Everyday Cheapskate Mary Hunt

This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of “Debt-Proof Living,” released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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.

NEED AN EGG

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

THICKEN GRAVY

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.

BREADCRUMBS

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

BAKING POWDER

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

BAKING SODA

You need to use two to three times more double-acting baking powder than baking soda. Replace an acidic liquid ingredient in the recipe with a non-acidic liquid i.e. water instead of vinegar or lemon juice.

BUTTERMILK

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

ALLSPICE

For 1 teaspoon, combine 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.

APPLE PIE SPICE

For 1 teaspoon, combine 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg; 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice; and 1/8 teaspoon of ground cardamom, ginger or cloves.

CREAM

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.)

HONEY

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

PLAIN YOGURT

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

SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK

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.

CHOCOLATE CHIPS

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

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.

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

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?

WHITE COOKING WINE

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

RED COOKING WINE

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

This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of Debt-Proof Living, a personal finance member website and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living, Revell 2014. To find out more about Mary visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.