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4 Moms Discuss Cooking From Scratch

It's Thursday, which means the 4 Moms are discussing How Moms of Many Manage. This week's topic is "Cooking From Scratch". Check out what the other moms are saying about cooking from scratch.

Just today, a friend of my husband's was asking him how in the world he can afford to support 10 people on one income. My husband explained a few of the principles we live by, like driving vehicles that are paid for, rarely eating out, and considering "needs" versus "wants" before making purchases.

The friend was impressed that when we want pizza for dinner, we make our own from scratch instead of ordering it or going out to eat.

That conversation got me considering the choices for family dining, in order of expense:

  • Eating out
  • Fast food
  • Preparing convenience foods at home (frozen pizza, frozen lasagna, etc.)
  • Cooking with mixes (Bisquick, muffin mixes, etc.)
  • Cooking from scratch

Obviously, the more work you let others do, the more expensive it will be. Now, none of these choices will make you more righteous or a better wife or mother, but if frugal is your goal, you'll want to head to the bottom of the list.

We very rarely eat out or buy fast food, and only use convenience foods if we find a super bargain on them (like the free frozen lasagna I scored with a coupon last month).

I occasionally use prepared mixes if I'm in a serious time crunch, but my goal is to cook from scratch as much as possible. I feel good knowing that I'm saving money simply by mixing the flour and baking soda together myself instead of buying a packet of pre-made mix.

It really only takes a few seconds longer to add the ingredients myself, and I figure if I'm going to get out a bowl and crack eggs into it anyway, I might as well do the rest myself, too.  Every little bit of money I can save is helping our large family manage on one income.

Here are a few of my from scratch recipes:

Be sure to come back for my next video in the Tutorial Tuesday series when I will show how to make a simple homemade pie crust on Tuesday, April 20!

And you will NOT want to miss the 4 Moms, 35 Kids series next Thursday, April 22, because we will be having a recipe link up! You will have the opportunity to share your best recipes for large crowds, and when you enter your link on one of our blogs, it will show up on all FOUR!

Would you like to see everything the 4 Moms have written about so far? Click here: 4 Moms, 35 Kids - How Moms of Many Manage

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  1. I just found your blog through LifeasMom and I really enjoy it! Please give my blog a look when you have a minute (do you have “free time” with such a large family? :0)

  2. We will definitely be trying some of your recipes… the Cracker Jack Snack sounds especially yummy!

    I cook as much as I can from scratch because it is less expensive, and as an added bonus, I know exactly what goes into my family’s food (and it never involves High Fructose Corn Syrup or funky dyes-n-stuff). I use a lot of substitutions for healthier ingredients… but I couldn’t do that if I didn’t cook from scratch!

  3. I do a lot of cooking from scratch, myself, as I am allergic to wheat (and I think my 20 mo old is too). Even though it’s not as cheap I also make wheat free meals for everyone instead of doing two of everything.
    My difficulty is the clean up. My kiddos are five and under and I will have four soon. Cooking from scratch makes such a mess… I can’t decide if it’s the way I cook, or if all cooking from scratch is more of a mess. I know my mom always does the clean as you go process, but I always struggle to multi-task that much. To cook relatively substantial meals with little people around my legs, and to dash to the sink every ten minutes to scrub three or four things…I tend to forget what I am cooking …Anyone else struggle with this problem??

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      @Laura, Yes, I do notice bigger messes with from scratch cooking. Opening a frozen lasagne and popping it in the oven makes practically no mess at all, but the cost is substantially more than homemade lasagne. I am not one of those people who enjoys cleaning, either. I just consider it a necessary part of living in a large one income family.

      One note of encouragement: When your kids are a touch older, you will have LOTS of help in the kitchen! Hang in there!

    • @Laura, Same here. I am preggo and have two kids ages 1 and 3. It’s wildly messy in my house when I cook (and even when I’m not cooking. :p ) because of the whole having kids hanging off my skirts thing. If they’re not “helping” they’re spilling something unrelated and I’m burning something while cleaning them up or kissing booboos and then the 3 y/o wants to crack the eggs for me and that’s always an adventure. Hehe…

    • @Laura, I don’t know if it will help or not, but my “clean as you go” method is to have half of my sink filled with hot, soapy water before I start cooking. Then, as I use things, I just dump them in the soapy water. In a lot of recipes, there’s a section of time where you’ve put the food in the oven, or you simmer for 20 minutes or something of the like. I take that time to rinse the items I’ve cooked with. If you don’t have a double sink like I do, you can do the same thing in a large mixing bowl.

      My other advise is to practice mise en place in your cooking. At first, it seems counter-intuitive, because you will dirty more bowls than strictly necessary. But you’ll have so much more control over timing and you’ll find that recipes come together so much easier, even with little ones. I always find it worthwhile. If I don’t think I’ll have time around dinner to chop and measure everything, I do a mise en place for the meal whenever I have time during the day, and just store it in the fridge until it’s time to cook.

      Good luck to you! I know it’s hard to get started, but the rewards are amazing!

  4. Oooh pie crust! *Happy dance* I am so bad at pie crust! Lol! Thank you! :)

  5. I will be using 2 of these recipies tomorrow! My 6 year old will be having his 7th birthday party on Sunday afternoon and I am planning on trying the homemade confetti cake with your frosting recipe! :) I am very excited! I almost always bake cakes and frosting from boxes, so I can’t wait to try something new!

  6. I enjoy reading these posts each week, but for some reason I can’t access your blog until about 2 days after the post. It just keeps timing out. I don’t have a problem with the other 3 in the group. I just thought I’d mention it in case it’s something you can fix (switch to a different server, I have no clue what!).

    Thanks for the cracker jack link!

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      @Cherish, Hm. Not sure what the trouble is. Are you using Firefox? Mine has been crashing every time I use it and when I looked on Google, I saw that a LOT of people were complaining of the same thing. It’s weird that it’s only an issue for you with my site, though.

  7. I like to cook mostly from scratch too, but every now and then a microwave bean burrito calls my name! 😀

  8. Great post! And I love that you said, “Now, none of these choices will make you more righteous or a better wife or mother, but if frugal is your goal…” What grace and freedom you offered in that simple little line. Thanks! Great blog, btw! ♥ Michelle

  9. Oh I am bookmarking this page. I love recipes. I can’t wait to try the Fettuccine!