Website

When I first heard of vegans I wondered what in the world they actually ate? Without meat, dairy and eggs, what’s left to cook with? When I pictured a vegan meal it was either raw carrot sticks on a plate or bland steamed veggies. Day after day of eating this fare was just too much to imagine. Little did I know that a few short years down the road I would be marrying a vegan and rethinking what I was eating.

My greatest challenge as a new wife was reinventing my favorite recipes to do without the tried and true trio of meat, dairy and eggs. At that time I’d rather crochet an afghan than cook supper, so trying to whip up a hearty vegan meal required some real imagination.

Through the years I actually started to enjoy cooking, instead of thinking of it as a chore. Especially once I became more immersed in heirlooms and the beautiful dishes which can be made with them. I soon translated my love of crafts into creating art with food.

So, with the backdrop set, this week I’ll be starting a new series entitled “Cooking Without.” Throughout the month of March we will be covering substitutes you can use in your kitchen to replace animal products thus translating your family favorites into new vegan/vegetarian recipes!

Note: As someone who grew up eating meat and animal products, please know I have no issues with those who do choose to include animal products in their diet. This information is provided as a fun alternative to your favorite recipes.

Cooking Without: Eggs
As a kid in 4-H I raised my own flock of chickens. They were strictly for pets and eggs. I couldn’t bare the thought of eating my own birds then, even though I wouldn’t bat an eye at eating a store bought chicken.

Anyways after raising my “girls” from chicks, graduation day came when I had enough eggs to make my own homemade angel food cake. It was like the sheep to shawl competition, everything had come full circle. I can still taste that awesome light cake. My efforts had paid off, sweetly. What I am about to share with you will not however be the solution to a vegan lofty angel food cake. This is one case where you have to have the real thing to succeed. However, these egg replacers will hold their own in most every other recipe.

Ener-G Egg Replacer
This product is gluten-free and can be purchased in a 16 oz package which is the equivalent of 100 eggs. It is made from a combination of potato starch, tapioca flour, leavening and a few other ingredients which you can actually read. This product was my answer as a newbie vegan. Gasp! Finally I could make chocolate cakes again! For one egg all you need is 1 1/2 teaspoons dry Egg Replacer and 2 tablespoons water. To read more about this awesome product, click here.

Flax Seed Meal
Flax seed meal has many benefits, such as being high in Omega-3 fatty acid. I recommend adding it to raw smoothies, raw granola bars, ect. However, it also works great as an egg substitute. To simulate one egg mix together 1 tablespoon flax seed meal to 3 tablespoons water. Let it sit for a few minutes and then add to your favorite recipe. (If the recipe is cooked you will loose the benefits of the Omega-3 but still have extra fiber.)

Chia Seed
Chia seeds pack a lot of punch in a tiny package. These seeds contain Omega-3 fatty acid, magnesium, zinc, niacin, iron, copper, antioxidants and more. They can also be used as a great egg substitute. To simulate 1 egg, simply mix 1 tablespoon ground chia seed to 3 tablespoons water and let rest until it forms into a gel-like substance (about 5 minutes). Then add it to your recipe.

Arming your kitchen with one or all three of these egg replacers is a great start to making more of your baked goods vegan. They will not work for adding a glaze on breads, but we’ll cover that later.


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