Spend some quality time in the kitchen!
Over the last 6 or 7 years, we have really made a goal to make as much as we can from home. This includes learning tips and recipes for some of our favorite foods made from scratch. We did a lot of research in vintage books, discovering for ourselves these great vintage ways. Yes, it’s more work, but it is such a great feeling when you have made something from scratch, the “old-fashioned way”!
Not only has this been a cost-saver, but it’s healthier for us. We know what exactly is going into the food we make with no artificial ingredients. Our grocery list is kept to the basics. Now don’t get us wrong, we have the occasional treat from the store but the focus of “can I make this at home” has been very beneficial for our health and wallet.
Here are some of our favorite items to make at home, from scratch!
This is one item I was so surprised and excited to learn how to make from home. Some whole milk, a little yogurt starter, and poof – lots of awesome yogurt! We even share our how-to on yogurt making here on our blog! It is so much easier than you would think!
We love bread! This was the first item I got into a routine of making from scratch. I started slowly though, using a bread maker. From there I progressed to more intricate recipes, and my bread maker no longer gets used, but it’s a great backup to have. Making sourdough bread has become a regular part of our daily lives. We have a special sourdough starter named Blobert, and it is over 2.5 years old (started November 2019!). Blobert took lots of work and learning, and it literally became a part of the family. It even has a birthday party every November! A great book to get started in bread making is Bread Illustrated by the America’s Test Kitchen. Also, King Arthur Baking is an excellent resource as well.
Canning – Pickles and Jams
Canning is so, so very rewarding. Those beautifully filled jars in the pantry are the best! Nothing is better than summer strawberry jam during an Ohio blizzard in January! If you are new to canning I suggest recipes such as freezer jams to start then work your way up to water bath canning. Before you know it your pantry will be full of those jelly jars!
Homemade butter is another recipe that is so easy, and you wouldn’t even know it! To make homemade butter all you need is some good quality whipping cream and a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. This is the method we prefer because you can make your butter quickly. Pour your whipping cream into the mixing bowl, and start to whip up the cream. You will start to see the whipping cream thicken, then turn to real whipped cream (you can start here for homemade whipped cream!).
Keep going past the whipped cream part. Depending on your whipping cream this can take a little time, don’t worry, you will be rewarded for your patience. You will eventually start to see the whipping cream start to separate a bit. At this time we like to cover the mixer with a tea towel to prevent any splashing. You will know your butter is done when the whisk is full of butter goodness, and you have buttermilk in the bottom of your mixer.
Strain your newly made butter, keeping the buttermilk for future recipes. Carefully rinse the butter with cold water (we like to use a fine-mesh strainer for this) to get all the buttermilk out, as this helps your butter last longer. Give your butter a quick-dry, put it into a bowl with a good lid, and enjoy! You can mix herbs and salt into your butter if desired, it’s so very tasty!
Homemade chicken stock is so much better than anything store-bought. Keep a resealable bag in your freezer, and when you have leftover chicken pieces (roast chicken leftovers are the best for this!), and kitchen scraps from onions, celery, and carrots (or anything else you would like in your stock) put them into the bag. When you have a full bag, it’s time to make stock. Put your kitchen scraps into a big stockpot and cover them with water. Simmer for 6-8 hours. We love to use the crockpot for making homemade stock. Strain your stock, pour into some mason jars, and enjoy your golden deliciousness!
Everyone loves treats! You know those days when you just need a treat, you know what I’m talking about! Making cookies ahead of time, and storing them in the freezer is a really good habit to get into. The fun part is doing the research and finding your favorite recipes. We love the traditional chocolate chip cookie! Check out our 3D printed cookie cutters to make your own special cookies at home!
Salad dressing is another super easy recipe to make at home. Our Maple Balsamic Salad Dressing takes 5 minutes to make, and is so much better tasting than those jars from the store! You can adjust the recipe to your liking, which is why scratch cooking and baking are so great!
We all have super busy lives, and it seems every month gets busier and busier. Making egg patties ahead of time and storing them in the freezer makes for a quick, homemade breakfast. To make egg patties, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a cupcake pan, and crack an egg per opening. Bake your patties for 15-20 minutes or until desired doneness.
After baking, cool the patties and place them into a freezer-safe container. You can place some parchment between the patties to prevent sticking in the freezer. When you would like to enjoy a patty, take one out and microwave in 30-second intervals until the egg patty is heated thoroughly. A great way to preserve your farm fresh eggs and save time when making breakfast.
These are just a few items you can make from scratch at home. The possibilities are endless! Our challenge to you is to find one item you enjoy and make it from scratch, you won’t be disappointed. You can start very small, and maybe that is all your schedule allows, that is ok! Hopefully, we have given you some inspiration to try!