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5 Food Items Worth Making From Scratch


We all can’t be a little Martha Stewart and make everything we eat from scratch. With time being a precious commodity in our culture, it’s just not realistic. I’ve made homemade yogurt in the Crockpot and while it was delicious, I’m not able to spend a whole day tending to it. There are a few items, however, that won’t suck up all your time and are worth the saved cost of buying pre-made.

Peanut Butter

Do you have a food processor? It takes minutes to whip up a batch because all you do is hold the “grind” button until your peanuts turn into peanut butter. So simple! Check the unit price of both peanut butter and peanuts next time you’re at the grocery store. You’ll learn what unit price is a good deal and you can stock up on peanuts when they’re on sale. You can enjoy your own natural peanut butter without all the preservatives. Roasting only takes 10 minutes if you want that additional flavor.

Pizza dough

I’ve got a recipe for my mom’s pizza crust and a whole wheat crust for your choosing. Pizza crust is already cheap when you buy it pre-made but making your own doesn’t take long, you get to skip the extra preservatives, and in my opinion fresh baked dough tastes much better and you can add your own herbs & spices in for more flavor!


This is such an easy process: Cut up apples, throw in crock pot, turn crock pot on… that’s it! Sometimes I get fancy and add a couple cinnamon sticks. Make a big batch and freeze extra portions for later. No need to spend extra on individual serving portions.

Granola bars

Read the ingredient list next time you are in the grocery store. It doesn’t matter if they use organic brown rice syrup… it’s still syrup! Why do we need syrup to hold a bar together when dried fruit works just as well? Don’t be fooled by fancy language used for ingredients. Granola bars sound healthy but most of the time it’s just a lot of sugar holding together a little bit of food. Did you know you can make your own granola bars for WAY less than what you’re paying? Again, all you need is a food processor. My favorite brand of granola bars is Larabar because they only use real food for ingredients. The ingredients for their “cashew cookie” bar: dates and cashews. The “coconut cream pie” bar: unsweetened coconut flakes, coconut oil, cashews, almonds, dates. Why would you spend $1.50 per bar when you can make them for less than $0.50 a bar? I wrote down the ingredients for some of my favorite bars and made my own homemade Larabars with success, even with winging the amount of each ingredient.

Spaghetti sauce

In this case you can go halfsies on homemade. I won’t tell on you. I take one jar of commercial spaghetti sauce and add my own fixings to stretch it out: mushrooms, ground meat, canned stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, etc. Your batch of spaghetti sauce will go further for the cost and you can freeze what you don’t use for another dinner occasion that calls for sauce.

Other easy-to-make items you can enjoy include hummus, salad dressing, croutons, tortillas, pancake mix, guacamole, salsa… the list goes on! There are a lot of food items you can make from scratch but I weigh in the time it takes to make the item so it doesn’t outweigh the cost I’m saving. Making the above items from scratch can save your wallet, your waist, and won’t eat up all of your time!

What food items do you make from scratch?

This has been a guest post from Jessica. She is a Registered Dietitian and shares practical, useful tips on food, fitness, and finance. Be sure to subscribe to her blog, Budget For Health.

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. I like making bread in the breadmaker, and if you do it consistently it does pay off. Although, I may eat more bread bc it is so tasty freshly baked!

    I also think homemade birthday cakes are the way to go — definitely a money saver!

    • I thought about getting a bread maker but I didn’t for that reason- I’d eat a lot of bread! Homemade birthday cakes taste better too 🙂

  2. As of now we don’t make anything from scratch, but we will definitely be soon. We love peanut butter and may even try to make almond butter. I like the idea for the granola bars as well, our kids love them.

    • Granola bars are such a rip off when you realize how cheap you can make them yourself. I’m sure your kids will love them just as much and you’ll feel better about giving them REAL food and not a bunch of preservatives.

  3. Wow, I just had my first Larabar today after a long run, and I have been blown away. As of late my preference has been for protein bars, but I had picked up a Larabar a few months ago just because it looked interesting.I tried the “banana cookie dough” flavor, since I’m a banana nut. Unwrapping the package was difficult, though I’ve since found out that they have a multi-layer wrapper because there are no preservatives. Once open, I was confronted with a raw looking rectangle of brown with pale chunks in it. It looked moist and smelled phenomenal. The first bite made me think “banana bread”, and as I ate the rest of the bar I decided it wasn’t quite like banana bread, but closer to that than a “cookie”, in any case. The pale chunks were the #1 ingredient – almonds. The #2 and #3 ingredients were dates and bananas, respectively. The #4 ingredient was…. nothing. There are only 3 ingredients. I actually flipped the wrapper over to see the continuation of the ingredients list before I realized that there was no more list!These bars are a little expensive for a non-protein energy bar, but the taste is like nothing you would expect from a brown rectangular smashed together food thing. Its simply incredible, and now I have to go back and purchase the other flavors to try them out, too.

    • They are delicious and have such simple ingredients. I’d save your money and make them yourself! I wrote down the ingredients of the bars I really enjoyed so I can make my own.

  4. If you have a local Winco, they have a machine that makes the peanut butter for you. They have lots of peanuts in the bulk section 🙂

    • Our local Kroger and Whole Foods have a machine but it’s never been cheaper than making my own. The bulk section is where I often find the best deals on nuts though. Thanks for sharing, Melissa

  5. Another thing that is relatively easy to make is homemade fruit rollups especially if you have kids. The ones you buy in the store are loaded sugar and high fructose corn syrup. It’s a great way to use left over fruit or fruit that is just about to go bad. Mix up some strawberries and bananas or really anything in a food processor lay it all out on a cookie sheet put it in the oven on the lowest setting just to dry it out then cut it up and you are good to go.

    • I grew up packing fruit roll ups in every lunch. It is too bad that they are even allowed to put the word “fruit” in the title! That’s a great idea to make your own since it also saves you money by not having to throw away overripe fruit. Thanks, Andrea!

  6. I love homemade peanut butter. You can really tell the difference from those sold outside and with preservatives.

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