Today I’m excited to be welcoming baking enthusiast Joe, from Village Bakery who shares baking tips, tricks and recipes on his site, in order to help anyone who wants to learn more about baking. Enjoy!
We all have staple foods we buy just about every week at the grocery store, but we could all save some money – and our health – by preparing these foods at home.
Beans and Lentils
Dry beans and lentils are cheap when you buy in bulk. A one-pound bag of organic beans can cost as little as $2, while 16 ounce cans of beans typically costs about $1.
I know what you’re thinking: that’s not a savings at all. But a single cup of dry beans equals about three cups of beans after being soaked and cooked. Ultimately, that one-pound bag of dried beans will go much further than the single can.
Home-cooked beans save you money, but they can also be a healthier option compared to canned beans. The homemade variety has less sodium and no preservatives, no questionable ingredients and does not come in a can.
Just be sure to soak your beans overnight to reduce the cooking time and remove some of the antinutrients in the beans. Check out this recipe for making dried beans in your slow cooker.
Premade salad dressings may taste great, but they’re typically unhealthy and compared to the cost of making your own, they can be expensive.
The great thing about homemade salad dressing is that you can get as creative as you want, and use any herb, spice, oil or vinegar you have on hand. Even if you prefer creamy dressings, you can make your own using mayonnaise or a mayonnaise substitute.
A simple homemade vinaigrette is easy to make and requires ingredients you probably have in your pantry. The most basic of recipes is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil.
You can use just about any oil and vinegar you want. Lemon and lime are also great substitutes for vinegar. And you can experiment with different herbs and spices (both fresh and dried) to create a variety of dressings without having to spend a cent at the grocery store. Try this delicious recipe to get started.
How much do you spend on granola each month? Do you even know what’s in the granola you buy?
Making your own can be fun and rewarding. And if you eat oatmeal for breakfast, you already have the most important ingredient for this tasty snack on hand.
We like Alton Brown’s recipe, which requires:
Some of the ingredients may require a small upfront investment, but they’ll allow you to make several batches and save money in the long run.
Who doesn’t love the taste and smell of freshly baked bread? Bread is easy to make at home, and typically cheaper. Both yeast and flour can be bought in bulk, which can make you dozens of loaves.
Don’t let the idea of baking bread intimidate you. If you don’t have the time or patience to knead the dough yourself, bread makers make the entire process a breeze. Just add your ingredients, and let the machine do the rest of the work.
And you can make artisan-style loaves right in your home kitchen for a fraction of what you’d pay at the bakery. From herbs to vegetables and cheese, there are nearly an unlimited number of ways to customize bread recipes. Check out this recipe for a super simple and delicious homemade loaf.
Stock and/or Broth
From soups to sauces, stock and broth are staples in most home kitchens, but if you’re buying the store-bought kind, you’re spending more money than you have to.
If you roast a whole chicken every week – or even just once or twice a month – you can make your own stock for free.
We make our own stock using the leftover carcass from the bird. I save my vegetable scraps, like carrot and onion tops, and toss those in a stock pot full of water with the bones. You can use fresh vegetables, too, if you prefer. A mixture of carrots, celery, parsley and onions is our go-to recipe. Add a little salt, pepper and whatever spices you want. Allow the stock to simmer for three to four hours, and you’re ready to go.
We’ve also added thyme and tarragon to our broth, and the result was fantastic.
Cooking stock makes your entire home smell heavenly, and you can find peace of mind in knowing that your own homemade stock contains less salt and preservatives than the store-bought variety.
Do you have any foods that you prefer to make at home? Share in the comments!