I’m a simple girl. Give me a good cup of coffee or a surprise sale on cheese, and I am happy as a clam. Would I love to travel the world? Sure. But I am really quite content tickling my children and booking camping trips to exotic locations like… Eastern Oregon.
Another thing that always gets me excited is learning new skills. I dream about sitting in front of a piano or a sewing machine and producing something that actually sounds or looks beautiful. Until then, I have my sights set on a more familiar and comfortable setting: my home. Specifically, my yard and kitchen.
One goal I have for myself each year is to make or grow more food from scratch and buy less in a box from the grocery store. I love the independence that comes with crossing off one more item from our grocery list. My husband covers the handyman territory, with trips to Home Depot replacing calls to Mr. Fix It.
Chicken broth, frozen produce, fresh kale, artisan bread,ricotta cheese, roasted chickens, cocoa brownies, dried fruit, homegrown garlic, and homemade ice cream are a few of the things I’ve added to my domestic toolbelt in the last five years.
Now all of these things rarely, if ever, find their way onto my grocery shopping lists. See! I told you it was exciting.
This year my goal is to stop buying boxed crackers and cereal, in favor of making my own from scratch. My husband and I are also itching to join the Free Chicken Movement. I can just picture myself gathering eggs in my own backyard. I’m still trying to decide if that romantic image merits dealing with chicken poop.
Here are five things I consider when I am debating making or growing vs. buying:
Quality. I am a big believer in creating things at home. I like cooking from scratch and watching my husband create from scratch. If we can do a better job than we can afford to buy, it makes sense to do it ourselves.
If you are pals with Chef Boyardee, we can still be friends. Just humor me, though. Try making small changes. Start with pancakes or bread, soup or cookies. I guarantee, you will taste the difference.
Priority. At this stage of my life, laundry detergent is not a big deal to me. I know I could make my own, but for now I am happy to dip out of my stockpile. Those of you who deal with allergies or sensitivities in your home are on top of this one.
Time. Many of you work full-time. Some of you are students or single moms or juggling a dozen different balls at any given moment. Time is at a premium. It might not make sense for you to pick blueberries in July or to can salsa in September. Don’t worry about everyone else; decide what works best for you.
On the other hand, we also make time for the things that are a priority to us. Make some new goals; then make the time to accomplish them.
Cost. I can make better roasted chicken, artisan bread, or chocolate ice cream than I can buy in the store for the same price point. Easy decision. If I can make something from scratch and save money over the closest competitor, I’m all over it.
However, I can get boxes of cereal or crackers from the grocery store for dirt cheap with coupons. Ack! What do you do? I personally just got to a point where I wasn’t satisfied with the commercial product anymore. Does it cost me more time to make food from scratch? Usually. More money? Sometimes.
Note: My numbers guy worked out the math on Kate’s favorite whole wheat bread. Check out the comments section of her post for a cost breakdown.
Value. As in, if I make my own buttermilk ranch dressing, will anyone actually eat it? Or will they push their salad around their plates, longing for happier times in the Hidden Valley? I can dream of feeding my children homemade mac n’ cheese or healthy oatmeal, but if they refuse to eat it, I haven’t really gained any ground.
Leave a comment! What are items you now create, grow, or make (or want to) at home instead of buying in the grocery store? Anyone out there have their own chickens? Any words of wisdom for us?
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