Home » Nom Nom Nom » Necessity is the Mother….

Necessity is the Mother….

Of substitution.  As a stay at home mother I have the good fortune of being able to really cook all of my family’s meals; part of that is of course the ability to make what I grew up thinking of as “Saturday morning breakfast” four days a week (my son is in preschool, and there’s no way we’re hitting the door on time at 8 if I try this on those days). As an avid pinner I love to sit down with the kids and show them my boards for different meals and let them pick what looks good to them.  Last night I let Thing 2 pick out what we would have for breakfast totally forgetting that I was missing some very basic staples. She chose a blueberry breakfast cake. (recipe here –http://www.alexandracooks.com/2011/06/29/buttermilk-blueberry-breakfast-cake/)What girl wouldn’t?! I heartily agreed that it was a wonderful choice and we would most definitely have that for breakfast. Sounds pretty good huh? Great, until you wake up and go to pull ingredients and have roughly half.

Fortunately for me this is not the first time I’ve run low and had to do a little kitchen science. Here is the ingredient list for the recipe we did this morning and what we had/didn’t have: butter – none,  lemon zest-nil, sugar – YES! I buy in bulk :), egg – yes 3 even, vanilla – not a drop, 2 c. flour – had 1 1/2 all purpose, baking powder – yep, kosher salt – no, but have table variety, fresh blueberries – just frozen, buttermilk – I didn’t even have milk.  The math on this turns out to be that I literally did have half – 5 out of 10, with some substitutions already accounted for. So I ran to the store right? Heck no! I live in Minnesota and it’s much too cold to be frivolously leaving my nice warm home, opening doors and letting a draft in. I went shopping in my cupboards!! Here are the substitutions that we made to use this very recipe and have a lovely breakfast.

Butter – Coconut oil in the same amount

Lemon Zest – Half the amount recommended with dried lemon peel (I know this seems like a weird thing to have on hand, but in the amounts that it actually gets used I throw the bottle in the freezer and just whip it out for these special occasions)

Vanilla – Maple syrup in the same amount. Believe it or not it works fabulously for baking. I have had to use this sub many times and have never been caught by my husband or anyone else for that matter.

Flour – I had most of what I needed, but today I made up that little missing bit with bread flour. If it had been more that I needed I would have used wheat flour or whatever I had on hand for the extra.

Kosher salt – already determined that we threw in plain old table salt. I do tend to use a little less than called for on this sub as the table is finer than kosher.

Buttermilk – This was my greatest achievement today. Normally, if I needed buttermilk I would throw a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice into my liquid measuring cup and then just fill it up to a cup with milk. (I usually make a good 2 c. to keep on hand as soon as we bring in a gallon of milk lately). As stated, I didn’t even have milk today. Fortunately, I keep non-fat dry milk on hand for dog biscuits (instructions on that here –www.subsistingsuburbia.wordpress.com), and also to make my kids’ hot chocolate mix (will totally share that the next time we make it). I started my buttermilk mission by just following the instructions on the box and making some re-hydrated milk and then just followed through with my usual method.

Frozen vs. Fresh Berries – Easy simple no brainer swap. I just would add that with frozen berries and baking I never thaw them – I feel like it lends them a more bitter/tart taste than if they are thrown in fully frozen. I think it actually says this on some packages too.

So, how’d it turn out? Pretty darn good!

img_0733 img_0734Despite that part of my subsisting is hardly ever turning on a light, I’m sure you can see that the top of this doesn’t look the same beautiful brown as the original or what I would normally look for in a baked good of this kind, and I think that’s a reflection on the coconut oil sub. I did leave it in the oven a lot longer than I think I should have because I always just look for that golden eat me sign on top of everything, hence it got very very slightly dry compared to my usual/ have all ingredients productions.  However, despite it’s looks and being baked by an aesthetically inclined shallow baker that left it alone for too long, it came out wonderfully. Thing 1 wanted to just have the pan after I was done, and Thing 2 who can be incredibly picky made it to seconds on this one.

I will be updating this post as I remember/have to find more substitutions in the hope that someday we might achieve an all inclusive list that will make it so this recluse will only have to leave the home in truly dire emergencies.

More Substitutions:

Sour cream: 3/4 c. Buttermilk + 2 Tbsp Butter replaced 1 c. Sour cream in my stroganoff last night. No one knows 🙂

Heavy Cream: Equal amount of half and half, or 3/4 c. milk + 1/4 c. butter – may add 1-2 Tbsp flour for fat free milk


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