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

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 March 13, 2019

                  How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                  How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                  Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                  You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                  Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                  1. Work on the small tasks.

                  When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                  Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                  2. Take a break from your work desk.

                  Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                  Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                  3. Upgrade yourself

                  Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                  The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                  4. Talk to a friend.

                  Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                  Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                  5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                  If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                  Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                  Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                  6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                  If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                  Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                  Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                  7. Read a book (or blog).

                  The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                  Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                  Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                  8. Have a quick nap.

                  If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                  9. Remember why you are doing this.

                  Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                  What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                  10. Find some competition.

                  Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                  Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                  11. Go exercise.

                  Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                  Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                  As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                  Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                  12. Take a good break.

                  Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                  Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                  Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                  Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                  More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                  Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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