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In most recipes you can substitute a type of ingredient for another I.e. tomato sauce for tomato paste, navy beans for northern beans, brands for brands, nuts for nuts, fruit for fruit. So for example if a recipe calls for walnuts and all you are pecans that’s fine. It may change the taste slightly but will not affect the baking.

This is one of the gripes I have with many cookbooks. They make it sound like if you don’t use exactly what it calls for it won’t turn out. Most of the time it will turn out just fine, it may vary slightly in taste but maybe for the better. Don’t be afraid to try out different things, the worst that can happen is you learn something from it.

Substituting oil for shortening
You can substitute oil for shortening. Melted shortening that is. So if for example a recipe calls for 1/2 cup oil, you can use shortening just be sure to melt it first so it measures the same.

Substituting margarine for butter

Use solid margarine not whipped as the whipped has more moisture and will not measure the same. 


Also make sure when you buy shortening that you read the can. If you are concerned about using saturated fats the can will say on it if it has saturated fat in it. Most of the shortenings that do, have meat fats in them. So picking out a vegetable shortening instead should help you avoid saturated fats. Personally I do not like to use the ones with the artificial butter flavoring in them, I can always taste it, but everyone’s tastes are a little different though so that doesn’t mean you wont like them. 


There are lots of new sugar products too, if you want to cut down on your sugar intake. The packages of that sweetener will tell you how to measure it to get the right amount, to substitute sugar. Substituting sugar is a little more tricky and may take a couple tries to get it right. Don’t ever look at a failure in cooking as a disaster. It’s just another learning experience. My outside birds and cats have had lots of treats that they thought were wonderful. So I like to think of a loaf of bread or cake that didn’t turn out as a treat for your pets. 


If you are making banana bread and don’t quite have enough bananas any mushed up fruit will do, or add enough sour milk to make up the difference. 


If you are making nachos and do not have refried beans, pork and beans will work, just drain the juice and mash them up. If you have it you can mix in a little chilli powder for added flavor.


Emergency substitutions 


2 tablespoons of fat = 1 ounce 

1 cup of fat = 1/2 pound

1 pound butter = 2 cups 

1 cup butter = 1 cup shortening plus 1/4 tsp. salt 

1 cup butter = 1 cup margarine(do not use a whipped margarine) 



2 cups sugar = 1 pound 


2 1/2 cup packed brown sugar = 1 pound 


3 1/2 cups powdered sugar = 1 pound


1 cup sugar = 1 cup packed brown sugar or 2 cups powdered sugar 


1 cup brown sugar = 1 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons molasses 


1 cup molasses = 1 cup honey


2/3 cups honey = 1 cup sugar (reduce the liquid in your recipe by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used) 


1 cup corn syrup = 1 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup liquid when used to replace 1/2 cup sugar


*When you measure brown sugar make sure you pack it into the spoon or measuring cup.



4 cups flour = 1 pound


4 1/2 cups cake flour = 1 pound 


1 cup minus 2 tablespoons flour = 1 Cup cake flour 


1/2 tsp cornstarch = 1 teaspoon flour 


1 cup self rising flour = 1 cup flour plus 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda



4 tablespoons cocoa plus 2 teaspoons fat = 1 oz baking chocolate 


1 square baker’s chocolate = 1 oz


4 oz sweet baking chocolate = 1/4 cup cocoa plus 1/2 cup Sugar and 3 tablespoons butter (margarine, shortening or oil)


Chocolate Chips one 6 oz package = 1 cup 



1 Egg = 2 Egg Whites or 1/4 cup Egg Beaters 


1 cup egg whites = the whites of 8 to 10 eggs


1 cup egg yokes = the yokes of 12 to 14 eggs 



16 marshmallows = 1/4 lb 


1 standard size = 10 miniature


11 standard size marshmallows = 1 cup 


110 miniatures = 1 cup 


Cracker Crumbs 

15 squares Graham crackers finely crushed = 1 cup 


23 squares saltines (soda crackers) = 1 cup


1/4 cup dry Fine Breadcrumbs = 3/4 cup soft bread or 1/4 cup Cracker Crumbs or 1/4 cup Corn or Rice Flakes 



1/2 pint whipping cream = 2 cups whipped


1 cup sour cream = 1 cup plain yogurt 


1 cup evaporated milk = 3 cups whipped 


1 cup Buttermilk = 1 cup milk plus 1 tsp Lemon Juice or Vinegar(Let stand until thickened)


Buttermilk may be used in place of sour milk, or sour cream in most recipes. Except for recipes that call for cultured sour cream. 



2 cup Tomato sauce = 3/4 cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water 


1 cup Tomato juice = 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water 


Most recipes you can use any kind of Tomato. I.e. sauce, paste, juice or whole canned. 



1 teaspoon dried mustard = 1 tablespoon yellow prepared mustard 


1 tablespoon yellow mustard = 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard plus 2 teaspoons vinegar 



1/2 cup chopped onion= 2 tablespoons dried minced onion or 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 


Baking Powder

1 teaspoon baking powder = 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda  



1 package active dry yeast= 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 cake yeast = 1 level tablespoon active dry yeast



Spices & Seasonings


1 tablespoon poultry seasoning = 3/4 teaspoon dried sage crushed plus 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme or marjoram crushed


1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice = 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger plus 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


1 tablespoon apple pie spice = 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg plus 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or ginger


1 medium lemon = 2 to 3 tablespoons 


1 lemon peel grated = 1 1/2 to 3 teaspoons


1 clove garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder


I recommend buying a spice rack that comes with most of your more commonly used spices instead of trying to buy them all individually. Around Christmas is a great time to find them at your local shopping centers, check the aisle with all the gift packages. I have had some of my spices for years and still use them, of they recommend replacing them after time and getting new, but a dried product may weaken a bit in strength but I have never had one spoil.



Bread Crumbs

To make your own bread crumbs save up the end bread slices until you have enough for a cookie sheet full. Spread the bread slices out on the cookie sheet, heat your oven to 200� and place the bread in it for about 20 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave the bread in the oven over night or until you have a little extra time to put them in you food processor to grind them up. If you do not have a food processor you can use the bottom of a glass or cup to crush them just place the bread in a plastic bag before you crush them this will save any messy clean up. Store in sealable plastic bag or in a plastic container.


If a recipe calls for 2 large eggs and all you have is small just use 3 instead


Milk Substitutions

In most recipes you can substitute any kind of milk (1%, 2%, whole or skim), sour cream, sour milk, buttermilk or sour canned milk. For instance my banana bread recipe calls for 1/2 cup sour milk. You can sour milk by using a teaspoon lemon juice, vinegar or lime juice, or you can use sour cream. Just add a little milk or water to it to thin it some, or you can use buttermilk. It really won’t change the outcome of the recipe.