If you’d like to learn how to “poorganicify” all your recipes, this is the post for you. I have a few poorganic recipes that I’ve created, but most of what I make isn’t really an original invention of my own. So many great recipes already exist! Instead of trying to write my own recipes, I usually just use Allrecipes.com and substitute my “poorganic” ingredients for the more traditionally used ones.
Here are the most common substitutions that I make in recipes.
1. Coconut Oil instead of shortening/oil–Especially in baking, I substitute coconut oil for shortening, vegetable, or canola oil. I buy my 54 oz of Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil through Vitacost.com for $20.99. That is the best price I’ve found. I can refer any new customers to Vitacost.com to get you (and me) a $10 off coupon, so leave me a comment if you’d like me to refer you. I also use organic olive oil and butter in my cooking.
2. White Whole Wheat Flour instead of all All Purpose Flour— For the most part, WHITE whole wheat flour works very well in all recipes. If you are just transitioning to whole wheat, you might want to use half whole wheat and half all-purpose, but DEFINITELY get WHITE whole wheat if you are going to use 100% whole wheat. It is a lighter grain. I buy my white whole wheat flour at Trader Joe’s where it is $2.99 for a 5 lb. bag.
3. Mushrooms/Veggies/Beans instead of Meat–Since organic and grass fed meats are expensive, I reduce or omit the meat in lots of recipes and replace it with chopped mushrooms, veggies, and beans.In Italian recipes, I use chopped mushrooms, zucchini, onions, peppers covered with sauce. In Mexican dishes, I use beans, onions, peppers, and carrots. Baby Portobella Mushrooms, which I buy at ALDI, are the closest in consistency to meat when chopped, so I use them a lot in cooking. My kids think they don’t like these veggies, so it is best if they don’t know what they are eating. If they hold up a pepper and look at it askance, I tell them it is capsicum and they usually gobble it right up.
4. Honey, Maple Syrup, or fruit syrup instead of Sugar— I reduce or omit the amount of white and brown sugar in most recipes and replace it with honey or maple syrup. If it is a dense flavor, I will use blackstrap molasses. In banana bread, I heat the bananas till they reduce and the banana liquid into a syrup with honey. I buy local honey at the Farmer’s Market, and I stock up on 8.5 oz Grade A maple syrup from ALDI for $3.99 when I see it there. We STILL do have and use refined sugar in our house, but I am finding that if I don’t add as much of it to recipes, I feel okay when my kids want to sprinkle a little on some on oatmeal.
5. Real Fat for Low Fat/ Fat-Free–I don’t buy any reduced fat, low-calorie, or “smart” products anymore because they are usually full of added sugars and weird thickeners. If you are buying fat-free creamer, NOTICE that the second ingredient is CORN SYRUP! Ickk. Smart Balance margarine is loaded with so many genetically modified fats that you are better off just using REAL butter.
If you want to reduce fats overall, USE LESS of the fatty product, but don’t switch to an inferior product. Yogurt can be substituted for sour cream.
Water or whey (the liquid on yogurt) can be substituted for milk. Veggies can be substituted for meat. Grate cheese more finely and you’ll use less.
That should give you a good start at poorganicifying your recipes. What other substitutions do you find yourself commonly making to keep food REAL and affordable?