Friday, October 22, 2010

Homemade Challenge

When people start trying to save money, especially on their grocery budget, one of the most stated things is to cook from scratch and stop buying convenience foods.  When we really started working at our budget I  wanted to find things that we could all snack on that I could make that don't cost a ton of money.  We also needed to stop eating out as often.  I found some really good ideas here.

One of my favorites is the granola recipe.  It makes a lot, has simple ingredients and is easy to make.  Including oven time it takes a maximum of 20 minutes to cook.  After it cools it takes a few minutes to break it into pieces.  We love it dry, in yogurt and with milk like cereal.  Even my tween niece and nephew like it.  My nephew has actually requested it before.  For them, I have added chocolate chips and M&M's but there are lots of things that can be added such as nuts (not for us due to a food allergy), dried fruit, seeds, and the before mentioned sweets.  I have even been contemplating making chocolate granola by adding a little cocoa powder but I will need to work on that and tweak it but I will definitely post that recipe if it works out. 

I also found a recipe for rolls through this site that I have tweaked and we now use to make bread instead of buying it.  We made the rolls and liked them so much that we talked about how great they would be made into sandwich bread.  I gave it a shot and it worked out.  After making it we changed the quantities around a bit t suit our tastes and it was delicious.  I recently decided to make it using mainly wheat flour.  I made the recipe the same as before but used 3 cups of wheat flour instead of 2.  When the bread came out it tasted good but was VERY dense.  So we looked at the quantities of the other ingredients and upped the sugar and yeast.  The next recipe came out perfect.  

So, when trying recipes out my suggestion would be to start slow and take baby steps.  Find a recipe similar to one of your favorites that you would normally buy.  Make the recipe as directed the first time or two.  After that you can make small changes to make it more to your liking, just make sure that you record any changes so that if it turns out well you have the new recipe and if not you can go back and will know where to start.  I also recommend only changing one or two ingredients at a time when tweaking a recipe.  Some things that I purchased in the past I now make and was so surprised at how easy it is to make myself and as an added bonus I get to control the ingredients.

My challenge to you is to think about some of the foods that you purchase regularly and ask yourself, can I make this myself?  I've recreated things like the mentioned granola and bread all the way to trying my hand at making some of my favorite frozen meals and restaurant favorites.  By making them yourself you are not only saving money but can control the ingredients that go into your food, which is wonderful if you have someone with food allergies in your home.  If you like grabbing fast food once or twice a week try making it at home.  Homemade fries are yummy and not hard to make.  Plus you can add whatever seasoning you like whether it be regular salt, seasoning salt, or herbs and Parmesan cheese.  One of our favorites to make is our version of Chic-Fil-a sandwich's, or breakfast biscuits.  Plus, if we make them then our son can enjoy them. (He can't have them from the restaurant because they use peanut oil and he's allergic to peanuts.)  So, what will you be making?

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