Check out my recipes for Homemade Muffin Mix, Dark Chocolate Cake, and Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins!
Why Ditch the Mix?
As a kid I remember making all of our own cakes, pies, cookies, and muffins from scratch. It wasn’t until I got a bit older that I remember having cake mixes in our cupboard. It was fun and exciting to try the different flavors on the brightly colored boxes.
Fast forward a few years and you’ll find a homesteader that is no longer excited about opening boxes to bake. I can’t make it through the ingredient list without making little tsk tsk sounds. I don’t want my family to consume those artificial flavors and colors. For about the same price as a cake mix and frosting in a can, I’m able to make a cake with organic and homegrown ingredients. To top it all off, it only takes a few minutes longer to measure the ingredients. So why not do it yourself?
A Healthier Way of Life ~ On A Budget!
You don’t have to be a homesteader to want a simpler way of life. Many people wish for an idyllic lifestyle, complete with an apple pie cooling on the window sill and a rooster crowing in the barnyard. You can get back to a simpler, and healthier, way of life just by rethinking your food choices. Do you grab tubs of cookie dough or boxed cake mixes at the grocery store, instead of making your goodies from scratch?
Most folks are so conditioned to open a box, rather than a cookbook. They don’t keep the raw ingredients on hand so it’s a much bigger hassle to start baking from scratch. It might seem a bit pricey to go out and purchase flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, vanilla, and spices all in one shot. But if you add up the cost of baking mixes or ready made cookies and compare that to the cost of the raw ingredients, you might be surprised at how much you can save. You also have control over the ingredients. A cookbook won’t call for yellow #5 or artificial butter flavor. Using healthier ingredients could very well reduce your health care costs down the road. So baking from scratch is really about choosing to take control of your expenditures, your health, and your way of life.
Start by choosing a recipe that you’d like to try and read it. Do you have all of the ingredients, measuring cups, and pans needed for the recipe? Make a list of the things you need. Will you be able to use them for other recipes? Start with a simple project, like bar cookies. You’ll need a baking pan, mixing bowl, spatula, and measuring cups and spoons. If you’re on a budget and you don’t have everything you need, perhaps you can borrow from a friend. Add the items to your grocery list and avoid processed ingredients such as bleached white flour and hydrogenated shortening.
Start when you have time to measure, mix, and bake. Preheat the oven. Read through the instructions and be sure to measure according to the recipe. Flour should be added to the measuring cup with a spoon to avoid packing it down. Level dry ingredients with a straight knife or spatula for accuracy. When measuring liquid ingredients, set the glass or plastic measuring cup on a counter and add the liquid. Look at the measuring lines from straight on to make sure you’re adding the right amount.
Keep Up the Good Work
You’ll be an old pro at baking before you know it! The ingredients you purchased for your first project will most likely be needed for your next recipe. Try using recipes that use what you have on hand and watch for them to go on sale so you can stock up. Don’t store too much flour in your cupboard. Try freezing it to prevent meal worms from ruining it. Try your hand at creating baking mixes that can be stored in the pantry for those days when time is in short supply.
You’ll Be Glad You Started!
When you get the hang of baking from scratch, you’ll find that it really isn’t that difficult to make a wide variety of delicious and healthy baked goods for your family. You can reduce sugar, use natural ingredients, and ditch the junk. You’ll also notice how much better your homemade cookies and muffins taste when you ‘cheat’ and snag a store bought cookie. One bite and you’ll know why homemade is better!