Funky Fresh Kitchen – The Make it Yourself Challenge

What helped me most during our healthy eating journey was realizing that while we were changing the way we purchased and made food, we were not trading Cheesy Velvetta Dip or Jello Pudding for a boring diet of tasteless rice cakes and bland green things that I’d never heard of. I simply found new ways to create our favorite foods. We didn’t have to stop eating peanut butter, pasta, pizza, tacos, cookies, pancakes, mac and cheese and burgers – I just needed to learn to make them in a healthier way.


Homemade Creamy Pudding

Look through all of our recipes (scroll through the drop down Recipe Menu at the top of our site) to find long lists of Bread and Breakfast recipes, Main Dishes, Side Dishes and Snacks, Desserts, Condiments, Dairy Products – so many recipes that are easy to make, kid friendly, and healthy – all at the same time! Life does not end once you’ve decided to throw away your boxes of Partially Hydrogenated High Fructose Corn Syrup Red Food Dye #40 (otherwise known as the cereal that claims to be a part of “this complete breakfast”).

I know that not everyone enjoys cooking and creating in the kitchen as much as I love it. I mean…I love it. That has made this transition easier for me. But even if you don’t love cooking, there are some very simple foods you can make that aren’t difficult at all – and they just might replace (in a very delicious way) some of those “foods” you threw out the other day.

Your Funky Fresh Kitchen Challenge for today includes choosing one food item that you can make from scratch that will replace a less healthy option from the store. For instance:

Those are just a few fun ideas to get you started. Look through all of our recipes, or look elsewhere on the web (or in your favorite cookbooks) for a recipe you can make that replaces an unhealthy variety of one of your favorite foods. I promise you that all of the above listed ideas are super easy to make. You can make peanut butter in five minutes with only a food processor and some peanuts. Making your own salad dressings is one of the easiest changes I made in my healthy kitchen. Take a look at this post called Five Minutes to Cultured Dairy for inspiration on making your own yogurt and other dairy products. Making Homemade Mac and Cheese takes the same amount of time as using the boxed stuff. Let go of the unfounded fears that cooking from scratch means that you’ll rub blisters, break nails and faint from exhaustion.

Pick one (or five!) and make it a project. Leave a comment on this post telling us what new recipe(s) you plan to make yourself. (No, it doesn’t have to be a recipe from our Heavenly Homemakers site – you can pick anything that will be best for your Funky Fresh Kitchen!)  Your comment will serve as your entry in the giveaway for one of five $10 gift certificates to our Shop. Then, after you’ve completed your Make it Yourself project, come back and leave another comment sharing the results. (This will be a second entry!)  Share with us – Did you like the new recipe? Did it work well for you? Was it easy to make? I can’t wait to hear about all your Funky Fresh Kitchen projects!

Let the Make it Yourself Challenge begin!

(As for me, for a long time I have wanted to try to make Homemade Beef Pepperoni – a recipe I found at Tammy’s Recipes. I challenged myself to make that this week and YUM! I’ll share more about it next week. I’m so excited – I made homemade pepperoni!!)

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  1. Stephany says

    Made the homemade granola bars too with sunbutter and they didn’t pass very well with my boys. I LOVED them but I think I will have to try them again with the peanut butter and some chocolate chips, yum!


  2. Carmen says

    I already make my own vanilla and taco seasoning. Just last week I made my own granola bars (they were awesome!) I would really like to try making poptarts (never cared much for the boxed variety anyway) and vanilla wafers.


  3. Vanessa says

    I plan to make the homemade ranch and I am in the process of making my own vanilla (should be ready by Christmas!)


  4. Vanessa says

    Absolutely LOVE the homemade Ranch. My husband and I agree it is way better than the Hidden Valley Ranch (and this used to be the only kind I would eat).


  5. says

    Thank you so much for making your site so user-friendly. I love the clear instructions that come with your recipes. What great giveaways, too-especially the Nutrimill from Paula’s Bread!!!


  6. Lorinda says

    This is my response to trying your taco seasoning recipe. We really enjoyed it. I was cautious and added a TBSP of the mix in at a time. Yes, we like the 3TBSP! I went back to the other 2 recipes of similar mix to find out the difference: one added cornstarch and one added flour, they both added oregano, and one added bouillon, and crushed red pepper/cayenne. Although these held me over until we tried your version…we’ll stick with your. Thanks!


  7. Rochelle says

    I have made your ranch dressing mix (yum), honey whole wheat bread (double yum), potatoes with broccoli cheese sauce, country fried steak strips, brownies, homemade poptarts and pudding. Thanks for such a great resource of healthy recipes. Oh and the tortillas. I plan on trying quite a few more too!!!


  8. Carey L says

    I have started making my own taco seasoning, pretzels, granola bars, and ranch (someone I work with actually paid me to make him a bottle of his own!) I bought peanuts to try making my own PB, and pretty much want to try everything on the list! Your blog has changed my life, and the life of people around me. God bless you, Laura.


  9. jenn foy says

    i’ve made so many of your recipes, and love all of them. i’ve been meaning to try the granola bars again…but just yesterday i made your creamy mac and cheese. delicious!


  10. Shelley says

    I no longer buy salad dressings…my kids (& hubby too) love your recipes for ranch and Italian dressings so much more than store-bought!
    One new recipe to try this week is your Cheeseburger Mac. Sounds yummy!
    I’m also wanting to make your homemade vanilla…maybe I can ask for vanilla beans for Christmas?! :)


  11. Valerie says

    I bought fresh roasted peanuts in the shell to make homemade fresh peanut butter. I was surprised to learn how many peanuts it took to make just a cup and a half of peanut butter. But it did taste very fresh!


  12. Stacy says

    I just switched to making our own cornbread instead of grabbing a mix at the store. So good and I can control how much sweetening goes into the mix! I am going to try your taco seasoning mix next.


  13. Lena Courbron says

    I mad emy own Ranch Dressing for the first time. Hubby and the kids loved it so I will never buy store bought again!!


  14. Rebekah says

    I love making anything and everything homemade! I love this journey of creativity. Your blog has been so helpful in encouraging me that there are others out there too who are learning creativity for our homes and families. :-) This spring I finally made chapstick, deodorant, moisturizer, lotion, insect repellent. Hoping to learn cheese and soap this winter. I love hearing my daughter say how we could make something at home instead of buying it. :-)


  15. Amy says

    I would like to try the chocolate syrup for chocolate milk. I just found a recipe that calls for chocolate syrup but don’t want to use store-bought kind!


  16. Georgette says

    I LOVE your blog!! I started with your amazing poptarts. Before that though I began making my own bread about 4 yrs ago. Now I make anything I can homemade!! Your recipes have been such a Godsend to me and my family. Thank you!!


  17. Mandi says

    My goal is to find a healthy homemade version of Tuna Helper. Oh, this Healthy Journey Take 2 (attempt 1 was a couple of yrs ago and obviously didn’t last) is going to be a long and slow one this time.


  18. Christa says

    My husband is Puerto Rican and staple in the kitchen is Recaito or Sofrito. It’s a mixture of very fresh ingredients that forms a base sauce and is used in most recipes (rice, soups, savory meats and poultry). I make my own in the blender with green and red peppers, onion, garlic, culantro, parsley, small sweet chili peppers and a little bit of olive oil. Puree in the blender! You can make a big batch and freeze in little containers.


  19. Francine Moore says

    I really like most of your recipes. I was wondering if you have GF recipe for Big Breakfast Cookies? The one you have posted on your regular site looks like it could be faily easy to convert. Cookies is a little harder for me to convert to the new change of lifestyle and cooking GF.


    Laura Reply:

    I’m not sure on this one, but maybe eventually I can figure it out. :)


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