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aflyingbuttress 07-12-2012 04:35 PM

Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?
Well, maybe not everything, but most things? My DH and I really want to get to the point where we are cooking most of our food from scratch instead of buying processed garbage. But I feel like its such an investment to get started so I have the necessary ingredients on hand.

Does anyone have any tips on how to get started and do this economically? What ingredients should I make sure I always have in my pantry?

tesslouise 07-12-2012 04:45 PM

I would begin with the things your family eats large quantities of: Bread? Yogurt? Cereal? Crackers?

I eat a lot of yogurt and granola, so those were two things it made sense to learn to make myself.

We eat a lot of beans, so now I cook them in the Crockpot and freeze them in can-size bags.

Hubby's spaghetti sauce tastes better than store bought, so again, he'll make a large pot and we'll freeze it.

qsefthuko 07-12-2012 05:17 PM

Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?
Bread and beans are cheaper and easier to make at home than to buy ready made.

For beans
1 lb of sorted rinsed beansk(remove any dirt or nasty looking beans)
1/2 an onion
2 cloves of garlic
8 cups of water
2 tsp salt

combine in a large pot. Cook on low for 2 1/2 - 3 hours. No need to soak overnight

For bread look up at the library Artisan Bread in Five Minutes Day or Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Loaf pans are cheap but you can also do free form and use a cookie pan. No special items needed to start out with. You can start with white flour, white whole wheat flour, and rye flour. With those 3 you can make a lot of different breads.

I buy my yeast by the pound at sams club(or rather my mother does and gives it to me). I keep it in the freezer because it lasts indefinetely there.

aflyingbuttress 07-12-2012 05:19 PM

Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?
Oh great idea about the beans! I would never have thought of that. We are vegetarian so we eat a lot of beans too. Can you do the same with rice? And I never thought to make yogurt, seems like that would be interesting to make.

aflyingbuttress 07-12-2012 05:21 PM

Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?
Thanks for the beans recipe! I am definitely going to try that. And I will look up those bread recipes too.

tesslouise 07-12-2012 05:43 PM


Originally Posted by aflyingbuttress
Oh great idea about the beans! I would never have thought of that. We are vegetarian so we eat a lot of beans too. Can you do the same with rice? And I never thought to make yogurt, seems like that would be interesting to make.

I've never tried cooking rice ahead and freezing it...I *have* bought the frozen brown rice from Trader Joe's, which isn't thrifty but is nice to have in the freezer.

I do beans in the Crockpot:
Take 1 pound, sort through them and trash the funky ones, put them in a big bowl, and soak them overnight. In the morning, drain them, dump them in the Crockpot (mine is a $20 4-quart) with 1 teaspoon salt + fresh water to cover, and cook them on low for 4 hours. Check them, add another teaspoon of salt, stir well, and then check every 30-60 minutes until they're cooked through. Drain them, let them cool, and freeze 1 2/3 cups in each pint-size freezer bag. (I rinse and re-use the bags.) I've done black beans, navy beans, and chickpeas. (I've done kidney beans, but they're supposed to be boiled for 10 minutes to deactivate a toxin. But I skip that if I know the whole pound is going into a batch of chili and will be boiled there.)

Nickel+3 07-12-2012 05:52 PM

We eat everything from scratch here. My favorite thing to have on hand is fresh herbs. That can really make a meal.

tesslouise 07-12-2012 05:52 PM

Aaand the yogurt. Again, my $20 Crockpot is awesome.

Take 8 cups milk (I use local, grass-fed, whole milk; anything but ultra-pasteurized will work). Pour into your Crockpot and heat for 2.5 hours on low. (2.75 hours has worked better for us.) Then turn off and unplug the Crockpot and let the milk cool for 3 hours. Then stir in (don't whisk) a generous 1/2 cup of good plain yogurt with lots of cultures. Our favorite is Kalona Supernatural but anything with no fillers will work; just pick a yogurt with a texture you like. Re-cover the Crockpot, wrap it in a blanket, and leave it overnight (8-10 hours). It should look like yogurt, with visibly separated whey on top. Then we drain ours through a tea-towel-lined strainer so it's thick like Greek yogurt, and then it goes in the fridge. You don't have to drain the whey, depending on how thick you like your yogurt. We get about a quart of really thick yogurt.

abunchoflemons 07-12-2012 05:52 PM

Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?
We make salsa & sometimes get jelly from friend that makes. Wasn't sure on bread to make cost cuz here we can get for .99 versus like neighbor makes in loaf pan size not using bread maker. We do some like waffles but some are just cheap to buy here. Vanilla we use in cookies too.......

2queens&1princenmyhouse 07-12-2012 06:19 PM

Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?
You can freeze rice, although I tend to bake enough on Sunday and just keep it in the fridge and use it throughout the week. I eat only brown rice and had a terrible time getting the consistency just right until I used Michelle's recipe (she's on here, but I'm not sure what her screen name is--I want to say DJM something).


Homemade yogurt: Ya gotta use Jen's from Bacon in My Pocket (MaBacon on here).

Homemade tortillas: I don't make these as often as I should, b/c I get lazy and in a time crunch, but these are the best I've found. From nikkicaligirl, post #6 in this thread.

I'm personally not a big fan of the artisan bread. It's ok, just not my fave. I haven't found the one TDF yet, but I like the french bread and bagels from Towards Sustainability. Oh, and sub sandwich/grinder rolls from Pizza Maniac.

To do this economically, I would suggest purchasing one frequently used item in bulk each month or every two weeks, however your grocery budget resets. I buy most of the items I use often in 25 or 50 pound increments (oatmeal, whole white wheat flour, bread flour, organic sugar, brown rice, pinto beans, white beans, red beans). Other items I still buy bulk, but not quite as much (like maybe 5-10 pounds depending)-things like black beans, sunflower seeds, yeast, chocolate chips, dried fruit (or I do this myself). Honey and maple syrup I buy 32 oz. at a time (I would like to buy a gallon, but can't afford to drop that much $ at once). I buy GMO-free canola oil and coconut oil by the gallon and try to always stay a gallon ahead. I buy organic frozen veggies 5 pounds at a time. And we buy a side of beef each year. I buy whole chickens when they go on sale and buy enough to get me to the next sale (8-10 at a time). Pretty much, I plan my menu and then go to the grocery store to get the oddball items, fresh produce, dairy and spices) that we need.

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