Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Last Week's Homemade Items

I've been slacking lately on the saving money/making things from scratch/planning ahead for meals type stuff.  These are all things I'm really quite good at, so it bothers me when I don't intentionally do those things well.  I HATE having to buy granola bars at the store.  And yet when I don't take the time to make them at home, I end up wasting money on granola bars at the store with ingredients I can't even read.  

This past week, I finally decided that I've had enough, and I got to work.  I planned out my menu for the week utilizing my pantry and freezer.  I went grocery shopping, and then I got started on a few things for the week.  First, I made a batch of granola bars.  These take 5-10 minutes of hands on prep, and 5 minutes packaging them up at the end.  The recipe yields at least 20 bars.

I had recently run out of my Costco sized taco seasoning, and so I made a batch of my own.  I buy my spices in bulk at Winco, which saves an incredible amount of money (if you don't have a Winco, you can buy some bulk spices on Amazon for a decent price, too)!  I tried it tonight on tacos for the first time and it was delicious.

We love yogurt at our house, so the next thing on my list was to start making yogurt regularly again.  I make my yogurt in the crock pot, and it is so easy that it's truly a no brainer for saving money and eating healthy.  Plus, I can make a tub of organic yogurt for just $1.50 (organic milk here in NV at Costco is $6/gallon, and I make 4 cups of milk at a time into yogurt).  

A new thing for my list this week was to make and can my own BBQ sauce.  I followed these directions here to make a double batch of BBQ sauce.  Her recipe calls for a 14-Spice rub mix, so I made that, too (which I used on chicken a couple one night this week-tasty!).  My BBQ loving daughter Zoe gave this recipe a thumbs up.  I was able to can 5 jars of this using a double batch (plus a small jar for the fridge).  I gave one away to a friend this week, and have the others in my cabinet.

Lastly, I started some peppermint extract. I use a ton of this in the winter, and I figured it would also make a great gift.  It's so easy, too.  It's just peppermint leaves and vodka.  It's sitting up high in a cabinet right now and will stay there for another month or two.  I have a huge peppermint plant in front of my house that I used for this.  

Next week, I plan to harvest more peppermint from my plant and dry them out to make tea for the winter.  Since the plant is going strong right now, we just use fresh leaves for peppermint tea.  Peppermint plants grow like crazy.  I planted this one two years ago and it was just a tiny thing.  I've harvested pretty big chunks off of it maybe 10-12 times this summer already, and it's even bigger than it was earlier this spring.  I should be able to get plenty of tea leaves out of it...perhaps I can also give homemade tea leaves for Christmas!

What things have you been making this week?

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