Monday, January 18, 2016

Living in the land of substitutes

From the day we moved to our little 3rd world country it became obvious we wouldn't be able to rush to any supermarket and pick up every imaginable ingredient that you see on a Walmart shelf. Available ingredients are very basic and the extra special ingredients come on a varying basis. So....does that mean we eat simply? Do we eat a plate of rice, beans and chicken every night? No way! In my mind variety is the spice of life but how do you accomplish that in a land with limited resources.

You learn the art of substitution.

So that you might better understand, I have taken pictures and will walk you through a holiday meal at our house.


It's New Year's Day and we are ready to celebrate with a meal of finger foods and yummy treats but how did this meal get to the table in a rustic area?

First we have pigs in a blanket. What do you do when you can't find refrigerated packs of weanies and canned crescent rolls?

First you substitute homemade rolls.

Then you substitute weanies you find in a can. And you find yourself some pretty yummy pigs in a blanket.

Next menu item-broccoli salad

What do you do when you don't have bacon that week and they don't sell cheddar?


This is a great trick! I have found if you cut up thick ham lunch meat in small pieces and fry it with some oil it crisps up and can almost not be differentiated from bacon! Bacon substitute chopped up ham lunch meat.

When no cheddar is on hand I use Gouda, a fresh cow cheese or our all time famous yak cheese:)

Next on the menu- cherry streudels

That do you do when there is no Philadelphia cream cheese or its $8, no canned crescent rolls or canned cherry pie filling?

First we substitute a locally imported cream cheese.

Then we take some of that big roll recipe for the pigs in a blanket and place them on the bottom of our streudels.

Then we take plain canned red cherries, pit them (using a straw is a great trick!) and boil them with some sugar, water and cornstarch! You have pie filling! Pour it over the top and bake.


What do you do when your gas for stovetop cooking is limited and your electricity is on a few hours and only one rack on your oven?


Oh yes! The best of all, you bust out the crockpot! Angels sing.....lights shine around and excitement fills the kitchen as Mommy begins experimenting with her new crockpot. For New Years it held a pot of chili! Subustituting canned pinto beans for black. I began thinking of this post as I made one dish and then realized living in a 3rd world is a constant game of substitutes. But it is a fun game that yields rewarding yummy treats and meals:)




  1. Great tips for thinking outside the box! Yesterday I needed eggs for my banana bread- normally I would substitute applesauce but I was out of that too. I found out you can use 1.5 tbsp veggie oil mixed with 1.5 tbsp of water and 1 tsp of baking powder per egg. Best banana bread ever!

  2. Wow I would have never thought of that! Cool


Thanks so much for enjoying the third world journey with me. I always enjoy kind and uplifting comments!