Cooking from scratch is, unfortunately, a lost art. The work that goes into cooking and the satisfaction it brings is not something many people can relate to today. Learn our favorite tools to keep cooking from scratch fulfilling and simple!
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It is currently winter time and we have been in the kitchen cooking up all sorts of things. All of the yummy homemade Bread, Pop-Tarts and Cookies have been welcomed by the whole family as I near the end of my pregnancy.
My thoughtful husband got me some bakeware for Christmas that have been on my list for a while now. Living on a budget has caused me to learn great patience and selflessness. I can just say I am LOVING my new muffin pan from Caraway. You can get yours today at https://bit.ly/carawaymuffinpan.
We moved to our current home last Spring and have since learned that most of our heat sources need repaired and aren’t safe to use. That being said, cooking on the stovetop and baking helps to keep our bellies AND our home warm!
I started cooking from scratch a few years ago and will never go back to convenience foods. Eating from scratch is so nutritious and delicious. This diet change has really been a whole lifestyle change, not just in the kitchen.
We have also become more aware of environmental threats and have slowly made some big changes over the years in the way we live and products we use. Eating from scratch and consuming whole foods as much as possible really does open your eyes to a whole new world.
Kitchen Tool Tutorial
Eating From Scratch Benefits
Cooking from scratch has a ton of benefits. I would say that the biggest two benefits are energy and health. Keeping up with small children takes a ton of energy. One of the things that helps me the most to be a good wife and mother is to cook real, whole foods. My energy level definitely tanks when I don’t cook from scratch and resort to convenience foods. That is not to say that we never eat out, it’s just that we do our best to cook from scratch here at home about 80% of the time.
The second huge benefit to be reaped from cooking from scratch is that you body will reward you with health! Our family definitely does still get sick from time to time, but I will say that it is rare. We don’t go to the doctors unless our natural remedies here at home aren’t enough. I can count on one hand the amount of times we have been to the doctors for an illness in the past 7 years of our marriage. This includes all of our kids. Two of which haven’t even been to a doctor. I attribute our health hugely to eating a healthy, whole foods diet the majority of the time.
Where To Begin With Cooking From Scratch
Because this is a lost art, you may be wondering where to even begin if you were not raised to eat this way. I can understand how overwhelming it can all be to hear about things like fermentation, cooking 3 meals a day, and not buying packaged foods. I promise you, once you make a habit of the small things, this way of life comes simply. Here are some tips to get started if you are feeling overwhelmed with the thought of cooking from scratch and eating traditionally.
Growing food yourself or sourcing it locally
One of the best things you can do for your family as you start this journey will be to have your own supply of real food. This looks like having a garden, for most. Seeds are very inexpensive and keeping a garden is really not as much work as you would think. Most plants are pretty hardy and will at least produce something you can utilize.
The thing I love about having a garden is that I can just walk outside and see what is abundant in the garden and that is what we have for dinner. I try to always have meat thawed in the fridge ready to go so that we can have dinner prepared fairly quickly with the meat we buy from a local pastured farm and produce from the garden.
If you do not have the capability of having your own garden for one reason or another, you can also source from local farmers. In the summertime, the farmers market is great for this.
Skip the packaged snacks
As tempting as it may be, I recommend putting an end to buying pre-packaged foods that make fast snacks. If you don’t have them around, then they won’t be a temptation to resort to. My family knows I don’t buy packaged snacks, for the most part, so there is no expectation to have them. When someone is hungry I offer whole foods for snacks! I will occasionally buy grass-fed and finished beef sticks from Costco when I see them in stock, but outside of that it’s all whole foods we consume.
Buy your meat in bulk from a good source
Having quality meat on hand is essential. You’ll want to try to have a supply in the freezer that you can continually rotate to the fridge to thaw, so that you don’t revert to conveniently packaged foods. Buying meat in bulk is also a very budget-friendly option for eating from scratch. We are able to buy meat in bulk from a local pastured farm that we trust for as low as $3.20 per pound. This ensures a higher quality nutritional value and more benefits health wise.
Acquire a few basic kitchen tools
Although you really don’t need any extra equipment from scratch, there are a few basic tools you’ll want to be sure you have. Things like a good kitchen knife and some wooden cutting boards are a good place to start. I LOVE my handmade chef’s knife made by a local business and friend. It is the only knife I use in my kitchen besides an occasional paring knife. Check out their collection to see what’s currently available.
The other basic tool I would recommend is at least one stainless steel pot and one cast iron skillet. You’ll want to grab a few wooden spoons for mixing as well. You can often find these at your local thrift store if you’re on a budget.
Cooking can be an investment as you begin to slowly acquire tools to make working in the kitchen more efficient. But, you can get started today without spending any extra money, so don’t let that hold you back!
What Tools You’ll Want To Acquire To Cook From Scratch
Essentially, you don’t really need any extra kitchen tools to cook from scratch, as I explained above. However, I will say it is a lot more efficient to slowly acquire the following items to make your life easier as you cook. Here is a list of some essential kitchen tools that we use daily to save time and make cooking easier on everyone in the kitchen. All of these tools are ones I use daily and love. I highly value my kitchen tools because they give me more time with my family and also make it easier for my small children to get involved with cooking. See the end of this post for a full list of recommended products to get you cooking from scratch today!
- Stand Mixer (I recently switched to this one and am loving it) I was team KitchenAid for years up until recently when we repeatedly were having issues with it. We use our mixer daily to shred, mix, and blend ingredients for bread, cheese, smoothies and more! We use this appliance and it’s attachments to prepare almost every meal.)
- Banneton Basket
- Cast Iron Skillets We have switched solely to cooking with cast iron because of the way it evenly cooks the food and is easy to clean. They only get better with time!
- Baking dishes Investing in some clean, baking dishes will help cooking from scratch go smoothly. We are loving our Caraway baking dishes as a trusted, clean baking option. Stone ware is also a great option.
- Wooden Spoons or Spatulas
- Metal Spatulas
- Instant Pot We absolutely love our instant pots! We have two and we use them almost daily. It makes cooking a from scratch dinner so simple and we constantly are making homemade bone broth in it as well.
Some Go-To, From Scratch Recipes To Get Started
Because we eat almost exclusively wholesome meals from scratch, it was really simple for me to come up with a short list for you of our favorites. Below I will share with you some of our favorite recipes that we make weekly, are simple, and can be changed up ingredients to provide variety.
In the end, there are a ton of ways you can get your family started eating from scratch. I pray that you’ve gotten some good ideas of where to start as well as some tools to invest in.
I fix my family a warm breakfast 7 days a week to fuel their bodies. Because I have hungry boys, we often do yogurt and granola plus some sort of hot breakfast as the morning goes on. Here you will find some of our favorite breakfasts to cook all week long to keep us fueled. We also do a lot of oatmeal or scrambled eggs with sauerkraut as a quick, nutritious, and hot meal option.
For lunch we do a lot of left overs. If I happen to have made some homemade bread, which I do often in during the colder months, then I will do a lot of chicken salad when I cook a whole chicken. Another go-to lunch that is easy and quick is egg salad for making sandwiches. Hard boiling eggs also makes a great snack. What I’ll usually do is hard boil some eggs quickly in my instant pot and use half of them to make deviled eggs and the other half I’ll make into egg salad for sandwiches.
Making tortillas is quick too so we utilize those for quesadillas made with raw cheese as a fast and nutritious meal as well. Another thing we do is use them for Pb&J wraps for a quick lunch option, if I have some home-canned jam on hand.
Whenever I make soup for dinner, I try to make a bulk batch to also have extra for the next day’s lunch. Having toppings like avocados to put on the soup makes it stretch further too.
What we eat for dinner changes with the seasons for the most part. In the summer we try to just have meat thawed in the fridge at all times. This way we can just add veggies from the garden and pair it with a whole grain to make it a complete meal. Winter time makes this look different because I have to rely on fruits and veggies that we preserved and we make a lot more casseroles and skillet dishes to help fill our bellies.
There are some meals we do make almost all year long week after week. These include: Cheeseburger soup, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Pot Pie Soup, Shepherds Pie, Baked Crispy Chicken, Stir Fry Bibimbap Bowls, and Homemade Hamburger Helper. All of these dishes help keep bellies full and most can be customized to incorporate ingredients that are currently in season, which helps to change up the flavor.
Some of our favorite wholesome snacks to have are really basic things. I hesitate adding them in this from scratch post but I decided to because I want to give you ideas. Instead of buying packaged foods, look for things you already have on hand to make from-scratch meals. You can then utilize those ingredients to be eaten as snacks in between meals. For example, I make yogurt and granola weekly so I keep things like nuts and dried fruits on hand for that. One of my sons LOVES his nuts and dried fruit for a snack. I don’t feel bad giving it to him daily because its a nutritious snack option.
Cheese cut into sticks to have with a piece of fruit works well for a snack too. We occasionally make homemade sourdough crackers, which is the most simple thing. Just pour sourdough starter straight onto a hot skillet or stone and add some Olive Oil and Seasoning…yummy! I go through phases of also making homemade hummus to have on hand for a snack option with the crackers. We also love using our dehydrator to make homemade beef jerky, which is seriously SO simple.
List Of Recommended Products
- Berkey Water Filter System
- Bosch Mixer
- Nutrimill Grain Mill
- Cast Iron Skillets
- Metal Spatula
- Wooden Spoons
- 3 Quart Instant Pot
- 6 Quart Instant Pot
- Banneton Basket
- Dough Scraper
- Caraway Stainless Steel Pots
- Caraway Muffin Pan
- Caraway Bread Pan
- Caraway Dutch Oven
Leave a comment with some of your favorite from-scratch meals!
For more encouragement in wholesome food and recipes from My Abiding Home: