Even though it seems like summer may have just started, let’s face it – school is just around the corner. Even if you don’t want to think about it (or, let’s be honest here, are secretly excited to have the kids back in school), it helps to plan ahead. There are so many things I have bought at the store in the past that I knew I could be making at home, but just never have. Now that I’m being more conscious of what’s put into my food, I strongly believe it’s worth it to put a little time and energy into making things at home rather than buying them when I can find the time. Here are a few things I like to make from scratch with recipes for each:
Breakfast Ready Oatmeal
If I don’t remember to plan ahead, I tend to fall into the rut of purchasing something for breakfast at the cafeteria at work. I usually settle for something like a bagel and end up feeling hungry two hours later. This recipe has steel-cut oatmeal, dried cranberries and pecans to keep me fuller longer. Plus, they’re frozen in individual portions in a muffin pan, making for easy transportation and storage. Just microwave and you’re ready to go.
Cheddar Cheese Snaps
My son LOVES snacking on fish-shaped cheese crackers. When we get home from daycare/work, he’s constantly asking for “fishies.” While I don’t necessarily feel guilty for feeding them to him, I wanted to try something homemade. These Cheddar Cheese Snaps are perfect for little fingers, and you can cut them into any shapes you want using a cookie cutter.
Whole Wheat Bread with Honey
Another necessity when you have kids at home – bread. I’ve been shelling out more than I care to admit for fresh whole-wheat bread from a bakery to avoid dough conditioners and preservatives. And while it’s totally worth the $$ and tastes amazing, I’ve been experimenting with making my own bread at home.
Midwest Macaroni & Cheese
Raise your hand if you have boxes of mac and cheese in your pantry. Mine is raised. Having a toddler at home means we usually have mac ‘n cheese as part of our dinner rotation. But did you know that you can make homemade mac ‘n cheese in the same amount of time it takes to make the box? Seriously. After trying this recipe, I’m converted.
Lunch Box Oatmeal Cookies
While I try to avoid having cookies around the house on the regular, when the craving hits, I’d rather have homemade cookies than a box of crème-filled chocolate cookies tempting me in the pantry. My favorite tip? On the weekends, whip up a batch of cookie dough, portion into balls, and freeze. When you want a few freshly baked cookies, just pop them out of the freezer and bake as directed. Who doesn’t love warm cookies?
What are some of your favorite things to make homemade versus store-bought? I would love to hear other ideas!