Make Your Own Baking Mixes – Guest Post

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on December 1, 2009

Well, if you haven’t already started thinking about homemade treats for holiday gifts this year, might I suggest using this fantastic concept to not only speed up the baking process in your kitchen, but also would be great for homemade holiday gifts.  Just package the mixes into jars or decorative bags with a pretty ribbon and instruction card. Voila!

Today’s guest post is from Michelle at Leaving Excess

Making brownies, cakes, cookies and breads from scratch is less expensive than using a mix, tastes far better, and leaves out all those nasty preservatives and additives. You can even sneak in some wheat germ or flax (don’t tell my family), as well as adjust for any dietary restrictions.

However, there is one thing a mix has over baking from scratch – convenience. Using a mix is quicker and can be less intimidating if you are new to or uncomfortable with baking.

The solution?  I like to make my own baking mixes, which are really just the dry ingredients of a recipe pre-mixed.  You know how most recipes say, “’mix dry ingredients together in a bowl’”? Well, do that and then just put the mixture into a container and set it aside until you are ready to add in the wet ingredients and complete the recipe.

I wanted containers that stacked well in my cupboards, but if you’d prefer not to spend additional money on containers, consider using those containers that you have around and have been meaning to use, or you could use plastic bags – just shake out the crumbs and save the already labeled bags for the next batch of mixes.  You could reuse containers or bags over and over – there is no mess as everything in the container or bag is dry.

I started with the thing I make the most, our standard Buttermilk Honey Bread recipe. I mixed in all the dry ingredients except the yeast and put it into the container and labeled it. I stored the labeled containers in my cupboard. I repeated the process with my Cocoa Brownies, Zucchini Bread and Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. I started with three batches of each recipe.  If the recipe calls for one cup of flour, I measure it out, put it in the first container, then repeat down the line and move on to the next ingredient.  It takes very little time to do.

Now, when I need to make more bread or use up the last of the garden zucchini, I have a head start on my to do list. I just mix up the wet ingredients, toss in the dry and stir. It has worked beautifully!  This really is the perfect answer to making your own breads and rolls for dinner.  Making breads yourself saves you a lot of money and rounds out the meal, limiting the need for more expensive dinner ingredients.   Unfortunately, it is hard to find time to get the breads started in time.  If you already have it ready to go, you are half way there.

I recently read a tip in a friend’s cookbook, where the author said she spends an hour or two on the weekend mixing up dry ingredients and wet ingredients, storing them separately until needed later in the week and then mixing them together when she is ready to make the recipe. You probably would not want mix the wet ingredients  more than 5 days or so in advance, but what a great idea for busy weekdays! I love to bake something at night or in the morning and I am much more likely to do so during the week if I just have to dump the contents of two containers together.  I would recommend taking a few minutes during the weekend or a time that works for you to set this up for use when you are busy at dinner time later in the week.

My girlfriend, Julie, loved this idea so much that she and her daughter spent an afternoon making up mixes (they may have gotten a tiny bit carried away).  They even wrote remaining required wet ingredients need for the recipe to each label.  Check out her pantry (note that she opted for inexpensive disposable containers for her storage):

make your own baking mixes 2

So, whether you want to mix up a week’s worth of baking mixes or six months worth of baking mixes, I hope you will give this idea a try soon.  I am confident that it will help you bring even more delicious $5 Dinners to your table!

Michelle Schahn is a CPA turned SAHM turned somewhere in between.  She blogs at Leaving Excess, where she chronicles her efforts to give up some of the things society tells us we must consume in order to be happy.  Her sometimes reluctant, but generally cooperative family of six includes a husband, four kids, a dog and a cat.

Do you plan on making and giving any homemade gifts this year?!?  Would love to hear about them!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

leslie December 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm

This is great for gifts! As far as myself, if I find myself with some free time, I will make a batch or two of cookie dough and just stick it in the freezer. Then anytime I need to make cookies, I already have the dough all ready to go.

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Crystal December 1, 2009 at 5:45 pm

I plan on making homemade chocolates and some potato bags-they are a lifesaver!

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clara December 1, 2009 at 8:32 pm

All gifts to neighbors, friends and extended family is from this past summer’s garden. We harvest cucumbers, yellow and zucchini squash and can throughout July, August and September. Gifts include salsas, pickles and bread and butter squashes. As well as pickled jalopenos, a favorite of our next door neighbor.

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Allyson December 1, 2009 at 9:33 pm

We’ll be making most of our gifts this holiday season. I’ll be busy sewing and crafting and the whole family will be busy in the kitchen.

We love using homemade mixes to speed up prep time in the kitchen. Right now, we’re loving this Homemade Bisquick style mix.
http://a-heart4home.blogspot.com/2009/12/homemade-biquick-style-baking-mix.html

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Alta December 2, 2009 at 9:27 am

Wonderful idea – and this would be wonderful for my gluten-free family members (who are not as skilled in the kitchen).

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Emily December 2, 2009 at 9:53 am

I love this idea. What a time saver!

I am giving each of my employees a 4 ounce bottle of homemade vanilla extract (it’s been steeping since July) and a bag of homemade gourmet popcorn (cinnamon bun flavored.)

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leslie December 3, 2009 at 9:26 am

@Emily, I never even thought to make my own vanilla extract! I am doing this!

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Preparedness Pro December 2, 2009 at 5:56 pm

What a great idea! I do something similar with meal prep for my pantry and four gallon buckets. For a tuna casserole, I have several things noodles, tuna, cream of chicken, bread crumbs in a four gallon bucket along with the recipe for easy meal prep. http://bit.ly/5Alah1

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Sara N December 3, 2009 at 9:33 pm

We make mixes too but the example of organization is beautiful! I’d LOVE to do this!!!

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Wendy December 4, 2009 at 5:12 am

wow, I’m awestruck by that photo of so many mixes! I might have to give this a try.

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Kristin December 4, 2009 at 4:37 pm

I’m taking my old formula cans, cleaning them out and covering them with adorable holiday paper and tags and filling them with baked goodies in cellophane. Cute, cheap, and delish!

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Debi December 4, 2009 at 4:45 pm

This is wonderful! I love how organized and approachable this idea is! Currently my two recipes that I premix are in ziplock bags and are hard to read and stack.

I’m going to ask for these containers for Christmas!

Ok, so what sizes are you using? I don’t want to get ones that are too small or too big :)

Thanks!!!

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Kerry Andrus December 4, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I would LOVE some of the recipes for the mixes that were used, or that people continually use!
For most of the mixes I use regularly, I am using a 3.5 cup container. I have a few recipes that I’d like to dry mix though and they would require a 5 cup… like my bread recipe, or the muffin recipes….. Tis the season to buy lots of flour and sugar though! Most stores have them on sale this time of year as well as the containers. My Local Albertsons had a 5 pack of the 3.5 containers for 2.50…. An investment I’m willing to make because like an above poster, Ziplock bags do not stack and are hard to read/organize!

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D.Bauher December 5, 2009 at 6:23 am

What a great idea! Honestly I tried doing this as well, but used plastic bags and got so discouraged that I quit simply because it was too hard to organize. I don’t know why I didn’t think of those disposible containers!
That will make this holiday season so much more stress free!! Especially now that I’ve gone back to school and have little time between studies to meal plan more than one day a week. I like the convenience of just grabbing something and throwing it on to cook. But I hate pre-packaged foods with all the additives, fillers, preservitives and junk we just don’t need.
Ok…well since today is shopping/meal planning day…I know what I’m adding to my list!!

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ellen February 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Wow, you never even got around to giving any baking mix recipes and the two links are to a parked domain site with nothing but ads.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom February 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Thanks for the heads up! It could be that the blogger who submitted the post has since stopped blogging!

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Hopsop April 30, 2011 at 3:48 pm

kievmafia.com – это увлекательная психологическая настольная игра,которая способна доставить несравнимое интеллектуальное удовольствие.
Мафия

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Mary November 29, 2012 at 4:20 am

I love this idea. I wonder, can this be used for those pasta and rice side dish packages you get at the store-like Rice-a-Roni, Knorr, or even mac and cheese? How would I find recipes and ingredients(dehydrated vegetables etc.) for them?

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