Homemade Mixes Save Money
Quick, check your pantry! There may be unknown additives and preservatives lurking about. Hiding in that cake mix or processed cookie dough are things you can barely pronounce. Sneaking around your freezer are frozen, processed meats containing ingredients, such as sodium, well above the recommended daily allowances. While you may not feel comfortable feeding your family such additives, making every meal from scratch is a task that's hard to digest.
It's time to think outside that "cake mix" box and mix things up! Cooking from scratch has never been easier, thanks to a collection of mix recipes designed to offer home-cooked meals from the convenience of a mix.
Karine Eliason, Nevada Harward and Madeline Westover, authors of Make-A-Mix (Fisher Books, 1995), first created their homemade mix recipes during a weekly television show segment on ways to spend quality time with family. "Each week we would suggest recipes, projects and lessons that could enrich family life," Eliason says. "One of the segments we did was on teaching children to cook. We offered the audience an assortment of 10 recipes for mixes. The viewers responded in an amazing way – we had more requests for those recipes than for any [other] segment."
After that show, Eliason, Harward and Westover were contacted by a book publisher. The overwhelming response to their mix recipes led to the book Make-A-Mix, which sold over one million copies and features 67 easy, do-it-yourself mix recipes.
Mixed up Benefits
In today's rushed society, some feel the idea of cooking from scratch is something modern conveniences have eliminated. Eliason clears up this popular misconception. "Once you make some mixes and start using them, you will find just how little time it takes to have this convenience in your home," Eliason says. "In the amount of time it would take to run to the supermarket, you could make a Snack Cake Mix and have it baking. Once your mixes are prepared, you have the same time savings as a commercial mix."
Undisputedly, the primary benefit of using homemade mixes versus store-bought brands is health-related. "We found that the commercial mixes have many preservatives and additives in them," says Eliason. "By making your own mixes, you can personalize the ingredients, whereas the commercial mixes must be used as is. Dietary restrictions also prevent the use of commercial mixes. If you are on a salt-restricted diet, you are unable to eliminate the grains of salt from a commercial product. However, if you are making your own mixes, you can eliminate the salt or use a salt substitute."
Overall, the most popular reason is taste. "You literally have home cooking from scratch with the convenience of a mix," Eliason says. "By keeping a few staple mixes on your shelves, you can prepare a delicious meal, dessert or snack in a moment's notice."