Food “Subbing”: How to Revamp Recipes

website subbing

“Do you have a pass to be out of class, young lady?”
     I was 22, and it was my first day as the newly hired in-house tutor and substitute for a 6-12 private Christian school, and apparently my recently acquired pantsuit did nothing  to disguise my youthful appearance.  To my chagrin, as my conversation with the teacher progressed, I realized I was not even being mistaken for a high schooler but as one of the middle school students!
     This would not be the most embarrassing moment of my new job, though.  My crowning mortification would come a few days later in the week, when a seventh grade boy decided he’d like to invite the “new girl” he’d seen around to the first dance of the year!   (For some reason, my husband of several months thought this was hilarious!)
     Over the next couple of weeks, I even had to convince some parents that despite my youth, I was a good replacement for the retired tutor.  In time, though, staff, students, and parents alike learned that I was more than capable of fulfilling my responsibilities for the job.
“Making Over” a recipe
     In many ways, people tend to be skeptical in the beginning about substituting non-traditional ingredients in tried and true recipes.  They fear that the new ingredients will detract from the quality of the food or that they’ll mess up the whole recipe entirely by attempting to make any changes.I can tell you, though, that  most recipes are quite adaptable.  You just need to remember the few tips we’ve discussed in previous posts about exactly how to replace one set of ingredients for another.
     To help you see how to pull those tips together, I’m going to show you below how I adapted a recipe to fit my family’s needs.
An example
     Recently I was invited to brunch with some friends, and I decided to make some muffins.  I found a recipe for pumpkin muffins which looked good.The ingredients were:2 cups of raisins1 cup boiled water

3 1/2 cups white all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp cloves

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 1/4 tsp white sugar

4 eggs

2 cups cooked pumpkin

1 cup vegetable oil

Since I don’t ever use white flour or refined white sugar, I substituted 100% whole wheat flour for the white flour and Agave for the sugar.  Because I was using the Agave, it meant I needed to increase the flour amount and reduce the amount of Agave (in the end I actually reduced it more than just half).  I decided to omit the raisins, since my children don’t like “chunks” in their muffins; and because I wanted to add protein to the muffins,  I substituted soy milk for the water.  In addition, I switched the “bad” fat with a “good” fat and decreased the amount of oil being used.  To lower the fat even more, I put in all egg whites in place of whole eggs. Finally, because I personally like more flavor and because I had leftover butternut squash I wanted to use up, I added to the spices and substituted squash for the pumpkin.

So, here’s what my new recipe looked like:

1 cup soy milk*

4 cups 100% whole wheat flour**

1/2 tsp salt (decreased it simply to have less sodium intake)

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp cloves

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup Agave

1 cup liquid egg whites

2 cups cooked pureed butternut squash

2/3 cup grapeseed oil

The muffins baked up nicely, and the four of us at brunch and later my family enjoyed them immensely.

Squash Muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup soy milk*

4 cups 100% whole wheat flour**

1/2 tsp salt (decreased it simply to have less sodium intake)

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp cloves

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup Agave

1 cup liquid egg whites

2 cups cooked pureed butternut squash

2/3 cup grapeseed oil

Baking Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare 24 muffin cups.  (I would use “If You Care” muffin cups.  You can also spray with Pam or coat with butter or oil.)

2.  Mix all the dry ingredients:  the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, baking powder and baking soda.  Set aside.

3.  Blend the wet ingredients:  soy milk, Agave, eggs, squash, and oil.

4.  Quickly blend the dry ingredients into the wet just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

5.  Fill the muffin cups evenly about 2/3 full.

6.  Put the muffin tins into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 375 degrees.  (Preheating the oven to 400 allows the muffins to begin with the heat necessary to facilitate  rapid rising of the muffins, but lowering the heat allows the muffins to cook evenly without the sides becoming more cooked than the middle.)

7.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for at least five minutes in the tins before removing to a wire rack to cool.

* You can always use water or another type of milk.

** These muffins can easily be made with the Authentic Food Multi-blend gluten free flour.  Just reduce the amount by 1/2 cup.


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