I was recently showing a friend a batch of these yummy homemade crackers, and she made a comment I haven’t forgotten. She said “Wow, you really don’t buy much from the store, do you!” I hadn’t stopped to think about it before, because I DO buy a lot. But what do I buy? Mostly all basic ingredients, meat, fruits and vegetables. I do buy some ready-made stuff (i.e. perogies), but very little of those things.

How is it possible that I buy so few pre-made items? I make my own condensed cream soups, my own crackers, my own bread crumbs and croutons, my own taco seasoning, etc. That’s a lot of things to make from scratch!

I figured out the answer, and wanted to share. 🙂  I have two boys, my family eats a lot, and yes, I make most things from scratch. There are two reasons why I am able to do all that:

1. I make bigger batches, and freeze things for quick meals later. I freeze cooked chicken, so I can quickly make chicken salad sandwiches, chicken patties, stir-fry, chicken casseroles, etc. I cook dry beans and freeze them for later (instead of buying cans). I keep loaves of bread in the freezer. When I make chili, sloppy joes, spaghetti sauce and such, I make large batches and freeze the extras for meals on days when I don’t have time to do it all.

2. We eat simply. It takes a bit of time to make a homemade “can of condensed cream soup” (about 8 minutes or so?), and while I could make an extra large batch to freeze in 1 cup portions (which equals one can), I just end up not making recipes that use condensed creams soup. I don’t end up making recipes that require a lot of work, and are very involved. We eat simply. Simple eating is the key to eating healthy meals from scratch! My family loves the meals I make, and we keep the fancy meals for special occasions. 🙂

So yes, I make most things from scratch and buy little pre-made. But the only way that is possible is by preparing things ahead, and eating simply.

What do you make from scratch? How do you manage to cook healthy for your family on a busy schedule?

I also want to put a reminder here: if you try and start making everything from scratch right away, you’ll get discouraged. Start slowly. Incorporate one new habit at the time, then move on to the next one. When you run out of taco seasoning? Instead of buying some, make it yourself (one recipe lasts a few meals). When you run out of crackers, don’t buy some, try this recipe. Slowly build up your repertoire of things you make from scratch, and then it won’t be overwhelming?

It’s also OK, if you can’t do it all from scratch. We can’t do it all. Decide what is important to you to do from scratch, and let go of the things are aren’t. For example, to me, it’s not worth it to make perogies from scratch. I found a brand that makes whole wheat ones for a good price, and stock up when they’re on sale. But to me, it is important to make taco seasoning from scratch because then its not filled with preservatives and MSG. Choose what is important to your and your family, and focus on that!

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