Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
I'm a huge believer in that saying, as well as making do with what you have. It's a principle I try to apply to my daily life, because I don't ever buy one single item with just the intention of one single purpose.
The kitchen for me is one of those areas where I most make use of these words.
Is there anything better than looking into your pantry or on your counters and seeing mason jars, lined up with all sorts of contents that make your life easier, quicker?
If you've been my reader for a while, you know I love jars and you know I love DIY and making as much as I can at home.
I spent yesterday and today in my kitchen, cooking, baking, refilling jars and making some quick homemade mixes which will in no doubt help me preparing meals.
My Chai Tea concentrate had run out so I made another.
* 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
* 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
* 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Empty condensed milk into a jar or plastic container with tight-fitting lid. Stir in the sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
Store in refrigerator. To use: Brew a cup of strong black tea, such as Assam, then add two heaping teaspoons of concentrate or more to taste. Stir well until concentrate has fully melted.
3 days ago I started a sourdough starter, and yesterday made a small loaf in the bread machine. We love sourdough but I don't always have the starter in the refrigerator, so went ahead and got one going for the next few weeks.
Whipped up a batch of Freezer Breakfast Burritos which are always a hit here in the house. If you want the recipe you can find it on the food blog under Breakfast Burritos.
Also made a bunch of Banana Muffins. They are about gone because they're one of the kid's favorites.
But I did manage to snag one for myself for this morning's breakfast, along with my green smoothie.
If you look in my pantry, you will see that I have a big shelf filled with jars, some with beans, some with pasta and rice and mixes and all sorts of things. I love using jars to store food, it keeps it fresh for longer and makes for a pretty pantry too.
You don't have to go out and buy jars constantly, I use mason jars but I also keep all my spaghetti sauce, olive, pickles, and anything else that I buy that uses glass jars. I just give them a really good wash in the dish washer and then by hand, remove the labels and there you go.
I made a few different mixes today. The first one was a Biscuit mix, it's handy to have in the pantry, I just use the plain mix and then add in different things to get what I want. Cheddar Bay biscuits, cheese biscuits, plain biscuits, all start using the same base.
Homemade Biscuit Mix
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup biscuit mix
1/3 cup buttermilk or milk
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until well combined. Mixture will look like cornmeal.
Store in an airtight container for up to 4 months.
To make biscuits
Combine biscuit mix and buttermilk in a mixing bowl until the mix is completely moistened.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead it 4-5 times. Roll dough out to a 3/4 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter.
Place cut biscuits onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 9-10 minutes, until tops are lightly browned.
8 Cups of All-Purpose Flour or wheat flour if you prefer
3 Cups of Sugar
3 Tablespoons of Baking Powder
2 Teaspoons of Salt
2 Teaspoons of cinnamon
2 Teaspoons of nutmeg
Mix all of these dry items together and store in an airtight container.
For the muffins:
2 3/4 cups of the above mix
1 beaten egg
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of melted butter
Mix the beaten egg, milk and butter together and pour into muffin mix. Mix with a fork until well blended. You can then bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes. They are delicious just on their own, but you can also add in whatever you want before baking. About a cup of your extra ingredient to the mix.....here are some ideas:
Bananas, blueberries, chocolate chips, nuts, coconut.
Or you can add in a teaspoon of extract, whether it's vanilla, or lemon, or whatever you wish.
Pancake and Waffle Mix
Source: The Kitchn
For the dry mix:
8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
For one batch of pancakes (12 to 15 pancakes):
2 cups dry mix
2 large eggs
2 cups whole, 2%, or nonfat milk (see Recipe Note)
6 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For one batch of waffles (8 to 10 waffles):
2 cups dry mix
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cup whole, 2%, or nonfat milk, almond milk, or soy milk
4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Mix: Sift together all of the dry ingredients. Store in a sealable container in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
For the Pancakes: Give the mix a good shake, then measure the amount you need and transfer to a large mixing bowl. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture while stirring. Whisk until smooth. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
While the batter rests, heat your griddle or large nonstick pan over medium heat. Once hot, coat pan or griddle with butter or nonstick spray as necessary. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot griddle for each pancake, spacing the pancakes a little apart. When you see large bubbles begin to form and pop on the surface after 2 to 3 minutes (not just on the edges), flip and cook until done.
For the Waffles: Preheat your waffle iron. Prepare the batter as you would for the pancakes — no need to rest for waffle batter. Cook waffles according to the manufacture's instructions for the waffle iron. Coat waffle iron with butter, oil, or nonstick spray as necessary.
Today I made Pancake and Waffle Mix, Biscuit Mix, Muffin Mix and also a Bean Soup Mix ready to just pop in the slow cooker any day.
I am all out of labels so I have just attacked a small piece of paper on the two jars letting me know what it is, and when I get the new lables I'll replace them.
Homemaking doesn't have to be boring, doesn't have to be expensive, it certainly doesn't have to be frustrating when you want to make something and realize you are all out of store bought.
It does take a little planning and some time set aside, but if you can do that, you can make a few mixes for your pantry, that will make life much easier, especially on those busy nights when you need to get dinner on the table with no fuss.
Tomorrow I'm actually going to make a big batch of Refrigerator Artisan Bread dough, and I'll show you just how I do that.