Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Making alterations to recipes

Most of the baked goods that I've made have been from recipes which I needed to adapt. I haven't found a lot of recipes that have no wheat, eggs, and dairy! I'm constantly learning more about how to succesfully adapt recipes for my needs. Here are some things I've learned, and resources to check out. Please share things you've learned, too!

Successfully altering recipes requires patience and optimism. It takes trying and trying again! I've made goods that didn't turn out very well at all. That's too bad, but it's got to happen! The great thing is that even my flops have almost always been turned into something else satisfactory(waffle stuck on iron crumbled as I scraped it; it become bread crumbs for chicken tenders, a yeast bread I made was flat and heavy and a little too strong in bean and yeast flavor, but was excellent broken into small chunks for meatloaf).

One more suggestion as you experiment: have a notebook handy for recording. Keep track of how you adapted a particular recipe. If it's simply a new recipe you're trying, record where you got the recipe from. When you and your kids have tried the finished product, rate how well you liked it. (I have a quick check +, check ++, check -, etc. system, with check +++ being the highest possible rating). If you think something could be improved(ie taste or texture), record that. Then develop a plan for next time. For example, maybe the muffin you made was crumbly and tasted too strong of baking powder. Decide on an ingredient that might help remedy that(ie use flax seed meal for your egg substitute rather than the vinegar/b. powder/liquid substitute you used).

The next posts discuss resources and ideas for substituting wheat, dairy, and nuts. The egg substitution post is now under Feb 10, 2009.

Many of the recipes on this site are recipes I have adapted from the recipes I already have at home(my mom's recipe file, cookbooks): recipes for things my kids couldn't have. The wonderful thing about learning to adapt recipes is that it opens up a world of possibilities for your children. My 3 year old knows that when she looks at her favorite cake decorating magazine, the pictures she sees are full of allergens for her. But she knows that her mom can make a tasty cake like the ones she sees! When she goes to a party and the kids are decorating cookies made of the wheat, egg, nut, and dairy products she can't have, she knows that we can go home and make some of her own cookies to decorate! She has the freezer stocked(okay, when I'm on top of things) with homemade, tasty treats that she can take to parties and meetings at a moments notice. She has shared some of these with others, and they enjoy them too! And most of the items she eats are more healthy than what the other children have. She enjoys her pumpkin cookies, zucchini cookies, and muffins that are made with whole-grain brown rice flour, whole-grain oats, flax seed meal, vegetable puree, etc!

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