Friday, May 24, 2013

Five Friday: My Top Five Foods to Make From Scratch

The first two even the busiest person absolutely has time for. So simple, so not time consuming, so worth it.

1.    Balsamic Vinaigrette combine 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 T brown sugar, ¼ c balsamic vinegar, ¾ c olive oil. Shake well.  Does not need to be refrigerated.

2.    Vanilla Extract. The hardest part? Buying vanilla beans, but even that is not hard. Most supermarkets have them now but you might have to look in a speciality shop or online. But once you get them, all you have to do is use the tip of a knife to slice a line down the center of 2 beans, throw them in a jar and fill it with cheap vodka. Put a lid on it, put in the dark cabinet, wait 2 months. I like to have 2 jars going at once, so when you are done with the first one you have the second one ready to go. Also, when that first one is done, throw some more vodka in there. You can use those babies twice.

3.    Bread This book single handedly got me over my fear of making bread:

 The authors assured me it would be easier than I thought it would be and that I wouldn’t have to knead. It’s true, I just use the Kitchen aid mixer. But before I had that I just used the dough hook attachment on my hand held mixer (you may have one and not know what it is, it’s a spiral attachment.)I look up bread recipes online all the time now. The one I use the most is: but I usually use a little more whole wheat than they say to. 3 loaves at a time which will last us either a few days or a week depending on how much cinnamon toast my breakfast munchers want that week.

4.    Granola & Granola bars. We’ve tried a few and these are our favorites:
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5.    Yogurt! I bought my yogurt maker at the thrift shop and since that first one I have found two more that I bought for friends. The internet is filled with suggestions for making yogurt without a maker, though, such as with a crock pot or even in the oven. I experimented with the crock pot so I could report back to you but I didn’t follow the instructions perfectly and therefore had less than perfect results…sorry 'bout that. If I have success with one of the alternate ways I'll report back. But the actual making of the yogurt is simple, it's mainly bringing milk to the boiling point then cooling it and mixing it with a little bit of yogurt and then incubating. This website has some non-yogurt-maker ways to try if you're so inclined:


  1. Great 5's! The only salad dressing I ever make is the vinaigrette :)

    Still overcoming my fear of baking bread. The dough is always naughty and threatens to crawl up the spiral attachment. I end up kneading by hand, most of the time! Work out...

    Yogurt making still sounds intimidating. I'm sure my husband would frown upon it -- he's usually the one finicky about expiration dates and things "fermenting" the day it is opened! :D

    1. There's so much fear around bread out there and it's really not hard! Sometimes I have loaves that come out kind of crummy looking but they're still yummy.
      And I'll talk you through the yogurt making when you're ready!

  2. great list! We can only find low fat or non-fat yogurt in our area so I've been toying with the idea of making yogurt or even kefir ( our two yr old loves it and we can safely serve in a sippy cup!). I think I can, I think I can! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Kiersten it's really easy! And if it turns out too runny you can always strain it and then it's delicious Greek yogurt!

  4. You got me over my scare of yogurt... now we only make homemade. I got an eurocuisine from amazon and it's more than paid for itself! I put vanilla beans in our yogurt sometime so I have them to make extract. I love your granola bars... and I've dabbled in bread but need to work more on it. I am excited to try your dressing! :)

  5. I'm so happy I got you trying new things!! Bread party soon.