Hey Steem fam! Have you been to the stores and discovered that you can't buy your planned or usual groceries, and now you have to figure out what to do with random ingredients? Are you trying to make your toilet paper stretch because you're running low and can't find a simple 4-pack? You've come to the right place, because this is what us poors have to do pretty much all the time, lol. So I bring you: The Making Do School of Not Being Able To Buy Groceries!
Low on tp/sanitary products?
~ if you normally wrap your disposable sanitary products in toilet roll before you put them in the trash, instead use old receipts, small wrappers, the wax paper the tp comes wrapped in if you get it in singles and not a big plastic bag, the plastic wrap around American cheese slices, any weird little packaging that would go in the trash anyway. Why waste a resource (tp) when you have things that work just as well and were going to be tossed to begin with? It might not hide it as well as a big wad of tp, but really, your housemates can deal with the reality of what's in the trash. We don't need to pretend it's all tissues. ;)
~ if you're low on sanitary napkins, you can make your own out of old clothing and linens (that's a link to my needleworkmonday post from a while back with a how-to about making cloth pads).
~ if you are totally out of tp and using your paper tissues, DON'T FLUSH THE TISSUES. Or the paper towels. Put them in the trash. You'll bork your plumbing if you flush them. If you are out of everything, google "family cloth."
Low on body care?
~ 1 Tablespoon baking soda + 1 cup water = shampoo; 1 Tablespoon vinegar + 1 cup water = conditioner. If you have blonde hair, apple cider vinegar might give you a bit of a darker/reddish tint and white vinegar will not. Since I have fine blond hair myself, I cannot testify as to how well this works with black hair; if anyone has a good recipe if a different one is needed, lmk in the comments, please?
~ Half n' half aloe vera gel and water + essential oils for scent if desired = leave in conditioner
~ Two parts rubbing alcohol (I believe the advice for corona is 60% or higher) to one part aloe vera gel + EOs for scent if desired = hand sanitizer
~ Cut a whole roll of paper towels in half so you have two short rolls the size of a tp roll (remove core once wet), using one half + 2 1/4 cup water + 2 Tablespoons coconut oil + 1 teaspoon mild soap (Dr. Bronner's, baby bath) + 10 drops tea tree essential oil + 5 drops lavender essential oil = baby wipes (this works better if the paper towels are sturdy; the weak ones tend to fall apart)
~ Two words: cloth handkerchiefs (they're quite nice, actually)
~ Hydrogen peroxide is great for getting out smells in laundry and carpets (but be careful because it can bleach dark colors)! I use it to clean those cloth pads and also to get cat pee smell out of the carpet.
Are you implying that I overshoot, hooman??!
Cooking Substitutions/From Scratch
~ Baking powder: 2 Tablespoons cream of tartar + 1 Tablespoon baking soda + 1 1/2 Tablespoon arrowroot starch (or probably any starch here, but this is the one I'm not allergic to and keep on hand, lol)
~ Hot Cocoa: 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder + 2 Tablespoons sugar + cup of milk + 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract if desired
~ Pancakes: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1 teaspoon salt + 1 Tablespoon white vinegar + 1 1/4 cup milk + 1 egg + 3 Tablespoons melted butter
~ Unsweetened baking chocolate (1 ounce): 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder + 1 Tablespoon oil (I use olive)
~ To make powdered sugar, run regular white sugar in your blender until it's really fine
~ Pie crust: 2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 teaspoon salt + 2/3 cup butter or shortening or coconut oil + 5-7 Tablespoons of cold water; cut butter into small pieces into the flour, add salt and water, mix.
~ Tortillas: 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 Tablespoon coconut oil or shortening or lard + 1 teaspoon baking powder + 2 shakes of salt + 1 cup boiling water + a little oil for rubbing; mix dry ingredients, add coconut oil by cutting it into small pieces, add water. Knead a few minutes. Rub oil on top, put back in bowl, and let rest, covered, for about 10 minutes. Divide into balls (golf ball ish size) and roll out with rolling pin (or tortilla press, if you're lucky enough to have one!). Cook on stove over medium heat until the top begins to bubble, then flip over and the other side should take less time. Keep stacked and warm in a dish towel or flour sack.
~ Often you can substitute coconut oil - lard - butter - shortening
~ In baking, powdered milk or shelf stable milk in a recipe doesn't taste any different
~ There are lists of egg substitutes online that sort based on what the egg is supposed to achieve in the recipe (google it)
~ If your milk is starting to sour, you can use that in cake recipes
~ If your cheese is hard and has a little mold, you can generally cut off the moldy part and it's fine (not so on soft cheeses)
~ vinegar is great for cleaning (that's what I always clean my cutting boards and kitchen counters with). It will take the mineral deposits off a faucet too if you put it in a baggie and rubber band the baggie over the faucet and let it soak in the vinegar overnight.
~ you can rescue brown sugar that has turned into a rock by baking it at a low temperature for a little bit - that will soften the molasses and it will go back to a useable consistency
~ You can freeze a lot of things you probably don't think you can in order to make them last. Bread, for one.
~ You can use the bones from a chicken to make your own broth! Crockpot it or do it on the stove.
~ Google for recipes to use up any odd ingredients you have that you don't want to go bad but don't know what to do with
~ Just sayin', a lot of weird leftover ingredients can make a very fine soup or chili
~ Homemade hummus, homemade crackers, homemade breads, homemade cookies, homemade pot pies ...if you're not ill but stuck off work or school and now have more time to cook, these can all turn out great!
...so there is a smattering of making-do tips. I hope they were helpful! What tips would you add for the new-to-home-ec crowd? Let me know in the comments! :)