Back to Basics....Revisited

So, I thought I'd give an update to my lengthy post a few months back about the state of food in our country that I entitled Back to Basics. I'm happy to report some good changes in our house -- although we are not 100% there yet. All progress is good, right?

One of the first things I have done is put my KitchenAid stand mixer (She's a 5-Quart Artisan in "Majestic Yellow" that I have named Mabel) to use in making fresh and homemade white bread. I'm happy to report that not only was it not terribly difficult, it was a great bonding opportunity with my 5-year-old. The family gave the bread rave reviews and had thirds.

Mmmm...warm bread. I'm not sure of the cost ratio between homemade and store bought, but if you matched it in terms of quality ingredients, then I believe I came out ahead. You can't compare what I made to Wonder Bread, after all.

Today was my first day attempting wheat bread and again...not terribly difficult and much enjoyed. I think we're on to something. 

Add in the chocolate stromboli I made the other morning (idea courtesy of my friend, Carmita) and I'm a dough making fool!

I've also sworn off most of the jarred/canned pasta sauces. Instead I've been buying canned whole or diced tomatoes and using my Cusinart food processor to blend them up. I add in a can of tomato paste and fresh garlic and other italian spices. My husband raved about it and it literally took me about 5 minutes to do. No high-fructose corn syrup needed.

Another recent purchase was the grinder attachment for my stand mixer. I've recently had a harder time buying and consuming ground beef because I think too much about what part of the cow it comes from and from how many different animals. People rave about this grinder because you can buy a sirloin roast and grind your own. Not only do you know for certain that your ground beef came from one cut and one animal, it costs less.  I have not used it yet, but I am excited to do so.

I'm also excited to use it to make some strawberry and peach freezer jam. With the abundance of fresh and tasty fruit here, it would be a shame not to at least try. And, since I have a pretty easy recipe to follow, I would be a fool not to at least attempt one batch. (My Walmart store decided to stop carrying canning items...but luckily my local Target started stocking them....sigh, I love Target!)

I was like a kid in a candy store...albeit a little confused with all the choices. This is going to be one of my projects to try for this week.

The other project I am going to attempt is making my own yogurt. I'm a huge fan of plain yogurt. However, I think it would be cheaper to make my own, as well as making it easier to adjust the level of thickness I prefer. I found this innovative way to do it with household products -- yogurt maker not necessary.

Also, since posting this, my cousin, Amy, clued me in to a recipe for making yogurt in a slow cooker that she got from our mutal friend, Amy. (Confusing, I know...wait until my other friend Amy chimes in!)

So, I'm changing things..slowly, but surely.  My next major purchase will be the pasta attachment for my KitchenAid. I cannot wait to roll the dough and then use the cutter to make my own angel hair. I can already taste the goodness.

And now I'm curious...what are you guys out there in CyberLand doing differently?  I'd love more share away!

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