Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

In a Pinch, You Can Use This for That

Have you ever discovered you’re all out of a certain ingredient when you’re in the middle of preparing a recipe? I hate when that happens. And I don’t want to run to the store.

For me, an unscheduled trip like that could easily cost $40, maybe more. That’s just how impulsive I can be. I’ve learned that when I’m in a pinch, I need a pinch hitter!

Here is my list of cooking and baking substitutes that I refer to often.


Combine 2 tablespoons of water, 2 tablespoons of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.


If you’re out of flour, you can substitute up to 3 tablespoons of pancake mix. It works well. Just don’t go over 3 tablespoons, or your guests will be looking for the maple syrup.


Crumble 1/2 slice of bread, and mix 1/4 cup broken crackers.


For each teaspoon of baking powder, substitute 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar and 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch.


Combine 1 cup of fresh milk and 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice.


You can make the equivalent of 1 cup heavy cream by whisking together 3/4 cup milk and 1/3 cup soft butter or margarine. (This is for use in cooking or baking, not for whipped cream.)


Mix 1 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup liquid (the same type of liquid called for in the recipe).


Cottage cheese blended until smooth makes an excellent cup-for-cup substitute for plain yogurt.


To make the equivalent of a 14-ounce can, pour 1/2 cup of boiling water into a blender. Add 1 cup nonfat dry milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons melted butter and a few drops of vanilla extract. Cover and blend on high speed for 30 seconds or until smooth. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator in a covered container for two days.


For the equivalent of 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips, mix 9 tablespoons cocoa, 7 tablespoons of sugar and 3 tablespoons of butter.


Brown sugar can be replaced with 1 cup of white sugar and 1 to 2 tablespoons of molasses, mixed well with a fork. Hint: This is so much better than commercial brown sugar you’ll be tempted to make a permanent switch.


I don’t know how often, if ever, you’ve discovered you are fresh out of chocolate mousse. But you can never be too careful about this kind of thing. So you are prepared for an unscheduled chocolate fix, learn this substitute: Stir sifted cocoa powder into a tub of any Cool Whip. Then taste. Unbelievable, huh?


Mix 1/3 cup white grape juice and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (not rice wine vinegar).


Mix 1 cup grape juice, 1 tablespoon strong tea and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar.

You can find a printable version of this information at EverydayCheapskate.com/substitutes1.

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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