How to Make Healthier Corndogs for the Freezer

Of all the recipes I share, this one is not the healthiest. Just whatever though, because corndogs taste amazing. (With a salad. And fruit. And digestive enzymes.) I’m providing a homemade option so that at least we’ll know these are better than store-bought.

Homemade Corndogs

First – try to find hotdogs that are nitrite free. Also, beef. Always beef hotdogs. Fine, turkey is okay too. Just try to avoid the hotdogs that are only pretending to be meat. I can’t even believe I’m still trying to convince myself that any form of a hotdog is healthy. But for real, at least try to find some that aren’t terrible. Why I like hotdogs is beyond me.

Now that we’ve covered the sacred topic of the hotdogs, allow me to share another compromise I make. This. We bought this fun corndog maker for one of our sons a few years ago as a gift because he is the ultimate corndog lover. (I have no idea where he gets this.) I think having dozens of appliances that only do one task each is fairly ridiculous. But shucks if having a corndog maker isn’t a lot of fun, so there. We’ve used it for more than just corndogs (like muffins and cookies – who knew?!) so hallelujah for an appliance that is actually multi-functional.

I will tell you that this machine makes the effort of creating homemade corndogs so easy and mess free that a few days ago, I made 48 corndogs in less than an hour – while I was making tomato sauce, French toast, and frozen yogurt. The corndog maker allows me to multitask while making food for my freezer. And here you thought that appliance was pointless.

Anyway….

The long and short of making homemade corndogs is that you simply use your favorite cornbread recipe, add a bit of extra milk so the batter will coat the dogs, then you either fry them in oil or bake them in the above mentioned corndog maker.

What about sticks?

Life is too short to poke sticks into hotdogs. Do the stick poking if you must, but as for me and my house, we will skip the sticks and just eat the dogs.

How to Make Healthier Corndogs (in Bulk) for the Freezer

How to Make Healthier Corndogs for the Freezer
 
Author:
Serves: 24-48
Ingredients
  • 2⅔ cup Homemade Jiffy Cornbread Mix*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 24 hot dogs
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together cornbread mix, eggs, milk, and butter.
  2. If using a corndog maker, cut hotdogs in half.
  3. Dip hotdogs in batter to coat thoroughly.
  4. Fry until golden brown, or cook in a Corndog Maker**
  5. Serve right away, or cool and freeze in freezer bags.
  6. Rewarm corndogs by placing them on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

*Homemade Jiffy Cornbread Mix recipe

I put these homemade cornbread mixes together and have them on hand for convenience. I highly recommend this!

** I cut my hotdogs in half, then cook my corndogs in this fun Corndog Maker. It saves a lot of time and mess!

Homemade Corndogs for the Freezer

If you make these to freeze, all you have to do at mealtime is pull them out and warm them up while you’re getting out all the actual nutritious parts of the meal (fruits, veggies, and more veggies with a side of another vegetable).

‘Fess up. Do ya like hotdogs?

Whole Wheat Quick Baking Mix

I’m at church camp this week, loving life, swatting bugs, and trying to stay hydrated. While I’m gone, you can enjoy a re-posting of some of our most popular time-saving, money-saving, healthier eating mix recipes

Originally posted February, 2013

Over the past few years, I have had many requests for a mix recipe which will replace boxed “Bisquick”. I had never used bisquick very much before we started our healthy eating journey, therefore I didn’t know that I’d have much use for a healthier version. And so, this recipe request continued to get pushed to the bottom of my “to-do” list.

Whole Wheat Quick Mix

For shame.  I didn’t know what I’d been missing!  Last summer, I finally gave this recipe a try. Once I figured out the right combination of ingredients, I learned that it takes just a few minutes to put this mixture together. And the recipes you can quickly whip up once you have this convenience food on hand? Every single one we’ve tried has been a hit! I love this!  It is inexpensive, is made with real ingredients I feel good about feeding to my family, it saves time, and the food prepared with it tastes great. Does it get any better than that?

Whole Wheat Quick Mix

Yum

10 cups whole wheat flour (I use flour made from freshly ground hard white wheat)
1/2 cup baking powder
1/4 cup sucanat (optional)
2 teaspoons sea salt (I use Redmond Real Salt)
2 cups organic palm shortening or butter

In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sucanat and salt. Thoroughly cut in palm shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Store Whole Wheat Quick Mix in an air tight container in the fridge or freezer.

Here are several of the recipes you’ll find here at Heavenly Homemakers to use along with the lovely mixture you just put together. Think of how much time and effort you’ll save!

 Quick Mix Biscuits

Quick Mix Fruit Pizza

fruit_pizza_3

Quick Mix Honey Cinnamon Muffins

Quick Mix Very Vanilla Cookies

Quick Mix Pancakes

Beyond those, I’ve come up with a pie crust, waffles, and more muffin and cookie recipes. I’m telling you, this mix is so versatile and easy.

It’s recipes like this that make my Oh, For Real! Real Food, Real Family, Real Easy book so much fun. It’s all about making your life healthier and easier. Anytime you can take one recipe and adapt it to make many other healthy food recipes, we have a winner!

Like what you see here? We’d love to get to know you better! 

Homemade Onion Soup Mix (with No MSG!)

Save money and use real food ingredients when you make Onion Soup Mix!

I’m at church camp this week, loving life, swatting bugs, and trying to stay hydrated. While I’m gone, you can enjoy a re-posting of some of our most popular time-saving, money-saving, healthier eating mix recipes

Originally posted March, 2011

So far in this Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge, we’ve come up with recipes for Homemade Tator Tots, Healthier Chocolate Milk and Teriyaki Sauce. I attempted a recipe for corn tortillas and while they tasted pretty good…they were NOT easy to make, they fell apart and looked ugly. I’m going to keep working on that one until I come up with a corn tortilla recipe that doesn’t take the whole afternoon to make. :)

This new recipe in The Challenge was super easy to put together! Vicki, one of our readers, sent me an Onion Soup Mix recipe to try and WOW is it simple! I tweaked it a teeny tiny bit, but really, this recipe is more Vicki’s than mine.

What I love about this recipe is that I didn’t have to look high and low for the ingredients.  Many onion soup recipes I found call for some sort of bouillon. Almost always, bouillon has MSG. There are MSG free bouillon varieties out there, but what if they aren’t easily accessible to you? And so…I was very happy to see this recipe that contained just dried herbs and spices!

Onion Soup MixYum

Homemade Onion Soup Mix (with No MSG!)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup dried, minced onion
  • 3 teaspoons parsley flakes
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sucanat (or sugar if you prefer)
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a jar, then give the jar a good shake.
  2. I'd recommend shaking the jar to mix the ingredients well before each use.
  3. Use 4 Tablespoons Onion Soup Mix in a recipe in place of 1 packet of onion soup mix.  (I actually found that 2 Tablespoons was plenty in a beef stew recipe I tried.)
  4. Store this in a dry, cool place.

onion_soup_mix

I used the Onion Soup Mix in this simple, one dish stew and YUM!
Find the recipe for Simple One Dish Meat and Potato Meal here.

And with that…I have to ask:

SO many of you requested this recipe that I’m guessing you all must have tons of wonderful ways of using Onion Soup Mix? I would LOVE for you to share what you do with this mix!!! I have exactly two recipes that call for Onion Soup Mix. I’m so excited to use this mix in those recipes because I’ve not made them for years. But what else??? What do you make with Onion Soup Mix??

My Adventures in Making Homemade Nutella

Homemade Nutella, anyone?

Nutella

It all began at Asa’s graduation party with two other graduates last May. The moms and I planned it together and they decided to go all out. One of the items on our menu was “crusty bread with different topping options” like meats, cheeses, and nutella (though probably not all at the same time). My friends and I set out a lovely buffet. I was the one in charge of purchasing the condiments, sauces, and Nutella.

grad party 4

Not knowing how many hundreds of people might show up and how many of those hundreds would want to spread Nutella on their bread – I bought four enormous containers of it. We went through exactly 1.5 of those huge tubs, so guess what we’ve been eating since May?

My boys have been so sad about this.

We finally finished them off, and now the boys are having Nutella withdrawals. I can’t stand to buy more, so I determined to figure out a healthier option that I can feel better about. Some of you might remember that I attempted Homemade Nutella a few years ago. That was tasty, though still had quite a bit of sugar. I had a terrible time actually finding Hazelnuts this go around – but part of my problem was that the price was throwing me off.

The good news is (now that I’ve attempted this recipe and learned a few tricks) – it takes only a few hazelnuts to make a batch of nutella. So my purchase will go a long way to providing a healthier nutella option for the fam.

nutella2

Malachi’s been my chef-in-training the past few weeks and was very excited to enjoy Nutella again. He joined me in putting together this recipe. Here he is pushing a button. (Cooking is so hard.)

I’m excited that this version of Homemade Nutella is lower in sugar than most. If you prefer, use expeller pressed coconut oil since it is flavorless and won’t effect the taste.

Make Your Own Nutella

My Adventures in Making Homemade Nutella
 
Author:
Serves: half pint
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup hazelnuts
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • ½-2/3 cup real maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Lay the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and toast them in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove skins if necessary.
  3. Whirl toasted hazelnuts in a food processor until smooth.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and blend until creamy.
  5. Store in a half-pint jar for up to three weeks.

Make Your Own Nutella

Have you tried making Nutella before?

It’s fun, easy, and yummy – and unlike Homemade Peanut Butter Captain Crunch – this one is worth the small time investment. :)

Stir-and-Pour Bread Mix ~ a Great $1.00 Gift Idea

stir and pour bread loaf 4

Wow, Laura. You sure do talk about Stir-and-Pour Bread a lot.

Does this surprise you? Did I or did I not warn you that the Stir-and-Pour Bread would change your life? I did. There’s no way I will ever go back to the “old way” of making bread when this recipe makes a bread just as good with such a tiny amount of effort. I can’t stop talking about it!!!!!

We could talk about the weather if you want. Brr. It’s cold. I could really go for some warm homemade bread.

Well, I tried.

So guess what? All of the dry ingredients for Stir-and-Pour Bread fit in a one-quart jar! This means that you can fill jars with bread mix, tie them up with pretty ribbons, and give the gift that will change people’s lives!

I mean, Jesus is really what changes people’s lives. But Jesus is the Bread of Life, so there is a very deep connection here that we should discuss at length. Perhaps while the bread is in the oven baking???

Stir-and-Pour Bread Mix Gift Jar with Free Printable Gift Tags

This gift idea costs about $1.00 per jar. For a more elaborate gift that is still on the frugal side, how about gifting this jar of bread mix with a new ceramic bread dish? Who wouldn’t love that?? You could include a jar of homemade jelly. Maybe a jug of honey. A stick of butter? Well, that might be taking things too far.

Stir-and-Pour Bread Mix in a Jar

Stir-and-Pour Bread Mix ~ a Great $1.00 Gift Idea
 
Author:
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 4 cups flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sucanat or sugar
Instructions
  1. Stir ingredients and funnel into a quart-sized jar.
  2. Add gift tag with instructions to add water and bake!

I created a printable with instructions on how to stir together the bread and bake it. Print them, cut them, and tie them onto your gift jar!

Download FREE Stir-and-Pour Bread Tags

Stir and Pour Bread Mix Gift TagsCheck out the other recent low cost gift ideas I shared earlier this week. Tis the season to turn food into gifts, right? Right.

Homemade Apple Cider in the Crock Pot

Once upon a time, my friend Anne and I went to an orchard nearby and picked over 100 pounds of apples. At the time we had 6 children – ages 12 and under – between the two of us. Therefore, I think it is obvious that neither of us had enough to do with our time and we were frequently bored. That’s why we picked so many apples. That, and the fact that the apples were (mostly) organic, very delicious, and wonderfully priced. Most importantly of all though, it is so much fun to take your kids to an orchard to pick fruit. Days like this are some of my favorite memories of time spent with my boys when they were little.

On that very 100-pound apple day, we borrowed the orchard owner’s apple cider press. He kindly came to our house to set it up, promising to come pick it up again when we were finished using it. Our plan was to get all of our kids involved with pressing cider the old fashioned way. Wouldn’t that be fun?! It was a good plan. A beautiful idea, really.

And so we began.

Oh my goodness, I just realized I have pictures. I have pictures!!! 

cider1 cider2 cider3 cider4 cider5 cider6 cider7 cider8 cider9 cider10

Those pictures make me so happy, I cannot stop giggling. Such precious memories!!! I am going to sit here looking at those for the next few hours. After all, five out of six of those kids are teenagers now, so we are more bored than ever.

Well anyway, it didn’t take long for Anne and I to realize that having our small children press 100 pounds of apples into cider all afternoon was probably a bit unrealistic (you think?). Each child took a turn, then they all headed off to play. Anne and I spend the next few hours pressing cider like super-heros. We got stiff. We got sore. We had a blast. We were a sticky mess. But we had gallons of apple cider by the end of the day.

applecider1

It was fresh. It was raw. It was the best apple cider ever to be made or consumed on this planet.

If I may, I encourage you to find opportunities to pick fruit with your children. There is something so sweet about this experience. Make cider in an apple press if you ever have a chance. It is so much fun. You will look back at this and the pictures you took whilst pressing apples and you will be so in love with the memories.

In the meantime, I have another homemade apple cider recipe option for you. Just this year, I learned to make apple cider in the crock pot. It is much less work than a cider press, though obviously not nearly as endearing. Still, this recipe turned out delicious. I added no sugar! It’s just apples, water, and cinnamon sticks. Deliciousness!

Hot Apple Cider

Homemade Apple Cider in the Crock PotYum

5.0 from 2 reviews
Homemade Apple Cider in the Crock Pot
 
Author:
Serves: about ½ gallon
Ingredients
  • 10-15 apples, any variety
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4-6 cups of water
Instructions
  1. Wash, core, and quarter apples.
  2. Place them in a crock pot with the cinnamon sticks.
  3. Add water, enough to fill the crock about ⅔ full of water (but not enough to cover the apples and cinnamon sticks).
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the apples are very soft.
  5. Use a potato masher to mash the apples and release the liquid.
  6. Cover and allow the cider to cook on low for another hour.
  7. Strain the chunky liquid through a thin cloth. (I saved the solids and blended them to make apple bread.)
  8. Serve warm or store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Homemade Apple Cider in the Crock Pot

This recipe isn’t super specific on measurements. I simply fill my crock pot with cored apples, throw in cinnamon sticks, pour in water to fill about 1/2-2/3 full, then let it cook. Your house will smell like the holidays all day long – an added bonus!

Have you ever made apple cider – using a press or a crock pot or another method?

Simple {Practical} Homemade Gift Ideas for Teachers, Co-Workers, Ministry Staff, Neighbors, and Friends (For Less Than $2 Each)

Simple and practical homemade gifts…the only kind I can handle!

lavender tea bags11

My mom was a super crafter. She had entire “craft room” with big shelves of totes filled with fabric, plus two of every craft supply found at Hobby Lobby. I loved looking through all her supplies, and I loved admiring all the detailed crafts she was making for people. She made everything from hand-pieced quilts to elaborate counted cross-stitch. Everything she made was gorgeous.

You’d think I would have the same crafty genes as my talented mother. You’d think. 

Laura only got the cooking genes. These are also good genes to have, but they don’t have the patience or the skill to turn out beautiful crafts. I’ve come to terms with it. I will forever admire the handiwork of others while I set out plates of homemade muffins. It’s a win-win.

Still. Every single Thanksgiving I get an intense hankering to craft something. I absolutely know that this hankering comes from the tradition ingrained in me from all my Thanksgivings with my mom when I was younger. We’d make it through the holiday feast, then she’d pull out the latest craft she had in mind for us to make for Christmas. She did all the tedious parts. I did all the no-brainer parts. (Laura: Place pine-cones in a basket. Mom: Make the pine-cone basket look like it came out of a magazine.)

Once again, this year I found myself needing to make crafts during Thanksgiving break. I even thought ahead and ordered supplies. The ideas I’m about to share truly are “if I can do it, anyone can” crafts. They are so easy, I actually had fun and didn’t want to scream, pout, or throw something while I was making them. (I might have crafting-anger issues. It stems from trying to follow counted cross-stitch patterns. I can’t talk about it.)

So my friends, here are three of the easiest crafts on the planet. As an added bonus, these crafts make great gifts, they all cost less than $2, and they are all practical and fun. Sorry. I just can’t not be practical. (I mean fun. I can’t not be fun. I am always so much fun. Except for when I’m following a counted cross-stitch pattern. Please, let’s not talk about it.)

3 Simple and Practical Homemade Gifts

3 Easy Homemade Gifts for $1.75 or Less

First I made the most adorable Lavender Oatmeal Bath Tea Bags (adapted from The Humbled Homemaker). This craft consists of mixing three simple ingredients, funneling the mixture into tea bags, ironing the tea bags closed, and then tying a ribbon around a few bags for a gift.

Do not the let ironing step throw you off!! This is actually the step I loved the most, and I hate ironing. It’s just that ironing the tea bag closed made me feel like an actual crafter. Plus it was fun to see that the little flap on the tea bag sealed when ironed for 8 seconds. I am now a professional tea bag ironer! I want to make more of these just so I can iron tea bags.

Lavender Oatmeal Bath

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup Lavender
1/2 cup Epsom salts (purchased at Wal-Mart)

Pulse ingredients together in a blender until they are well combined and in small pieces. Use a funnel to transfer 1- 1 1/2 Tablespoon mixture to small tea bags. Fold down tea-bag flap and press to seal with a hot iron (like a boss). Tie a few tea bags together along with the free printable gift tag below.

This recipe makes about 20 Lavender Oatmeal Bath Bags, which is enough for 5 groups of 4 tea bags. I realize you could have done the math on that yourself, but it is holiday time. We all have enough to think about right now. Today I shall make crafts and do short division. I am on fire!

Make Lavender Oatmeal Bath Gift Packs for Less Than $1.00 Per Gift

Download FREE Lavender Oatmeal Bath Tags Here.

lavender gift tags

After my bath pouches were complete, I spent about five minutes pretending that putting cranberries and oranges into cellophane bags is actually a craft. The “star anise” in this recipe is optional (for those who think anise smells like a jelly bean gone wrong). But if you ask me, the anise stars triple the cuteness value of these pouches.

Christmas Potpourri Pouch

1/2 cup cranberries
1 small orange
3 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tablespoon Mulling Spice
2 Tablespoons Star Anise

Place all ingredients in a bag. (I used these Clear Cellophane Bags.) Tie up with a ribbon and a free printable gift tag below.

Make a Christmas Potpourri Pouch for $1.75 Per Gift
Download FREE 
Christmas Potpourri Pouch Gift Tags Here.

Christmas Potpourri Gift Tags

Finally, I found a way to iron more tea bags (be very happy for me). I had a lovely pack of Chai Tea from Olive Nation. I researched how to make the awesome Chai Tea Drink people rave about, then put together some Chai Tea Kits. Total cost per gift set: 98¢. Getting to once again experience the ironing of the tea bags: Priceless.

Chai Tea Kit

Funnel 1 -1 1/2 Tablespoons Chai Tea into a tea bag. Iron flap down to seal(!!!). Place a few prepared tea bags along with 3-4 Cinnamon Sticks into a small gift bag. Tie with a ribbon and a free printable gift tag below.

Make Chai Tea Gift Kits for Less Than $1.00

Download FREE Chai Tea Kit Gift Tags Here.
Chai Tea Kit Gift Tags

Supplies List for these Gifts

I had plenty of ribbon on hand, as well as a big bag of Epsom Salt from Walmart. I got most of the remaining (really cool) supplies for these crafts through Amazon or Olive Nation.

From Amazon:

From Olive Nation:

As an extra special treat, Olive Nation is giving us all 10% off any size order! Use the code CINNAMONGIFTS for the discount. Plus, if your order reaches $50, you’ll receive free shipping. AND!!! Your order of $50 or more entitles you to a free gift at check-out!! You can choose from any that they offer, but you should know that for this special promotion, they put together an extra big package of free cinnamon sticks – just for us! (It’s a pack of 10!) For all the fun gift-making purposes mentioned in this post, I’d pick that freebie if I were you.

I shall now continue to find more excuses to iron tea bags. I got Oolong Orange Blossom Tea in my Olive Nation order last week, so I’ll probably need to play with that. Beyond tea and tea bags, I made homemade Apple Cider in the Crock Pot last week with my cinnamon sticks and will be sharing the recipe soon. This time of year smells so good!!!

Are you making gifts this year? Are you a crafter?

This post contains affiliate links.

How To Make Almond Butter

Almond Butter recipe? Yeah, I’ve got an Almond Butter recipe. I think.

Confessions of a scatter-brained homemaker:

On Monday, I decided to try making a new variety of No-Bake Cookie Bites. I was out of Almond Butter, so I considered that it was probably as easy to make as Peanut Butter, which I make all the time. Heading to my computer to search for how to do it, I realized: I think I have done this before and maybe even already have a post written about it. So I searched my own website. Sure enough. I told us all how to make Almond Butter back in 2012.

This makes me wonder what else I’ve already taught us how to do that I don’t even remember. Maybe I’ve told us all how to save thousands of dollars or how to save hours of time. What else have I forgotten?!?

Well anyway. I am loving the No-Bake Cookie Bites so much that I will be actually using homemade Almond Butter more often, which will likely help me remember that I know how to make it. In case you also forgot that I have already taught us how to make this easy spread, I am re-posting the tutorial for us all here today. May we all remember and use these instructions often. May our brains be for us instead of against us. May we never forget when we walk into a room, what in the world we walked in to get.

Homemade Almond Butter

So here we go, loud and clear so that we don’t forget:

Here’s How to Make Almond Butter!

Step One: Pour 2 cups of almonds into a food processor. I have found that 2 cups of almonds creates one full cup of almond butter. I don’t recommend putting more than 2 cups of almonds into your food processor at one time. The process takes a while, and the more almonds you have, the longer it will take.

Step Two: Place lid on food processor and turn it on. Plugging it in is always a plus as well. This will be very loud at first, so warn your household.

Step Three: After processing almonds for two to three minutes, use a spoon to scrape down the sides of your food processor and shift around the almonds.

Step 4: Continue to process, but stop and scrape and stir almonds around from time to time to aid in the butter making process.

Step 5: You’re getting closer! Process, scrape, stir, and process some more. Continue until the almonds have become the almond butter you’ve always dreamed of. Because yes, we all do spend much of our time dreaming of perfect almond butter, do we not? (Not me, apparently, because I forgot the stuff existed.)

And there you go – lovely, smooth and creamy almond butter.

What other nut butters have you made? Did you remember that I’ve already told us all how to make this three years ago? I sure hope your brain works better than mine.

P.S. I order organic almonds from Braga Farms. They are a wonderful company to work with and offer high quality nuts. Almond Butter will stay fresh in the refrigerator for several weeks.

How to Make Gatorade

Homemade Gatorade!!!!!

Homemade Gatorade

The thing about me experimenting with an idea to try to come up with a healthy alternative is that I can get super excited about the result – but then immediately question, “Will this taste as good to other people as I think it tastes? Will others who are used to the ‘real version’ think this only tastes like a so-so ‘healthy version?'” These questions were especially tricky when making a Gatorade alternative because 1) I haven’t actually sipped on any Gatorade for several years so I couldn’t even remember what it was supposed to taste like and 2) the homemade version looked so cute in my recycled juice bottles that I was going to be super disappointed if my kids didn’t like it.

It’s all about the cute bottles. Am I right?

So there I was with my “I really need my men to love this Gatorade in cute bottles” conundrum. I had the bottles nicely chilled so that they were good and frosty on the outside, enhancing their cuteness and curb appeal. Hoping for the best, I drove the bottles across town to where my entire family was working on a roof.

When I arrived, they greeted me with phrases such as, “We are so hungry, what did you bring for lunch, I hope you brought cold drinks, we are so sweaty.”

This was a perfect time to say, “I actually brought some homemade Gatorade (in cute bottles, please like them) – so that should be perfect to replenish what you need after sweating so much.”

See, my family can talk about sweat right before eating lunch and it’s not a big deal. We are a family of men (except for me) and I’ve learned to live and breathe and talk all things gross. I only brought it up here because in all fairness, Gatorade truly does give a body some of what it needs – like sugar and salt (electrolytes) – to replenish after sweating. It’s just all the other junk in Gatorade I’m trying to avoid. But enough about sweat and high fructose corn syrup.

My pickiest kid – and also the one who loves junk food more than all the others – pulled out a bottle first. I held my breath. This would be the biggest test, because if this boy liked it, they should all like it. He took a sip, said “Hmm,” then took another sip. After considering the taste for a moment he said the best sentence of all, “If I didn’t know it was homemade, I would think it was real Gatorade.” Had he not been so sweaty, I would have kissed him.

Instead I shrugged and said calmly as if it didn’t really matter to me, “REALLY, FOR REAL?! YOU REALLY THINK SO? I WAS REALLY REALLY HOPING YOU’D LIKE IT!!!!” He just kept sipping, then also dug into the cooler for some lunch, because he is a boy and doesn’t understand the importance of the cute bottle.

So make this. Use it to quench the thirst and bless the bodies of all those around you who do sports or other activities in which they need replenishing and refreshment.

How to Make Gatorade

Homemade Gatorade (adapted from recipe at Deliciously Organic)

4.5 from 4 reviews
How to Make Gatorade
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup 100% juice
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt (I use Redmond)
  • 6 cups cold water
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan stir juice, honey, and sea salt over medium heat until the honey and salt dissolve. Pour mixture into 6 cups of cold water.
  2. Shake to combine.
  3. Chill mixture in the fridge until ready to serve.

Homemade Gatorade Recipe

I’m not sure about the exact math on this recipe, but I would venture a guess that it takes about 50¢ to make this (almost a half gallon). 50¢ divided by five 10-ounce bottles is 10¢ per bottle. Store-bought Gatorade costs quite a bit more than that, plus it is full of ingredients our bodies don’t need.

That, along with the cute bottles, should make you eager to try this recipe.

So tell me? How excited are you about my cute bottles??! (And sure, does the recipe make you excited too?)

We love saving money on the good stuff!

Join the Homemaker’s Savings Club so I can let you know about the best prices and freebies I find each week! We’ll start you off with a FREE Money-Saving Cookbook just for signing up!

Top 10 Money Saving Recipes cover

Switching to Whole Wheat Flour – making the transitions easier

This post was originally published in February, 2011.

simplesteps

I want to take some time to address some of the many whole wheat flour questions I receive from those of you making the switch from white to brown. So many of you email me to say “I wish we liked whole wheat flour…we just don’t. What ideas do you have?”  or “When I bake with whole wheat flour, my food often feels and tastes heavy and grainy. My kids won’t eat it.”  or “Laura, you look really good with flour in your hair, what’s your secret for getting it right there on your bangs?”  Just kidding about that last statement. Thankfully.

My suggestion (and hear me out on this, because I think I know all of your arguments) is…okay actually I have two suggestions.

Switch to Whole Wheat Flour

  1. Use a Grain Mill to grind fresh flour.
  2. Use Hard WHITE Wheat.

Here’s the deal:  I have NEVER liked store-bought whole wheat flour. Still don’t like it very much. The idea of switching to whole wheat flour to me was NOT appealing and I DIDN’T want to.

Until I had a piece of my friend’s bread made with freshly ground hard white wheat flour. That was all the evidence I needed.

I really didn’t believe her when she said that the bread was 100% whole wheat. It didn’t taste whole wheat. It didn’t look whole wheat. It didn’t feel whole wheat. Oh, but did it ever smell and taste good.

It was at that moment (after she answered more of my questions and after I talked it over with Matt of course) that I decided that I would save any extra money we had toward getting my own grain mill. The problem was…we had NO extra money to save toward a grain mill.

What I Did:

I started buying Hard White Wheat and letting my friend grind it for me. She was so sweet to do this, and it worked, but it certainly wasn’t convenient. I then began making these soft pretzels to sell at our local farmer’s market to save for my Nutrimill. It took just a few weeks before I had enough money saved. I ordered my Nutrimill right away! That was five years ago, and I’ve gotta say that saving up for and buying my Nutrimill was SUCH a great investment. My whole family thinks so.

Why Freshly Ground Flour Made from Hard White Wheat is Different (and tastes so good):

Well, fresh flour is…fresh. It’s amazing the difference in taste you’ll notice when you eat bread and other goodies made from flour that has been freshly ground. The whole wheat flour from the store is a little on the old side and is likely even to be rancid. It is usually often made from RED wheat.

Which leads me to my second point about why freshly ground flour from hard white wheat is different and tastes so good:  White wheat is lighter in texture and color than red wheat. Whole wheat flour made from Hard White Wheat produces lovely bread, tortillas, pizza crust, muffins…everything you need flour for.

The Question of the Hour:

But Laura, doesn’t white wheat turn into white flour?

Ah, I didn’t get that at first either. But NO, it absolutely doesn’t. Hard White Winter Wheat is simply a different variety of grain.  Hard Spring Red Wheat has the same nutritional value as Hard White Winter Wheat…but white wheat makes (in  my opinion) a nicer and more palatable whole wheat flour.

I think you’ll notice a big difference.

(White flour that you buy at the store, by the way, is flour made by sifting out the bran and germ after the grain has been ground. This was originally done to give it a longer shelf life. Now, unless otherwise noted, the white flour is bleached to make it whiter. Yum.)

What Do I Suggest?

See if you can find someone who has a grain mill and will let you try out freshly ground flour made from hard white wheat. Hey, if you come over to my place, I’ll let you try some of mine! (I may even share my secret of getting flour in my hair.)

If you like it (the freshly ground flour…not the flour in my hair), I recommend doing a little something to save up for a grain mill. I love my Nutrimill!!! Here’s a video of me showing how to use the Nutrimill. I love Paula’s Bread as your go-to source for purchasing a Nutrimill. She offers great prices and offers wonderful customer service.

And…you may want to look into this online Bread Class offered by Lori. She teaches you to use freshly ground flour to make a perfect loaf of bread…and other great baked goods too! It’s a very helpful class!

Lastly…I will recommend that if you just aren’t able to grind fresh flour right now, try to find store bought whole wheat flour made from white wheat, labeled, White Whole Wheat. King Arthur has a nice variety. It’s not quite the same (because it isn’t fresh), but it’s the best store-bought flour I’ve used.

Those of you who’ve been grinding your own flour…share what you love about it! How were you able to make the investment to get a grain mill? Which is your favorite grain mill and wheat to grind?

(You’ll find more posts I’ve written about grinding grain, where I recommend getting grain, which grain I recommend and ALL kinds of grainy questions answered in this section!)

Disclaimer:  No one here is going to force you to grind your own flour, eat white wheat or get flour in your hair. If you like flour make with red wheat, enjoy! If you can’t afford a grain mill, this is not a guilt trip. I’m just answering many readers’ questions. Hopefully you all found it helpful. And hopefully you are much cleaner bakers than I am. Not only is there flour in my hair, it is also on my kitchen floor and counter tops.  I need to go clean my kitchen.