Friday, July 6, 2012

don't buy it anymore

I am completely inspired by a new cookbook I received in the mail the other day.  It's called The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making and every recipe and story by Alana Chernila is inspiring me to try to make a homemade versions of things I buy.  Ricotta, ketchup, granola, instant oatmeal, toaster pastries-all homemade!  It's a very well written cookbook and the photography is top notch.  Any cookbook with a section for kids "car food" recipes is my kind of book.  I kind of feel like I'm in Chernila's kitchen while I'm reading this book.  It's lovely.

I already make some things at home that I used to be able to buy in the stores in America.  Mostly, it's out of necessity now, but I like the idea of making things at home because you can. Really, there is no need to buy certain things at a grocery store.  The very first thing you should cross off your shopping list and start making at home is croutons.  This is my own suggestion from one stay-at-home-mom/cook to another.  Stop buying those crummy bagged croutons and whip up your own batch today!

It's simple.  If you have old stale heels of bread or an old baguette you won't finish you can make croutons out of it or pop it in the freezer and use it another day.  In May, I made two loaves worth of cookie cutter tea sandwiches and saved all the crusts in the freezer for croutons. Now, whenever we makes soup or salad I make a batch of croutons too.  It takes 2 minutes to prepare, if that!

Homemade croutons
Bread (any kind, stale or fresh) broken or cut into small chunks
olive oil
other seasonings (garlic powder, dill, basil, paprika)
Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spread your bread chunks on a baking sheet evenly.  Do not crowd them. If you are making a large batch of croutons, divide the bread among two baking sheets.  Drizzle the bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you wish.  Note:  the more olive oil you add, the more brown and toasted your croutons will come out.  They will also be oilier and scrumptious.  It's your personal preference on how seasoned and browned you want your croutons.  Just don't soak the bread with olive oil.  That would be pretty gross.

Bake the seasoned bread in the oven for approximately 12 minutes tossing them half way through the cooking time.  Cooking time varies a bit so make sure you watch and check frequently towards the end of the baking time.  The croutons will very quickly go from toasted to burnt.  Which is a total bummer.  Let the croutons cool on the baking sheet and then serve them with you favorite soup or salad.  Save leftovers in an air tight container for the next meal.

For this batch I added olive oil, salt and garlic powder.  I used very little oil to keep them healthier and light on the seasoning so the girls would enjoy them too.
 It's so simple and they taste so much better than the store bought ones.  You'll end up preferring your own concoction of seasoning anyway!  

Now excuse me while I go drool at my new cookbook.


A said...

Your welcome - if you bought that book after I went on about it on our fb group. I buy almost nothing from a box anymore!

Sara said...

It was recommended by a few folks on that thread I think and yes I did buy it after reading that! Such a great book. Great recommendation!

Emily said...

Awesome! I want one.

Rachelle said...

Oh I am going on Amazon right now!! Thanks for sharing!

Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

I read some of your posts at the Hardship Homemaking blog and ordered the Homemade Pantry cookbook. It arrived today and I'm so anxious to make those "pop-tarts" on the cover!