5 Easy & Homemade Pantry Essentials

June 24, 2013

Pantry Essentials

I will never be a food blogger, but I know my way around a kitchen. I’m also known for finding an easy way to do things (see my post about Lazy Housekeeping). I like to keep my family fed at a decent price without tons of processed food or chemicals, and I also like to keep my life simple.

Here are 5 things I make from scratch that are simple, economical, and tasty. 

1. Coffee Creamer

3 ingredients. A can of condensed milk, 14 oz. of milk, and a tablespoon of vanilla. Cheap, simple, no weird corn syrup solids or crazy chemicals. Dump the condensed milk into a mason jar, fill up the empty can with regular milk and dump it into the jar, add vanilla, and stir. I found the recipe here (I just discovered the original recipe has been updated with over a dozen varieties)!

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2. Yogurt

I’ve been making yogurt in the crockpot for a couple of years. It’s Tyler’s favorite breakfast. It’s tasty and ridiculously cheap. You need a day at home to babysit this, but you have very few steps to complete. I’ve adapted my recipe from this website and from A Year of Slow Cooking.

Homemade Yogurt

2 quarts of milk (8 cups) (whole or 2%)

1 cup dry milk (this thickens the yogurt quite a bit)

1/2 cup plain yogurt with live, active cultures

Pour milk into 4 quart crockpot. Whisk in the dry milk. Turn on low for 2.5 hours. After 2.5 hours, unplug the crockpot. After 3 hours, remove 2 cups of the warm milk and mix with the yogurt starter. Pour back into the crockpot. Cover with a thick towel (I also put an electric heating pad set on low over the towel). Let sit for eight hours. The yogurt should have a thick consistency after 8 hours. Put in fridge for another 8 hours. Serve with honey, jam, fruit toppings. Use it for smoothies or in any recipe calling for yogurt.

3. Granola

Our favorite granola recipe is Crystal’s Lazy Granola (I’m all about the lazy). This is great for topping yogurt (see above), eating as a snack with some chocolate chips, adding to trail mix, making granola bars, and my middle child loves it as a cereal.

homemade bread

4. Bread

I make sour dough bread from a starter weekly, but I also like this Country White Bread, this English Muffin Bread, and this Very Little Bother Bread. Our favorite roll recipe is here. Homemade bread is an easy and simple way to dress up any meal.

5. Spreadable Butter

I can’t stand margarine. It’s oily and weird and doesn’t taste like anything. So, I make this: Put a stick of softened butter, a 1/4 cup oil (any kind: I love using coconut oil), and 1/4 cup of water in the Kitchen Aid mixer, and whip until it’s all mixed and fluffy. Scoop into a pretty serving dish, and serve with hot bread. You can store it in the fridge, and it hardens back up a little. Nothing a 5-second zap in the microwave won’t fix.

What convenience items do you make at home?

Yogurt Image: Photo Credit: rofi via Compfight cc

Kelly Wiggains

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Kelly Wiggains, a high school English teacher turned homeschooling mom, likes to surround herself with good literature, beautiful things, and big ideas, and she wants her home to reflect those things, too. Here at KellyWiggains.com she talks about everything From Literature to Living.
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5 responses to 5 Easy & Homemade Pantry Essentials

  1. How do you make your sourdough starter? And which of those breads do you usually use for sandwiches?

    • I actually received my sour dough starter from a friend, so I’m not sure how to replicate it. We use the sour dough bread for sandwiches. The Country White Bread and Very Little Bother Bread could also be used. The dinner roll recipe makes great hamburger buns for hot sandwiches, too.

  2. Ooh…I want to try your yogurt recipe! I love mixing plain yogurt with homemade jam, and we’re back in season for that, too, so this is perfect timing! I’m also planning to try my hand at making fresh mozzarella based on this recipe: http://www.instructables.com/id/Great-Mozzarella-Cheese/. I may need to do a great big Day of Dairy at my house.

  3. Ashlee Beauchamp January 7, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Came to your site today just to find this recipe for Spreadable Butter, I remembered seeing it on here before. :) Thanks!

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