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Old 07-12-2012, 07:04 PM   #11
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

You have gotten really good advice already.

I do a large quantity of beans as well and then freeze cooked in freezable Kerr or Ball canning jars that are the same size as a can of purchased beans. I reuse the lids because I am not canning in them for sealing purposes. I do a crockpot full at a time of black, then pinto, then do refried, etc, and just keep cycling thru them in my freezer and making more as needed.

Rice, I do as PP said and make a few dry cups on the weekend and use during the week. I meal plan around my CSA box that I get on Tuesdays and do try to do some sort of a starch (small amount) with each meal so we probably do rice a few times a week.

I make macaroni and cheese from scratch, it's really easy. If that is something you eat a lot I will give you the recipe.

My husband became fond of some crappy boxed meals in college and I try to mimic it somewhat with fresh ingredients. I have figured out creamy broccoli version of tuna helper, a couple of the hamburger helpers, and one chicken thing.

Making cream of whatever soup from scratch is super easy too, and as long as you always have milk, flour, and butter on hand with the mushrooms, celery, whatever, it's quite simple and eliminates most of the salt and other stuff in the cans. Tastes so much better.

I am not currently making my own bread just because I fell in love with a farmer's market vendor and it's summer so I don't want to bake in the oven. I do make muffins (generally poppy, sometimes banana) and freeze most of the batch. They heat really well.

What types of things do you like to eat? There many easily modified simple versions of processed foods that I am sure we could help you break down.

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Old 07-13-2012, 05:30 AM   #12
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

Sorry I couldn't get back to this last night. I'd like to respond to each person individually but I have a busy morning. But thank you all so much for all the great tips and recipes. I feel more clear now in what I can do. This was so helpful. Thanks so much.
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:24 AM   #13
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

I make everything from scratch. One really nice resource for me is actually The Joy of Cooking. The book. Everything in there is from scratch, and it has all the basic recipes so you can find what youre looking for in there. I know there are tons of fad cookbooks out there, but I only own 3, plus I have a membership to Cooks Illustrated online, and that's it. I own Joy, All Around the World for international recipes, and a thin cookbook filled with quick scratch recipes to give ideas. It's nice to have a trusted resource for recipes and Joy has never steered me wrong.

Things that are always in my house are brown rice, oats, beans and cheese. I also have a share in our local CSA which takes some mystery out of what we are eating - we plan our meals around the veggies that come to us. When we get beets or swiss chard, we just saute the greens and serve it with a rice salad sometimes. Your palette may need to adjust to the individual flavors of whole foods, so go easy on yourself.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:18 AM   #14
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

I make almost everything from scratch b/c I like to avoid processed foods and know what is in it.

Here's what we usually have on hand:

All purpose flour (I prefer to get unbleached.)
Whole wheat flour
White sugar
Brown sugar
Baking powder
Baking soda
Yeast
Olive oil
Butter
Milk
Eggs
Oatmeal - I also often grind oatmeal to use in place of breadcrumbs
Cornstarch
Sea salt
Pepper
Cinnamon
Various other spices, we tend to use Cayenne a lot

I also try to do healthier versions of things as I'm leaning more in that direction, so I often have:

Honey OR maple syrup OR fruits that can be used as sweeteners
Flaxseeds or flaxmeal (just got a coffee grinder finally, so I'll be getting flaxseeds more rather than flaxmeal) - these can be used in place of eggs
Coconut to make fresh coconut milk in the blender
Nuts
Raisins

I also have black beans stored in the freezer right now, that I already cooked, to pull out when we need them... there's probably more but hope this helps
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:43 AM   #15
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

We freeze large quantities of seasoned rice. I have never tried it with plain rice. We keep spanish rice and a pilaf sort of rice in the freezer- in both individual servings and dinner size servings. you want to put it in the container while its still warm/fairly hot. You want it cool enough to handle, but still hot enough that it will cause condensation in the container. That will help the rice keep from drying out.

For us we keep beans in the freezer and in the pantry. And then our list is pretty much the same as the pp. Except we don't keep butter, coconut products or nut products due to allergies. We also keep veggie oil in addition to a ginormous container of olive oil. And we keep about 10 pounds of honey at all time- we use A LOT of honey.
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:42 PM   #16
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

These suggestions are great and so encouraging. I really appreciate all the thoughtful responses. They reminded me that I do indeed already know how to do a lot of this. I actually already do a lot of cooking from scratch, or have over the years. I guess just the difference is that I only ever did one or two meals a week instead of most of my main staples and freezing things.

I do eat a lot of whole foods already, so I am not worried about my palette adjusting. I prefer the flavors of whole foods. They seem gourmet to me, while processed stuff seems like junk.

I don't know why but whenever I start thinking about this I always get so overwhelmed with all the things I want to make. But you are all right. I need to start with just a few things and go from there. I am a SAHM so I have been looking for things to do during the day to keep me occupied. I am looking forward to it!

Thanks so much for all the tips!
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:44 PM   #17
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

Oh, Hungary Caterpillar, my DH and I do eat a lot of mac and cheese. I would love it if you shared your recipe!
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:27 PM   #18
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Re: Any mamas here cook everything from scratch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbug_4 View Post
We freeze large quantities of seasoned rice. I have never tried it with plain rice. We keep spanish rice and a pilaf sort of rice in the freezer- in both individual servings and dinner size servings. you want to put it in the container while its still warm/fairly hot. You want it cool enough to handle, but still hot enough that it will cause condensation in the container. That will help the rice keep from drying out.

For us we keep beans in the freezer and in the pantry. And then our list is pretty much the same as the pp. Except we don't keep butter, coconut products or nut products due to allergies. We also keep veggie oil in addition to a ginormous container of olive oil. And we keep about 10 pounds of honey at all time- we use A LOT of honey.
Sorry for hijacking but would love it if you could share your Spanish rice and rice pilaf recipes
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:12 PM   #19
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I make my own chicken stock. It is easy and also free since you are just going to throw the bones away anyway. Freeze it in cubes. You can even boil it down to save freezer space. SO much better than canned, and you will find lots of uses for it. Plus, it is more respectful to the chicken.
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:10 AM   #20
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