Having been on this real food/natural living journey for quite a while now, I feel like I have come to a place of comfort with many of the everyday items we use and how I can make them from scratch. I used to use coupons like crazy to make our budget work. Now, I have even lowered our budgeted amount for food/necessities and we are actually eating healthier while spending less. Ingredients for real food costs a lot less in the long run than the up-front cost of processed foods.(I do still use many coupons for some things.)
I was amazed recently when I started listing things that I make from scratch and no longer buy. I can see myself continuing to make these things myself for a very long time to come. They certainly take more time, but in little bits of time here and there it really is doable.
So here’s part 1 of my list. I thought I should break it into 2 posts so this one would not be so long!
1. Bread, rolls, biscuits. The kids have actually named my bread “Mommy’s Loving Bread.” With a little planning ahead for meals and baking bread every couple of weeks we have no need for Pillsbury or store bought breads.
2. Croutons. I freeze the heals of our bread(when they don’t get eaten) and when enough of them add up I drizzle them with olive oil and garlic/Italian seasonings, cut into croutons and bake ‘em up.
3. Breadcrumbs. If we are stocked up on croutons or I’m just in need of breadcrumbs, I’ll do the same process with the bread heals but toss the toasted bread into the food processor to make crumbs. Store them in the freezer or in a canning jar in the frig.
4. Granola. I can add what I want to it, leave out what we don’t want and cut back on the sugar too. Works great for a quick breakfast or snack with milk or yogurt.
5. Salad dressing. I can’t believe the amount of salad dressings that we would toss because we never used them up before they went bad. Thankfully I did get them for next to nothing with coupons. Now I mix up my own Italian, French and ranch dressings. They are much tastier, healthier and we use up every drop.
6. Canned fruit/veggies. Canning or freezing when things are in season has supplied us with plenty of fruits and vegetables to last us til the next season. Growing our own makes it even more frugal.
7. Syrup. Who needs IHOP when we can make and can our own chokecherry and mulberry syrups? I do pick up some real maple syrup though once in a while because we like that on our oatmeal.
8. Jelly. Lilly and I actually like honey with our peanut butter for a sandwich but our home-canned jelly is amazing on biscuits and for those who prefer a pb & j.
9. Pesto. Fresh basil makes me so happy. Homemade pesto for chicken sandwiches or pasta..yum. Freezes well too.
10. Laundry soap. A few ingredients and a little bit of time every few months is all it takes to put up our own laundry powder. Here’s the recipe if you want to try it.
11. Salsa. Store-bought has nothing on salsa made from veggies right out of our garden. We ran a little short this year so hopefully I can put up more this summer.
Tackling one item at a time is key to making this all happen. I did not just decide one day I was going to make all of these things myself. It has taken years to get to this point by adding one thing at a time, only when I feel like I can handle another thing. It is also very important to me that I am not “doing” instead of “being” with my kids. For that reason, if it is not an activity that we have time to do together or that I can do while they are happily busy doing something, it may not get done. We’ll go without or we’ll make a substitution. Yes, providing healthy foods and products for my family is a top priority but it will not take priority over spending quality time with them.
Still to come…Part 2—More things I may never buy again.