In the summer it can be really easy to fall into the trap of convenience when it comes to food! Summer can also be a great time to find a day or two to try cooking new things. There are many kitchen staples, foods you buy all the time, which you can easily make from scratch if you have a minute to try! Try planning a family or friends' day to try making some of these new foods and see what you like. I usually find that anything homemade is not only cheaper, but so much yummier!
If you're thinking of trying to make a few more things homemade that you've never considered before, start with this list. Of course you could find a way to make just about anything at home, but with many items it's just not worth it. So with this list, I tried to come up with 10 items that are much easier than you would think to make yourself.
Did you know that you could make your own yogurt? I was blown away to find out that not only is homemade yogurt a real thing, but it is easy to do. There are lots of recipes out there, but you can do it several ways, including with your slow cooker! I have also made my own homemade mozzarella, which was extremely easy too! My hubby got me a cheese making kit for my birthday, but you really only need a few items beyond milk.
We all love to just tear open a cookie mix packet, mix it up with water, butter, or eggs, and have cookies 15 minutes later. You can still have this convenience, but do it with your own homemade cookie mixes. The cookies taste better, your wallet is happier, and the beautiful jars look amazing in the pantry! Pinterest has every cookie in a jar recipe you could ever need!
All nut butters can be very expensive and even peanut butter is going up in price! It is very easy to make your own nut butter with any nuts you prefer and little bit of your oil of choice. You can also add in whatever you like as far as salt, sweetener, etc. Again, there are a million recipes out there, so you can decide what works for you! Personally, I love to whip up a little almond butter for a snack!
These might be some of my favorite items to have homemade! I won’t even eat store bought pesto or guacamole anymore. You can decide the quantity, the flavors, everything! I like to make a pesto that is half kale from my CSA and half basil from my herb garden. Also, hummus could not be easier; a can of chickpeas and you’re good to go!
I love to put some granola in my yogurt, but I don’t like anything too sweet or with chunks of fruit. I know, I know, you love the fruit!
The best part about homemade is making exactly what you love! Granola can have so many ingredients or so few, maker’s choice! All you have to do is mix with a little sweetener to make it clump and then bake it for a while. This is also a great way to sneak in all those healthy seeds and fibers that are hard to eat on their own, but you’ll never notice the flax and chia when it’s mixed in!
We have a family tradition of Friday night: homemade pizza! Making the dough is very easy, but you do have to think ahead a bit, so your yeast dough can rise. I’m sure there are also recipes that don’t take as much time or need to rise at all.
I also made homemade pizza sauce during last year’s tomato and canning season. I have also used homemade pesto as my sauce. Yum!
If you managed to make homemade mozzarella too, wow! The pure satisfaction of a pizza 100% made from scratch is amazing, not to mention delish!
If you’re trying to eat tons of greens arriving from your CSA like I am, you’re likely eating a LOT of salads! In order to get all of the nutrients from the dark greens, you’re actually supposed to have a little bit of healthy fat with them, thus the beauty of a salad dressing! Homemade salad dressing could not be any easier; pour olive oil and some vinegar in glass bottle, shake and pour! You can get much fancier if you want to or just stick with simple.
You could also make ranch dressing from scratch. Here's a ranch dressing seasoning mix recipe for you to try!
As far as I can see, there is never any reason to buy a bottle of iced tea. I take a huge pitcher, dangle in some black tea backs with a few mint as well (about 5-6 black and 2-3 mint) fill with hot water and let steep. Later, fish out the tea bags and top off with lots of ice and store in the fridge. You can sweeten if that’s your preference!
Lemonade is incredibly easy to mix up as well, and there are many different recommended recipes depending on the flavor you prefer.
It is super easy to steam and puree any fruits and veggies you like to make your own baby food. Just divide into an ice cube tray and freeze or use any other containers you like to portion out. If you take one day to make several batches, you’ll have all the food you need for the month. While this can be a bit less convenient than buying baby food, it gives you a lot more control over exactly what your baby is eating.
You can mix up your own seasonings and spices very easily as long as you know what you prefer! You can make a big jar of taco seasoning that will last you forever and say goodbye to all those little packets!
This is one I recommend doing with friends, so that you don’t end up with such a bulk collection of spice mixes, unless that is what you want. You should also label your jars so you know how much to use, when you made it, and exactly which spice mix you’ve grabbed!
I’m planning on meeting up with friends for a few DIY food days this summer, so we can make large quantities of items like these and then all go home with a reasonable amount. I am also guilty of overwhelming myself by trying to make everything on this list in the same weekend, so don’t try that! Choose a few to start with and see how it goes, you just might become a homemade food master very soon!