9 foods that always taste better when you make them yourself

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There are certain times when you should treat yourself and other times when it makes sense to cook or bake things yourself. You’ll enjoy what you make so much more than what you’d buy at the store. And, bonus: you can avoid added sugars, chemicals and preservatives in what you eat. Moreover, if you have the right recipes, you can save money in the process. Ditch the packaged and pre-made stuff when it comes to the nine foods below.


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1. Granola Bars

Making your own granola bars is kind of a no-brainer. They’re likely to be healthier than what you’d buy at the store and if you bake in bulk, you get a lot more for your money. These chewy homemade granola bars only take 20 minutes to make and you know exactly what you’re eating. Instead of all kinds of preservatives and extra sugar, they’re made with ingredients like coconut oil, honey, mashed banana, and vanilla to get your desired sweetness.

2. Kale Chips

Imagine having a week’s supply of kale chips for the price of one bunch of kale. If you’ve ever seen kale chips at the store, you know how overpriced they can be. So there’s no reason you should buy these crunchy and healthy snacks again when you can easily make them at home.

For your basic kale chip recipe, all you’ll need is an oven, a head of kale, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and about a half hour or less of your time. Here are eight kale chip recipes to try on your own.

3. Salsa

If you’re a salsa addict, making your own will be a game changer. The better and healthier brands out there don’t come cheap and you’ll end up with something superior by buying your own vegetables and making it at home. This salsa recipe from Alton Brown calls for Roma tomatoes, garlic, jalapeños, bell pepper, red onion, olive oil, lime juice, chili powder and fresh scallions. You’ll end up with a big batch to feed your salsa addiction, plus you’ll avoid things like high-fructose corn syrup found in commercial salsa jars.

4. Salad Dressing

It might seem more convenient to buy salad dressing at the store, but making it at home barely requires any effort and you’ll end up with something lighter, healthier and less expensive. Also, FYI: Store-bought salad dressings can be loaded with GMO’s, toxins and hidden sugars. You can avoid all of that when you’re at the helm.

Here’s a recipe for a simple vinaigrette that only requires ingredients. As long as you have extra virgin olive oil, some kind of vinegar — could be white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar — salt and freshly ground pepper, you can easily make your own. Extras like shallots, garlic, Dijon and honey are added bonuses.

5. Croutons

For those of you who love to add a little crunch to your soup or salads, making homemade croutons is a no-brainer. All you have to do is preheat the oven to 350 degrees, remove the crust from any stale bread, brush the bread with butter, cut the bread into small cubes, sprinkle it with any seasonings you want and put the bread in the oven on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes.

6. Tortilla Chips

Whenever you have guests coming over and you want to impress them with an easy homemade snack, tortilla chips are the way to go. You’re better off making your own than buying them at the store. You only need oil with a high smoke point (canola, grapeseed or corn oil) and a pack of 12 corn tortillas. It doesn’t get much easier than this. All you have to do is dry them out, cut the tortillas into triangles and fry them until they begin to brown.

7. Whipped Cream

Making your own whipped cream for dessert is always a crowd pleaser. All it takes is a little elbow grease. All you need is heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and honey. Here’s how to make your own. You get to avoid all of the added sugars in store-bought whipped cream and you’ll end up with something much fresher.

8. Hummus

The real payoff in making your own hummus comes down to taste. If you have a blender, you can make hummus from scratch. It’ll take you 10 minutes and you can pat yourself on the back for creating this healthy homemade snack.

9. Applesauce

To make your own applesauce, you need apples, water, lemon, a big pot and just a little time. Homemade applesauce tastes so much better than the jarred stuff and you can avoid added sugars by making it yourself. Here’s an easy recipe that’ll only take you 45 minutes and you’ll have six cups worth of applesauce on your hands.

This article first appeared on Swirled

 


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