A Consumer's Mind - Baking Without Dairy

My baking is going through an adjustment. My cooking too. But for now, like always, I'd rather focus on the baking. G is here from Florida and he cannot eat dairy for the most part. Luckily, I already use rice milk instead of regular milk, but I had been baking with butter. That has had to change.

I went to Stop & Shop and looked at margarines. As I read the lists of ingredients on the packages, I noticed that most margarines contain whey, which is dairy. I had planned to make a quick run to the store and didn't think that I would be reading so many labels. I realized that margarines weren't going to work, so I started looking for lactose free and vegan friendly labels. Plus I was trying not to spend a fortune and the prices had started going up as I changed my search criteria.

I narrowed it down to two different products. I don't remember what the other one was, but I was tired and the labels started looking the same and they were about the same price. In my head, I asked for one of them to give me a reason to buy it. I looked at the packages again and saw the words Brandeis University on one of them. Hey, my school!

The product is Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread. It's 100% vegan, trans fat free, lactose free, and gluten free. It's made with natural oils that are balanced and patented by nutrition researchers at Brandeis to help improve the cholesterol ratio as part of a heart-healthy diet. Well, that was good enough for me. I bought it.

I've been cooking and baking with Earth Balance for a couple of weeks now. It's really good and I don't miss using butter at all. I bought Trader Joe's Bourbon Vanilla Cake Mix and made some cupcakes. They are incredible! G and I ate most of them without frosting. Actually he ate most of them, but I did want to photograph at least one looking pretty, so I made some frosting using Earth Balance.

I don't usually buy cake mixes, but the original plan was to enter Trader Joe's Recipe Showdown. See the guidelines here. You still have one day to enter if you're interested. The deadline is May 15th. I didn't have the time to figure out something. The guidelines are really strict, so it just didn't happen. Maybe next time.

*Updated* I have one more thing to share with you here. BlogHer conducted a survey of women bloggers. Find the results here.
"36.2 million women actively participate in the blogsophere every week."
I participated in the survey myself, so it's interesting seeing the final results. Many of us would give up something in order to keep blogging. I've found that I watch less television and read less magazines since I started blogging. That's perfectly fine with me.

Now would I give up chocolate in order to blog? Nooooo way! 80% of women agreed with me.

Anali's First Amendment © 2006-2008. All rights reserved.

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FH said…
That is a great life style change you are making, good for you!:))

I don't think I can ever go Vegan. I cook vegetarian 5 days a week anyway since I grew up as vegetarian, we do eat non-veg on weekends.
Cup cake looks yummy!:)
ElisaC said…
Hi Anali: I'm a vegan, and I've tried the regular Earth Balance margarine, but I find I like their Soy Garden brand even better. I've only seen it at Whole Foods, not Trader Joe's though, unfortunately.
Suldog said…

I attended a two-year-old's birthday party this past weekend, and the cake was made with absolutely no dairy or wheat products, due to allergies. For the frosting, they used soy butter. It was absolutely delicious frosting, and (to my palate, in any case) indistinguishable from frosting made with actual butter.
Nance said…
I don't use a lot of dairy, but I could never give up butter. OR chocolate. Not even for blogging. LOL.
Abby said…
My dad is allergic to milk, but he hasn't had a problem with butter or margarine! He eats Smart Balance on most things, though.
Lisa Johnson said…
asha - Well, I'm not even close to being vegan, because I still use eggs, but I guess eliminating most dairy is a big step. The cupcakes were good! :D

elisac - Welcome! Thanks for the tip. I'll have to look for the Soy Garden and try that too.

suldog - It's incredible how food at birthday parties has changed. Back when we were kids, were people really even checking these things?

nance - I wouldn't be giving up the butter either if it hadn't become a health issue. But I guess we do what we have to do.

abby - Welcome! He's lucky that he can still have butter! And I love your cupcake photo. ; )
amisha said…
thanks for the tip on earth balance! i am always on the lookout for a healthy (and tasty) butter alternative.
Lisa Johnson said…
amisha - You're welcome! It seems to fly off the shelves, because I couldn't find any at the store yesterday. Now I have to go back!!!
I have had good luck baking with Splenda too.
Lisa Johnson said…
susan - I've used Splenda too and usually just substitute half the sugar. But every bit helps right! ; )

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