When preparing a meal for yourself or your family, how do you go about it? Do you order out, go to a nearby drive-thru, or pop something in the microwave? Or do you grab a favorite recipe, gather some ingredients, and make your family a home-cooked meal? In today’s fast-paced society, fewer people are choosing the latter. After all, why not save some time by tossing a store-bought ready-to-eat meal in the microwave rather than setting aside an hour or so to make the same dish from scratch, right? The problem is, whatever time you save by choosing the fast-food option isn't worth it when your body is forced to digest all of the extra salt, sugar, preservatives, and other addi-tives so commonly found in ready-made foods. When you make the food in your own kitchen, there’s no question what is in it! This brings me to recipes. You use them quite often, right? I’ve heard several people mention that they would like to cook with healthier ingredients, but they are not sure how to include these in their tried-and-true recipes. So here I will list several substitutions every savvy baker should know about.
#1. 100% whole wheat flour instead of refined flour, also known as "all purpose", "unbleached", or "white" flour. Substitute ¾ cup of whole wheat flour for every cup of all purpose flour since whole wheat is heavier. Please remember that any pre-ground whole wheat flour, when left to sit for too long, can spoil, so be sure to purchase in small amounts or (as my family does) grind your own from whole grains! Nothing beats freshly-ground flour! #2. Honey or maple syrup instead of sugar (white or brown). Since both honey and maple syrup are sweeter than sugar, you should substitute ¾ to ½ cup of them for every cup of sugar. No need to worry over exact amounts, just remember not to swap evenly unless extra sweetness is desired. Due to honey's liquid form, you should also remove ¼ cup of another liquid ingredient in your recipe (such as milk) for every cup of honey or maple syrup used. #3. With the high price of eggs these days, it's always nice to have a great egg substitute on hand to use in baked goods! Substitute for 1 egg: Whisk one tablespoon of chia seeds with one cup of water or 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for approx. 15 min. Ta-da! You'll hardly be able to tell a difference when you taste the final product!