Butter/Milk Substitutes?

11:12 a.m. on August 23, 2013 (EDT)
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Considering slimming down my food budget and making my next weekend's menu from things like Lipton Pasta Sides, Pasta-Roni, Mac 'n Cheese, Zatarain's, etc.

I know Lipton's don't require the use of butter or milk.

Do you guys substitute anything for either? Or just do without it?

I've heard the mention of using olive oil? Trying to wrap my head around how these are going to taste without any kind of dairy in 'em.

11:34 a.m. on August 23, 2013 (EDT)
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They'll cook ok without butter/milk, but watch your sodium intake on the trail with that stuff. Soy milk/almond milk  is a relatively shelf-stable product as a substitute... 

12:00 p.m. on August 23, 2013 (EDT)
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I've heard that powdered milk is a decent substitute for use in cooking. I do add quite a bit of olive oil to my backcountry meals, especially on long walks.  I like the way it tastes, and it's very dense in calories.

12:58 p.m. on August 23, 2013 (EDT)
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Ghee, aka clarified butter! The part that settles out when butter is heated is the part that goes bad, pour off the clear oil and you're good to go.

1:09 p.m. on August 23, 2013 (EDT)
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Ghee! Forgot about it. Whereabouts in the grocery store would you find it? In the ethnic food aisle(s)? Or is this something to be found in a more specialized market?

Anyone out there make their own clarified butter, and if so, would you mind sharing your process with me?

1:14 p.m. on August 23, 2013 (EDT)
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Zatarain's offers a reduced sodium line I'm fond of. My hypertension usually has me minding my sodium - MH dinners are about the one splurge I allow per day. KIND bars are a big help, too, in that they've a very low sodium content.

2:00 p.m. on August 23, 2013 (EDT)
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Nido is the best flavored dehydrated milk..You can find it in the spanish section..For Butter, Butterbuds.You can find it in the spice section at large retailers.I get it at Foodlion.. I add olive oil to all my dinner meals Like Seth because on long trails you burning more calories..You can get an 8oz Nalegene bottle from REI to put your olive oil in..

2:15 p.m. on August 23, 2013 (EDT)
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You might be able to buy ghee where you are, HRH...around here, not so much. :)

Easy to do (though I've never checked the economics of buying versus making). Warm your butter slowly in a saucepan. No bubbling or simmering. You want all the proteins to settle, so it's just a matter of letting it sit quietly on super low heat once it liquefies. You can carefully pour off the oil once it's clear, or gently put the pan in the fridge (keep that sludge immobile at all times!) and wait for the oil on top to harden.

The 'sludge' part becomes a pasta sauce for supper. :)

3:36 p.m. on August 23, 2013 (EDT)
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Powdered milk works for cooking. Oil can be used instead of butter. "Alaska" magazine has published great cookbooks over the years listing recipes for how to cook without milk, butter, eggs, and lots of other stuff we think of as normal for cooking.

8:06 p.m. on August 23, 2013 (EDT)
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I always use powdered skim milk for cooking of all kinds. It's high in protein; about 9 grams per 1/4 cup dry, mixes well with porridge in the morning, tea in the afternoon and makes great sauces for my evening meals. We buy it in bulk down south because liquid and UHT milk cost around 4 dollars a liter up here.

As for butter, I always carry it in the fall and winter with no fear of spoilage; summer is only a few weeks long. I remember canned butter when I worked in logging camps down south. You can still buy it I hear. There is also dried butter powder which I have never tried, but would like to some day.

7:25 a.m. on August 24, 2013 (EDT)
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I also use powdered milk and there is a product called Butter Buds which is dried butter. I have not used it in years but thought you would like to know. I don't use anything in my pasta cooking but water and the cheese mix or bulk cheese.

7:34 a.m. on August 24, 2013 (EDT)
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Ghee, powdered milk, thos kids juice box style things of  UHT milk, and olive oil will all work fine.

6:39 p.m. on August 24, 2013 (EDT)
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7:54 p.m. on August 24, 2013 (EDT)
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Ultra High Temperature. It refers to a pasteurization process that allows milk to be stored on the shelf without refridgeration for a long time. It is quite common here where the nearest dairy is a few thousand miles away.

10:22 p.m. on August 24, 2013 (EDT)
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I use Butter Buds all the time. You'll find it in the seasoning section of your local grocer.

Powdered Milk is pricy and has to be bought in bulk (at least around here). When I just need a couple of spoonfulls, I just used powdered coffee creamer.

11:51 p.m. on August 25, 2013 (EDT)
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I'll take powdered milk if I really need the taste of dairy, but I usually go without. Sidekicks don't need butter at all, and I drink my coffee black. 

8:24 p.m. on August 27, 2013 (EDT)
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I always used milkman. dry milk here in California.

9:49 a.m. on August 28, 2013 (EDT)
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North1 said: the nearest dairy is a few thousand miles away.

So in Alaska there are still no dairy cows. Is it too cold in the winter for them or too expensive to keep them warm in winter like they do in the midwest and other very cold places in the lower 48 where cows are kept?

I remember milk in Anchorage in 1978-79 costing as much or more than a gallon of gas. I also hear that in Hawaii it costs as much as $10 a gallon, seems like over there cows would be easily kept?

Trailjester, I use Milkman here in Utah too. I usually take powdered milk for eating cold cereal's. I also like carrying it in my thermos bottles on my bike tours.

When cooking things like mac and cheese that say add milk I don't and no oil added in the pasta water. I find it tastes just as good without the milk and the oil mainly keeps the pasta from sticking together. 

12:21 p.m. on August 28, 2013 (EDT)
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Gary, I don't know about North1's neighbourhood, but here in Newfoundland lots of people were raised on powdered or evaporated milk and rarely saw fresh. Transportation was a big problem. No roads, bad roads, slow coastal ferries, etc. were common until fairly recently.

I still like Carnation in my tea. :)

12:32 p.m. on August 28, 2013 (EDT)
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Hi Gary, there probably are dairy cows in Alaska, particularly in southern parts which are relatively warm, but we can't ship milk across the border to Canada from the US. Living in the Canadian Arctic, milk is brought in at great expense from Canadian dairys thousands of miles to the south by road and plane.

Up here we have 24 hour darkness for most of December and January and ten months of snow cover; there is snow on the ground in places right now. Theoretically, you could run a dairy here, but it would be too cost prohibitive as all the feed would have to be shipped in from outside. Also, heating a building causes all kinds of problems with the permafrost and demands special engineering. It isn't really worth it just to raise a cow.

12:44 p.m. on August 28, 2013 (EDT)
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Gary, Islandess, this is where I live. Picture taken last week. No dairy cows in sight.


12:44 p.m. on August 28, 2013 (EDT)
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24 hours of darkness? Are you farther north than Anchorage? In Anchorage the sun in late December comes up around 10 am and sits around 2 pm. Not very high in the sky but light out none the same, just curious?

My friends in Dawson are about to leave on their Yukon River trip. They say they are only floating/paddling as far as they can in 3 weeks. They are leaving on September first.

1:09 p.m. on August 28, 2013 (EDT)
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Much further north than Anchorage, by about 8 degrees latitude. Much colder climate, too.

1:25 p.m. on August 28, 2013 (EDT)
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A year in the north is ten months of winter and two months of bad skidooing, says the old joke. Not a word of a lie, apparently. :)

Thank you for the picture, North! You can almost hear the wind. Tolkien would have loved it.

1:48 p.m. on August 28, 2013 (EDT)
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North1, How did you come to be in your area? Homesteader, bought land, grew up there? What do you do for a living or are you self sufficient living off the land? 

I wanted to homestead Alaska in the late 70's I lived in Anchorage two years and two months (Oct 77-Dec 79) waiting to get homestead land. I worked winters and took summers off hiking. I saved $4000  and in December 1979 I was laid off my job as chef at the Capt Cook Hotel and returned to the lower 48 and started traveling again. I have been doing so 37 years now. 

Now I am in an area I like and am attempting to settle down. I have lived all over the USA since 1977 on my own. I say attempting cause travel adventure is in my blood now and its hard to give it up in order to stay in one place. I travel with the seasons summers in cooler parts and winters in warmer ones. Mainly have lived in NW Wyoming summers and SE Arizona in the winters. Have lived back NE in New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire and south in Arkansas,New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. Mainly like the warm winters where I can still wear shorts and a tshirt like Tucson and in summers in Wyoming. I have no winter clothing and use a 40 degree sleeping bag.

I was back in Alaska the summer.fall and half winter of 2006-07, but in mid winter I left and went/came back to SW Utah. I didn't like the long winter nights as much in 06-07 as I did in 77-79. I went up to bike tour across the state (of Alaska) I had planned on cycling down through Canada in the summer of 07 but had my bike stolen in the winter, instead of buying a new one I returned to the southwest.

Next summer I want to return and go to SE Alaska.

5:57 a.m. on August 31, 2013 (EDT)
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HRH...Denis is correct NIDO powdered whole milk is the best dry substitute for milk. I get it in the Hispanic section of walmart....a 12.6 OZ can runs for about $4-$5 dollars...and that size sees me through a solid year of adventures...sometimes longer.

I use powdered milk in a lot of my recipes as a thickener...particularly soups...and it makes instant pudding desserts a snap (you'll reach big damn hero status with your fellow hikers when you whip up some Jello cheesecake dessert for everyone...though prepared in a ziplock bag makes it anything but beautiful).

I also prefer NIDO over non-dairy creamer in my coffee...hot chocolate...chai tea...and instant oatmeal...I guess in short...I'm a fan of NIDO.

I can recommend Butterbuds for rehydrated meals...but Ghee is my favorite butter substitute when I plan to fry foods (canoeing and kayaking only)...mostly because I love the flavor of butter and dislike margarine and vegetable oils. In fact...even when backpacking I typically prefer ghee over powdered substitutes because the weight is usually not that significant (I rarely bring more than an ounce or two)...and I love using ghee as a spread on things like bagels and pita.

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