Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saving Money the Homemade Way

I love convenience.  Running to the store, picking up this or that; keeping it in my cupboard to grab when needed.  This is how I roll.  There are things I have learned to make from scratch, not because I've had to conserve, but because I wanted better tasting (think Alfredo Sauce).  Now that the price of food is steadily climbing higher and higher (not to mention my growing kiddos eating more and more), I am beginning to look for ways I can save a buck.  Making convenience foods from scratch is a great and TASTY way to do that. 

I do still buy things that could probably be made at home, because let's face it, I have a TON on my plate and I can only do so much.  I have found a couple of recipes that are super fast and super cheap.  Hillbilly Housewife is a great site to wander around if you are looking for lots of ways to eat cheaper.  Another place that you can look for ANY recipe, not just knock-offs is Recipe Zaar.  Can I just say, "I LOVE RECIPE ZAAR!"?

I made homemade Bisquick the other night for our dinner biscuits.  I found the recipe at Recipe Zaar.  I would TOTALLY recommend this.  It went together super fast-I did not sift the dry ingredients, I just used my small wisk to break up the lumps and make sure it was nice and fluffy. 

We used it to make Cheesy Garlic Drop Biscuits.  Turned out BEAUTIFULLY!  Light and fluffy and o-so-tasty.  Here is the recipe for you to try.

Cheesy Garlic Drop Biscuits
4 1/2 c. Bisquick Mix
1 1/3 c. milk
1/2 tsp. (or more) granulated garlic
1 1/4 c. cheese, grated (we like colby jack or cheddar)

(We no longer measure the cheese or the garlic.  We just kinda guess.)

Mix Bisquick, water and garlic together with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the cheese until incorporated.  Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.  Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Brush tops of cooked biscuits with a little melted butter seasoned with a bit more garlic.  This makes ABOUT 18 biscuits.

This morning, Jeff and I made homemade Pancake Syrup.  I was leary--to say the least.  I LOVE Mrs. Butterworth syrup.  It's what I grew up with.  Jeff loves REAL Maple Syrup--that stuff is spen-dy!  This recipe worked  WONDERFULLY for us.  It's sort of a mix between real maple and Mrs. Butterworth.  I loved it, Jeff loved it, the kids loved it.  It's a WINNER and I'm a ROCKSTAR!

I may never BUY syrup again.

Here is the recipe that started it all.  When Jeff and I started making it, I asked him if we were going to follow the recipe EXACTLY as it was, and he replied (in a VERY nasty, sarcastic little voice) "No, it's a recipe.  Why would we follow THAT?" 

So, because I can rarely follow a recipe as it is written, here is the recipe as I changed it.

Pancake Syrup
2 c. warm water
2 c. white sugar
2 c. brown sugar-packed
2 TBSP molasses
1 tsp. maple flavor (only because that's ALL we had in the bottle)
1TBSP butter

We followed the cooking directions from the link above, but I will rewrite them for you so you don't have to go back to the link again.

Combine the water, sugars and molasses in a good size pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Watch the pot because if it's too small and you're not looking it may bubble up and pour over onto your stove top. Can you say "sticky, nasty mess"?  After it comes to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes-DO NOT STIR during this 10 minutes. Then remove from heat and take the lid off. Stir in the maple (ok, honestly, Jeff didn't read the directions carefully, and he added the maple at the beginning with the sugar. The world did not end and the syrup still tasted like maple-go figure) and the butter. Let cool for 15 minutes.

When first made and still warm, this recipe has the consistency of real maple syrup. I have been told that after storing it in the fridge overnight, it thickens up to a consistency similar to store bought syrup.

Are there things you love to make from scratch that also save you a bit of money?  Please share!


  1. The only thing that I've been doing to save money is making my own baby food. I dont think that will really help you out right now...unless you have another baby!!! (which I think is a great idea!!)

  2. Okay... LOVE the HB site! Thank you so much, Miss SuperWoman! :0)