Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Made from scratch

I remember the day I realized that it was possible to make a cake from scratch. I was living in China, and didn't feel like going to buy an overpriced cake mix. And there, in my Betty Crocker cookbook, was a recipe for yellow cake. Fantastic! Who knew? After that I began discovering that before we started drying up ingredients and boxing them so that people could reconstitute them later at home, people just skipped the whole store deal and made it themselves.

I realize the point of this is to save time, and that a lot of times the store ones just taste better (brownies, for example). But there's something so satisfying about making it yourself. And, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Well, I need to find ways to eat healthy while not unloading my wallet on a bunch of overpriced imports. In the end, I guess for me it's a combination of (usually) saving money, knowing exactly what went into my food, and being able to claim ownership over the finished product.

So lately I've been having this thought more and more often, "I bet I could make that myself. And it would be healthier." In recent years I've tried my hand at hummus, pita bread, tortillas (still not very good at those) granola (SO good!), granola bars, marshmallow cream, salad dressing, pizza dough, and a wide variety of whole wheat bread.

Still on my list to try is making my own vanilla (I bought the vodka and the vanilla beans - now I need a jar) and yogurt. And perfecting a whole grain bread that my kids will actually eat that I can make regularly. I'm off to try another recipe right now.

So have you made something from scratch that most people don't? How did it turn out? Can I have the recipe?


Pam said...

I make most of the foods we eat from scratch, yet working with yeast still terrifies me! I need to bite the bullet and try one day...maybe pizza dough. I make a mean chocolate cake, and a yummy sour cream pound cake (a good use for your yummy vanilla). Would you like those recipes?

Rebecca said...

I'm a fan of scratch cooking. . . when I have time. For a while last year, I was totally into making yogurt for Caleb. It's super easy, if you can get your oven to go low enough. Just take a small container of plain yogurt and mix it with about 2 liters of milk in a 9x13 pan. Mix it up and stick it in a super-low oven overnight or all day (I have to do mine during the day because I have to keep opening the door to cool the temp down. . . you only want it to be about 110F).

Oh, and I have a brownie recipe that *almost* rivals the boxed kind. And, whenever I make it, I have this lovely sense of health, because I know there are no preservatives in it. And health is one thing I long to attribute to brownies, so that I can feel better about eating the whole pan!

Starlene said...

Before we came to Singapore I used to make things from scratch. Now I hardly cook at all. :-( I guess a small hot kitchen will do that to me.

At home, I used to make whole wheat bread in my breadmaker and it was WONDERFUL!! I just hated slicing it. I made pizza dough, baklava, cookies, ... (mostly sweets).

I am about to try homemade yogurt here in a few days. Other than that, I think I may try making hummus sometime. Did you say you have good recipe? I would try to make homemade corn tortillas but I don't think I'll ever find masa here.

Gina Marie said...

I do have a good hummus recipe. I'll write it down and bring it to you tomorrow.

I just started my vanilla today. Should be able to try it out in about 8 weeks - just in time to leave Singapore.

Starlene said...

Thanks! I won't be there tomorrow, though.
Where are you moving, btw? Is Lisa looking for a transfer or is she going with you?

Gina Marie said...

Yeah, Lisa's going to need to transfer. Do you want her? There's another woman I know who is interested, but you're welcome to interview her.

Starlene said...

I just SMS'd Martha to ask her to pass on my phone number to you. Please call me so we don't have to clutter up your comments section any more than it already is. Thanks! :-)