Mixes of the home made sort

Once upon a time, the wide variety of easy mixes we see on grocery store shelves did not exist.  Everything was homemade.  The few mixes that were available usually had distinctly lesser quality than the home made goods did, which is why even today…home made is regarded as “better.”  But home made doesn’t mean no mixes at all!

The first mixes were concocted in kitchens far cruder than most of us use today.  They were designed to put the basic ingredients together in order to speed up the all-too-laborious process of preparing the family’s meals from scratch three times a day in a kitchen that usually lacked electricity, let alone modern appliances.

Today, we have a wide variety of appliances that make cooking more convenient, faster, and more efficient than ever before, and yet…we cook fewer “from scratch” meals than our grandmothers did.  They’d likely be horrified at the meals we often nonchalantly present to our families today!

Along with easier cooking, we are now faced with an array of additives, preservatives, and suspicious ingredients that our grandmothers also never dreamed of.  No one in the early 20th century would have dreamed of ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, textured vegetable protein, and the long list of unpronounceable names landing on our food labels today.  Whether these items, which include everything from ingredients to contaminates and GMOs, are safe or not is something that is being hotly debated by people with far more knowledge than I do.

Like many people, I can’t afford to purchase only organic products, avoiding a lot (but not all!) of the more suspicious ingredients.  I can further reduce the number of weird chemicals, bizarrely named additives, and peculiar combinations that arrive on the grocery store shelves by mixing my own mixes, using basic ingredients that are available in most grocery stores.  It isn’t hard, and doesn’t require any special equipment–all you need is some basic equipment than most kitchens should have (and if they don’t, it’s time to get them!)

You’ll need the following items:

  • measuring cups
  • large spoon or spatula for stirring
  • large bowl for mixing
  • tightly sealing plastic containers OR “freezer” zip closure bags
In addition to these items, you’ll need the ingredients for mixing the mix, as well as whatever pans are used to bake/cook the mix into a finished product.
Homemade mixes typically will not include any liquids or oils/fats.  this increases their storage life.  Items that do include the fats will not store as long, and need cool, dry storage.  Most mixes will add the fat when preparing them for cooking.  Write the preparation instructions onto a recipe card and tape it to the container so that it stays with the mix.  This helps make the mix easy to use.
 Biscuit Mix

  • 9 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups shortening

 

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place or in the freezer for up to 8 months.

TO MAKE BUTTERMILK BISCUITS: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line the sheets with parchment paper. Combine 2 1/2 cups biscuit mix, 2/3 cup buttermilk, and a pinch of salt (optional). Stir together to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, about 10 times. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces and place on prepared baking sheets. Brush tops of biscuits with milk or egg wash, if desired. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown.

Cookie Mix

  • 9 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 4 cups shortening
  • 8 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 cups butterscotch chips

 

In your largest bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, and white sugar. Add the shortening and stir until mixture is mealy. Lightly stir in the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips until they are distributed evenly. Place 4 cups of the master mix into each 1 quart jar.

 

Attach the following directions to the storage container: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a medium bowl, beat 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until well blended. Add entire contents of the jar to the bowl, stir until combined. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. This recipe makes about 2 dozen.

Sweet Cornbread Mix

 

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 cups instant nonfat dry milk powder
  • 4 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal

 

In a large bowl, combine all ingredeints stirring well with a wire whisk until mixed evenly. Place in a large airtight container, label, store in a cool dry place. Use in 10 to 12 weeks.

To Use Mix:

  • 2 1/2 cups cornbread mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons oil

To bake the cornbread: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil an 8-inch square pan or round cast iron pan. Spread the batter in pan and bake about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: If using a cast iron pan, place a small amount of oil in pan and place it in the oven while preheating. Putting the batter into a hot cast iron pan helps to create a golden brown crust.

 

About giascott

Writer, blogger, cook, grandmother, mother, wife, radio personality, outdoor enthusiast, dog enthusiast, crafter, artist, and part-time nut~~I've earned a lot of t-shirts in my day! I'm one of those crazy independent women who can cut down a tree, build you a shed, sew you a dress, cook your dinner, make some soap, pitch a tent, build a fire, catch some fish, dig in the garden, chase a kid or two, write you a poem, paint you a picture, and a dozen other things...just don't ask me to sing! I'm also embarking on a relatively new portion of my life, one of being disabled. I'm learning some lessons along the way about a lot of things too.
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