Today, I want to talk about some cooking and baking basics. Everything ranging from extracts to mixes, spices to sauces, and even some bouillon! Almost anything you need, you can make it yourself.
Let's start with something every baker needs... Extracts! You can make your own vanilla, almond, mint, and (the one I always run out of) anise extract. Here are instructions for cinnamon and various citrus extracts.
Some other baking basics you might need include baking powder (note, this is a single-acting baking powder, so stir and get your batter in the oven quickly), brown sugar, powdered sugar, sweetened condensed milk (sugar free, though you CAN use sugar), and heavy cream.
If you're a fan of Bisquick, you can try this copycat, or this low fat version.
Love to bake, yet you're eliminating gluten? Try this all-purpose flour!
Before I move away from baking, I'd like to share recipes for pie crust mix, cookie mixes, brownie mix, and cake mixes.
Perhaps you're in the mood for a sweet that doesn't need baked. Want some gelatin-free marshmallows? You COULD buy them.... or try this recipe instead. I haven't tried this one, but here's a recipe for homemade Cool Whip (that, unlike most, does NOT call for gelatin). Do you like that Magic Shell stuff? Then try making it yourself! Need some caramel sauce or hot fudge sauce for your sundae?
Not sure quite how to categorize this one. They can be used in baking OR cooking. So...here's how to make your own powdered eggs. And while we're at it, we might as well make cheese powder. Or, if you don't eat dairy, you could try this Vegan version.
Now I'd like to talk a bit about seasonings used in cooking. Here are a few recipes for spice blends (ranging from pumpkin pie spice to Cajun seasoning). My mom would NEVER be caught without Lawry's Seasoned Salt....so I HAD to find a recipe! But if you're watching your sodium intake (and shouldn't we all), try this sodium-free version! Perhaps you prefer Adobo? Or a sodium-free Adobo-type seasoning might be better....since that stuff has enough sodium to give one a stroke! Maybe you're looking for Herbes De Province? How about a bunch of Indian seasoning mixes? Sodium-free taco seasoning or chili powder? If you like Mrs Dash, then why not make your own? And yes, I've even found Paul Prudhomme's Vegetable Seasoning Mix!
Need some condiments? Here are 22 of them, ranging from yellow mustard and catsup to hot sauce and Ranch dressing (and even more unusual things like fig mustard and plum chutney)...not all are Veg-friendly, fyi. How about nacho cheese sauce? Or salsa? Enchilada sauce - red or green (Veg*ns can use either a veggie "chicken" broth or a light vegetable broth)? Brown gravy mix is easy to make (Veg*ns, use a veggie "beef" broth powder or a mushroom powder). You can even make your own low-sodium pickles! And, if you're REALLY daring, you can ferment your own soy sauce.
Don't most casseroles call for a can of condensed "cream of" soup? Well, here's how to make a powder that replaces those cans (just add mushroom, celery, broccoli, etc).
Need sauce for your pasta? Here's how to make your own (doctor it up any way you see fit).
Here's how to make your own Rotel!
Veg*ns, if you can't find "chicken" or "beef" style broth powders in your local stores, you can try making your own (since even dollar stores have cheap meat-based bouillon, I see no reason to include it here...plus it's hard to find recipes that aren't liquid broth). Here's a recipe for the "chicken" stuff that you might like.... And here's a "beef" bouillon. And here are a couple others you might like, if those don't suit you. Or you could just buy them online (there are MANY different brands, these days). Here are a couple on Amazon..."chicken" by Vogue Cuisine, or Frontier brand "chicken" (which I buy at Whole Foods Co-Op and like). And Vogue Cuisine's "beef" or Frontier brand "beef" (again, this is what I use).
Well, that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed this post. Until next time....