Tuesday, April 21, 2015

From Scratch or Not From Scratch - that is the Question

In the course of my stay-at-home mom life I've attempted to make a lot of the products we use frequently. It started out as a frugality thing, then it became a pride thing (surely I could make this better?) and it's currently a convenience thing. We run out of stuff ALL THE TIME and don't nobody want to run to the store at 5 o'clock with four monkeys hanging off the grocery cart.

In no particular order I've attempted making dishwashing soap, chapstick, tortillas, baby food, fruit roll-ups, taco seasoning and Febreeze. If it comes in a package at the grocery store, but Pinterest tells me I can make it myself, I've tried it.
The following things have been hits and are easy enough that I consistently make them on my own.

1. Laundry Detergent - Pinterest was right with this recipe. It lasts our family of 6 FOREVER. I make a batch about every six months and it costs me $20 when I do. Y'all that's some cheap detergent.

2. Granola - I've blogged the recipe I cannot believe I've never blogged this recipe before! It's always good and a hit with every family member. See below for the recipe...so good y'all. So good.

3. Yogurt - this is a particular favorite of mine because it make me feel really accomplished to say that I make my own yogurt. In reality it involves a thermometer, a slow-cooker and patience.

4. Artisan Bread - again, been mentioning this amazingness on the blog for years. We love it and so do dinner guests.

5. Chocolate Chip Cookies - cookies take all of 5 minutes to mix together and they are SO MUCH BETTER than the stuff you get at the store, whether it's bakery cookies, the dough in the tube or break and bake. If your cookies never turn out right, get yourself a Silpat liner and please try again. Also - try a skillet cookie recipe. Swoon. 

6. Pizza Dough - I've got some churning away in my bread machine right now. I use a few different recipes and it's always a win. It turns a night I don't feel like making dinner into an instant party when I tell the kids we're having pizza.

Now these bad boys were exceptional failures -- anyone out there tried and succeeded where I've failed?

1. Baby Wipes - my sweet husband put up with this for almost a month before he privately and compassionately asked me to please go back to store-bought wipes. The stakes are high people. You don't want a homemade wipe ripping when you need it most.

2. Brownies - yes, I have made homemade brownies many times and yes, they are good. But no, they are not considerably better than from-a-box, hence my position on the matter.  If you have an amazing recipe for me to try, I am willing to consider re-evaluating.

3. Hummus - like brownies, the effort here just didn't equal the reward.

4. Fritos - this was a debacle. It would have been better just to drag the monkeys to the store at 5pm.

5. Tortillas - I love my grandmothers, but they aren't Hispanic and something tells me you really need your abuela teaching you to get the hang of the tortilla. Anyone have one to lend me?


What's the craziest thing you've tried to make at home? Any success stories to share?

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Golden Granola - Makes 7 cups
Unsure where this originally came from!! :(

4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup shredded coconut (I like using unsweetened, use whatever floats your boat)
1 cup chopped walnuts (sub any nut in a pinch)
3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
Scant tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt (I use Kosher)

1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine the first six ingredients on a baking sheet and toast in a 275 degree oven while you mix the wet ingredients. 
Pour dry ingredients into bowl with wet mixture and toss to coat evenly. 
Spread the mixture evenly on your baking sheet and bake at 275 for 1 hr - 1.5 hrs, stirring once or twice to ensure even browning. 

Great over yogurt, with milk like any other cereal, as an ice cream topping (coffee ice cream is TO DIE FOR with this) or (my personal favorite) by the handful from the pantry.



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