I've been asked recently by a few people how I figure out the substitutions I use when cooking, especially in baking. A lot of it is trial and error, comparing recipes and just making things up. In general:
3 T applesauce = 1 egg
1/2 banana = 1 egg
1.5 c flax = 0.5 c fat (be careful with this - if you are substituting flax you need to increase the liquid you put into the recipe)
0.5 c turbinado sugar = 1 c regular sugar*
0.5 c agave nectar = 1 c regular sugar*
*I tend to make things not too sweet, so if you like really sweet desserts then increase the ratio
I just got Heidi Swanson's new cookbook, Super Natural Cooking. It is divided into 5 chapters that have a lot of information about the ingredients. The baking section also has a lot of detail about substitutions and a recipe for thin mints. Seriously. I can't wait to make those. You can find a lot of her recipes, some of which are in the book, on her site, 101 cookbooks.
Since it is spring (hoorah!) I've been making a lot of salads and baking things that are light, and well, springy.
I love all things lemon, so I tried these lemon cupcakes. I used white whole wheat flour, unsweetened applesauce instead of the butter, made fake buttermilk by removing 1 T of soy milk out of 1 cup and adding in 1 T apple cider vinegar (do this first and let it sit - it will curdle), and used the zest of 1 lemon instead of lemon extract. The taste? Delicious.
Apparently I am not a subtle cook when it comes to the use of garlic, but a quick and delicious salad to make is a white bean salad w/red wine vinegar. Chop up 1 shallot and 1 clove of garlic (I used 2, hence the lack of refinement), put that in a bowl and add 3 T red wine vinegar, 2 15 oz cans of beans (I used white beans, but chickpeas would be good too), 3 T olive oil and some chopped parsley. Done.
The best thing I've made all week was probably a salad out of one of Dreena Burton's books. It is a really simple whole grain salad that can easily be a meal in and of itself. Basically, you need 3 cups of cooked quinoa (I used a mix of orzo, quinoa and tiny chickpeas I found at Trader Joe's), chop up some veggies (I used cucumbers and bell pepper), add some fresh herbs like basil and/or parsley (I used both), and top with your favorite light dressing. Anthony said that next time we should try to make it into a gazpacho salad, which I think is a great idea.