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)!
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.
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.
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.
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.