Living Like By the Shores of Silver Lake ~ No Measuring Cups

by Merissa on June 3, 2011

in Living Like Little House

Yes, I'm about to tell you that most of the cookbooks you read aren't rules and always tend toward the un-thrifty side even if they are a thrifty cookbook!

"Would you mind writing it down?" said Reverend Stuart. "How much flour, and how much milk?" "Goodness!" said Ma. "I never measure, but I guess I can make a stab at it." ~ By the Shores of Silver Lake

My grandma used to make some very good food but when I asked her to write down the recipe for me she pretty much gave me the same response as Ma gave to Reverend Stuart.

For a long time I used to follow recipes by the book, worried that if I didn't follow the instructions exactly, it wouldn't turn out correctly.  After a while I started leaving out a few things here, substituting a few things there, scribbling in the recipe books when I found something else to use or something we liked better.

When you follow a recipe exactly you have to have all the ingredients in the perfect amounts. But what you discover after a while is that it's just not necessary! Yes, it takes a little time to figure out what you know you can leave out and what would make a good exchange. When you feel like you need to follow the recipe exactly you end up buying the ingredients on the page, and buying things you may not really need or you can replace with something else that you might already have for no additional cost.

To buy those extra ingredients you think you need, you have to make an extra trip to the store or make extra time to shop when you don't really need to (and shopping longer puts you at risk for impulse buys!). And of course you have the added cost of those ingredients you didn't already have in your pantry.

Take one recipe at a time. Try small exchanges first. Don't leave out crucial ingredients like baking soda, yeast, ect. Try different spices, find exchanges for some expensive spices by using cheaper spices.

What about you? Do you do exchanges or do you follow recipes exactly?

Make sure you check out the entire Living Like Little House series!

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2:00 pm

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Missy June 3, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I hardly ever make a recipe exactly how it’s written. I’m an improvisin girl all the way! 🙂


2 Ckay June 3, 2011 at 3:59 pm

I very seldom make something per the recipe, esp after I have made it once or twice. I am not a 2 cup white flour, 2 cup sugar and 1 cup of butter type of baker. I need more nutritious recipes. I try to cut down on margarine or butter and try to half the sugar. Or stretch like brownie mix by adding 1 c of wheat flour or 1 cup quick oatmeal and maybe 1/2 tsp of soda. An adding extra pasta say to like Hamburger helper lasagna meal.


3 Suzanne June 20, 2011 at 8:33 am

I add crushed up apple to my pumpkin when I don’t have enough pumpkin to make a pumpkin pie. Of course I only use real pumpkin, not from a can. I also use apple in my banana bread when I don’t have enough bananas.


4 Merissa June 20, 2011 at 10:18 am

Good tips, thanks for posting!


5 Stephanie June 14, 2013 at 10:07 pm

I usually try to follow the recipe the first time, provided I have everything. Then, I tweak it to my family’s preferences after I know how it’s supposed to taste 🙂


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