Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Guest Dietitian This Week

This week we have a "Guest Dietitian" and I'm keeping it in the family.  Jessica Beacom is my nephew Dean's wife.  They are in the process of building a house in Boulder, Colorado (I lived there in the early 70's).  They have 2 beautiful little girls and one just started walking (running).

Jessica is a very busy wife, mom and worker but finds time for some of her passions.  She enjoys running, gardening, knitting, sewing and needle felting (don't ask me what it is).  She is an avid home cook and baker with more than 20 years of experience in both home and commercial kitchens.  She has been a RD for 10 years.

After the birth of their second daughter, Jessica was diagnosed with an "Egg Allergy."  This almost devastated her and her cooking/baking enjoyment.  However, she has taken up the challenge to learn how to make great tasting food without eggs.  She is learning how to replace eggs in her family's favorite baked goods.  Not one to give up easily, Jessica can be found most days experimenting with new ways to replace eggs.  This has led to her being able to keep the pantry and freezer well stocked with healthy and delicious baked goods and wholesome meals.

I'm not sure how many of you might have the egg allergy or know someone that does, but hopefully this blog today and tomorrow will give you/them some help.  Please spread the word about this subject for us.  Thanks.

Egg Allergy:

Egg allergies are the second most common allergy in childhood.  Most children will grow out of this allergy by the age of five years, however some never do.  The onset of egg allergy in adulthood is rather uncommon though possible following a period of extreme stress, illness or infection, which can cause a disruption in the type and amount of good bacteria in the intestinal tract.

Egg-free baking isn't just for those with egg allergies.  Many people avoid eggs because they follow a vegan diet (no animal products)  or because they've run out of eggs at home and don't want to go out to the store for more.  But bottom line is that you just can't leave the eggs out of a recipe.

Eggs perform different functions in each recipe so depending on what you're making you may need different egg substitutes.  For example, eggs serve as a leavening agent in cakes giving them a light and fluffy texture, in baked goods such as cookies and muffins, the eggs add moisture and act as a binder to hold dry ingredients together.

Also consider whether or not the flavor of the egg substitute is appropriate for the recipe.  Mashed bananas or applesauce will lend a slightly sweet flavor to the final product (think pancakes, cookies, muffins, etc.) so if you're making something savory like lasagna or meatloaf you''ll want to choose something else.

As a general rule, baked items that have 1 or 2 eggs in the recipe are better suited for egg replacers that those with 3 or more eggs.

When removing eggs from a recipe you have to replace them with something of a similar consistency and moisture content.  Commercial egg replacers (such as Ener-G brand) are available and work well but you can also use real food that you probably already have on hand.  If using an egg replacer, be sure to read the label.  Egg substitute is not necessarily the thing as many contain powdered or liquid egg whites.

Tomorrow I will give you some of Jessica's suggestions to get you started.  Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins is the recipe on Friday.

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