Missing an Ingredient? Here’s an Easy Guide on How to Replace It

Don't let your recipes get thwarted by a missing ingredient – use one of these easy substitutions instead!

There’s nothing more frustrating than starting to bake or cook something delicious only to find that a key ingredient is missing. Ugh! But there’s no need to scrub a recipe and sulk in frustration. If you know what you’re doing, you can just substitute it with something else! Here are a couple of ingredients that are bound to be in everyone’s pantry or fridge and are a dish-saving substitutes.

Read on to see the complete list, or download your own printable PDF copy using the button below. (I recommend hanging it up somewhere in your kitchen for easy reference!)

Vegetable oil

Substitute with butter, margarine, coconut oil or apple sauce

Apple Cider Vinegar

Substitute with white vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar

Substitute with apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

Tomato Sauce

Substitute by mixing one part Tomato Paste and one part Water.
Or substitute with canned tomatoes and adding onions, garlic and some herbs.

Baking Powder (1tsp)

Substitute with 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Bread Crumbs

Substitute with cracker crumbs, crushed cornflakes, ground oatmeal, or even cooked quinoa.

Brown Sugar (1 Cup)

Substitute with 1 cup white sugar and 2 Tbsp molasses.

Butter

Substitute with margarine, oil or shortening

Buttermilk (1 cup)

Substitute with 1 Tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar and enough milk to make 1 cup
Or substitute with 1 cup plain yogurt

Corn Syrup

Substitute with honey, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup

Ricotta Cheese

Substitute with cottage cheese or cream cheese.

Fresh herbs (1 Tbsp)

Substitute with 1 tsp dried herbs

Honey (1 Cup)

Substitute with maple syrup, corn syrup or 1 1/4 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup liquid (whatever is called for in the recipe)

Lemon Juice

Substitute with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar

Mayonnaise

Substitute with sour cream or plain yogurt

Wine

Substitute with beef broth, chicken broth, vegetable broth, apple cider (not vinegar), water, tomato sauce, white grape juice or non-alcoholic wine.

Yeast (1 tsp)

Substitute with 1/2 tsp Baking Soda and 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice

Rice

Substitute with Quinoa. (Quinoa also provides twice as much protein and fiber which promote a healthier digestive system.)

Eggs

Substitute with 1 Tbsp ground Flax Seeds or Chia Seeds and 3 Tbsp Water. Mix until gelatinous.
Or substitute with silken tofu.
Or substitute with apple sauce or mashed banana

Pastry Flour (1 cup)

Substitute with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch combined with enough all-purpose flour to make a cup.

Salt

Often times, substituting salt for herbs and other seasonings like onions, lemon or lime can make a dish taste really flavourful.

Sugar

Substitute with 1 and 3/4 cup of powdered sugar.

I hope you find this substitutions list useful! I’ll leave you with the button to download a free printable PDF copy of the list, in case you missed it earlier in the post! 🙂

Easy and Cheap Dinners from a Rotisserie Chicken

Time and time again, grocery store rotisserie chickens have saved my sanity when it comes to dinner time. They are easy, already seasoned, already cooked, and can be used in a lot of different recipes. Here are some easy and cheap recipes using rotisserie chicken!

I don’t know about you, but all this cooking at home has me constantly looking for shortcuts. While I don’t hate cooking, I don’t like spending hours upon hours in my kitchen. I want easy, fast, flavorful and cheap!

That brings me to rotisserie chickens. Time and time again, grocery store rotisserie chickens have saved my sanity when it comes to dinner time. They are easy, already seasoned, already cooked, and can be used in a lot of different recipes. There are so many ways to use a rotisserie chicken!

On that note, I have rounded up a list of easy and cheap rotisserie dinners! I hope you enjoy!

First of all, if you wish, you can make your own rotisserie style chicken in the slow cooker with this recipe I found.

What are your favourite ways to use rotisserie chicken?

Tips for Stockpiling

It seems each of us has prepared for the world’s pandemic in different ways. There are many items that average consumers are having difficulty buying, such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. With the thought that the pandemic may cause a complete quarantine or lockdown of our world, it’s important to know what you should have stockpiled at home. In fact, taking action can actually soothe your fears. 

Schools have already shut down and many areas are on restrictions for social gatherings or even dining out. This is simply how our life is right now. It’s been said that if any area is about to go on complete lockdown you’ll have 1-2 day notice so that you can be fully ready. That’s why I wanted to share some tips, as it sounds like you’ll have 1-2 days to get that stockpile prepared.

Tips for Stockpiling

These are fantastic tips for creating a stockpile that won't leave you broke or with food you won't eat!

Take inventory

Take look in your cupboards, fridge and freezers to see what you already have on hand. You may actually be surprised at what you already have! It may not be exciting, delicious food, but it will keep you fed! To help you out, I have a Freezer Inventory printable here and a Pantry Inventory printable here.

Stock up your family’s Essentials

The first step is to make sure you have the essentials. By this, I mean to stock up on what your family regularly eats. Families have been advised to stockpile at least two weeks’ worth of food. I highly suggest you get food that can be frozen or has a long shelf life to keep the food healthy longer. Prioritize those items you really can’t live without like baby formula or foods for special diets. When this all blows over, you don’t want to find you have spent a fortune stocking up or be stuck with food you don’t like. Focus on buying a few extras of what you normally consume. Make a list to keep yourself on track at the grocery store or when you’re placing a grocery order.

Make a Meal Plan

Sit down in the near future and make a list of meals you can create with your essentials. Make sure you account for drinks, breakfasts, lunches, dinners and of course, snacks. With a meal plan in place, your food won’t go to waste and you’ll spend less money.

Planning a menu is simple. First, print off two copies of this weekly menu planner. This resource will allow you to plan breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. Next, start writing in meals that you know you like, based on foods that you already have and what can last awhile. If you need some meal ideas, here are our family’s favourites.

Focus on pantry meals

By this, I mean meals you can create using canned goods like beans, tomatoes and even canned tuna or chicken. Rice and pasta are excellent for pantry meals. Items like cheese and milk can even be frozen. Basically, focus on items with a long shelf life. Some fresh produce like apples, carrots, oranges, and celery have a longer shelf life compared with other counterparts like fresh berries.

These are just a few tips for stockpiling that will ensure you’re prepared to keep your family happy, healthy and fed for an extended amount of time. I’ve seen a lot of people out there panic buying and will have too much stuff after the fact or perhaps are going too deep into the financial hole due to panic. The key is to make sure that you’re able to financially afford your stockpile and be smart about what you spend money on for your stockpile.

Great Big List of Free Activities for when You’re Stuck Indoors

Here is a great list of free indoor activities and ideas that you can enjoy as a family or even virtually with others!

Throughout these strange and uncertain world events as of late, I have been collecting links to activities and helpful articles. In my online world, I am always amazed to see amazing humans step out and share their knowledge to try to make these, perhaps uncomfortable, days a bit easier. Life is so much better when we can learn to come together, even in unconventional ways. (Separately, in our own homes. LOL)

In these coming weeks, I would highly encourage you to set yourself up to create positive memories to strengthen your relationships. In times of crisis or upheaval, fear and anxiety really don’t serve us well. Take the necessary precautions, find the happy moments, dream together and tell your family and friends how much you love and appreciate them.

With all that said, here is my list of free indoor activities and ideas that you can enjoy as a family or even virtually with others. Make a list of things you want to accomplish as a family or even some projects on your own.

Activities for Kids:

Educational:

For Everyone:

Many churches offer a livestream of their service. Try a local church or perhaps something else from around the world for some encouragement.

I’m also noticing many local stores offering free delivery. Take advantage of this and support your local small businesses!

During this time, food may also be at the forefront of many of our thoughts. Here is another list with helpful articles relating to feeding our families:

And because many of you might be finding yourself a work at home parent now, here are some resources for you:

If you have come across some great free activities or helpful links, please let me know and I’ll get them added to the list!

5 Ways to Waste Less in the Kitchen

This post is mainly to get my own butt in gear regarding food waste, but I think many of you could benefit from it as well!  Or at least input some valuable tips for those of us that need some help! 🙂

These days it’s essential to save money on groceries, so here are five tips to make the most of your food and minimize food waste.

5 Ways to Waste Less in the Kitchen

These days it's essential to save money on groceries, so here are five tips to make the most of your food and minimize food waste.

Use what you buy

A very obvious tip, but I too often find produce or other time sensitive ingredients sitting in my fridge on their very last legs. There are some days at the grocery store when I purchase something because it looks good and is on sale. Yes, a spur of the moment purchase, thinking that I can transform it into some tasty meal or snack during the week. The key here, with these purchases, is that I actually have to use the ingredient! So if I don’t have a particular purpose in mind when I buy it, I quite often find it sitting in the fridge rotting away. One way I’d like to help myself with this is to do something with the item right away. Maybe it’s a giant bag of carrots that I could cut up into sticks for easy snacking throughout the week!

Learn to use the ingredients you have

An important factor in my success with using these spur of the moment purchases is learning how to use them. Especially if they’re a bit more unique. I once used a coupon for a free tub of Greek yogurt with the intention of using it in some muffins. But, never having used, or tasted Greek yogurt before, I was unsure if it would be a good replacement for regular plain yogurt. I asked the wonderful people at our Simply Frugal Facebook page how I’d make out if I used it.  They convinced me it would be wonderful and even healthier for us!  That day, I learned some great tips about a product that was unfamiliar to me.

There are many websites out there that allow you to input an ingredient you have on hand, then generate a meal based on your input! Check out SuperCook.com, All Recipes ingredient search, and Kraft Canada.

Make the most of older food

If some of your produce is starting to show its age, don’t throw it out, simply salvage what you can!  This is probably the area I fall the hardest. I have intentions of turning that soft apple into apple sauce, but making it happen is another story. I get lazy 🙁

Here are some suggestions to make the most of older food:

  • Cut around the bad parts
  • Turn stale bread into croutons or breadcrumbs
  • Make apple sauce out of soft apples
  • Puree tomatoes into sauce or salsa
  • Brown bananas are the best for smoothies or baking
  • Old vegetables can be used in soups or stews
  • One bad potato in the bag? Weed out the rotten produce so you don’t contaminate the rest of the lot!

Know what you have

Knowing exactly what you have on hand can save you tons in the grocery budget. Make an effort to regularly go through the contents of your fridge and freezer so that nothing slips by unnoticed. Store things in clear containers so you can see the exact contents at a glance. Label your freezer food well.  Learning to store your produce properly will also ensure nothing goes to waste before you have a chance to use it!

Use the freezer

By now you might have noticed that I’m a big fan of using our freezer. Here are my favourite ways to fill it up with extra food:

  • Freeze any dinner leftovers to make for a super simple meal on a rushed night
  • Put all the end bits of vegetables in a freezer bag to make broth once the bag is full
  • Take advantage of local, seasonal fruit and stock up, but freeze the majority of it for a taste of summer all year long.  Here’s how I freeze peaches if you’re interested!
  • Put any extra wine, broth, tomato paste, lemon/lime juice into ice cube trays to add to meals at a later date.
  • Freeze extra rice to turn into fried rice

What are your tips to make the most of your groceries and leftover food?

How To Cut Your Grocery Bill Without Sacrificing

Did you know that with just a little bit of prep work and an open mind you may have the possibility of cutting your grocery bill in half?

It’s totally possible to eat better quality, healthy food while spending less on groceries. Here are some ways for you to cut your grocery bill without sacrificing taste or your health.

It's totally possible to eat better quality, healthy food while spending less on groceries. Here are some ways for you to cut your grocery bill without sacrificing taste or your health.

Plan Your Meals Ahead Of Time

I have many articles about meal planning, but this is because I can’t stress enough how important meal planning is. Especially if you want to cut down your grocery bill.

There are two ways to go about meal planning. You can plan meals based on what you already have at home or plan based on what is on sale in the flyers at your local stores. The first option would be your cheapest option since you’re using ingredients you have already purchased. It’s still quite possible that you will have to fill in missing ingredients with a trip to the store.

If you go with the second option, you can then plan and base your meals on the sale items. Most of the sale items will be in season so your meals will be too. By planning your meals to match what’s on sale, you’ll be surprised at how much that will cut from your grocery budget.

Take Advantage Of Coupons

The great thing about coupons and couponing is that you’ll never have to shop and pay full price for your groceries, it really becomes a fun game when you’re paying less than full price for your items. So, take advantage of all the coupons you can use to get discounts on grocery items.

You can start collecting coupons from your local newspaper or even from mobile phone apps. There are also websites like Simply Frugal that lists all the most recent Canadian coupons.

Purchase Generic Items

Name brand items can be really eye-catching but they can also have the ability to empty your pockets as well. Often the only difference between a grocery’s brand-name product and a store-brand product is the packaging.

If you take a closer look at the list of ingredients, in most cases, you’ll actually see that they are nearly identical. It’s just the price that’s different. So, before you take that name brand item off the shelf, do your research and you’ll definitely be rewarded with the best deal.

Tip:  Ingredients are listed in order of the amount in the item, so if sugar is the first ingredient in your cereal, you know there’s more sugar in it than anything else in the box. So, when checking ingredients between generic and brand name, be sure they are listed in the same order to ensure you’re getting the same “taste”. This is always a great way to determine which version is the more healthy version, if that is your goal with ingredients.

Buy In-Season Fruits And Veggies

Sometimes you just want to satisfy a craving with out of season fruits and veggies but to really make a dent in your grocery bill, you’ll want to purchase in season produce.

Out of season fruits and veggies will definitely be more expensive because they cost more and take more effort when they are not in season.

Plant A Garden

Growing your own food is the best way to go when you really want to lower your expenses and save money on your grocery bill. A great example is having your own herb garden.

If you buy a bunch of herbs they can be expensive and you may only need them for a meal or two (this is again where meal planning can be helpful). But if you have some potted herbs in your garden or kitchen, you’ll save a lot of money and have those herbs at your fingertips anytime you need them. Plus fresher always tastes better.

Cutting your grocery bill without sacrificing is definitely doable. It will just require you to make a few changes and find what works for you and your family. Taking control of how your money is spent and saved is a great feeling when you’re trying to stay within a budget.

Do you have some tips you can share to help cut the grocery bill? Please tell us in the comments below.


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