Monday, 5 November 2012

Food Substitutions

Sometimes that delicious recipe that you find has some weird or peculiar ingredients in it that you don't have on hand. Ground cardamom, star anise, xanthum gum, are just a few that I've stumbled upon in my adventures. Even if you do know where to find these ingredients, sometimes it's not worth the $11.99 for the 1/4 tsp you need. Instead of blowing your budget out of the water, check the interweb for some possible substitutions! There are so many simple and possibly cheap (if you have the suggested substitution on hand) substitutions for lots of strange ingredients. Even for the not so strange ingredients that you may just have run out of. I also use my Betty Crocker cookbook for substitutions; some of the "well-rounded" cook books have them listed either on the front or back cover. There'a a panicked feeling that overtakes you when you realize you're missing a key component to your great-grandma's favorited recipe, but scope out some substitutions before you throw in the towel!

I feel that the most common substitution that can usually be made is margarine in place of butter, or vice versa. I use them pretty interchangeably for most recipes, and whatever I have on hand will do. With the exception of my banana bread! I must use margarine, even though the recipe calls for butter! It just tastes better!

A nice change in baking, and the addition of a little nutrients, is the use of applesauce in place of either oil or butter. It can usually be substituted up to 3/4 of a cup (1:1 ratio). Try to use the unsweetened variety, otherwise adjust the required sugar to be added.

Another delicious and healthy substitute is Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. Now it may not always be the greatest substitute (Greek yogurt tends to be more expensive than a no-name brand sour cream), but perhaps you've got some in the fridge. They have similar consistencies, as well as taste, and they can usually be swapped out for each other when baking.

One last substitute that you can get away with and have no one notice? I had a recipe call for curry powder, which I was sure we had lots of, only to open the pantry and find the lovely little jar empty! Calm down, don't panic, and head to the World Wide Web! As I Googled a substitution, I learnt that curry powder is just a concoction for various spices, all of which I had! Some combination of cardamom, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground turmeric, chili powder, pepper, and fennel seed will give you a decent spice blend. Search around to find a mixture that you can create and voila! No need to toss the tikka!

What are some go to substitutes that you have or do use in baking, either to save your treats or save your toonies?
Share any suggestions you may have in a comment below.

Happy Saving!
- C

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