Heidi, from Adventures of a gluten-free Mom, recently had a really fabulous guest post on dairy and egg free substitutions here. I love the list she provides. If you never read another allergen free substitutions list again you may be fulfilled but. I would like to add some tips and clarifications on the products in our kitchen that “save the day”. My home is gluten, dairy, soy, peanut, red dye#40,and  yellow dye free. We also consume very few preservatives. Since eggs are a common child hood allergen for myself and my middle child, I do not allow the baby to eat them. However, due to this study, i do bake with eggs. Anything that has been heated to 350 degrees or higher for more the 30 min she eats with no problem.

Trying to create meals that are delicious, nutritious and edifying for our family has been a wonderful journey so far. These are the things that make it work for me. Today I am covering Dairy substitutes

Soy-free Milk substitutes

Cartoned almond milk. We buy ours from Aldi for $2.50 per half-gallon. Cheap and yummy. This non dairy milk has a creamy, mild nutty, and somewhat sweet flavor.Almond milk works wonderfully in sweet baked treats, cofee, hot cocoa, and anything where the mildly nutty flavor will blend well. Yummy on cereal.

Cartoned unsweetened coconut milk. We buy ours for Trader Joe’s for $2.99 per half-gallon.  This non dairy milk has a bland but creamy flavor. It works very well in place of whole milk. It curddles well when making buttermilk. Can be used for almost anything you would use dairy milk. This is what we use to make Mashed Potatoes. For us this is the preferred product.

Canned coconut milk. My favorite brand Arroy-D I find at my local asian foods store. It costs us $1.49 per can. The runner-up is A Taste of Thai, which can be found at most grocers in the asian foods aisle, it is an excellent milk and due to convenience factor would be my favorite but the price is $2.39 per can. Since we shop at the Asian food store regularly I will save my .80 cents per can. Why use canned coconut milk when I already have cartoned milk on the list? Well cartoned works for almost anything.  But for the things it doesn’t like making yogurt, making condensed soup, making egg nog, can be used in place of whipping cream for whipped cream, and a host of other recipe’s that call for a thicker milk either evaporated of condensed canned  (full fat is the only one this versatile so use it sparingly) coconut milk fits the bill.

Butter substitutions

The only tasty substitution I have found is Earth Balance. This wonderfully inventive company has two soy free spreads. Soy Free Buttery Spread and Coconut spread! Whoo Hoo. I have not used the coconut spread thus far but since this company makes very tasty products one can only imagine it’s yumminess. I use the soy free spread for anything calling for butter that is cooked for less than 30 minutes and as a yummy topping.

Cheese substitutions

Here are several delicious options just remember for the cashew cheese,it can not be used in place of dairy cream cheese for baking. Trust me on this, I have tried. While your end product will be moist and have a wonderful flavor, it will not have the desired texture.

shredded cheese use Daiya. The cheddar shreds have  true mild cheddar flavor, they MELT. OMG! A vegan, non dairy, soy free cheese that melts!!!!! These people are geniuses. Daiya takes a little longer than dairy cheese to melt so be patient. I’ve baked gluten-free pizza, Burger mac and cheese casserole, tacos, etc. They are only okay tasting when cold so I use them almost exclusively when warm.

Cream cheese.  Cover 1lb of cashews with 1 or 2 inches of water. Soak overnight. Drain. at this point you are going to run the through the blender at high-speed until creamy. I do not yet own a Blendtec blender, so i do this step in batches.  Blend cashews on high-speed with 1 TBS of lemon juice and enough water the make creamy. Cashew cream cheese is very versatile you cam use it to make a ricotta replacement for lasagna, to make cheese cake, as a yummy dip, and sooooo much more. Your imagination is the limit on this one.

Then you have the need for Velveeta right? Well here you go. The wonderful minds over at Sweet Roots have come up with this lovely Coconut milk cheese. I sometimes use gelatine in place of agar agar, it just depends which I have on the shelf. Again I buy my agar agar at my wonderful asian foods store. Chicken quesadillas? Grilled cheese sandwiches? All summer long.