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Thinking About Going Back to Basics

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I’ve always thought it would be neat to go back to the basics when it comes to home life. Things like making our own bread, making our own pasta and even raising some chickens for eggs. We can’t raise chickens where we live right now, but I could start making our own bread and pasta. My mouth waters just thinking about spreading butter on top of a nice and warm slice of homemade bread. Mmmm…

I started researching how to make pasta, and did you know you only need three ingredients? Flour, eggs and salt. There are variations out there, but that is all you need to make the basic noodle pasta. You don’t need a fancy machine to roll it out, either. You can use a rolling pan and some arm muscle to flatten it out. Then fold it up, cut with a knife and unravel and hang to try. It stores up to a few weeks. You have complete control over what goes into the pasta and it cost less than store bought (from my very crude calculations the recipe I saw would run about 65 cents/pound).

Here’s a link to the recipe and instructions I found: About.com

I really want to give this a shot and see what happens. If it works well, I think I might have to make some pierogi too. Double mmmm… When I was younger, my neighbor’s grandmother would make them from scratch. She filled them with fruit, meat or potatoes. They were so good. I used to eat Mr. T’s Pierogies, but we’ve been cutting frozen foods out of our diet so I haven’t had them in a while.

I have also looked into making our own bread, but that takes longer to do and I have been waiting for the cooler temps of fall to do that. Our weather is now in the 60s, so maybe this weekend I’ll try my first batch. There are so many recipes for bread, though. A few promising ones that I have found are for white batter bread and peanut butter bread.

Just a note – the recipe site I linked to is pretty neat. You can filter by ingredients you have on hand, other requirements (like equipment) or even nutrition. For us trying to save some money, there is even a filter for “inexpensive” πŸ˜‰

And for snack items? No more Betty Crocker mixes for us! Just take a look this simple and well rated recipe for brownies. I have a feeling our house is going to smell like homemade goodies all weekend LOL.


23 Comments

  • Reply Beachgirl |

    Hi. I was wondering if you could tell me how to do the ING referrals on my website (rather than having to e-mail them)? I did it once before but I don’t remember. Thanks.

  • Reply Sammy |

    There is nothing like homemade food! Not only will you control what goes in AND save some money, but it will also gives you a delightful feeling of self-satisfaction for creating something from scratch!

  • Reply Dedicated |

    I’m with you Tricia, homemade is the way to go. It is the time issue that stands in my way. Last night, it was rainy and cold here in Illinois – I made homemade potato soup and for a treat chocolate chip cookies.

    What I would suggest, and only suggest – I’m not an expert, is when making your items use:
    1. Whole Grain Flour (Wheat) – say away from enriched & bleached.
    2. Substitute table salt with Sea Salt.

    I always thought it would be fun to get with a friend or two and make this stuff together in bulk over a glass of wine. But sadly, my friends are store buyers – I’m like a hill billy in comparison. Wish we lived closer!

  • Reply Rachel |

    Cooking and baking from scratch will just taste better, in addition to being cheaper. And baking things like cakes and brownies from scratch really doesn’t take much additional time, and there won’t be any weird ‘chemical’ taste (which you’ll start to notice if you revert to premade mixes.) I just made vegetable stock last night for the first time, and it was so easy, and the depth of flavor was so much better than anything out of a can. Less salty to boot. And it was a good way for me to use up the random bits of vegetables that were on the verge of going in the trash. Now I’ll start to keep those bits of veggies in the freezer until I need to make more stock.

    Another good bread recipe to start with is the no knead bread recipe from the New York Times a while back. Takes some planning, since it takes well over 24 hrs til it’s done, but pretty much you just let it do its thing, and then eat tasty bread.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/08mini.html

  • Reply Gay |

    My husband and I make our own pasta all the time. It is so easy. It just takes some time. We have an pasta roller/cutter attachment to our KitchenAid mixer. It is amazing.

    Be careful with how much liquid gets added. The pasta can go from too dry to too wet in a blink. Also, fresh pasta only needs to be cooked for a few minutes. Be careful not to overcook.

    You can also easily freeze fresh pasta. Once it dries, which only takes about 15 mintues depending on the humidity level, roll it up into little nests and put in a freezer bag. It should last about a month.

    Happy cooking!!

  • Reply Matt |

    Making things from scratch is always the best. My girlfriend was on a store bought pie kick (like $6 – $9 each) so I opted to make her an apple crisp in stead. It gives me something fun to do, costs less and tastes better (and the kids love to help making it).

  • Reply Matt |

    Buying stuff at the store in a box carries with it a price tag and I find that price tag is for convenience more than anything else. I didn’t realize that pasta noodles were really that easy to make but in general I think you can make most things from scratch for less money.

    The other nice thing about making food yourself is the fact that you know exactly what has gone into the food. You can control your diet that much better. People at the turn of the century didn’t each much worse than we do now they just had to make it themselves rather than buying it in a box.

  • Reply Mary |

    Ok, I have to tease a bit…I eat Mrs. T’s pierogies all the time! (you wrote “Mr. T’s”) Ha Ha……remember him! Anyway, I never thought of making them myself! I think I’ll give it a try!

  • Reply Tricia |

    LOL! I think that is the best typo I’ve ever made.

    Mr. T’s pierogies – I pity the fool who doesn’t like my cheese and potato pierogies. I can see him on the box now holding up a plate of them.

    Made me laugh so hard I cried πŸ™‚ I’ll leave the typo there LOL.

  • Reply Budget Mama |

    The basics are the best. I’m in the process of going back to the basics as well. Because DS is GFCF, I usually bake everything for him from scratch. I do homemade meals 95% of the week as well. Saves money and the food taste great. It’s good to be aware of where you food comes from. Cooking yourself gives you that sense of security and it’s cost effective!

  • Reply doctor S |

    I live at home with the rents and my pops makes his own bread once in a while, sometimes its good, sometimes its bad. With my extreme spending on alcohol, I am thinking I am going to start brewing my own beer. We shall see! Backkkk to the basics!

  • Reply Mar |

    Tricia, I’ve felt the same way for a long time, which makes it pretty funny that I live within a mile of a large east coast city’s border!

    By the way, do you realize that you’re missing the data in the right-hand column, including the information on your savings and debt reduction so far (amount originally owed, amount paid, amount still owed)?

  • Reply Family Man |

    I agree that goign back to the basics can be so fun. make me think of the days when we went to my grandparents, and you could smell the home made pies from scratch. I think everything has gotten too easy for everyone, to just do everything quick. I think we could all use some basics.

  • Reply Carolyn |

    So do you think I might actually convert you to food storage? Really saves money and takes you back to the basics! I do have a great way to shorten the time involved in cooking from scratch. Would you be interested in having me write it up as a guest post?
    Our grandmothers really could teach us a few things.

  • Reply Emmi |

    There is nothing in the culinary world as satisfying as homemade bread. I can’t take anything but really high end commercial stuff now. And when we happen to eat the cheap stuff (at a party, or road food) my boyfriend breaks out in this terrible rash. And I just saw the article about the tainted Chinese baby formula that one of the symptoms of this melamine poisoning is rash! Gods, what the heck is in our food!? So now, no more commercial bread and we’re only buying our flour from a small local(ish) mill.

  • Reply Joy Smith |

    I think I’m going to have to try making my own pasta. So much better for you! And that peanut butter bread!!!! YUmmmmmmm! It might even be yummier covered in a chocolate icing for a treat!!

  • Reply Tricia |

    Joy – let me know how the peanut butter bread goes if you make it this week. Right now, my white bread is rising and in a few more minutes I pop it in the oven. Two loaves – I can’t wait to see how they turn out!!

  • Reply ruthie |

    Cooking from ‘scratch’ is always cheaper than buying mixes. In addition you’ll avoid alot of the preservatives that are in those mixes that gives them their shelf life. It is more time consuming to cook from scratch but the food tastes better and your family will feel better eating food cooked from scratch.

    One of the best tips I got on how to make bread is to knead the bread until the dough feels as smooth as a baby’s behind. When you knead bread you are working the yeast through out the dough and gently breaking down the wheat fibres to promote good rising of the dough. Knead too short of a time…..poor rising….knead to long of a time…..poor rising. The trick is to stop when that lump of dough feels as smooth as a baby’s behind!

So, what do you think ?