Monday, December 21, 2015

DIY -- I can do anything better than you ...

I said before that DIY is better than commercial versions of some things.
Is there an online list of things we buy in grocery stores that we could make ourselves? 
Well, not all in one place.  Here's my list; if you know of more things like this, post them on your blog.

Cookie dough -- use your search engine to find recipes for "icebox cookies".

Hot pockets -- these are a commercial version of empanadas.  You can fill them with finely chopped leftovers from Thanksgiving as well as fresh ground meat and seasonings.

MacDonald's apple pies -- turnovers or popovers or "hand pies", of course, have been made in homes for centuries.  Almost any filling you like in an 8-inch round crust is fair game in a turnover.

Energy bars -- I don't know if there's an online recipe but in the Little Irish Baking Book, I found "Hunting nuts", something foxhunters used to stick in their pockets for a pick-me-up.

Hostess products -- most of the Hostess products started as an Amish recipe.  (Hostess was founded in Philadelphia to the east of Pennsylvania Dutch territory.)  Dingdongs are small Whoopie pies, their coffee cakes are like crumb cakes, and so on.

Twinkies -- start with an éclair recipe, then use commercial banana pudding for a filling to get the real true original twinkie version.

Trail mix -- easy do: nuts, raisins and dried cranberries, carob chips, granola.

Danish -- find a recipe for Czechoslovakian kolache.  It's almost the same thing and there are Tex-Mex versions that are a cross with empanadas.

Crackers -- any time you make bread, you can save out some of the dough.  Roll little balls, let them sit 20 minutes, roll out thin, punch all over with a fork, and cut into the desired size, then bake 8 minutes at 375.  If you don't punch them, you'll wind up with pita crisps.

Pudding -- I have to say it.  There's no comfortable way of making pudding DIY.  The original recipes  all combined suet and flour and had to be boiled in a special cloth.  Modern recipes all use milk and cornstarch.  If you know of a scratch recipe that is kosher AND non-milchig AND doesn't use a lot of artificial ingredients, let me know.  Until then, you'll have to settle for something commercial with lots of chemicals in it.

Jello -- ditto.  Jello was originally calf's feet boiled down until the chemicals were so denatured that the proteins barely hung together.  This "jelly" was the basis of aspic, blancmangers, and food for invalids.   

Sandwich cookies  -- look for recipes for the French macaron.  It's expensive because of the almond flour, almond production being a victim of the collapse in bee populations.

Noodles -- you can find Youtube videos on the technique of making la mian, Chinese hand-pulled noodles.  That's aside from the obvious -- homemade pasta, egg noodles, and soba.

Pickles -- and how!  including things you never thought of, like marinated broccoli stems or okra.

Croutons -- if you're into making bread, find a good French bread recipe.  Then when the loaf starts to go stale, cut it into cubes and dry them in the oven.  Bag with seasonings for flavored croutons.

Shortbread -- forget your Lorna Doones and even your Walkers, there are scratch recipes for this that are easy to make.

Macaroons -- there are recipes for the original almond version and the coconut version.

Shortcake -- they won't have that convenient little dent in the top; you split them and fill them with sliced strawberries.

Sugar cookies  -- the online Amish sugar cookie recipe is something like shortbread.  So are the online recipes for heart cakes, Eccles cakes and Shrewsbury cakes, except they have currants in them.

Candies -- fudge, panocha, peanut brittle, imberlach or its Passover version farfelach, Turkish delight and toffee, as well as the mosie which I remember from high school.

Granola -- lots of varieties.

Tortilla and corn chips.

Almost anything you can pay an arm and a leg for in a store -- and notice how the weight keeps decreasing while the price stays the same -- you can make at home with fewer chemicals and sometimes cheaper. 

Notice that almost all of these are snacks, things you should only eat in small quantities or on special occasions, if you don't want to be a blimp or have diabetes.  The time and sometimes hard work they take will keep you from making them often.  Knock yourself  out.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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