One of the things I absolutely adore about Pinterest is the sheer number of Make Your Own tutorials and recipes. Everything from makeup to Magic Shell can be made in your own household. May of these things can be fun to make to give as gifts, and some of the homemade recipes may even replace your habit of purchasing those products from a store. But some of the ideas are more economical/efficient than others.
For example, have you ever tried to make your own ciabatta buns? Don't. Not as a strict rule, but honestly, the taste of the store bought is comparable, the time needed to make them is extensive (between mixing, kneading, shaping, misting, etc - I think it worked out to 2 hours hands on, and 5 hours strapped to the kitchen for overseeing), and by the end I decided that in the future I'd just pay the $4 for a bag of beautiful and yummy buns from a bakery.
But have you ever made your own tortillas? I have not, yet, but my sister-in-law does and has assured me it's actually pretty simple, but the biggest draw for me would be the cost. When you make your own, the cost breaks down to about 5 cents a tortilla. Store bought in our region right now works out to about 47 cents a tortilla. That's right - I pay nearly $5 for 10 tortillas from the store. And you know what? They don't taste that great. Sure they can make for convenient meals, but since freezing homemade is a totally viable option, why shouldn't I spend an afternoon making a huge batch of them, spend $5 making 100 tortillas, and keep them store in my freezer between layers of parchment paper? Oh, and they'd still taste better out of the freezer than the store bought ones taste 'fresh'. That sounds worth it to me!
Pasta sauce is one that I typically make fresh, simply out of habit. It's not hard, and it tastes fantastic using fresh ingredients, which easily store in your pantry or fridge for extended periods, so really, why not? But, that doesn't stop me from picking up jarred sauce when it goes on sale 5/$5 at my local grocery store. When you realize it's cheaper than homemade at that price, can be tweaked to taste better (add a bit of brown sugar, some chili powder and a bay leaf), and you get a mason jar out of the deal when you finish the sauce, it is nice to go between fresh and store bought as the opportunity dictates.
Many home beauty products are better to make at home I find. Things like beach mist for your hair (water, gel, Epsom salt, coconut oil, and a touch of essential oil if you like), foot soak (skim milk powder, a couple tea bags - preferably chamomile, Epsom salt), and foaming soap (about a 5:1 ratio of water to liquid soap in a foaming dispenser. My favorite use for this hack is with baby soap - it sure makes washing a newborn easier when the soap is a one-handed pump away!) are all much cheaper and work just as well. That being said, when Bath & Body Works puts their hand soaps on for 7/$25, I'm still going to go load up on their yummy scents! A new one I am eager to try is making liquid hand soap from a bar of soap. I found the tutorial here and instantly thought of a few bars of gorgeously scented French Mulled Soap that I got on clearance from HomeSense a couple years ago. Since it is bar soap I rarely use it, but it smells so fresh and pretty... I'm going to give this one a whirl, but first I have to get my hands on some glycerin.
I rarely buy store bought mixes: pancake, muffin, scone, brownie - they don't enter my house. The only exceptions are Bisquick, since it's the secret to my Mom's yummy bannock, and Cake Mix - but I never use them to make a cake unless my Mom specifically requests the Company's Coming Almost-a-Scratch cake (boxed mix, pudding, eggs, oil, water). Boxed cake mix makes great cookies! Lately I've been adding oats and coconut to them, plus an egg and some butter or coconut oil, and it turns out a yummy little treat that comes together super quick. But when it comes to making a real cake, you can't compete with scratch. Even though I may be tempted to pick up the mixes when they're on sale a buck a box, I'm never really tempted to make a cake out of them!
Spice blends are another thing that I don't often buy. To make your own seasonings is so simple, and very often you'd have all the spices in your cupboard already, why pay more for something that's loaded with preservatives and that you can whip up in a minute on your own? Same for salad dressings - I may keep a bottle of ranch on hand through the winter, but when summer rolls around and salads take over our meal plans, it's not unreasonable to think we'll use up a batch of homemade dressing before it expires in the fridge!
Here are a few other Make Your Own items that I've tried and had success with:
Pita bread - King Arthur Flour
Chalkboard paint - Martha Stewart
S'mores Granola Bars - Mrs. VanderLeek!
Ricotta - Smitten Kitchen
And, here are some that I have yet to try, but hope to get around to soon:
Vanilla Honey Bubble Bath - Real Simple
Disinfectant Wipes - DIY Home Sweet Home
Honey Lemon Lip Scrub - Pink Pistachio
Febreeze - Curbly
What do you make at home instead of buying?
Mrs. VanderLeek ;)