Dining

Do It Yourself

Instead of loading up the grocery cart, save money and find better health by baking, whisking, and churning yourself.

April 2010

Something remarkable happened in the last year: Thanks to an effort to cut back on my family's grocery bill, we're eating better than ever. Instead of purchasing highly convenient (read: expensive) products like frozen waffles and pints of frozen yogurt, I now make these items—and many others—from scratch.

From applesauce to pickles, the recipes are generally simple. Goods such as pancakes, waffles, and cookie dough (already formed into ready-to-bake globs) can be frozen for convenience. And whenever possible, I substitute whole-wheat flour for white and add in flax seed and wheat germ for good measure. Our pancake and waffle flavors (lemon-ricotta, pumpkin spice, oat) change weekly depending on which ingredients we have on hand.

This kitchen revolution has taught us several things, not the least of which is that, even if the savings are negligible, the results are deliciously satisfying.

Pancakes

At the supermarket: Krusteaz frozen pancakes: $3.49/10 pancakes
At home: $2.27/10 pancakes
Savings: $1.22 per batch

Waffles

At the supermarket: Eggo frozen waffles: $3.99/ 10 waffles
At home: $2.07/10 waffles
Savings: $1.92 per batch

Frozen Yogurt

At the supermarket: Haagan-Daz frozen yogurt: $4.49/14 ounces
At home: $2.09/14 ounces
Savings: $2.40 per batch

RECIPE: Pancakes*

(Makes about 10 pancakes)

  • 1½ cups flour (white, whole wheat, or a blend of the two)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed (optional)

Prepare and preheat your griddle or pan.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Mix in wheat germ and flax seed, if desired. In another bowl, whisk milk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently whisk together, mixing just until combined.

Spoon 1/3 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook until the top of each pancake is speckled with bubbles and some bubbles have popped. Flip and cook until the underside is lightly browned.

Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200° oven. Top with maple syrup, jam, honey, or plain yogurt and fresh fruit.

* This recipe has been adapted from the Joy of Cooking.

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