What Do You Make from Scratch?

I’ve been making my own bread lately. Since the price of groceries is going up (and up and up), I’ve been looking for even more ways to cut back. I’m also on something of a health kick lately, and I’m trying to stay away from processed foods.

With that in mind, I’ve been trying to bake from scratch. In the last two weeks, I’ve baked all of our bread. I found a recipe for homemade bread at Money Saving Mom. It looked good, but I don’t have a bread machine, so I followed the link to the original recipe. That one doesn’t require a bread machine.

I have to tell you, making bread isn’t as hard as I thought it would be, and it tastes great! I think I’m ready to branch out to other recipes, though. I like variety.

I also think I’m ready to branch out from bread. Maybe I’ll make some homemade granola or granola bars next. Healthy cookies? (Is there such a thing as a healthy cookie?) Maybe I’ll try some different muffin recipes, so we can move away from the dreaded breakfast cereal. I’m pretty good about making pancakes, waffles, and french toast on most days, but I need something quick and easy for rushed mornings. Muffins in the freezer seem to fit the bill.

So tell me, what do you make from scratch? Do you have any healthy recipes that you’re proud of? If you have a blog, post the recipe on your blog. I’d be happy to add a link to your recipe!

One additional note: Last night I made a loaf of this banana bread, and it was delicious! I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for the oat flour, because that’s what I had on hand.

Photo by double.reed.


By , on Apr 25, 2008
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. Kim:

    If it’s food then it’s from scratch. I simply do not buy pre-package food. I’ve always made my own bread (BTW the best bread recipes are from the Dorie Greenspan book she did with Julia Child). I know it’s not a lot of drama to make bread by hand from my point of view why buy another appliance. I do my own jams and jellies; I live in Los Angeles so can usually beg a few pieces of fruit from the local growers. I also stock pile sugar when it’s on sale just for this purpose. I roast and pack peppers for use later. Make my own Mayo, the only thing about this is that I have to buy the eggs in the Farmers market. I make my own corn beef (not hard at all the Morton Salt people have some great products for this). In short from my point of view very few foods should be purchased packaged.
    I’ve done this all of my life mostly because I like to know what’s in my food and then their is the packaging, no need to add more stuff to the land fills that will not biodegrade.

  2. Anna's Mom:

    Since last summer, I’ve been making bread in our bread machine (purchased from a Craigslist user for $10), and for the last, oh, six months or so, I’ve been making pancakes from a recipe rather than a ready-made mix. I also prefer to make muffins from a recipe rather than purchase the bakery-style ones.

    I really would like to try to make tortillas – any good recipes?

    I would like to make laundry detergent (or rather, combine the ingredients), but I have not yet been successful in finding washing soda.

  3. Sue:

    We love homemade pancakes and I take the basic recipe, subtract the wet ingredients, and place in baggies according to how much we eat at a time. Then I print what needs to be added (eggs, oil, milk in my recipe) on the outside of the bag with a permanent marker and store the bags in my pantry. You can even re-use the baggies. So much better than mix from a box, you can really tell the difference!

    I also saw the suggestion for homemade granola bars…we do this and they are awesome!

  4. Sarah:

    Amen to all those making noodles from scratch. Homemade lasgane with homemade noodles is the BEST.

    We have a bread machine that makes beautiful bread, and in conjunction with our freezer, we make $.28 loaves of bread that are comparable to the $4.00 loaves in the bakery department. I freeze them after they have risen the first time, and then let them thaw and rise the second time when I’m ready to bake, and they are wonderful.

    The only down side to making everything from scratch is that its hard to diet because Its easy to make junk food with flour, sugar and eggs, which I always have on hand. If I get the urge for cookies, I usually have all the ingredients and can throw together somthing pretty quickly- or those great candied nuts that you pay $12 for a little tiny package for at the mall- takes about 30 seconds, and you can eat them warm… Anyway, the upside of making things from scratch is that it seems to keep the rest of the family from snacking, as my son says- MOM! We don’t have any FOOD in the house, we only have INGREDIENTS!

    I showed him where I keep the cookbooks.

  5. Here is a recipe for potato soup: http://momstheword–livin.....ecipe.html (Sorry I don’t know how to do a link in the comments). Otherwise you just have to pop on my blog and look under the recipes label.

    I make pancakes and waffles and then freeze them. On busy mornings you just pop them in the microwave.

    I am just now beginning to cook more from scratch so I am only making things like lasagna (instead of buying frozen) or pizza (instead of buying it), or regular casserole-type or crockpot meals.

    I am finding out that menu planning is saving us money since I am not tempted to eat out or stock the freezer with store bought convenience foods.

  6. Pleasant Girl:

    As well as making my own whole wheat bread and buns, I make my own laundry soap & cleaning products.

  7. I made the bread, but only used white flour since it was what I had. I also added some ground flax seed and whole flax seed for texture and fiber in place of some of the flour. It seemed a little heavy but perhaps I need to change the amount of flour when I use only white?

    Other than that, which I don’t mind a havy bread, it was awesome. Mildly sweet and tasty. I really liked the nutty texture the flax gave it too! Perhaps necxt time I will try some oatmeal in it.

  8. I made Indian Butter Chicken from scratch – and I rarely cook. It was wonderful.

    I’m on a big granola kick. I made this recipe a couple weeks ago – it was fabulous. I’ll be making another batch this week, but I’m going to alter it a bit to include some semi-sweet chocolate shavings in hopes of getting the kids hooked. I highly recommend the recipe.

  9. Just found you through a link from “I’ve Paid for This Twice Already”…and I have to share, too.

    I’ve been baking all our bread since 2000, and refuse to return to store-bought! I started with a breadmaker (which you can get cheap at a second-hand store), and now make it all by hand or in the mixer.

    A recipe for healthy cookies/breakfast bars, based on the Quaker variety: http://historicstitcher.blogsp.....-bars.html

    Let me know if you try them! I’d love to hear your opinion!!


  10. Jenn:

    I’m trying to ramp it up a bit more, but now I make almost all of my own meals from scratch – lots of soups and stews and casseroles. When I want bread, I make my own as well, although I don’t tend to eat it all that often (so delicious, though…) When the mood strikes, I make my own juice and smoothies, as well as salad dressing, tomato sauce, and veggie stock. I don’t do all of these all the time, but it’s always nice to know that I have the option. It also gives me the chance to keep a closer eye on what I’m eating, since I know what goes into everything that I make myself.

  11. Rob Madrid:

    Homemade pancakes, I can’t believe I used to buy it in a box. If you can make “regular” pancake mix you can make homemade pancakes.

    Besides that I don’t really bake at all. But I do make stews and soups from scatch as well as cassoroles. Learning to cook is mostly habit.

    Also our church has some serrious foodies. It’s a real treat going out for lunch at someones house.

  12. allison:

    Dried beans, bought in bulk. They soak while I sleep and work, simmer on the stove while I accomplish other things, and store perfectly. Countless varieties. Made my own hummus this week.

    Last weekend I was given a bag of lemons. I wanted to use them up but make them last. Made lemonade, lemon sorbet, lemon curd, and morrocon preserved lemons. Later some avgolemono. Next a greek lemon meatball soup.

    Make all my own soups and sauces, and many garnishes like kimchee.

  13. marie:

    I think that this granola recipe could be made into Muesli if you didn’t pack it into a pan but just left it loose. My veggie daughter ate muesli in Germany last summer and loved it. Vanilla yoghurt is best she says.
    I have in the past made my own bread, always make pancakes from scratch because I alter the recipe, jam, jellies, canned veggies and all manner of things. It is simply healthier. I always add powdered vegetable protein to anything that has flour in it, pancakes, biscuits, cake, muffins, you get the idea. 2 TBS of Veggie protein is 17g of protein added along with using whole wheat flour which has more protein than white. Important for a vegetarian!

  14. Isabel:

    I make my own toasted muslie cereal. I make them once every fortnight. It’s easy to make and tastes good too. The recipe I use is from 101 cookbooks website, and it’s called ‘honey toasted muslie’. I usually have them with plain yoghurt, that way there is no sugar content for the breakfast which is so much healthier than pre packaged cereals that have a lot of sugar in them.

  15. Dr. Nicole Sundene:

    Good for you to move away from processed foods!!!

    *DING* another life saved…

  16. marie press:

    HI, I have recently been making my own granola bars. I am allergic to peanuts and most of the store bought ones have peanut in them or have been processed that way. I use whole grain flour and add powdered vegetable protein to them. Very low in calories, high in protein, they are great for my vegetarian daughter and for my terminally ill husband who seems to only want ice cream. (He thinks they are cookies they taste so good!) I got the “base recipe” from allrecipes.com-chewy granola bars and modified it to my needs. YuMMMM!!

  17. Katie:

    This reminds me of my pet peeve – I’ve heard people talking about making pancakes “from scratch” when they actually mean from a box. It doesn’t bug me that they’re using boxed mix but as a person who loves English, it bugs me that they’re using the phrase incorrectly!! :-)

    Anyway, I recommend the king arthur flour website – they have recipes for bread, pizza dough, rolls, etc., and even a section on bread machine bread. If you use King Arthur white or whole wheat flour, you don’t need to buy bread flour!

    Also, there a lot of bad bread machine recipes out there – the best ones I’ve found are in the book “Bread Machine Magic”. You can buy it on amazon, etc. I used mine so much that it fell to pieces finally!

  18. S.B.:

    With the baby, I don’t have too much time – but I bake homemade banana bread, muffins and cookies. I am a big baker – its the one form of cooking I really enjoy!

    I really should try homemade bread sometime.

  19. Lynnae:

    I have just gone through the comments and bookmarked every recipe, subscribed to a few blogs, and I’m looking forward to more. I’ll try to get a post up soon with your recipe links, suggestions for cookbooks, etc.

  20. SABROSO!!
    Looking at those pictures Im really thinking about giving it a try!

  21. Kate:

    I used to make all my own bread using a bread maschine but was put off in the end as the loaves were so small and it took so long i used to worry about the amount of electricity the machine was using. Also a friend of mine told me that by following the bread machine recipes would mean eating bread that had more sugar and salt than normal bought loaves. So i stopped. I would love to make my own but i have a useless electric oven that just doesn’t cook anything right, so i never use it. So unfortunately at the moment i will have to stick with bought bread.
    I do cook all my own meals every day from chilli, lentle bake, broccoli and cheese etc, does that count :)

  22. Thank you for the link, Lynnae! I’m glad you liked the bread. :)

  23. Carolyn:

    I bake a lot of quick breads from scratch – lemon bread, strawberry bread, banana bread, blueberry bread, even chocolate chip bread for a treat. :-) It’s easy to bake several different loaves, slice them and wrap the slices either individually or in pairs and then put in the freezer. That way I can rotate them and the kids and I do not get bored of, say, banana bread by the end of the loaf. It also goes nicely into lunches. We used to have a mini-loaf pan, and especially when my kids were younger, they loved the idea of having their “very own loaf!” We also make pancakes from scratch, like many others. I’ve wanted to try bagels from scratch, but from the recipes I’ve read, it sounds like more trouble without being cost-effective, especially when I’m the only one who eats them!

  24. Lee:

    I like to make bread and pizza dough with my bread maker, but when I first learned to make bread it was from the Good Housekeeping cookbook that has lots of basic from-scratch recipes, including muffins. Another good source that I use is Livingonadime.com Their website has lots of good, basic frugal recipes. I bought their Dining On a Dime cookbook, and I use it all the time…right now they are having the cookbook on sale for 15.00 for Mother’s Day. I just bought my Mother one. It’s excellent for saving money on food and so many easy recipes that you will actually use. (Though I’m sure some of the recipes are right on the site.)
    If you want an easy cinnamon or blueberry muffin recipe, let me know. I’ll send it to you.

  25. Lynnae:

    I just have to say, I have the best readers in the world! You are all inspiring me to try new things! I promise, I will check out all of your links. I can’t wait to try some of your recipes!

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