What’s in Your Pantry or

food storage? I just found a write-up from someone who figures out how to make mixes to save money. I get that.

What I don’t get is why the mixes at all? I have an almost complete copy of a book of all-natural mixes I got  more than 20 years ago. (I typed it!) I rarely make the recipes, but if I want to, the recipes for both the mixes and foods are available. What typing nearly an entire book in my enamored-with-mixes-stage (EWM) taught me was that 1) having the ingredients available is even more frugal and space-saving than making up mixes  2) I almost never really loved whatever mix or recipe someone else came up with and 3) having mixes on hand isn’t important enough for me to make them!

My “win” from the EWM was learning to mix up my own brown sugar, as needed. No more bricks in the fridge! These days I don’t even remember the proportions. I think it’s 1 tablespoon molasses to 1/2C white sugar, or maybe that makes light brown sugar. I really don’t remember. What I do is take 1/2C white sugar, put it in a small bowl. Add 1 Tbsp molasses, mix thoroughly. If you need 1/2C and it’s the right color, you’re all set. If you need 1C, do it again. Light brown sugar I add 1 teaspoon the the 1/2C white sugar, then add more, as needed. (3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon btw).

Mixes I do use? Dr Oetker white cake mix. I HATE most American cake mixes, they taste like flour laced with chemicals. Ug! I could mix up my own, but I make maybe (?) two cakes a year, so I buy the mix. While it’s still warm, top it with ganache or fudge sauce. Yummy!

I use Jiffy cornbread mix. We’ve made cornbread from scratch, but most of the cornmeal here is used in pancakes, not cornbread!

I also use Zatarians and other rice mixes, although except for maybe Zatarian’s dirty rice, I’ll probably stop buying these. I have a LOT of rice and using rice mixes doesn’t use it up!

Apparently, I use mixes for starchy foods. But mostly I use the stuff in such small quantities it really isn’t worth my time to make a mix. I use more rice mixes than anything else, and at that, we probably only eat 1 a month on average.

I used to buy fudge sauce, but since I’ve started making ganache, I probably won’t buy that any more. I have 1 jar left, but I also have 1  cake mix too, so that will take care of both of those!

Do you buy mixes? Use them regularly? Make your own?

Yesterday I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner? I had the end of 1 lb ground beef (cooked), a green pepper, etc. and decided that I’d make a chili casserole, except, well, I didn’t. I did made chili with the meat, pepper, onion, pinto beans (I like them better than kidney beans.) a can of Mexicorn and a can of chopped chilis. (I’m trying to use most of the canned and frozen stuff to make room for vegetables from the garden.) DH made up a package of Jiffy cornbread. And that was dinner.

Did it use prefab foods? Certainly! The canned chilis, beans, and corn as well as the cornbread mix. In a perfect world, I’d probably can my own chilis & beans, but I don’t. I freeze green beans every year, but don’t can anything, beans or chilis. And because of GMO issues, I’m not buying corn anymore, not corn oil, not frozen corn, corn starch, or corn meal, unless I can find it GMO free. I’ve got some corn starch and a small container of corn meal, but when the canned Mexicorn, etc. is gone, that’ s it. No more canned corn either.

A pressure cooker is on my long-term “want” list. If/when I get one, I’ll likely pressure can beans, but until then, I’ll just buy Bush’s.  And maybe I’ll plant some pinto beans this year, just to see how that goes? I’d much rather grow my own than buy them!

Also, I have some old seed corn I’ll try and grow. It’s an heirloom corn. The seed is old, so I don’t know if any of it will come up, but I can try!


6 responses to “What’s in Your Pantry or

  1. I’m with you J! I don’t buy mixes very often. Would rather make things from scratch when I can. They do take up room, have a shelf life – and are very often sold “two for this” or “five for that” amount. I hate that! Why would I want FIVE boxes of cake mix? We watch our sodium too and often times the mixes have much more sodium than I would like. Don’t get me going on GMO, it is so scary what companies like Monsanto and Bayer are doing to this world – and if they can’t sell it here, they just ship it overseas! SO WRONG!

  2. Yes. I agree! Profit isn’t a good enough motive for polluting the entire planet and/or possibly damaging the food supply for everything on it. I guess I’ve read too much science fiction, but every time someone says, “It’s harmless, relax!” I think, yeah, that’s what they said about radioactive material, before they knew better, and lead in paint and, and . . . .

    I was wondering how you’ve been!

  3. I never buy mixes. Once you start making things from scratch – you might be faced with open rebellion in the ranks if they are served something from a mix! Now that I make all of our breads – we haven’t even ordered a pizza in over five years. It’s saved us thousands of dollars, but that’s only a side benefit. Pure food is the real winning reason not to use mixes.

    • Sometimes it’s handy. A good friend & neighbor’s birthday snuck up on me last year. I whipped out the cake mix and frosted it with a bottle of fudge sauce while the cake was still warm. I turned it 1/2 way through as my oven has hot spots, but did it just a bit too late and the cake had a definite “tilt.” But I’m told it was yummy! In fact, I gave the friend (amongst other things) a box of the cake mix and a bottle of the fudge sauce I’d used for Christmas!

      I try & make our bread but mostly don’t get to it. We tend to buy our bread from the day-old fancier stuff at the supermarket. I’d save us a couple $100 a year if I could just get myself into enough of a routine to make it eveyr now and then. I’ve gotten started, but then we had too much, then stopped and then never quite got it right, sigh. I need a bigger family or something!

      Thanks for the input!

      • sage_brush

        I have just two words to say regarding the home made bread thing – BREAD MACHINE! No kidding – I use mine almost every day. After 32 years of marriage and super thrifty living, I am on my 4th one.

        Consider being able to make a hot loaf of cinnamon raisin bread, for about $.15!! I put the ingredients in at night, set the delay timer, and wake up to hot bread for breakfast toast. Since we home schooled all of our kids for over 25 years – the machine paid for itself in no time, on pizza alone. The Zojirushi that I use and adore, lets you make either a 1 1/2 lb., or a super large 2 lb. loaf of bread. I even use the dough cycle to make my own, home made “cinna-moms.” Believe it or not – these are better than the pricey mall bought Cinnabons.

      • I had a bread machine, we never used it so we got rid of it!

        I bet your rolls are better than cinnabons too! I really don’t like most commercial sweet stuff, unless it’s bakery made. Like most cake mixes, they taste like flour & chemicals to me. I have the same problem with Dunkin’ s donuts, almost all “ice cream” at fast foods, etc. I think I’m sensitive to high fructose corn syrup, or something they use with it a lot.

        The bread recipe I use most of the time is a yogurt bread, makes 2 loaves, takes 1.5 hours start to finish. It isn’t the time to make bread, it’s the habit. I just got out of it and have never been able to get myself back in! I also used to make our yogurt.

        Due to various mishaps DH & I are both using ibuprofen as a side dish lately, we’ve been eating a lot of yogurt to keep our gut happy. (So I’m guilty about not making yogurt too.)

        When I used to make yogurt one day then bake the next I always felt like Annie Oakley or something — a pioneering lady. Considering I was raised by a scientist in Los Angeles, doing both or either of those was quite a leap.

        I’ve never tried to make cinnamon rolls, probably because I really love them. If they’re easy to make, it could be really bad for my waist line!

        Thanks for the comment!

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