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Don’t Buy That! 10 Foods You Should Make at Home

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Don’t Buy That! 10 Foods You Should Make at Home

Some very delicious packaged foods have some seriously disgusting ingredients (who knew ice cream’s dirty little secret?). Others are ridiculously over-priced for how easy they are to make. And some just taste so much better when you make them yourself.

Here are 10 super simple things you should never buy pre-made again.

Whipped Cream

Cakes_Really_Vanilly_lg

    Once you make whipped cream at home you’ll realize that, whatever it is in those pressurized cans, it’s not the same as what you just put on your pie. You hardly need a recipe to make whipped cream at home. It’s just cream, powdered sugar, and a touch of vanilla extract all whipped together. But here’s a recipe from the Food Network just in case.

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    Vanilla Extract

    Vanilla-Bean-Bundle-1-of-11

      True, making vanilla extract takes a tremendous amount of patience, but you’ll save a bundle making it yourself. All you need is vanilla beans, clean glass containers, vodka, and a couple months. You can get everything you need (aside from the vodka) as well as the recipe at Beanilla.com.

      Chicken stock

      If you have ever wondered why your homemade soup just doesn’t measure up to your favorite restaurant’s, you probably only need to make one small adjustment: start with homemade stock. As the base that all the other ingredients build on, the stock is pretty important flavor-wise. Most canned and boxed stocks have very little flavor, just a lot of sodium. Martha Stewart has a very reliable recipe, which is a great place to start.

      Salad dressing

      If you don’t care for a little titanium dioxide with your salad, steer clear of store bought salad dressings. Found in paint and sunscreen, titanium dioxide is a great ingredient for turning dingy, overly-processed substances bright white; but not so good for your health. Instead whip up a batch in your blender in just a couple minutes. The Pioneer Woman offers a great recipe on the Food Network web site (ignore the preparation time since most of it is just chilling the dressing in the fridge).

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      Hummus

      Hummus

        Once you discover all the delicious things that pair nicely with hummus (vegetables and pita for example), you’ll want to have it around all the time. A cheaper alternative to buying it pre-made is to make it yourself, and it’s really easy. Try this recipe from About.com or if you’re more of a perfectionist, this one from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen.

        Lemonade

        Lemonade

          Whether you find bottled lemonade too sweet or just want to try a little DIY experiment, you’ll be pleased by the results of homemade lemonade. The Pioneer Woman comes through again (as she so often does) with a refreshing lemonade recipe that will please your own little punks every time.

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          Ricotta

          rich homemade ricotta

            Not only does homemade ricotta taste so much better than store bought, it’s also a lot cheaper. If you can boil water, you can make ricotta. Just follow these excellent directions over at Smitten Kitchen.

            Peanut Butter

            MAKE YOUR OWN PEANUT BUTTER

              A staple in practically every American mother’s pantry, peanut butter is a pretty healthy food, as long as it’s just peanut butter. Skip the whole hydrogenated oil business and make your own using a really, really easy recipe from A Beautiful Mess. There are only two ingredients, so it really couldn’t get easier.

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              Pancake Mix

              Whole Wheat Pancakes

                If you don’t recognize the ingredients on the box, it’s time to make your own mix. Try this one from the health monks at Tassajara Meditation Center where flipping sublime pancakes is just one way to reach Nirvana.

                Granola Bars

                Chocolate Granola Bars

                  Making your own snacks is a great way to cut out unwanted sugar and to customize food to your tastes. Tweak this recipe from the Daily Green to make it exactly how you want it.

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                  Last Updated on November 22, 2021

                  Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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                  Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

                  Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

                  During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

                  But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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                  Simplify

                  I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

                  Absolutely.

                  And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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                  If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

                  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
                  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
                  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

                  Be Mindful

                  You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

                  Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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                  Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

                  Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

                  Reflect

                  As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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                  Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

                  But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

                  So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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                  Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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