There’s a lot of talk about the importance of making your own food items and how we often shame buying off the shelf instead of making from scratch. While I endorse making your own food items -fresher is better- I am aware that we do face challenges that include time and money. Here’s my take on some of the most of talked about items in this discussion.
- Muesli “Health” Bars – I like the idea of the so called health/muesli/breakfast bars. They are great to snack on during the day but what we often buy is often loaded with so much sugar there’s nothing healthy about them. Choosing to make your own will ensure you know exactly what you’re consuming and you can alter the ingredients to better suit your taste or diet. This is also one of those things that is cheaper to make yourself than to buy and won’t take up much time. Find a basic recipe for Oat bars here. Add nuts or fruit pieces to this if preferred.
- Muesli – Whilst you’re at making muesli bars, you might as well make your own Muesli. I will admit that buying the individual components that go into muesli can be quite pricey especially if you have a liking to exotic nuts in your muesli. Make it in small batches if it’s more affordable but to be quite honest, I see nothing wrong with shop bought muesli. You can choose a higher quality brand if it makes you feel better but if you do have the extra coins and time, homemade muesli will always taste better.
- Cream Cheese & Cottage Cheese – I’ve recently learnt how to make my own cream and cottage cheese and it’s been such a blessing in my life. It’s so easy and requires 3 ingredients you’ll always have in your house; milk, vinegar and salt. It’s cheap and takes no time at all. This is worth a try, trust me, you will not regret it. Do a quick google search for homemade cottage or cream cheese if you’d like to give it a try -all the recipes are the same.
- Buttermilk – I was trying to brine pork chops in buttermilk one day and didn’t have any and had no intention of getting out of my very comfortable pyjamas (heh banna, I thought this is how it’s spelt) to go to the supermarket. So I tried a buttermilk recipe I found online. Very handy. You’ll be surprised what milk and vinegar can produce.
- Pesto – I vote shop bought here, only because I really cannot afford pine nuts to be putting them in pesto guys. You could always leave them out or try almonds instead.
- Marinades and Sauces – Shop bought sauces, marinades and salad dressings are full of all the wrong things. Sugar, Oils and preservatives. Salad dressing is simply vinegar, olive oil, salt and flavour. Mayonnaise is egg yolks and olive oil. I prefer wet rubs over marinades anyway which is a spice blend with oil or liquid, usually lemon juice. Ketchup/Tomato sauce is concentrated tomatoes cooked down. You get the idea of how easy it can be to make any of these items. I’d never recommend shop bought here but if you must, try buy vinaigrettes instead of creamy salad dressings, higher quality brand tomato sauce and marinades.
- Stock – If you’re trying to ration sodium intake in your diet (we all should) then definitely make as opposed to buy but they do make low sodium stock these days. I don’t use stock enough to make it at home so I often buy it.
- Smoothies & Juices – Health smoothies and juicing are all the rage now. The only reason I’d recommend making your own is, it saves a lot of money cause they don’t come cheap especially if they have become part of your lifestyle. I make mine in my blender and although the Juice probably wont be classified as “cold press” *rolls eyes* they taste just fine to me and I can experiment with flavours I like. I can also make large quantities of the juices especially and refrigerate.
- Pastry – If baking is not your forte *raises hand* you live for shop bought pastry. Whether its pre made pizza dough, short cut pastry or puff pastry, I see nothing wrong with this shortcut. Bakeries and supermarket offer fresh pastries made on the day instead of the frozenveeiety. But this if it makes you feel better than buying the frozen variety. If you love kneading then I’d definitely say make your own pastry, it is always worth the effort.
I am a believer in making cooking as simple as it can be. I endorse shortcuts when necessary, my recipes show that but I do advise that where you can, do choose freshness. Please do checkout my recipe page 🙂