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You are wasting SO much money at the grocery store, buying convenience foods that are actually JUST as easy to make at home, almost almost far less expensive and always healthier.
This is not an exhaustive list by any measure, but this should get you started on creating your own ungrocery list. Many of these recipes (well, the food-related ones) can be found in my cookbook A Cabin Full of Food, and if you are interested in increasing your food self-sufficiency, I urge you to get a copy. However, in the meantime, I would like to share some great ideas from friends of mine.
Homemade White Bread
There is such a difference between store bought bread and homemade bread that they almost shouldn’t be called the same thing.
Find out how to make a basic white bread from my friend Kim.
Croutons and bread or cracker crumbs
All of these things are very easily made at home. Elaina has directions for making delicious homemade croutons
Do not buy muffins. Once you have a basic muffin recipe like my Banana Muffins and understand how to modify it, a batch of muffins can be mixed and in the oven in five minutes.
Jam, jelly and preserves of all kinds
My friend Cari has a recipe for Grape Jelly
. You can home-canned or purchased grape juice. (And yes, you CAN make your own grape juice, too!)
Canned stew and soup
With home-canned meat and vegetables in the pantry, making soup and stew literally takes minutes. Get the canned stew off your grocery list and onto your ungrocery liste. Fnd out how to make homemade beef stew in fifteen minutes.
Chip and Vegetable Dip
But, but, but doesn’t it come in a little package that … well, it can, but it shouldn’t. This classic dip was made long before those dried mixes. Learn to make your own Onion Dip
Take a few minutes to mix up some biscuit mix and you will walk right by those boxes at the grocery store!
Find out how easy it is to make your own Vanilla Extract from my friend Cari.
Holly also has instructions for making Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Syrup.
You certainly do NOT need to buy canned cream soups. Annette tells you how to make your own Cream of Chicken Soup
You do need a pressure canner for this, but it is possible to make the most tender, melt-in-your-mouth canned meat at home
Canned Baked Beans
You really can make your own canned baked beans
, and they are just as convenient as the commercial version – only far, far less expensive.
For the record, I’m not talking about maple syup. If you do not have your own maple trees, then please purchase maple syrup – from a small producer, of course, and not a huge company. Pancake syrup is nothing more than a flavoured sugar syrup!
Chocolate Syrup should definitely be on your Ungrocery list!
Cheese – cream cheese, cheddar/Colby, mozzarella, Parmesan
Hot cocoa mix
You’ll kick yourself when you find out how easy it is to make your own Castile Soap Concentrate – at far less cost than buying it!
Not everyone has the same results from homemade laundry soap, but if you’re interested in trying it, my friend Kim tells you how to make it
Don’t limit yourself by only having cranberry sauce at Christmas. Homemade Cranberry and Fruit Sauce
is delicious all year round!
Don’t buy that Ranch Mix from the store. Really – you can make your own quite easily with ingredients that you recognize.
Don’t do it. Just don’t do it. The purchased mix doesn’t actually save you any time and it certainly won’t save you money. Learn how to make your own Pancake Mix.
Paper towels, paper plates, paper napkins, etc
Are you always buying those “helper” boxes at the store? Besides the fact that they are full of salt, and don’t really save you any money, they are EASY to recreate at home. Check out this recipe for homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni
Really? WINE? If you like drinking wine with your dinner, you need to realize just how easy and affordable it is to make at home. My friend Danielle has instructions for making your own wine
There are so many wonderful ways to make your own tomato products, and the flavour is usually much better than anything you can buy.
First step is learning how to can your own tomato sauce – save that taste of summer to enjoy all winter. Roasted Tomato Sauce is absolutely delicious.
My friend Cari has a great tutorial for making Tea Tree Deodorant. She even has a short video to show you how easy this is to make!
Chicken or beef or vegetable broth
Everyone loves soft lips (or rather, no one likes having dry, cracked lips!), but why buy tubes of what-is-in-this lip balm when you can make your own Peppermint Lip Balm with ingredients you can actually pronounce?
Here’s a home security tip I wrote down in my “Frugal Notebook” years ago:
“Put a pair of worn, dirty, size 14 work boots outside the front door. Wet often so they always look freshly used. Hey – would *you* break in?”
If you like the idea of cooking from scratch and eating food that “remembers where it came from”, you really need to check out A Cabin Full of Food. Almost a thousand recipes will keep you busy for a long time!