This year we’ve added maple sugaring to our homesteading list, and so the past weeks have been peaks and valleys of activity boiling down sap. The result is a nicely flavored rustic maple syrup. So far we’ve managed more than 4 gallons of homemade pure maple syrup; which of course has us thinking pancakes pretty steadily around here!
That brings me to today’s post–a basic homemade Bisquick(R) recipe for pancakes to begin building our recipe book to go along with our all purpose baking mix. After all, what good is a mix without something to make from it?
Homemade Bisquick Pancake Recipe
This pancake recipe is a simple yet very tasty staple that works up quickly but deliciously, and will help you send your family off ready for the day.
With the ease and affordability of your ready-made all purpose baking mix and this quick recipe, you’ll find it easy to send your crew off well-fed each and every day.
Making homesteading work in these modern times can be a challenge. Even keeping up with just the minimum of home and property bills requires a sizable income, at least until you own your property outright. For many households (perhaps most) that translates into dual income necessity, or at least a supplemental secondary part-time income. This can make homesteading and being self-sufficient a challenge; a challenge that many give up on, and understandably so. Life today is harried, busy, stressful, and expensive.
So does that mean that reaching your homesteading and self sufficiency goals is beyond you? Certainly not. But it does require some thought and planning. It requires give-and-take (but all good things do, don’t they?) and it requires finding ways to cut money from a typical modern household budget to accommodate for either the cost of homesteading and animal care or the cost of “lost” income.
Doing the Income Dance
To give you an example, in our household my husband runs his own logging business and I help out on the book-keeping end of that. I also work from home part time as a freelance writer. Largely, though, we rely upon my husband’s income so as to free up my time for home and homesteading. My work and income is kind of peaks and valleys, intentionally so, and therefore is not as reliable. I’ve limited client commitments and am working more towards independent publishing and blogging, which gives me the ability to work more during “off peak” garden and homesteading seasons and reduce or even eliminate my workload during those times of year when the gardens, food preparation, and preserving requires more of my time and attention.
In essence what we are doing to make homesteading work here is in part “sacrificing” some of the more modern lifestyle and stuff (but not all by any means) and working to strike a balance in the budget that works. The more we produce here the lower our food bills outside of the homestead, but we are not able to completely wipe them out. In addition, proper animal care does require us to maintain a feed budget. We moderate that the best we can (more on that another day) but it still remains a line item in the bottom line.
Considering the Costs
One of the things we do do to find and maintain this lifestyle-budget balance is to consider the costs of a typical grocery budget and then match that against what I am able to produce or provide by trading “working” (as in, paid work) time for home provision and production time. It turns out that I can actually break even or perhaps even do better by not working outside the home. Using USFDA figures, a modest estimate of what a family of four can expect to pay for a moderate food expense is over $1,000 per month for a couple and two children in the 6 to 11 age range. Now consider that I have 2 children older than this (our range is more like 8-14) and that we are a family of six, not four. Using the formula provided by the FDA and calculating out the cost to feed a family of our size, gender, and age make-up, the average moderate food expense for us is estimated at a whopping $1511.36 per month!
So for us it’s easy to place a monetary value on my not working just by looking at what our grocery cost would be if I were not able to be here and not able to produce the volume of food that I/we do. Even considering feed costs and animal upkeep, we’re not spending anywhere near $1500 per month. And then to that we could start adding in all the other factors…for example, the quality of the food, the health and well-being benefits of not pickling ourselves in preservatives all the time, the body benefits of the activity of animal care, not having the expense of vehicle upkeep, gas, etc. that comes from commuting, not incurring daycare costs for after-hours or vacation and sick days, and on and on. So…
Where am I going With This?
Yes, that’s a lot of tomatoes. But you can make them pay in more ways than you’d think!
Well honestly when I started out this morning I intended to map out all the ways that I utilize the milk supply from our backyard Jersey cow to justify her expense and see how we make her pay us back. Clearly I’ve veered from that a little, so we’ll get into that topic in an upcoming post.
I guess for today, then, we’ll just take this post as a primer for that conversation and others, the basic theme of which is finding the ways to make a homesteading and self-sufficient lifestyle pay and the ways to incorporate that with living in today’s modern society, all things considered. If there is one thing to take away for today, it’s that there really is a real, not imagined, monetary trade-off to homesteading and if properly planned and managed you can actually make the rewarding lifestyle you have chosen, or are thinking about choosing, pay.
For me personally, given my role here in our household, that falls to utilizing the food we produce as best I can to cover as many budget-bases with it as best I can. So, as mentioned, as we progress I’ll start listing and laying out the varied ways I’ve found to maximize that food use. By no means will my lists be the be-all and end-all, but they will be (good, I hope) examples of what you can get out of a basic homestead and how doing that makes the whole thing feasible.
Although my Best KitchenAid Bread Recipe is my everyday standby, sometimes I want something slightly different, such as when I want a nice white loaf to accompany a pasta dish or a soup or stew (although, the “Best” recipe is also an excellent choice for breads and stews, and when formed into rolls it makes excellent dinner rolls, too).
For those times, I turn to this delicious, reliable, and easy KitchenAid or stand mixer French Bread recipe. Like my standby, it uses instant or rapid rise yeast (bread machine yeast is the same thing and works, too), requires no hand kneading, and requires only one rising period, so it sets up fast. Start it before you start your main course and by the time you get through prepping your main dish you’ll be ready to bake and serve this loaf along with it.
You’ll find the recipe here along with 12 other recipes (from that excellent Everyday White Bread to whole grain breads, wheat, crescent rolls, bread bowl instructions….). Every one of them use the same VERY simple stand mixer bread method; this is not just the same old traditional recipe put through the KitchenAid, this is actually a different recipe with different (shorter!!) instructions designed especially for the stand mixer. For under three bucks you’ll have a solid, reliable, simple collection of breads that you can use every day – as easy as using a bread machine but better because it is real oven-baked bread that doesn’t have that “machine” flavor.
This recipe makes two sizable loaves, but if you don’t think you can use that much bread you can freeze the dough once shaped (before baking) for use another day. You could also bake the bread and freeze the baked loaf. Or you could shape the second half of the dough into personal-sized loaves for sandwiches or grinders. Or you could cut the second loaf into cubes to make homemade croutons.
As always, do Enjoy and if you liked this post, Subscribe so you don’t miss a beat!
One of my family’s favorite Bisquick recipes that I make with my homemade all-purpose baking mix is this one for Beer Batter Chicken Nuggets. I made it as a weekend treat one Saturday and it’s become a fast favorite. I was actually surprised by that because my husband is no fan of fried foods, but this one he loves. So it’s got to be good, right?
This recipe can be pretty quick to prepare (although the deep frying takes some time, I won’t lie). The batter itself is extremely easy to make with the homemade bisquick mix recipe here on this site (see link above). If you buy boneless chicken breasts and cut them to size it’ll be fairly short work. Here on the homestead, though, we try to use as much of our own home-grown meat as possible. We process and freeze between 60 and 80 meat birds every year so when I make these I bone out and chunk up the meat from some of my own. When I do this I use the whole bird – light and dark meat all goes into the mix and comes out delicious.
You, of course, should use whatever you prefer. Even if you do not have your own home-grown chicken on hand, buying a roaster and boning/cutting off the meat will still save you a lot of money and will give you a big batch for much less. Don’t worry about making too much, either. I’ve never had leftovers go past the next day, they reheat easily and deliciously in the oven, and once cooked they would be great to freeze and reheat later, too…a great make-ahead convenience treat!
A sure family favorite that will leave you shunning freezer-aisle chicken nuggets.
2 to 3 pounds Chicken, cut into approx 1½ inch cubes (or approximate shapes)
1 Cup Homemade All Purpose Baking Mix or Bisquick
½ Cup Beer
¼ to ½ tsp Garlic Powder (to taste)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Beat egg slightly, then add beer.
Add egg and beer mixture to measured baking mix.
Stir to combine, until most of the lumps are gone.
Cut chicken to desired size and add to wet batter mixture as you go.
Let chicken chunks stay in the batter until you are ready to fry.
Heat shortening, lard, or cooking oil in a deep frying pan or dutch oven.
When oil is ready, add chicken chunks and fry until golden brown, turning when the first side is browned (about 3 minutes in 365 degree fat).
I generally do a lot of nuggets when I do make these, and I usually triple or even quadruple the batch. If you are planning to bone a roaster, plan for one recipe of batter for each whole bird you bone out (so if I bone 3 of my birds, I triple the batter batch). If the chickens you bone are large, you may need a triple batch of batter for every 2 birds. (No worries, though, it’s simple to mix up a bit more batter if you think you need more–takes just a minute!).
These chicken nuggets are also an excellent base for sauces either for dipping (we like honey mustard barbecue sauce) or to coat with for things like Buffalo Chicken Nuggets or Chinese foods like Sweet and Sour Chicken or General’s Chicken (just add sauce & accompaniments & toss).
As always, I hope you do enjoy!
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This is the first year I have ever tried to incubate my own chicks. I’ve had a broody hen here and there, a random chick or two to hatch and a near-hatch with a Muscovy duck (which unfortunately fell prey to something that also got into its eggs-very sad), but we’ve never truly successfully hatched anything out that would give me that feeling of being self-sustaining from our own breeding stock and growing the farm and feed resource.
What prompted me to really give egg incubation a try and to commit to it as a real self-sustaining line of livestock poultry is our Pekin ducks. We raised 11 to adulthood last year, 8 of which went into the freezer and a pair of females and a drake that we held over as future breed stock. These are birds that I purchased as day-old ducklings from Metzer Farms in California which were shipped here to me in Massachusetts. I have to say Metzer’s was excellent stock and everything from ordering to arrival and beyond went smoothly. I highly recommend them as a duck, goose, or game bird resource, most especially if you want a small to moderate number of birds (for smaller orders, they are one of the most affordable). In addition, the Metzer site is a top-notch resource for raising fowl and I have referred back to them when I’ve had questions or curiosities time and again throughout the year.
To get back to the tale, though, I got serious about incubating and hatching because it turns out that Pekin ducks are good breeders and layers, but are not good “setters”. That simply means they are a good resource for me and our little homestead for fertile eggs, but the birds have lost their natural instinct to set on the nest and incubate the eggs themselves. One of the girls has something of a mothering instinct, but she just can’t quite seem to commit 100%. It soon became clear that if I wanted my birds to lay the foundation for this year’s meat duck flock I would have to take more of a hand in the process.
As an aside, I did also have one other option and that was to utilize a bird that did have broody tendencies and slip the eggs into her nest. This could actually be either a chicken or a broody duck. My hen house is not well set up for this, my broodiest hen had passed from old age and although I do have a female Muscovy left that goes quite broody when the time is right, the time is only right for her a couple of times a year. I have had an abundance of good duck eggs all winter and now heading into early spring (when the fertility situation should improve), and this was a waste waiting for the Muscovy to go broody. Perhaps when it warms if she begins building a nest I’ll let her pull some duty, too, but it was clear that as far as reliability and hatch yield went, incubation is really the way for me to go.
We have been raising and processing meat birds and ducks for several years now (ducks just the last two). This new adventure into incubating and hatching is just one more way to build our ability to be self-sustaining and to economize our homegrown food source. The meat birds I always buy as chicks because of the stock that they are, but with the ducks, at least, I can build a breeding stock that can sustain us (more on the economics, etc. of that another time).
So as not to belabor this post too long, I’ll save for another day the discussion of my incubating setup and process and other related topics of (hopefully) interest. For today my point was just to share with you that I have had our first successful hatch! It’s been a very fun, interesting, and I can admit it–exciting process that I have also shared with the kids, and we’re all learning lots and having a great time with it.
A Layer Flock Is Born
The first of my home-hatched flock actually isn’t even ducklings, funny enough. I do have 3 duck eggs in the incubator which are due to hatch, if all continues to go well, next Monday. When I set those ducks, though, I also nabbed up some chicken eggs because I do have a couple roosters in with the layers to keep the peace and I knew there were some fertile eggs in the mix. Chicks have a shorter gestation period (21 days) than ducklings, so they came first. I ended up with seven that went into “lockdown” with a hatch due date of Monday (Feb 11). So far we have had five hatch successfully and two that pass the “float” test for viability, but which I am playing a game of wait-and-see with because they are yet to pip (almost 24 hours after expected hatch) and don’t seem to be doing too much. It’s still a pretty fair outcome considering how early in the year we are and the diminished activity of poultry in terms of breeding and laying this time of year.
So as it turns out we should be on our way to producing not only our own meat duck flock, but our next generation of layers as well (although no doubt we’ll have a number of roosters in this set that will be a meat resource, too).
That’s our bit of news for the day and I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures! More on the specifics of the process in future posts, and please do ask any questions that I might be able to help you with to get you started in incubating your next flock!
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I don’t buy bread anymore. I make all the bread we eat here. There are six of us, so that means I make homemade bread just about every day. That may sound like a lot but we really like good bread around here. I also think we tend to go through quite a bit just because it’s homemade, and it’s so good! (Please allow me to say so myself–I’m not trying to brag, but it’s homemade bread, and it’s hard for that not to be good 😉 ).
I’ve been making all of our bread for a number of years now…probably at least three. I don’t really remember the last time I bought bread. Up until about six months ago I relied heavily on my bread machine. I hardly ever actually baked the bread in the machine. We all liked it so much more if it was baked in the oven and had that more traditional flavor. Most often I would use the “dough” setting on the machine, then take it out and let it rise, then bake it in the oven. It was pretty darn good stuff, but not exactly like Grandma made. That process did take quite a bit of time, too, and only made one loaf at a time. Most days I was doing it twice to have enough bread to feed the family. Still, it was so much better than bread from the store shelves, and I always knew its exact age and exactly what I did and didn’t put into it.
Then one day towards the end of the summer, right before school started and my busiest bread-baking time of the year commenced, my bread maker gave up on me. I had put it through its paces but still I had only had it a couple of years, so I was kind of on the fence about investing in a new one. Bread machines are quite handy, but expensive. I already owned a Kitchenaid mixer (a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law, bless her, which had lasted through years of her ownership, professional cake-making, and at least 10 years with me…I don’t even know how old it is!). I had made bread with it before, but never seemed to quite get the knack enough to make it a simplified, everyday process. My sister told me to forget the bread maker and just use the Kitchenaid like she did, but I didn’t want to give up the “set it and forget it” routine I’d developed with my bread machine and the dough cycle.
I figured what I really needed was a reliable stand mixer bread recipe that didn’t have too many steps and that could still be done in a relatively short amount of time, without a lot of floury kneading. Like I said, I was (am) making bread just about every day of the week, and I didn’t have time or patience for dealing with or cleaning a flour-dusted surface every day, for multiple kneading and rising steps, or for remembering far enough ahead of time to begin such a process.
To cut to the chase of the story, I played with some bread recipes but then finally figured out that what makes bread machine bread simple is the fast-acting yeast (sometimes called instant yeast, sometimes called rapid rise, and all the same thing as the bread machine yeast). Fast acting yeasts actually let you cut out an entire rising, punching, and kneading process. When I figured this out and combined the method for rapid-rise yeast with a good bread recipe I had, I came up with a real winner that is the absolute heart of our meals here at home.
What I ended up with was an excellent kitchen aid recipe for white bread (or stand mixer bread recipe if you don’t have the Kitchenaid brand–we’re not snobs here 😉 that takes only a few minutes of active time to make, that is excellent for everything from toast to sandwiches to French toast and more, and that I can let my mixer whip up and knead for me while I cook supper or muddle through the dishes. Incidentally, it’s a versatile recipe that you should have no trouble cutting part whole grain, oats, or whole wheat flour into, too. And today, I share it here with you!
Best Kitchenaid Bread Recipe - My Everyday Standby
Author: Mary Ward
Recipe type: Yeast Bread
Cuisine: Traditional White Bread
Serves: 2 loaves
Finally! An excellent, easy KitchenAid or stand mixer bread recipe that really allows the mixer to do all the mixing and kneading for you.
6½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Lard (can substitute shortening)
1½ Tablespoons Instant Yeast (Rapid Rise or Bread machine yeast may be substituted in equal amounts)
2½ Cups Very Warm Water (around 120F to allow the yeast to act)
Place all dry ingredients and the lard in the KitchenAid mixer.
Using the flat beater attachment, mix dry ingredients and lard through. Use the "stir" or lowest setting, for just 1 to 2 minutes until the dry mix looks uniform.
With the mixer still running, pour in the water and mix just until dough is wet through, shaggy, and sticky--just 30 seconds to a minute.
Stop, remove the flat beater, and place the dough hook onto your stand mixer.
Set to speed 1 or 2 and let the mixer run, kneading the dough, for 6 to 8 minutes.
After kneading, stop, remove the dough hook and let the dough rest in the Kitchenaid mixer bowl for 10 minutes.
Grease 2 bread loaf pans. Shape dough into 2 loaves*, place in pans, and cover with a clean, damp towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled/about an inch above the rim of the pan.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
*I find this bread rises best and has the best texture if it is pressed out flat on a floured surface and then rolled up, starting with one short end, and then shaping the rolled ends to loaf shape. Now, I know I complained about daily flour messes, but I keep an old cookie sheet on hand dusted with a bit of flour just for quick things like this. I happen to stash it in an unused wood cook stove, but a long tupperware with a cover or a covered jelly roll pan or something similar could easily accomplish the same thing and be stored with your pans or baking goods.
…And so long as you are flattening the dough, take one of the loaves and before rolling cover the flat surface with a good dose of cinnamon sugar (heavy on the cinnamon), then roll it up, pinch/shape the ends and Voila! You have a delicious cinnamon-swirl loaf for morning toast, too. Now that you have this easy stand mixer bread recipe, you, too can have fresh homemade bread your way, every day!
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Easy and delicious, and better yet, versatile–excellent traits for a recipe to have. And boy does this peanut butter granola recipe have them!
Homemade granola serves as one of the staples in my house, because it offers up whole grains (and white bread eaters like us could use a hidden, healthy does of whole grains) and also because we can use it in many ways. My son makes it his breakfast cereal; my husband takes it to work to top his homemade yogurt for a dose of energy when he takes his coffee break in the morning; and the others frequently grab a bag for their lunchboxes to munch trail mix-style.
So yes, our granola gets around and it’s nice when I can find a way to add some variety to that, such as a new granola flavor (to date we’ve done your typical, regular granola, a chocolate version, and now we’ve added this peanut butter variety as well), it really helps to keep the household happy. This particular recipe has helped to keep me happy, too, because it is the simplest and fastest granola recipe I’ve experienced to date. I swear the whole process takes no more than 20 minutes.
Credit Where It’s Due…
The original Peanut Butter Granola recipe I found, of course, on Pinterest and it originated at Shape.com. That recipe, however, was tiny and was never going to do for my family of 6 (we’re talking a 1 cup batch here, folks). That kind of boggled me because granola keeps very well on its own. Homemade granola is very easy to store and if you’re taking the time to make it anyway, why not make enough to make it worth it? Realistically, it might add a half a minute or two to the process, but then you’ve got it ready and waiting for a while…or for a day and a half if you’re my crew (perhaps when the novelty wears a bit we’ll stretch it to three days…yes, it’s that good).
So to cut the story short (too late!?), I modified the recipe to something that seemed sensible to me, and now what I have for you is this 8-cup recipe for:
Big Batch Peanut Butter Granola
1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 Cup Honey
2 Tsp Cinnamon
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
8 Cups Oats
Preheat the oven to 325 F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Combine peanut butter and honey in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 1 minute and 20 seconds, just until the peanut butter melts.
Stir well to combine peanut butter and honey.
Stir vanilla and cinnamon into the peanut butter mixture.
Add peanut butter mixture to oats and stir until all oats are coated and mixture is worked through thoroughly.
Spread onto prepared baking sheets and bake at 325 for about 10 minutes.
When edges just start to brown, the granola is done. It will crisp as it cools and you will have a nice, crunchy (but not cut-your-mouth crunchy) granola when it cools completely.
Tips & Notes:
I would consider adding 1/4-1/2 cup chopped peanuts just for a bit more crunch and texture, although it’s excellent all on its own. If you do, it’s possible you might need to add a touch more peanut butter.
I would also suspect Crunchy Peanut Butter would work well to add more crunch and a bit stronger flavor. I typically don’t keep it around, but I’d bet it would be very good.
Local honey is best as, well, it’s local and hasn’t polluted the world getting to you, but you also get all those wonderful benefits of local honey, including building immunity to allergies.
Store in a sealed container, such as a Tupperware cereal container or 2 quart Mason Jars with covers (my favorite pantry look 😉 ). Will keep for a long time stored this way. I can’t say how long, it never lasts long enough for me to know!
Do enjoy, and do let me know what you thought of this recipe–or if you have any of your own suggestions or modifications to share, please comment below!
Cinnamon rolls–I don’t believe I know one person who doesn’t love them, but they are probably one of the more seldom made homemade baked goods. I get it. Making cinnamon rolls is a bit of a commitment, and quite often we just don’t have the time (we are NOT counting the pop-the-can variety, here 😉 ).
Yeast cinnamon rolls, while one of my absolute favorites in the world, just don’t always fit into our schedules. But THESE cinnamon rolls certainly will and they’re a very fair substitute. We’re talking BASIC ingredients (remember that all purpose baking mix?), a few minutes to mix and roll, and 12 minutes to bake. You’ll be quite happy with the results, I promise.
Baking Mix Cinnamon Rolls
In case you didn’t take my hint, you’re going to want to go grab that homemade Bisquick we talked about a few days back. If you don’t have it, don’t worry. You probably even have all the ingredients and time to make the homemade Bisquick recipe, too! However, this recipe also works with any all-purpose baking mix or Bisquick, Jiffy mix, biscuit mix, etc. I did use the mix linked above, though.
These easy cinnamon rolls are very simple to make with minimal time and ingredients. Here’s how:
20 Minute Cinnamon Rolls
4 Cups Baking Mix (All purpose like homemade Bisquick mix)
1 1/4 Cups Milk
Soft (spreadable) butter
-Combine the baking mix, eggs, and milk and mix through.
-Dust cutting board with a bit of additional baking mix or flour and knead 6-8 times (I actually do this on a cookie sheet I keep for such things–contain the mess, save time!).
-Press (or roll) dough out to about 8 x 15, or 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.
-Spread dough with softened butter and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (I like a heavy cinnamon flavor, so I often dust the sugar with more plain cinnamon).
-Roll the dough, starting with the longest edge (when finished you should have one long “tube” of cinnamon roll, about 15 inches long).
-Cut into 1-inch slices and place on lightly greased cookie sheet (or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet).
– Bake at 425 F for about 12 minutes.
-Makes about 15 cinnamon rolls.
While baking, mix a quick glaze for the top.
For the glaze:
1 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1 splash Vanilla Extract (1/2 teaspoon? To taste)
2 Tablespoons Milk
Simply mix ingredients together to a pourable consistency, adding more or less milk as needed. Drizzle over hot rolls when they come out of the oven.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Whip them up in the morning while the sleepy-heads are in bed and they’ll think you slaved for them all the wee hours. And don’t forget to come back again because I’ll have more versatile, delicious homemade Bisquick recipes for you–including a delicious Homemade Beer Batter Chicken Nugget recipe coming soon!
(Bisquick® is a registered trademark of the General Mills company.)
Call it Bisquick®, Jiffy® mix, biscuit mix, baking mix, or what have you, it all amounts to the same thing. The one thing all of these have in common is that they all represent a very basic pantry staple designed to speed dinners and baking and make our lives easier. In this harried day and age, we’re all for that, right!?
What we’re NOT all for is overpaying for our baking needs. Baking from scratch is, for sure, the cheapest and most wholesome way to go, and the easiest way to control what goes into your food. Unfortunately it’s not always the fastest or most convenient. And unfortunately we pay a lot for anything that is deemed convenient in the grocery stores. It makes it tough to balance a family budget.
So what if I told you you could make your own homemade Bisquick; you’re own all purpose baking mix that can be used for a range of recipes, meals and treats for a fraction of the cost and with an investment of only a few minutes of your time?
Honestly, once you learn how to make Bisquick on your own, you’re not likely to go back to overpaying for undersized boxes of the stuff in the store. I promise it’s not at all hard and it will not take you long. A big batch with this faked Bisquick recipe only takes about 20 minutes to make (and I’m being generous here–in 20 minutes you’ll have it mixed and packaged and be on to a nice batch of warm biscuits, ready for the honey and butter).
How To Make Bisquick ®
It’s not hard to find a baking mix recipe online or even in some cook books. I’ve been through a few goods ones but this is one I have tried, prefer, and know that it meets all my requirements for an all purpose baking mix:
It is affordable and cheaper than buying boxed mixes
It is simple to make
It requires few ingredients
It stores well
It is versatile and can be used to make many things (in future posts we’ll see just how versatile it can be–so do follow along and come back often!)
So without further ado here is my preferred recipe; print and use it well and often:
How to Make An Economical, Versatile Homemade All Purpose Baking Mix
Recipe type: Make-Ahead Baking Mix
Serves: 2 gallons of mix
Homemade Bisquick or all-purpose baking mix recipe that can be used to replace Bisquick (R), Jiffy Mix (R), pancake mix, or any other basic baking mix. Use for a variety of recipes and dishes (anywhere you would use Bisquick or anything similar!).
20 Cups All-Purpose Flour (equivalent to a 5 pound bag)
2 Tablespoons Salt
7 Tablespoons Sugar
⅔ Cup Baking Powder
2 Cups Lard or Shortening
Combine and mix through all dry ingredients in a LARGE bowl (even a roasting pan works well, or large Tupperware--just leave yourself room to work).
Add lard (or shortening) to the mix.
Cut lard into the mix until thoroughly combined and you have only about pea-sized pieces of shortening throughout.
(This is not nearly as bad as it sounds like it would be to do; using a pastry cutter or mixing with clean hands works well; you could also do 2-3 cups of dry mix and about ½ cup of lard at a time in a food processor, pulsing to combine, then mix the final batch all together and stirring well to distribute).
Store in air-tight container and use as you would a brand-name baking mix.
(*I use lard because it is stable at room temperature and I believe in using the most natural products I can, including animal fats. However, I’ve recently learned that only store-bought lard is shelf stable [because it is hydrogenated :(]. The “real thing”–lard rendered without manipulation or additives, mostly only available now if you render your own lard at home–is not shelf-stable. You can still use it and I will do so as soon as I’ve made a batch of my own homemade rendered lard [coming soon!]; but I will keep the mix in the refrigerator and freeze any extra. Vegetable shortening could also be used and will make the mix shelf-stable at room temperature. Just remember that if you use a fat/shortening that normally requires refrigeration [like butter], your mix will need refrigeration as well.)
And that, folks, is all there is to it. Once done simply store in a sealed container (I usually use half-gallon mason jars [Half Gallon Wide Mouth Canning Jar (Set of 6)]
or a large Tupperware cereal container [Rubbermaid Home 1777195 Cereal Keeper]). Store as usual and use at the same measurement for any recipe that calls for Bisquick, all purpose baking mix, biscuit mix, etc. And do keep coming back as I’ll be sharing some great recipes for this mix in the future!
(Bisquick® is, of course, a name-brand and is a registered trademark of the General Mills company.)
A large part of saving money and providing wholesome foods for your family on a budget depends on using what you have, and getting as much good use out of your foods as possible. The grocery bill in an average household is one of the highest monthly expenses–probably in direct competition with the mortgage in many homes, I’d venture to bet.
A lot of time and effort goes into producing the food we eat here on our little self sufficient homestead. That includes the baked goods and breads that are mainstays in the house. I make all of my own bread because it is cheaper and it is much better, and I can control what goes into it–and the preservatives that don’t!
That’s a story for a different day, but the point I am coming to is that for all the time, money, and effort that goes into our diet, I certainly don’t want to waste it! And the way to do that is to get as much use out of all of it as I can. It makes me feel better about cutting down the waste and diminishing my “footprint” upon the earth, but more practically, it saves us LOADS of money!
Extending the use of my “waste” bread (ends, random pieces, older slices and drying pieces) is one of the easiest and tastiest of my little kitchen hacks. And one of the most versatile and well-loved is home made croutons. Homemade croutons are so simple to make, it’s really silly not to. And I think you’ll find the results are OH so much better than what’s boxed up at the store. So here’s how to get the most of your bread odds and ends by making home made croutons.
Very simply, all you have to do is this:
Cut leftover bread into cubes of desired size – usually about an inch square for me. Undried or dried is fine; in fact you can do it from a perfectly good, fresh loaf, too.
Spread bread cubes on a cookie sheet and toss with vegetable or olive oil (olive oil is best, but you can use what you have, too–melted butter works as well). Sprinkle with any desired flavorings, such as herb mixes, seasoning salts, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese….really, whatever you like.
Toast in preheated 350 degree oven until crunchy (this will depend somewhat on whether you started with moist or dry cubes; check after 10 minutes and every 5 or 10 after that, but for moist bread expect more towards 20 or 30 minutes.
*Just a note: don’t be afraid to mix-and-match different bread flavors like whites and ryes or wheat or all of the above (or more!). It just adds dimension and flavor variety to your croutons.
That’s it! Just cool and eat. These delicious homemade croutons are excellent for salads, of course, but also in soups, snack mixes, as toppings to macaroni and cheese, casseroles, or even just as a crunchy snack on the go! Honestly if I don’t hide them from the kids, they seldom see a life long enough for any of these uses!
The best part about it is that home made croutons couldn’t get cheaper. You’re using what you have and getting more than your money’s worth. Do enjoy!