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Help! My daughter's gone vegetarian

Karen GilmanHi, I am Karen Gilman and I am here to celebrate with you your daughter’s choice to ‘go vegetarian.’ You are here because you worry your daughter will not get the nutrients she needs or you are looking for tips on how to make healthy vegetarian meals. I can help put your mind at ease and give you the tools to support this vegetarian journey.

My daughter's a vegetarian... Now what?

Your daughter has declared she no longer wants to eat meat.  How is she going to get enough protein, calcium or iron? Can her growing body get enough of these nutrients and the calories its needs if she does not eat any meat?

Not to worry. She’ll be fine as long as she eats the right foods. I know only too well how challenging it can be to get kids to eat properly.  Boys, too, can be picky eaters, though they don’t face the same nutritional challenges as girls.

You don’t want her to become dependent on multivitamins to bridge the gap. Ensure she gets the nutrients she needs from the food she eats.

So What Are You Waiting For?

Let's get started!

7 Simple Tips For Baking Without Eggs or Dairy

7 Simple Tips For Baking Without Eggs or Dairy

If you have a child at home who has given up eating anything that comes from an animal then you might be wondering how you are going to make those brownies or cookies everyone loves.  Well  yes, it is possible to make delicious baked goods without using eggs or dairy. Realize though that if you are making a cake that has 7 eggs then substitutions may not work so best to look for something similar without eggs. Most of the time you can make easy substitutions and not compromise on the taste or texture.

Here are my 7 simple tips for baking without eggs or dairy:

1. Use unsweetened plant based milk instead of cow’s milk
Most of the time I use unsweetened almond milk when I bake but you can really use any of the non-dairy options with a 1:1 ratio.

2. Use coconut oil instead of butter
I keep two kinds of coconut oil on hand; one that has a coconut oil taste and one that has the coconut flavour removed.  The one without the coconut flavour is slightly more processed but I find in some recipes the coconut flavour takes away from the the taste of the treat.  Note, you can usually substitute an oil instead of butter unless you are making something that needs the butter like in the case of flaky pie crusts. If using oil, I always use grapeseed oil.  You can use a 1:1 ratio.

3. Use ground flax or chia seeds to replace eggs
The simple formula for this egg replacement is 1 tablespoon of flax or chia mixed with 3
tablespoons of water.  Let this sit for about 15 minutes until it forms a gel-like texture.

4. Use non-dairy yogurt for yogurt
There are so many non-dairy yogurts available these days it is just a matter or trial and error to find which one you like. You can choose from soy, almond, cashew or coconut.  Use the unflavoured, unsweetened version if possible. If need be, adjust the sugar you add if you can’t find an unsweetened option.

5. Soak cashew to use as a cream cheese substitute
New to the vegan/non-dairy baking scene is using soaked cashews instead of cheese or cream cheese. This requires a bit of pre-planning as the cashews usually need to be soaked beforehand. I was a bit skeptical but I made these lemon squares and my kids loved them.

6. Substitute plant-based milk with a touch of vinegar for buttermilk
If a recipe calls for 1 cup of buttermilk you can use your plant-based milk of choice with 1            tablespoon of  apple cider  vinegar. Pour the apple cider vinegar into a glass measuring cup and then add the non-dairy milk.

7. Use aquafaba instead of meringue
This may come as a surprise but this recipe calls for using the liquid that is in a can of chickpeas. Take 1/2 cup of chickpea water and place in a glass bowl.  Whip as you would meringue,until soft peaks form and gradually add a few tablespoons of sugar. Gently spoon on to your favourite pie and then place under the broiler for a few minutes to brown. You can find a recipe for lemon meringue pie with aquafaba here.

There you have it! Some easy ways to substitute eggs and dairy when baking. Do you have any other tips you’d like to share? Let me know.

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Rich and Creamy Chocolate Tart (Gluten-Free/Vegan)

Rich and Creamy Chocolate Tart (Gluten-Free/Vegan)

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I have been thinking about what special treat to make for my family. My girls are big chocolate fans but my husband isn’t. This is unfortunate for him as he will be outnumbered this Valentine’s Day and I am doing the baking!

What I like about the new Canada Food Guide

What I like about the new Canada Food Guide

Hot off the press is the new Canadian Food Guide and though I don’t usually pay much attention to food guides, I am happy to say I am impressed with some of the elements of this one.  Here are my favourite aspects: