DIY It, Don’t Buy it!

Top 10 Things to Make Yourself

10. Bread

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Containing the simplest ingredients on this list,  bread in its most basic form is a mixture of flour, water, salt, and yeast. However it is very particular about how and when you combine these ingredients. So many people are put off about making their own bread. Even though you can make your own at home for the fraction of what good bread costs in the store, the kneading and the waiting are often a little time intensive for most.

The good news is that there are several variations and degrees of complication when it comes to making your own bread at home. I am a fan of this no knead version. Easy, and you even have time to go shopping for things to go with the bread while the yeast and dough are doing their thing for 4 hours.

9. Salad Dressing

Stop buying salad dressing right now. This is hands down the easiest thing to make on this list. There is no waiting, you need oil, acid, and an emulsifier. Easy. Typical acids include lemon juice, and any vinegar besides household vinegar. Emulsifiers include egg yolks, mustard, garlic, or tomatoes. This allows the oil and vinegar to combine together and become one delicious salad topping. Click here for the culinary science behind it all, and two yummy recipes.

8. Coffee Drinks

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Buying beans and grinding them at home is cheaper and less wasteful than hitting up your favorite coffee cart  or coffee shop everyday for your caffeine fix. You also get to use your favorite cup, at home! There is less waste and more money for you to spend on other cool things, like an espresso maker. Not only are you saving money, but if you are the kind of person who needs a lot of flavor added to their morning brew, you can control the amount of sugar and cream or milk yourself. Making, brewing, and creating your own specialized coffee beverages is by far the healthier option. Here is a list of 15 coffee drinks to make at home.

7. Spice Mixes

Most grocery stores sell spices and herbs by the jar for around 6 or 7 bucks. If you are lucky enough to live near a co-op or health food store, there is a good chance you can score a great deal on bulk spices. Here, there will be everything you need to make your own spice mixes from scratch, for a fraction of the cost. Not to mention bulk spices tend to be sustainably sourced and fresher than the jars wasting away on supermarket shelves.

6. Popcorn

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Making your own is more cost effective, less wasteful, and much healthier. You may think you are sacrificing convenience when taking on stove-top popcorn but it takes just about as long as microwaving the bagged stuff. Also you can personalize the amount of butter, salt, and other flavors you wish to add to it. If you are forgetful and tend to burn things, you can buy an air popper for about $15, which will save you from ever burning your kernels again.

5.  Crackers

Think about how little room crackers or chips take up in the package. You are usually paying for a lot more than crackers when you purchase them. You are paying for plastic, packaging, paper boxes, shipping, and various other manufacturing costs.  So why not eliminate the middle man and start making your own? You’ll be happier to chow down on crackers that you have made. You will know the ingredients, save some money, and be able to confidently snack without having to waste plastic and paper packaging.

Check out this recipe.

4.  Soup Stock

This is a great way to use veggie scraps from your weekly cooking. You can freeze the leftovers and throw them right into your stock pot. You can also freeze stock and sauce for future use. Great stock is made from high quality grass fed animal bones and provides excellent nutrition. You should be making your own because the store bought versions of soup stock can have a ton of sodium and other unnecessary ingredients.  Try this recipe!

3.  Vanilla Extract

[ DIY: Vanilla Extract & Vanilla Sugar ] Tips on the easiest way to split the bean, alcohol choices, and what to expect during the process. Zero to heaven in six weeks. ~ from SugarAndSnapshots.com:

All you need to make your own vanilla extract is a bottle of vodka, vanilla beans, and some patience. The resulting brew will be more cost efficient, prettier,  and more flavorful. Here’s how.

2.Hummus

This dip is loved around the world, and is extremely easy to make. All you need is chickpeas, lemon, tahini, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. You can add in what ever you like to create your own gourmet version of this beloved dip.  Again like making anything at home you can control flavor and ingredients, which turns out to be a more healthful snacking experience. You will need a food processor to compile this dish. Check out this easy tutorial on hummus making.

1.  Salsa

Homemade salsa is probably the best way to enjoy salsa, because you can eliminate additives, sodium, and even added sugar by making it yourself. Here is a list of tips for making a successful salsa.

It is less expensive to prepare a fresh tomato salsa, you can even can it and save it through winter! There is nothing like a little peak of the season salsa to bring you out of your winter doldrums.