“I am one of four sisters so I am naturally a caregiver at heart, I love to care for others so I think that’s where my love of cooking for my family came from. I actually I used to help my mom in the kitchen as well so that’s made a huge difference in leading me to my journey of using aquafaba to cook healthier meals for my family as well.”
Jennifer, from the Aquafaba Test Kitchen
I had so much fun chatting with Jennifer, from the Aquafaba Test Kitchen about her plant-based lifestyle and passion for testing healthy #plantbased recipes. Jennifer loves to create vegan and plant-based recipes that showcase the versatility of aquafaba (bean water) as an egg alternative!
How long have you been vegan and what was one challenge you faced in going vegan, how did you solve for that?
“Saying you’re vegan carries a lot of weight. I consider myself and my family plant-based. As a vegan, you have to be determined to not eat a lot of things. We haven’t found an alternative for butter or honey. I do make a lot of vegan and plant-based recipes but we are not vegan. My family and I have been plant-based since 2017 – my then-boyfriend and I watched, What the Health on Netflix, and it made us rethink a lot of the pantry staples we would normally consume, which started our quest of taking out meat and dairy. As for aquafaba and the journey of discovering it, I was trying to find a recipe for a dairy-free cake for my daughter’s first birthday, we wanted to make her a vegan smash cake only to find that many of the recipes were heavily focused on using apple cider vinegar and baking soda as the egg alternative, which I could still taste. This led me to do some research and discovering aquafaba. We’ve been plant-based and sort of vegan for about three years now. One of the big challenges we faced, first going plant-based was removing salmon from our diet – finding substitutes was difficult but we did Google a lot to find alternatives through trial and error. We haven’t found a fish alternative but we use a lot of Beyond Meat and Quorn products which helps a lot.
Can you tell us more about your discovery of aquafaba and why did you decide on Aquafaba Test Kitchen as your focus?
“Goose Walt is noted for discovering aquafaba. I recently joined a Facebook group that he’s part of and I then friended him on Facebook and he accepted, I’m really happy about it. I Googled egg alternatives and stumbled across his method of using aquafaba, the first thing I tested it with was a vanilla cake – it worked and was delicious so I continued to test recipes and decided I might be on to something. My finance noticed all of the recipes I was testing in 2019 and recommended that I should write things down since I was making so much food. I found myself constantly recreating recipes every time I needed something so I began a journal (based on his feedback), I started the journal and then it just snowballed from there. Sometime last year in November, I realized how much I loved looking at recipes online vs. using cookbooks, so I decided to get my web domain setup from there. I used a template from GoDaddy.com and that’s how I started.”
Do you have any upcoming projects or long-term goals you’d like to share around Aquafaba Test Kitchen?
“Right now, I am just having fun with it but I have had a lot of brands recently reaching out to me to test their ingredients, using aquafaba so I’m excited about that. I recently worked with Nature’s Earthly Choice and that was fun – I used their rice broccoli to make vegan rice broccoli nuggets using chickpeas with their rice broccoli and it turned out really good using garbanzo bean aquafaba. We will see where it goes. I do have some ideas around creating a recipe journal in the future – since documenting my recipes helped me so much.“
How do you balance everything you’re doing (being online and being a mom)?
“I actually follow Kary on Instagram. She has tons of advice around managing your time while creating your brand on Instagram and it works so well for me. It is very hard because I’m also a full-time working mom as well. I usually create recipes at night when my daughter is sleeping – it really is therapeutic for me, I get to express myself in a different way, and then when my family tastes the food, it feels really good. I also use my Google calendar as well for reminders.”
What do you usually make for breakfast?
“For breakfast, I usually make oat milk and use the oat pulp to make oatmeal and that’s usually what I eat. You can make your oat milk using three cups of alkaline water and one cup of oats with Bob’s Redmill rolled oats. You’d then blend and strain it – that’s it! A lot of people will also add preservatives. We don’t generally take long to drink it so we don’t add preservatives. But if you think you won’t drink it as fast, I recommend making small batches. If you want it to last longer, you can add sea salt or Himalayan salt. If you want to add flavor you can add your favorite sweetener, some people use date paste to make it taste a bit better.”
I know you also volunteer virtually, can you share more about this?
“Since the pandemic, I actually volunteer virtually, which was encouraged by my role as an employee engagement coordinator at my workplace. The United Nations World Food Programme and Operation Gratitude are my go-to volunteer programs right now and you can make a big impact, right at home.”
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you live by?
“See a need, fill a need.” – Robots movie