I use many substitutions when cooking or baking. I do this for a few different reasons:
1. It's healthier
2. It's more economical
3. I don't have the ingredient on hand so I substitute something else.
One of my more recent items that I will not buy ever again is corn syrup. It's chemically grown and made. It's really bad on the food scale of the ways it's grown and what's actually in it. (Major GMO!) So, what I use instead is Sorghum! Molasses can be used, as well, but I buy black strap and it's too strong for baking recipes that call for corn syrup. Sorghum is lighter flavored and you will find it is much better on the scale of how it's grown and processed.
A new favorite find for me is Blue Agave! I use it in place of sugar and most definitley corn syrup. Especially when it's a sweet thing, like making granola - it is SO yummy!!! I get it from Azure Standard and love that it is organic, GMO-free AND fair trade!
There are many websites with substitutions. I like this one as it lists amounts of ingredients to make a mix, like baking mix. It is a nice site to save to use istead of buying a bunch of different items, you buy the staples and then make your own! Talk about economical!!! And there's no rule that says you can't make some up and store it in a container to have on hand if you use it more often than other items!!!
I'm always keeping my eyes peeled for gluten free stuff and the site I listed has an easy tomato soup one. This would be great for a recipe that you would add a CAN of tomato soup to but can't because it is not gluten free.
I also like that this site has substitutions for alcohol; which we don't have in our home, for obvious reasons. This helps me when cooking and I need to know what I can use in place of..... wine for example!
Here's a good article on GMO, if you want to read more.
Anyway, I know that my food budget has gone WAY down since I don't buy every little mixture but make my own. I try and use the substitutions that I have that are Non-GMO and then use organic or all-natural as much as possible.
Don't forget that February's challenge is Food Waste Reduction! See the button on my sidebar.
What substitutes do use? Applesauce for oil - YES! Plain yogurt for sour cream - YES!