Ingredient Substitutions

What's Cooking America

Substituting one ingredient for another should only be done when you don’t have the necessary ingredient on hand in your kitchen. Substitutions can change the flavor and outcome of the finished baked goods.

The following chart gives substitutions that may be used to achieve a product similar to the original when cooking. Find out what to substitute when you’re out of an ingredient – but also remember the following when substituting:

When substituting ingredients, take into account the differences in taste, moisture content, texture and weight.

When substituting for sugar and flour, consider the differences in sweetening and thickening power.

Understand the physical and chemical properties of all ingredients.

Measuring accurately will help avoid disappointment.


Equal Measurements

It’s good for every cook to have a measurement chart handy. I cook or can often and there are times when I look at printed measurement equivalents to be sure. My brain may NOT always be sure, but this way I do have something that is. I’ve even been known to print it off, laminate it and put on the side of my fridge. I laminate it with cheap laminate sheets from the store because it is for the kitchen! Messy hands will make it last longer if it’s laminated. This way you won’t have to print another one again soon!

If you are a crafty-type person, get some craft magnets for the back and pretty ribbon to hot glue around the edges. Then you have a cute gift made for a bridal shower or anything else when you need a gift recipe!

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How I Found Out I Have MS

My journey began July 1995, 3 MONTHS AFTER I WAS MARRIED at the age of 20! I woke up one summer morning, in our small, rural farmhouse, with SEVERELY dizzy vision and what felt like a VERY tight corset around the middle. I couldn’t see straight with both eyes open at the same time and couldn’t hardly catch my breath or move because my torso felt so restricted. (Feeling like I was wearing a corset was the way I described it to my family doctor). Luckily, I got in to see my doctor that day (20 miles away). The neurologist from the city (70 miles away) was going to be up at our rural hospital in a couple of days and I got a last minute appointment with him. I was hot and had the previous symptoms I described, but I guess 2 days was not THAT long of time to wait

A leave of absence from work was what I had to take to figure out what was going on! The couch and I spent lots of time together! I didn’t want to eat because I wasn’t sure if it was going to stay down, but I  forced myself to eat a few crackers and keep drinking water. I knew I needed to put something in my stomach to help fight whatever was going on with me!

My husband took me to the neurologist at our local hospital (also 20 miles away). My farmer husband was in between summer farm work and we both wanted to hear what he had to say. Since I was so severely dizzy he got me set up to do an IV steroid drip at the hospital that day and for the next 2 days on an outpatient basis. After that he wanted me to go to his office for a series of tests including an MRI and a lumbar puncture (spinal tap)! Yes, you read that right. He thought it was MS with the vision problems, so that was the path we were going to test for.

The IV drip cleared up my vision, but not my “corset” discomfort. My local doctor did a blood test and arranged for us to go back to the city and see an endocrinologist (gland specialist). So, in that next week we were headed back to the big city to see a different doctor. This one told me it was Graves’ Disease. That meant my thyroid was an OVERACTIVE thyroid producing too much (thyroxin) secreted stuff for my body and the only treatment was removal of my thyroid. For those of you that aren’t familiar with what your thyroid does, it is that little gland around your throat that controls most of what goes on in your body, such as weight loss/gain, your body temperature, and your monthly cycle for women.

Now back to removal of my thyroid. If you’re going to remove that gland,  my thought was your going to cut my throat (look at the picture)? I think he saw the questioning look on my face. He told me he was going to go get a radioactive pill for me to swallow and it would shrivel my thyroid so it wouldn’t work anymore and I’d have to take a pill to get that hormone every day for the rest of my life. That’s when all my super hero thoughts popped into mind:

  • Is this going to work?
  • How does it know what gland to “attack”?
  • Am I going to appear radioactive?
  • HOW is it going to work?
  • What’s it going to cost if it’s that easy?

When he came back he had a glass of water, a big horse pill in a little paper cup and was wearing a pair of surgical gloves. Ok, you’re wearing gloves to bring this pill, but I just put it in my mouth and swallow it with bare hands? 

Ok, my tightness did eventually go away, so I guess it killed the right organ! I later found out that pill (the size of my thumb nail) cost $800 in 1995.

My tests showed NO SIGNS of MS, none on MRI or the lumbar puncture! He said I needed to start these (expensive $1000/month in 1995) MS drug injections. I told him I wasn’t going to because we wanted to have kids and I wasn’t putting that medicine in my body when it WARNS YOU AGAINST PREGNANCY. That’s the first time I got the feeling from a doctor that if you’re not going to do what I say, then I’m not listening to you. That’s when my husband and I decided to find another neurologist as we walked out of his office.

I started having what I call MS “episodes”. It happened at random times, usually in the mornings, when I went to the bathroom, but not all the time. I would get EXTREMELY hot, start sweating, get a buzzing in my ears so I couldn’t hear anything and my vision would just black out. Once I got cool it would only last about 10-15 minutes then I could go about my day! I tried to connect it with stress, what I had done in my life, what I had eaten, the weather, but nothing was the same! I started thinking “Oh great! More lesions on the brain”. But that wasn’t the case as I got more MRIs in years to come. It still happens, but rarely!!!! The joke with the MRIs was I had proof that I HAD A BRAIN. We have great insurance so we only had to pay 20% of that MRI bill.

I went back to work about 3-4 weeks later, but soon learned that I had to cut back to 4 days a week. I couldn’t keep up working 5 days a week, helping on the farm when I got home, feeding us when my husband got done at night, plus laundry and keeping our house picked up as much as I thought a “good wife” should.

We had agreed I would stay home with kids when they came. That didn’t mean that my husband wouldn’t have just as much raising them. It just meant that when he was doing something kids could be around safely he would take them and bring them back when it wasn’t safe. Besides Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle were at the farm with lots of attention to give! The rest of my medical story is listed if you want to read, but let’s get on with cooking.

What Is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

I realized when my middle school son asked me what I had I didn’t know how to explain it in a way he could understand it. People are familiar with MS, but they don’t really know WHAT it is. I’m not a doctor, have heard it explained and shown in “adult” terms, but I’m going to try to put it in terms that ordinary people can understand.

The 1st thing I can tell you MS is an autoimmune disease. It means a person’s immune system thinks its own immune system is the bad thing it has to fight. Just when a normal person gets sick, the immune system fights that illness so you get better.

Now let me try to explain it Your nerves have a protective coating, kind of like a wire to a cord has a plastic coating to protect the wires. With MS, your body starts eating away at the protective coating. Once places in that coating get eaten through to the nerves, that’s when you start seeing disabilities in people with MS.

MS affects everyone differently. Some people it affects sight, speech, hands, arms, legs, and/or back. A person gets disabled when the nerves are made bare. It can even go as far as effecting urine and bowel control. That’s why you see many people with MS in wheelchairs. The disease has worked on that person for a long time, so they are no longer able to walk. Others use a cane or walker to get around because of balance issues.

My husband saw me writing this and later he asked “WHAT and HOW do you feel with MS”. I was confused at first because I see him everyday and several times a day because we live on the farm where he works. He knows I don’t have depression so I’m confused about your question was my thought. I was sitting on the couch with my legs up and he was sitting in the recliner. My expression looked puzzled at his question, so he said “if I want to stand up, I just stand up. Show me how you stand up?” I put my feet on the floor and pushed myself up with my left hand while my right hand was on my walker handle. He asked “Is that the only way you can stand up?” “No” was my response. So I did it again by putting both hands on my walker handles and just stood up. I need a walker because I have balance issues that a cane won’t help anymore with my MS.

He asked me “Do you feel anything from the waist down?” ” Yes, I have a slight tingle in my thighs, but a tight tingle from my knees down.” Can you feel if something is touching your legs?” “Oh yes,” was my response. He’ll touch my arms, hands, legs or feet and ask “aren’t you cold?” “No” is my usual response. “Can you feel that?” he’ll ask.”Yes I feel the temperature difference between him and myself, but I don’t FEEL (frigid to me),  like I need a blanket.”

With MS, my body temperature tends to run a little higher normally, so it is hard to tell when I get sick with a slight fever. I have become a basic germ-a-phobe so I don’t get sick. I always use Germ-X type stuff and have Clorox germ killing wipes to use on door knobs, light switches, fridge or kitchen cabinet handles when 1 of the other two in my house get sick especially my son who goes to school!

As far as it is for me, I use a walker around my house and for places that I don’t have a lot of walking. There is a leg brace I wear when we go places because it keeps my foot from wanting to turn. I use a manual wheelchair when we go places with a lot of walking. It stays in our vehicle and I refuse to use it in the house! At this time, there are plenty of chairs around our home to sit in when I need to. I just make sure I have a hand on the arm rest because they have wheels! Besides a manual wheel chair still works my arms and I am able to get in/out of it easily. It’s also lighter weight, easier to handle and my son can even handle it.

The funny part comes when we go into a store that has the steps in front of the door and the handicap ramp going around. Then my husband says “Let’s just go this way. (as we come to the steps) You’ll get down this way, too!” I know he wouldn’t seriously do it. He says it to lighten the mood.

.https://g.co/kgs/uVK7os This is a picture of what a normal and MS nerves would look like


This is a video from the MS society website if you do better seeing the information than reading it.


MS Statistics

According to research in 2018, there are more than 400,000 people in the US alone, that have multiple sclerosis (MS) and 2.5 million people in the WORLD. An estimated 200 new cases are diagnosed per week. With so many stages of disability to the disease, I figured they have to eat and it shouldn’t be hard work to get a home-cooked meal on the table, since fatigue is a big side effect of MS. So I thought that since MS strikes most people between the ages of 20-40 years (including me), there would be a high probability of spouses and/or kids.

Where Do I Learn More About Selecting AND Cooking Good Meat ?

I got to thinking when my daughter called from college to ask me about my pork cutlet recipe. She took some of our meat back to college with her. Recipes are good, but what if you don’t know HOW to pick meat from the store?

We are spoiled since my husband raises cattle, our own beef goes to the processing plant, but it’s not cheap. We get our beef cut up the way we want it, goes in the freezer, and we have our own butcher-cut meat to eat on for a year or more. It isn’t cheap, but that’s a whole year’s worth of meat. A deep freezer and butcher-quality meat is an investment we’re willing to make. We get hogs from a cousin so we get hogs, too.


Let’s start with hamburger. The leaner ground beef you buy, the more expensive it gets, but the healthier it is for you to eat. Check your labels for the percentage of fat in it (probably 70-80%).Our ground meat is closer to 90% from a processing plant. Also, check dates for “packaged” and “use buy”. DON’T BUY IT IF IT’S EXPIRED! I tell my daughter that thawed, ground meat only lasts a couple of days in the refrigerator. Smell the meat when you buy it if dates are alright. I suggest freezing it in freezer bags in approximately 1 pond packages if not using it all right away.

Just remember this saying if measurements confuse you.


The package should have an amount (usually ounces), listed when you buy it. If put in the fridge frozen, you have a couple more days because it takes about a day to thaw in the fridge.

Roasts I’m not sure about, so be sure and ask at the meat department in your grocery store If you cook a roast it is also good for.

Tenderized or minute steaks are good for chicken fried steak, Swiss steaks, or smothered steaks. It’s a tougher cut of meat that has been tenderized. This makes it more edible and easier to eat.

Steaks can be confusing and EXPENSIVE. It depends on marbling, size, weight, etc. Ask the meat department about details on steaks, too. I don’t buy them separately. My personal choice is Ribeye. It has less bone, but is a good cut of meat. T-Bone is not, economically, a good choice. You’re paying for a big bone, hence the name. Sirloin steak is good to make fajitas, stir-fry. or another cut recipe.

Dried beef is another cut we get. It’s slivered like lunch meat. We use it as such and I also make what we call S**t On A Shingle. It’s simply bite-sized pieces of dried beef warmed in a skillet with white gravy added and served over toast. We got the name from both of our fathers because that’s what it was called in the military. With small kids, we called it S.O.S.

A brisket is another cut of meat from beef. Brisket is usually a bigger cut of meat that is used to make corned beef, like for St. Patrick’s Day or to have a barbecued brisket for sandwiches.

Can’t forget the ribs. I like the spare ribs because they are already individually cut apart to make it easier to handle. You can get a rack if you want to grill them or put them in a big pan.

If you have any more beef questions, click here.


Ground pork and sausage go along the same as ground beef. I even challenge you to get some ground pork and fix it like hamburgers. A little different flavor, but we like them for a change.

Bacon comes from the side, or belly, of the pig. Usually bought in slices, has fat on it. That’s what makes it crispy when fried. Look for bacon in the store with the least amount of fat for healthier bacon. It’s one of the most popular cuts of pork because it has lots of ways to use it and used in the morning, at noon, or at night. Precooked bacon can be used as bacon pieces or strips of bacon when microwaved for a short amount of time.

Pork cutlets are the tougher pieces of meat that get tenderized. When getting a hog butchered, I get cutlets instead of tenderloins. By getting a tenderloin it takes away from other cuts of meat.

Ham is from the back end of the hog. It can be fresh or cured. The ham you usually find in the store is cured. That’s what I get sliced (ham steaks), slivered (for lunch meat), or just smaller hams. Any leftover ham I either cut into pieces or grind to use in ham balls or ham loaf recipes.

Pork chops is a very popular cut of pork. When I get chops I get them both fresh and smoked, usually 1/2″=3/4″ thick. The thicker you get the longer to cook. Grilled chops are great for the grill. Fresh chops are good to go with a marinade or any other way you want to prepare it.

Pork roasts can also be good in the crock pot cooked low and slow for pulled pork. Pork steak is an option to that is good for marinating and putting on the grill.

Then there are ribs. A HUGE hit in my house. I just get spare ribs. I put them in barbecue sauce in the crock pot. You can get the rack or the crown roast, but to me it’s easiest to get the pieces already cut proportionately per person. I even tend to mix beef and pork ribs and put in the crock pot with barbecue sauce until they are fall-off-the-bone good!

If you have more questions check out this website here or ask a butcher.

I have also seen the Dr. Oz show on TV do episodes with meat informstion in them about choice, healthy, cooking. Any type of meat, even chicken. The link above will take you to his show site and you can search your topic

My Quick & Simple Pork Recipes

Pork is the “other white meat”. Pork can really be a healthy cut of meat depending on the cuts you choose and how you fix it. I tried to put a few recipes using different cuts of pork, so you get a variety for your taste buds. All of them are my family approved, so I hope you enjoy them too.

My Quick & Simple Vegetable Recipes

I know not all kids WANT to eat vegetables, so I put some recipes on here that may disguise vegetables or add enough flavor that kids, or anyone can handle eating vegetables. I hope these recipes help you to get kids to eat vegetables. We all like these recipes, so I hope it gives you as good of luck as they did for me.

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  • 84% agree: I’m learning about new ingredients and cooking techniques
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Cooking Is Not An Exact Science

Cooking is not an exact science. I told my son that baking is more exact, cooking is not. If you’re not afraid to fail a few times you won’t learn! I failed plenty learning, but they weren’t uneatable failures, I just learned what to do differently the next time.With balance problems more with my MS now, I have to lean against my counters to put something in a pot or skillet. Getting a sauce pot of water to my stove or back to the sink to drain it takes planning ahead. I have to make sure there is a hot pad on the counter to set the hot pot of pasta, for example. Then I have to shift my weight to take a step closer to the sink.

If I have something to mix like meatballs, I will put the ingredients on my kitchen table and set down to mix them. My kitchen doesn’t have an island in it. My table sits in the middle with 6 chairs around with wheels. So in my kitchen chairs I can roll around the kitchen to get pans, ingredients or whatever I need at the time. If I make cookies, I roll over to my mixer, stand to put ingredients in the mixer and sit down while they mix. I sit down with the cookie dough and put them on cookie sheets. My oven sits directly behind my end chair, so I can just spin around to carefully put them in the oven to bake.

Just today I had my son help me make “cheater” cheesy garlic bread for dinner (lunch).I fixed a cheater spaghetti using a jar of Italian sausage spaghetti sauce. I cooked and drained the pasta. While it was draining, I added the sauce to the pan and turned it on medium-low to warm. When the sauce was getting warm, I added the spaghetti, stirred it and we made the cheater cheesy garlic bread, I took refrigerated crescent rolls and separated them into 8 triangles. I spread margarine on then, sprinkled garlic powder over the margarine, and added leftover mozzarella cheese over it. Then I rolled the rolls, starting with the wide end. I put them on a sprayed cookie sheet and cooked according to package directions.