Wednesday, July 4, 2012

From Scratch?

Lately it seems as though I am spending an awful lot of time in the kitchen. Yes, amidst all of the chaos of a kitchen remodel I am still cooking up a storm. With four very hungry munchkins it seems like there is always someone looking for something to eat. Not to mention, they are all going through a big growth spurt at the same time. I don't even want to tell you about how often I am at Trader Joe's picking up the next load of food or how much $ we spend each week on food these days. Anyway, back to my original thought for this mornings blog post. I was in the kitchen this morning baking up a bunch of goodies for the next day or so and I got to wondering . . . "How many of you make most things from scratch?" I have always loved cooking so it's really natural for me to be in the kitchen, but I was curious about you and what things you like to prepare for your families from scratch? I have to admit I am a bit fussy about what my family eats so I buy very few prepared items, and even when I do I feel a little guilty. But sometimes, it's just easier! For a while I started cheating and started relying on a few too many things from the stores, but lately I have found my way back to my kitchen. On average I bake 2-3 loaves of bread every other day and I've also gotten back into making all of our other baked goods. At the moment I have 3 loaves of Whole Wheat bread rising and the last batch of Morning Glory muffins in the oven and the smells coming from the other side of the house are just intoxicating. I also need to get back into making yogurt and all of our jams and jellies. Generally speaking I try to do as much from scratch as possible including all of our soups and sauces. I have played around with making pasta but that's honesty a lot of work and so I do buy pasta from the market. However, occasionally the kids and I love to make our own noodles just for fun. Most of my shopping is done around the perimeter of the store in the produce, dairy and meat sections of the market with trips down the baking isle to restock all the necessities for my baking pantry. So, how about you? What things do you like to make from scratch? Also, if you have any amazing recipes you'd like to share I'd love to give them a try and I'm sure all my little eager eaters would be more than happy to sample as well. All four of my kids are fantastic eaters and will try just about anything, and Thankfully we have no food allergies at our house.



craftmom said...

I started making more and more from scratch to avoid all the preservatives, dyes, etc. I have just started baking bread for my family(my son can't have soy). So I will be experimenting more in the bread area, and I am going to try and make hamburger buns as well. I would love it if you could post any pointers in this area. Thanks so much and I hope you have a happy independence day!

Dawn said...

Lets see . . . as far as pointers on bread baking.

#1. You Do Not Need a fancy bread machine! I use my kitchen Aid mixer for mixing the ingredients with the dough hook attachment and it works perfectly!

#2. Use really good baking pans. I invested in some really nce heavy weight pans from Williams Sonoma and it makes all the difference. The cheapo light weight pans have hot spots and wont allow your bead to cook evenly.

#3. I purchase all of my yeast from King Arthur Flour. if you have never visited their website it's a must. I use their SAF yeast and store it in the freezer in an air tight container. That way it stays fresh a lot longer.

here's a link to their website, but you are warned . . . it's a very dangerous place for those of us who like to bake.

#4. Use high quality ingredients. I personally love using King Arthur flours. I've found them to be the best and you can find them in most major grocery stores.

#5. Experiment with different recipes. I have several "bread" cookbooks and I really enjoy "playing" with different recipes testing out new things to see if we like them or not. Amazon has a great selection. Go take a peek!

#6. Most of all have fun and get your kids involved! Mine love to help gather the ingredients, measure and add all them all to the mixer and of course they all love to knead the dough and shape them into loaves.

Baking your own bread is so relaxing and satisfying especially knowing you are giving your family the very best with no chemicals, dyes, additives or preservatives in them. Plus, it tastes about 100% better than store bought loaves and you won't have to worry about preservatives because it won't last long enough to go bad.

I'm not very knowledgeable about bread making for those people with allergies. However, I am sure there are tons of websites/blogs with great info about these special recipes and concerns.

Sandie said...

Dawn - I saw from your reply to craftmom that you have a Kitchenaid mixer. Since you do, Pasta is super easy! I am assuming you have a food processor...just pulse all ingredients for the pasta dough in the bowl of your food processor with the blade until it forma a ball and cleans the bulk of the sides of the prep bowl. use just a little flour on your hands and flatten the dough into a disc and use the roller attachment for the kitchenaid. I make all our pasta this way, and it truly takes no longer than it does to make the boxed stuff.

Karen said...

I've found this to be a great site for gluten free breads and other recipes:

Many of the recipes there are also dairy free as well, or can be pretty easily converted.

Eleanor said...

I agree with Sandie. With the roller attachment for the KitchenAid, I can make fresh pasta in the time it takes the water to boil. And while you don't need a fancy bread machine to make bread, it's great to get up in the morning, fill the machine with the ingredients, and set the timer for when you want to eat the bread. I still make bread by hand when I have the time and want multiple loaves, but you'd have a hard time getting my "Zo" away from me.

Rachel Proffitt said...

I make a lot from scratch because I don't like the additions to foods... like why does everything have high fructose corn syrup in it?

Love the look of your loaves! What recipe do you use?

As far as shopping goes, well I do most of it in the perimeter... but I do buy canned beans :) (They are always in the middle LOL) and a few other canned goods.

Ronda said...

My husband always has a large garden so we can a lot in the summer. we put things in freezer to. i can tell the difference in even store bought veggies and his fresh ones. I have the artisans bread book and they have an awesome way to make and store bread dow for use during the busy all takes a little more work but the flavor is sooo worth it!! I too have a kitchen aid mixer and have not yet attempted the pasta but I have had my eye on the pasta attachment. after all these comments I may have to get it and try it out!

Ronda said...

Dawn you Remember "The Dream Dress" Are you going to make this one into a pattern? I would be interested!!!

Auntie Pam said...

I am making my own mayo- one egg, one cup gd oil & dash of sugar & emulsify with my hand held Brahm mixer.
Also making own cashew nut butter with my Ninjia, unsalted cashews & a dash of oil & honey.

Jill Norwood said...

I like to bake pumpkin break with walnuts and homemade chocolate chip cookies. My son's Tim who just turned 8 loved homemade meatloaf with mashed potatoes, corn and peas and biscuits with raspberry jelly. As Autumn approaches I find myself looking forward to getting back into my kitchen! Thanks for the inspiration! Just found your blog today and if I had been blessed with a daughter I would have loved to buy your clothes for her. I am on your email list just for the inspiration...I am a cardmaker and love to look at patterns and textures for ideas. My blog is:
:) Jill / Seattle, WA


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