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What else should I be making from scratch now I'm a SAHM and have bags of time?

(26 Posts)
StripeyBear Sun 20-Jan-13 12:07:52

With the best will in the world, whilst I was working I would end up buying convenience food - I don't mean ready meals and microwave chips - but things like shop-made pancakes, the odd currant loaf, ready-made pizza and the like...

Since I gave up work to stay at home with my toddler, the kitchen is running more smoothly - and I find we are ordering virtually no take aways, are less tempted to stop out for cake and coffee, because there is usually something better to eat at home, and I've cut out a lot of convenience food shopping.

This is what I've done so far:
- Started using the breadmaker to make Raisin Bread - so much nicer, and so much less sugary than the supermarket version;
- try to make a fruit cake-type cake or loaf every week, so that there is always something sweet to eat;
- moved to making my own pizza dough and toppings - a huge improvement on the shop ones.
- batch cook - now I have more time I find I can get 4 or 5 different options in the freezer - so tend to have soups, stews, spag bol, chowder etc ready to defrost.
will avoid lots of shop bought products - so will only eat sponge or puddings or scones etc if I make one - cooking up batches of pancakes etc. Would always make custard from scratch etc.

However, I still buy stuff like baked beans, bread (as it seemed a bit of chore to bake every day for sandwiches), danish pastries, hot cross buns, crisps (surely you can't make these at home?), biscuits (blush), tomato sauce, pasta and noodles and the like?

Am I missing a trick? Do other people make things like this at home, or do I have the balance right, and the other stuff isn't worth the extra effort?

mrsvilliers Sun 20-Jan-13 13:30:27

I think you've got the balance right. I'm exactly the same. Every so often I might make cinnamon buns, biscuits or a homemade tomato sauce but that's about it. There is only so much you can do with a toddler!

janek Sun 20-Jan-13 13:34:18

I disagree that it's too much of a chore to make bread every day if you have a breadmaker. But other than that i'd say you're doing it right. And shop-bought biscuits re a very different animal from home-made ones, so think that's fair enough!

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 20-Jan-13 14:35:24

Have you thought of getting a cow so that you can make your own butter, yoghurt and cream? Maybe a pig to feed the leftovers to and then you could make your own sausages grin

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Sun 20-Jan-13 15:02:24

'bags of time'?! Ah, maybe you have a toddler that naps. envy

No, there's no point going mad - someone actually wrote a book about what's better bought, and what you should home-make. Let me just find it....
Make The Bread Buy The Butter, there we go.

How about making your own Play-Doh? That's quite expensive to buy, and the kids trash it really quickly I find. Should be recipes online.

The Imagination Tree blog has loads of exciting things you can do, if you have the time to set it all up and clear away after.

wannabedomesticgoddess Sun 20-Jan-13 15:11:43

grin Jilted.

OP, your intentions are good. But are you really thinking you should make everything from scratch? Some things you really wont be able to make cheaper. And anything that isnt too processed really isnt worth all the hassle.

We have a really small kitchen atm so my cooking is limited, but when we move I will be getting a breadmaker because the amount of preservatives in shop bought bread is awful.

Right now I make soup, bolognaise/tomato sauce, cinnamon buns and some biscuits myself. Dinners are meat etc not ready meals. I bake birthday cakes myself.

When I have a fully functioning kitchen again I intend to make daily bread, yoghurt and my own jam.

bigkidsdidit Sun 20-Jan-13 15:16:57

I'm not a SAHM but I disagree about the bread - I make the sandwich loaf daily in the bread maker (if you have a Panasonic). Only takes 2 mins to load!

I do make cheesey biscuits (100g each of Parmesan, butter and flour) and cherry cookies for lunch boxes which are very quick too

I also batch cook lovely tomato and basil pasta sauce to freeze, pasta sauces freeze reall well

StillSmilingAfterAllTheseYears Sun 20-Jan-13 15:30:14

Crumpets - surprisingly easy to actually make just have to wait ages for batter to prove. Do not let children near the bowl, you'll be cleaning up for a week if that hits the carpet.

Quiche - shop ones taste crap but it is the time, they are easy but you need all day to do the stages IMO.

I used to enjoy having time to cook, it isn't hard stuff just if you need to leave something six hours between stages having to go to work can really get in the way!

TheSkiingGardener Sun 20-Jan-13 15:35:46

Bread is lovely from the bread maker and very quick to put on. Danish pastries are easy too and you can freeze them before the final rise.

But I think you are doing plenty!

magimedi88 Sun 20-Jan-13 16:03:12

Bread from the bread maker becomes a routine & you hardly think about it after a while.

Tomato sauce for pasta is easy, cheaper & nicer than jars of the stuff.

Ketchup - you can't beat Heinz!

I make quite a lot of pickles & chutneys - but it's something I really, really enjoy doing.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 20-Jan-13 18:29:45

Honey, don't forget to order your bees and make your own honey smile

Have to admire you though, when I was at home with he dc, coping with sleep depravation and drinking coffee and chatting to my mates ensuring baby was properly socialised, seem to take up most of my time.

bakingaddict Sun 20-Jan-13 18:36:29


You can make your own pies and quiches. It freezes really easy and you can make a big batch of it and just deforst it when you actually fancy making the fruit pie, savory pie or quiche

StripeyBear Sun 20-Jan-13 19:43:39

Jilted I did consider hens, but we have a small suburban garden, and when I investigated I found they seem to shit all over the place and ruin the grass, which is a bit out with an 18 month old! I had also thought about growing veg - but the garden is very small - I do grow herbs, and I might try some beans next summer, as I can trail them up the shed. Don't worry - we tend to go out most mornings, but that leaves the afternoons... (and sshh... don't tell anyone, but I have a cleaner (blush))

Boulevard Yes, she naps - sometimes for a couple of hours - but to be fair, she is a very self absorbed little girl and will play while I cook - or "help" grin We have a big wooden kitchen full of play pans and plates and plastic food - seems to work well for us anyhow, and it's quite good storage to tidy all the bit and bobs away at night too.
Book looks interesting - ta

When I said tomato sauce - I actually meant Heinz ketchup - I make my own pasta sauce already... but cinammon buns sound good - and maybe I should rethink the bread.

I do my own shortcrust pastry - I must admit I tend to buy puff pastry - I have this idea that it's all very difficult to make...

I don't bother with jam, partly because it is so expensive to make. We went fruit picking in the summer at the PYO and we practically needed a new mortgage to pay for enough gooseberries to make 3 pies, and a few straws and raspberries. I've always been of the impression that jam is only really worth it if you have your own fruit. It might be worth making chutney though - we tend to end up buying posh onions marmalades for cheese as farmer's markets... but we use them quite slowly - presumably they go off quickly if you make them at home?

StripeyBear Sun 20-Jan-13 19:45:12

These look good!

magimedi88 Sun 20-Jan-13 19:53:08

presumably they go off quickly if you make them at home?

For chutneys & pickles - no. I recently found a jar of orange, apricot & coriander chutney that had escaped & was 2.5 years old - it was delicious.

But I have invested in Le parfait jars with good seal.

And agree with you about jam, but I am now confident enough to make chutney with all the nearly-out-of-date dried fruit in my cupboard + onion, spices, apple etc.

It also makes a wonderful present.

WipsGlitter Sun 20-Jan-13 19:55:37

Do you have a recipe for the raisin bread?

FortyFacedFuckers Sun 20-Jan-13 19:58:44

What you do sounds perfect <I'm jealous>

StripeyBear Sun 20-Jan-13 20:03:43

I'm just using the recipe from the breadmaker booklet - it's pretty much a basic loaf with 2 teaspoons or cinammon and 100g of raisins. The ones they sell in the supermarket seem loaded with sugar in comparison wips

That's interesting magimedi - I had thought they might be good presents too.

I think gifts is an area that we could do more in - this year I made Christmas Puddings for special friends, and Christmas cupcakes (just vanilla cupcakes with christmas tree sprinkles and chocolate ones with sugar snowflake sprinkles). In the past I'd given things like (nice) tins of shop buiscuits, wine and chocolates - but I think this was more personal, and way, way cheaper - esp now I'm not working smile

HazeltheMcWitch Sun 20-Jan-13 20:06:47

Do you know anyone with fruit trees? We have a few, and are inundated with fruit in the summer, which I - and quite a few of my friends - preserve, into sauces, chutneys etc. But this is obviously very seasonal...
You could take a walk past your local fruit and veg market towards the end of the day, to see what they're selling off in bulk for v v cheap? This is how I feed my sauce and chutney habit throughout the year.

Chepstowmonkey Sun 20-Jan-13 20:15:28

I'd also like the recipe for the raisen bread too OP!

My favourite thing to make is pizza. I make the dough in a batch and cut it into 6 portions - that would last us 3 weeks. It freezes really well and if you take it out of the freezer at breakfast time then it'll be defrosted by lunchtime. Absolutely beautiful with homemade tomato sauce and mozzarella. I added up how much it costs and it is 90p per pizza - so cheap and so delicious - we eat it every weekend. I used to let Dd (2 yrs) help make the dough but it is so quick to do on my own that I just do it while she is asleep or on the weekend.

Chepstowmonkey Sun 20-Jan-13 20:50:11

Also while I remember -

Soup - very cheap and very easy. I mostly make carrot and cumin or cauliflower but I keep meaning to investigate other smooth soups.

Pesto - It is cheaper than buying the posh stuff and tastes totally different to jarred pesto. I freeze it in ice cubes.

Harrisa - (for grown up only). I love the stuff from the supermarket but I is so expensive. I also freeze in ice cubes and perks up an otherwise bland serving of cous cous.

Sweet chilli sauce - especially if you grown your own chillies. It is just rice vinegar, red chillis, garlic and lots of sugar. I cook chicken wings in it for a delicious (if a bit naughty and messy) meal. Apparently it will keep in a sterilised jar for 1 year but mine never lasts that long.

Tomato sauce - I use it like ketchup but I doesn't taste much lik ketchup. I can look up the recipe if you want but I think it is tinned tomatoes, apple juice, cider vinegar, onion err....Can't remember what else. My dd loves it. I make a big batch and freeze it. I think the last batch was about 6 months as it lasts ages.

Molecule Sun 20-Jan-13 21:08:15

You're doing really well, but it's marmalade season now, and homemade with Seville oranges is far superior to anything you can buy. Also frozen raspberries are far cheaper than fresh or pick your own and make good jam, which is also superior to bought, though the taste difference is not as great as with marmalade.

StripeyBear Tue 22-Jan-13 08:42:49

The raisin bread recipe is
tsp yeast, 500g strong white flour, 1 tbsp sugar, 25g butter, 1 1/2 tbspn milk powder, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 350 ml water and 2 1/2 tspn cinammon and 100g raisins.

Am just using the raisin programme on the breadmaker. If you have any left over - it makes a good bread and butter pudding when it's stale!

OK - you're all right - it isn't that much trouble to do the bread everyday in a machine - so thank you for that suggestion.

Don't know anyone with fruit trees - maybe I should ask around though... I'm afraid we're kind of out in the provinces, and we don't have a local fruit market - so I think it would be difficult to buy cheap fruit.

Chepstowmonkey thanks for some really excellent ideas - I'd never thought about making pesto - but will definitely give that a go - and the chill sauce and ketchup

Not sure about marmalade - wouldn't it cost loads to buy the oranges?

Thanks everyone for all the replies... off to make some cinnammon buns now grin

Chepstowmonkey Tue 22-Jan-13 15:47:46

my favourite pesto recipe is from Claudia Roden's 'The Food of Italy' and is 2 cloves of garlic (crushed), 50g of pine nuts, 50g or more of basil, 4 tbps of parmesan or pecorino (but i use sainsbury's basic italian hard cheese as it is so much cheaper) (grated) and 150ml of light olive oil. I think the light olive oil is important as when I've made it with cheap regular extra virgin olive oil the taste has been a bit strong. Method - just bung it all ingredients in a blender/pestal and mortar/magimix-type thing. Obviously put the olive oil in last.

It is cheaper if you can keep your basil plant alive and make pesto when it is big and bushy. Also as pine nuts are expensive the can be replaced by other nuts - i've never tried almonds but apparently that is nice and mild.

Loads more recipes online though so you can find one to suits. This might also interest you (I've tried their suggestion for sun-dried pesto and it was yummy):-

bigkidsdidit Tue 22-Jan-13 15:52:11

Oh forgot I made hummus the other day and it was lovely!

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