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The DIY Pantry: 30 Minutes to Healthy, Homemade Food Paperback – January 1, 2014
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About the Author
Kresha Faber is the author and editor of Nourishing Joy, a website dedicated to real food, sustainable living, natural homemaking, and joyful parenting. She is passionate about sharing ways to make small, simple changes to live more healthily, frugally, and sustainably. Kresha is also a contributing writer to Keeper of the Home and GNOWFGLINS. You can visit her website at www.nourishingjoy.com.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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I’m not a rabid environmentalist, but a concerned mother who worries about the processed food we are feeding our children. If I can make my own catsup, Asian dipping sauce, classic mayonnaise, buttermilk and cream cheese – and leave out the preservatives, fake sugar and Frankenstein corn and soybeans, I want to do it.
Up until now, I’ve been unable to find a book of instructions for making common foods (peanut butter, spice mixes, soup stock, yogurt, salad dressings, and cheddar cheese crackers). Instructions are included for your own cake mixes and icing options, instant oatmeal, ginger ale and root beer syrup.
Even if I only make a few items in this book, it is decreasing the amount of junked-up foods my family is consuming. None of the recipes has required more than 30 minutes of prep time (simmering time is not included for things like soups, etc.). This book has 150 recipes and is a bargain!
The recipe calls for placing vanilla beans in vodka and stashing it away--standard practice, based on my research and experience. However, the recipe recommends using two cups of 80 proof at least vodka and 10-20 vanilla beans and letting it rest for 9 months. Seriously? You're talking a small fortune to make 2 cups of vanilla extract. Google "making vanilla extract" and you'll come up with $15 kits that include 5-7 vanilla beans, a container in which to make the extract and a recipe--like you need one--and a finished product in 8 weeks. I haven't tried them, but plan to. One site, Beanilla, even lets you pick the vanilla beans you want with your kit--personally, I'm a sucker for Ugandan vanilla beans, though they are are not as affordable as they once were. The flavor, however, is bold and smokey. My second choice would be Mexican, since we live in Nicaragua and all vanilla sprang from Mexico and Central America. It took the French, not surprisingly, to develop the modern vanilla industry largely based in Madagascar--and that industry sprang from a local's ingenuity, who developed the process of hand fertilization. The bees that fertilize vanilla in Mexico and Central America don't exist anywhere else.
Bottom line: buy the book but find another vanilla extract recipe--unless you're Donald Trump and have more money than common sense.
The DIY Pantry is a simple cookbook designed with the sole purpose of teaching you how to make your own kitchen staples. It starts out telling you what sort of ingredients to stock in your pantry at all times (spices, oils, sweeteners, etc) and then moves into the recipes. The chapters are well organized in the table of contents so you can find things easily. The recipes range from simple condiments like tartar sauce, pantry staples like apple sauce, and more complicated projects like making your own pasta and taco shells. If you would find it in your pantry, you will probably find a recipe for it in The DIY Pantry. The author gives each recipe symbols for egg free, dairy free, gluten free, etc and a price point (how cheap it is to make). This makes it easy to fit into your budget and dietary needs. There are no fancy pictures or tons of descriptive prose in this cookbook. But you will find exact time requirements, nutritional breakdown and a star rating as to how hard the recipe is. Overall, I am very impressed with this cookbook and am looking forward to exploring some of the recipes.