3 Essential Foods You Should Be Making from Scratch

Our family began looking for simple ways to enhance the quality of our meals without spending more money. Making these 3 items (that we pretty much use every day) from scratch not only made the dishes we used them in SO much more delicious, but we actually ended up saving money every month by doing it ourselves. These recipes are so easy, too!

  1. Chicken Stock

Making our own chicken stock is really what started this whole process. Our family doesn’t eat a whole lot of meat (often because it can be pretty expensive and we don’t love supporting unethically raised animals), so when we do eat meat, we make sure it’s the grass fed, pasture raised, happy animal dancing on a local farm, kind. We buy a whole chicken and a few fixings, and it yields about 8 or so cups of rich, flavorful broth. The broth is ideal as a base for all our favorite soups, or added to recipes for flavor. Then, if I have some left over, I just freeze it. It’ll last in the freezer for up to 6 months or so (although we never make it that long). Bonus: Our house is filled with the most wonderful smell whenever we have this stock simmering on the stove…better than any candle!

We love this this recipe.

2. Butter

YES, butter! Not at all difficult to make at home and super, super delicious. We usually divide the butter in half when we’re done and add sea salt to one so we have both salted and unsalted. It’s really just buying cream and “churning” it in a food processor until the butter separates from the buttermilk. Then you just need to strain out the buttermilk really well to keep the butter from going rancid (we also like to keep the buttermilk and use it for making pancakes over the weekend). Then we divide the butter, add salt where we want, wrap it in some wax paper and stick it in the refrigerator.

If you’d like this info in a recipe format, this one works well.

3. Almond Milk

When Christopher and I realized how much we were spending on good quality almond milk every month (between the cereals, morning lattes and nightly accompaniment to something sweet), we knew we had to try making it at home. We don’t have a fancy blender, so ours isn’t as creamy as we buy in the store, but if you do, yours will likely be even better! The flavor is just…well, so much more almond-y. We like to sweeten ours with agave or dates (put in during the blending process).

A few tips and tricks: The stronger the blender, the creamier the milk. Make sure you let the almonds soak for at least 10-12 hours. You should be blending your almonds for at least 60 seconds, but 90 is even better. Make sure to buy some cheesecloth for straining. We skipped this step once and decided to just use a strainer and the milk came out gritty. You can find cheesecloth on Amazon.com for around $4.

*Bonus: Jessica Kaslow, who owns Sqirl, a wonderfully delicious restaurant here in LA, talked in an interview about how she uses the pulp from her almond milk as a shower scrub. Brilliant! I add some coconut oil to it and use it in the shower for super soft, exfoliated skin. It’s honestly so richly luxurious, like being at a spa.

We stick to this  recipe.


There you go! These are some of our favorite recipes. We try to make these once a week or so, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. If we have to choose between making butter for the week or taking Theodore to the park on a Sunday, you bet we’ll be swinging by the grocery store on our way home from the park. These are more or less guidelines for our family, and something we really enjoy!

We hope you enjoy making (and eating!) what’s good!

xo Lauren

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