Food Matters
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17 Time-Saving Tips for Cooking Real Food

If you’ve decide to cut down on your plastic footprint, you’ll start cooking more—unless you already cook everything from scratch. That’s because when you reduce your plastic consumption, you cut packaged, processed food from your diet and replace these food-like substances with home-cooked versions.

When you cook more, you not only reduce your waste, you also eat tastier food, improve your health—unless you only cook chocolate chip cookies—reduce your dependency on corporations to feed you, spend more time with your family and save money. I know cooking real food requires takes time. These tips will help save you some.

Plan Ahead

1. Cook Simple Food

I make a lot of one-pot meals and other simple food—minestrone soup, dal, frittata, pizza, refried beans. These types of dishes also help you use up food you have on hand so you waste less of it. I don’t cook anything very elaborate but it all tastes good.

Minestrone soup. Photo by Anne Marie Bonneau.

2. Start Early

I love to eat steel-cut oats for breakfast. At night before bed, I combine them with water in a pot, bring everything to a boil and then turn off the heat. By morning, they have cooked and I simply heat them up. If I forget to do this, they take about 45 minutes to cook in the morning. I don’t have 45 minutes in the morning. (Go here for the full recipe.)

3. Stock Up on Non-Perishable Staples When You Shop

When I use up ingredients, I add them to my running shopping list. When I need staples like rice, beans, sugar, salt, baking soda and so on, I buy lots. I hate to realize just as I start cooking that I’ve run out of an important ingredient.

4. Buy Organic Produce and Don’t Waste Time Peeling It

I don’t recommend eating the peels of industrially grown produce. Stick with organic, stop peeling potatoes and carrots and save time.

organic farmers market produce
Organic produce from the farmers' market. Photo by Anne Marie Bonneau.

Choose Your Equipment

5. Keep Your Knives Sharp

Dull knives can slip and cut you. A sharp one will speed up chopping and help keep your digits intact.

6. Use a Pressure Cooker

Friends and readers kept telling me to get a pressure cooker and am I ever glad I finally did. I love it. I’m actually a bit obsessed with it. After soaking chickpeas, I can cook them in minutes and they taste spectacular. I have to admit that opening a can does take less time but the contents can’t compare with beans you cook yourself. You’ll save money too. (Read more about using a pressure cooker here.)

7. Use a Crock Pot

I make stock in my crock pot regularly. I have also made good minestrone soup in it. You just toss everything in there and let it sit all day.

8. Choose the Right Tool for the Job

For example, if you want to make a vat of soup, use one large pot, not four tiny pots occupying all the burners on your stove. Trying to cook with the wrong tools leads to frustration and inefficiency.

At Your Station

9. Organize a Mise en Place

This French phrase means “put in place.” Before you start to cook, chop and measure out everything and set it on your countertop. Then just grab what you need as you cook. This saves so much time.

10. Organize Your Tools

I have a tiny kitchen. One of my favorite accoutrements is the bar in the pic below, which holds all the utensils I constantly use. I don’t have to search through drawers or cupboards for these when I need them.

bar with tools
Tools of the trade within easy reach. Photo by Anne Marie Bonneau.

11. Double or Triple Recipes

Cook a vat of soup and you can eat it all week and freeze some of it for later. Making extra doesn’t require much more effort and will save you lots of time in the long run.

12. Prep What You Can in Advance

When I come home from the farmer’s market on the Sunday, I prep some of my vegetables. I trim carrots and beets, or roast them or both. I clean and chop greens and stash them in the refrigerator—just as convenient as the bagged stuff! I may cook beans. I might make salad dressing. It depends on the meal plan.

13. Keep Your Compost Bowl Close by When Prepping

This helps keep your countertop clean and organized. If you don’t compost, here’s a post on how to compost the lazy way.

14. Cram More Into Your Oven

If you’re making, say, eggplant parmigiana at 350 F, bake a pie or cobbler, bake potatoes or roast vegetables or do all of the above while you have the oven on.

15. Clean As You Go

I am trying to instill this in my kids. Every good chef knows this rule. Clean as you cook and you’ll work more efficiently and won’t face a sink piled high with dishes when you’re done.

Lifestyle Tips

16. Get Your Neighbors and Friends Involved

Students often ask me how they can find the time to cook. I always suggest that they take turns with their friends and roommates making vats of food for the entire group at the beginning of the week. In other words, we can all work together and share! It’s a radical idea.

17. Farm Out the Cooking to Your Children

Yes, it takes time to teach them but once your kids have learned how to cook, they can cook dinner regularly. I don’t buy snack food because I don’t buy processed, packaged food. When my kids want cookies, they make cookies! This is such an important skill—cooking in general, not just baking cookies, although that is also very important.

Which Probiotic is Right for You?

Most of us are well aware of the proven health benefits of probiotics. Although some bacteria are harmful and can make us sick, beneficial bacteria can boost immune systems, help with weight loss, treat infections, ulcers, gastritis, and even improve symptoms of depression. You might be taking a probiotic right now. But are you sure it’s the right strain of bacteria for your conditions?

Even beneficial bacteria, when grown out of proportion, can have negative or just plain uncomfortable side effects. It’s important to ensure you’re taking the right probiotic for you, and to ensure you’re taking it the right way. In this article, we’re discussing the benefits and uses of different kinds of probiotics, and how to properly take them. As always, it is advisable to seek guidance from your doctor before making any major changes.

Photo by Pexels

Which Probiotics Should You Take?

Just when you thought you had it all figured out, you reach the probiotics section of the pharmacy and find a ton of choices facing you. Should you take a supplement or up your intake of natural sources for probiotics? Do you take Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium? The right probiotic could depend on the conditions you’re dealing with. We’ll cover some options here.

Probiotics are a powerful natural remedy for conditions such as yeast infections and bladder infections. For these conditions, try to increase your intake of probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut. Lactobacillus is the probiotic found in yogurt and other fermented foods, which can help treat yeast infections. Bifidobacterium can help treat irritable bowel syndrome, among other conditions, and can even boost the immune system.

If you are dealing with symptoms of an STD like herpes, look for Del-immune V® brand probiotics. A study on mice found that this brand of probiotics can possibly help improve survival rate in mice that were injected with herpes simplex type 1 virus. The study did not include human subjects, so further research is needed. However, probiotics can improve many symptoms and it’s worth asking your doctor if you could benefit by taking one.

Probiotics can even help counteract some of the negative side effects of painkillers and other medication like antibiotics. Painkillers work by preventing the creation of prostaglandins which help protect the lining of your stomach and GI tract. This could cause the bacteria in your stomach to become unbalanced. Taking a probiotic can help reduce inflammation and irritable bowel symptoms that can result from taking painkillers.

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium work similarly, the important thing is to find a supplement containing “live bacteria.” Most probiotics are considered generally safe, especially for healthy individuals, however it is always advised to consult your doctor before making any major changes to your diet or supplements.

When to Take Probiotics

Determining which probiotic to take is only half the battle. To really benefit from the effects of probiotics, you must ensure that you take them properly and consistently. A study conducted at Institut Rosell Inc. looked at how different probiotics were affected if they were taken before, during, or after meals, as well as how these probiotics were affected by different meal types.

They found that the beneficial bacteria from probiotics had the best chance at survival when consumed during or 30 minutes before a meal that had contained some source of healthy fat. Healthy fats are frequently consumed with breakfast, which often includes dairy, eggs, or avocado. However, some find that taking your probiotic in the evening helps the bacteria to latch on to the stomach lining.

Whichever way you cut it, the best time of day to take your probiotic is when you will always remember it. Whether that’s morning or night, try to take it with some foods that are high in healthy fats.

Kitchen Science for Kids: Sourdough Starter

While I wholeheartedly believe kids need to play outside in nature, they can also learn about entire ecosystems right in their kitchens, using only basic ingredients. This lesson covers sourdough starter. If you and your student want to later bake bread, you can find the recipe here.

sourdough starter jar
Mature sourdough starter. Photo by Anne Marie Bonneau. 


Bacterium (plural bacteria): Microscopic, single-celled organism that lives in soil and water and on plants, animals and other matter. Its purpose in life is to reproduce.

Ecosystem: All the living things in a given area. All things that live in an ecosystem are dependent on one another.

Microbes: Tiny living things that can be seen only through a microscope, such as bacteria and yeast.

Symbiosis: A mutually beneficial and dependent relationship between two groups.

Yeast: Another class of microscopic, single-celled organisms which, like bacteria, live everywhere.

Lesson Plan

Time requirement

The starter should be ready for baking within a couple of weeks, with very little active work done to it.


  • Kitchen scale (optional)
  • Thermometer (optional)
  • Two glass measuring cups or small glass or ceramic bowls
  • Measuring spoons
  • Fork
  • Small breathable cotton or linen cloth
  • Flour
  • Water

What Is a Sourdough Starter?

A sourdough starter contains living bacteria and yeast that transform flour and water into a leavening agent. Filled with gas bubbles, a leavening agent makes bread dough rise during baking. A sourdough starter also adds flavor and aroma to bread. It most commonly consists of only flour and water. This living thing needs regular feeding to keep it alive. When well cared for, sourdough starters can live for hundreds of years. The starter that King Arthur Flour sells dates to the late 1700s.

sourdough loaves
Sourdough bread fresh from the oven. Photo by Anne Marie Bonneau.


About 6,000 years ago in Egypt, someone baked the first loaf of bread. They likely noticed a neglected mixture of flour and water that had sprung to life, bubbling away in a corner somewhere. That accidental starter would have made the first loaf rise. For thousands of years, all bread was made with a sourdough starter.

In 1857, Louis Pasteur first identified yeast under his microscope. Not long after his discovery, around 1880, industry developed commercial yeast, which contains only one strain of bacterium, Saccharomyes cerevisiae. Commercial yeast produces consistent loaves of bread quickly, which meant bakeries could bake more loaves, more quickly, with fewer workers, resulting in higher profits.

However, bread made the old-fashioned way has never completely disappeared. People bake sourdough bread all over the world. San Francisco’s sourdough bread is so famous that scientists named the main bacterium found in sourdough Lactobacillus sanfrancisensis. They later discovered that this bacterium lives in sourdough bread cultures around the world, but no one has ever found this bacterium anywhere else on the planet except for in a sourdough culture.


1. In a glass or ceramic container, mix 50ml warm water (about 110 degrees) with 50 grams flour (approximately 1/3 cup if you don’t have a scale). Your mixture will resemble thick pancake batter. Cover your container securely with a breathable cloth. Leave your container out on the kitchen counter.

2. Stir your starter several times a day. Depending on your kitchen environment, the starter should start to bubble within 3 to 7 days. At this point, begin to feed it daily.

3. To feed your starter, in a separate container, mix together another 50ml warm water with 50 grams flour. Stir in 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of the bubbling starter after you have stirred it down. This new mixture is your new starter. The previous one is discard. TIP: Store your discard in the refrigerator until ready to use for making crackers, pancakes or waffles.

4. Continue to feed the starter daily. After 5 days of feedings, it should begin to double in size after feeding and fall back to its original size. This process will take several hours. It will also smell yeasty, slightly fruity and slightly acidic. The starter is now ready to leaven bread dough.

5. At this point, either leave the starter out on the counter and feed it daily or store it in the refrigerator and take it out once a week to feed it.

The Science Behind Sourdough

Yeast and bacteria are present in the air, in the flour and on your hands. You may want to use your clean hands to mix the ingredients to inject them with more microbes. As the microbes begin to reproduce in the starter, the bread-friendly ones take over and crowd out any unfriendly ones.

Lactobacilli bacteria convert sugars in the flour to lactic acid and acetic acid. These acids give sourdough its distinctive sour flavor. Acid-tolerant yeasts thrive in the starter also. They convert sugar into carbon dioxide and ethanol. The carbon dioxide creates bubbles that make the bread rise. Each microbe eats different sugars and so they do not compete with each another for food.

The principal yeast in the starter is Candida milleri. This acid-tolerant yeast doesn’t consume maltose, a sugar in flour starch. Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis, the bacteria found only in sourdough cultures, can't survive without the maltose they eat. Of course, microbes do die eventually, but not before they produce their replacements. When yeasts die, they break down into compounds that the lactobacilli eat. This mutually beneficial relationship between two organisms is called symbiosis. (If only all relationships went this well…)


Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, Michael Pollan

The Biology of Sourdough,” Discover

Invite a Rock Star to School Lunch

Lunch is an essential meal, but one I find hard to keep interesting. The classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, apple slices, and water sounds delicious, right? Unless it’s on the menu five days a week. That’s when my kids begin to moan. Why? Because no gazes light up around them at the lunch table as they open their bags. No one peeks over their shoulder asking what they brought today. They already know. It’s the same PB & J and apple they bring every day. Boring. Absolutely boring. Worst of all? No one wants to trade with them.

Granted, I don’t approve of food trading at lunchtime, but invariably I find children like to swap snacks. Seems they’re uninterested in their lunch totes, too. This is a tough pickle for any “cool” parent to swallow. “Me? No fun? No way!”

Garden Harvest for Lunch

If want to create the “wow” factor for your kids at lunch time, try packing a freshly-harvested carrot from the garden, including the greens. If your kiddos are fussy like mine, you’ll shave the tough outer skin off before you slip it into their bag. Once at school, surrounded by their classmates, your child will pull out their prize amid shrieks of delight.

“What’s that?”

“Where did it come from?”

“How did you get it?”

Unless they grow carrots themselves, most children don’t realize what they look like in their natural state. Makes sense. They only know the manicured versions they see on the market shelves. But they love the way home-harvested carrots look, marveling at the long, tapered bodies, the feathery green leaves, beholding the treasures as if a miracle had been performed.


The first day my kids came home from school after revealing a whole carrot for lunch, they were proud as peacocks. “Everyone thought my lunch was great!”

My favorite part? It tasted great, and carrots are nutritional rock stars. Win-win!

Healthy Dips for Snacks

As an accompaniment for those carrots, try engaging your child in the process of making homemade peanut butter or humus. They’re super as dipping sauces for carrots and celery adding even more nutritional value to the meal. Without preservatives. And peanuts are easy to grow. Does it get any better?


To make peanut butter, place 2 cups of peanuts in a high-speed blender or food processor, add a 3 teaspoons of vegetable oil to the mix and grind at the highest setting. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. The process should only take about two minutes. You can store your peanut butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator and it will keep for several months. Flavorings like salt and honey are optional, but delicious!


Hummus is just as easy to prepare by nearly the same process. Combine 2 cups of fresh chickpeas (cooked), or 1 – 15 oz. can chickpeas, 1/4 cup tahini, the juice from 1 lemon and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, blending until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping the sides as necessary. You can use the entire lemon, peel and all (without seeds), though the result will be a strong lemony flavor. Your choice.

Other great flavors to add to the mix are roasted peppers, garlic, hot pepper, cumin and salt. My kids love the roasted pepper version, but hummus lends itself well to just about any flavoring. It also stores well in an air tight container in your refrigerator. Best of all, your child can claim ownership at the lunch table. “I made this!”


On most plates, herbs like parsley, basil, and rosemary take center stage. However, your child will thrill in the thought of eating stevia, or what I refer to as the “sugar” herb. Stevia is commonly found in commercial sweeteners labeled as “all natural,” but what’s more natural than eating the leaves plucked right from the plant?


Not a thing. The kids and I add garden stevia to soups and beverages for a delicate sweetening, but eating the greens is way more fun. Especially when they munch them for lunch in front of their friends.

“You’re eating leaves?

“Like a caterpillar!"

“Do they taste good?”

Fellow students will want to steal a taste, but no need. Stevia is super easy to grow, and will inspire a new wave of young gardeners—perhaps even a school garden. And why not? A “green” wave has hit the country with gardens sprouting up across the landscapes of our schools. In fact, kids in Alachua County, Florida, are growing greens for their school lunches just outside the cafeteria doors. Why not in your neighborhood?

Award-winning author and blogger D.S. Venetta lives in Central Florida with her husband and two children. It was volunteering in her children’s Montessori school garden that gave rise to her new series Wild Tales & Garden Thrills, fictional stories bursting with the real-life adventures of young gardeners. Children see the world from a totally different perspective than adults and Venetta knows their adventures will surely inspire a new generation to get outside and get digging.

My Ayurveda Kitchen: Ginger-Turmeric Smoothie Recipe

Turmeric is the healthy spice that has been advised to take on daily basis. It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. It has a group of compounds called curcuminoids, among which curcumin is the most important. 

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream, so it helps to consume black pepper along with it, which contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin. 

Turmeric is used in Ayurveda to balance vata, pitta, and kapha, though in excess, it can aggravate pitta and vata. It also nourishes the rasa and raktha dhatu (circulatory system). It's bitter, astringent, and pungent in taste and is known for its antimicrobial properties. Ancient Ayurveda used turmeric for wound healing and in inflammatory conditions. Also, turmeric is used in respiratory tract diseases. 

Ginger is considered as an Ayurveda superfood as it improves digestion and assimilation.

ginger turmeric smoothie with fresh veggies
Photo by Adobe Stock/beataaldridge

Healthy Ginger-Turmeric Smoothie Recipe


• 1-1/2 Cups unsweetened coconut milk
• 1 tsp turmeric
• A pinch of Black pepper
• 1/2 tsp grated Ginger
• 1 tsp coconut oil
• 2 tsp honey


Mix all the ingredients and blend on high speed until smooth. 

Variations: You can include your choice of vegetables like carrots, beets, spinach, or fruits along with this recipe.

10 Foods to Help You Study and Stimulate Memory

Food for your brain must not be only nourishing. To make it graceful and work without glitches, your brain has to be fed with tasty and useful food. Check out these 10 foods for the brain that will help you set up a proper diet.

seafood platter

Thank You, Sea!

As we know, a brain consists of billions of neurons. If the cholesterol level in an organism is high, they start breaking down brain activity. In order to avoid it, you have to consume omega-3 fatty acids, which are contained in fish. Doctors claim that the most useful fish are salmon and tuna. Other seafood can do much, as well.

Oysters, mussels, and shrimp are rich with B vitamins and iron, which lay positive influence upon memory and other mental processes. Regular consumption may prevent the appearance of cancer.

Berry Cocktail

Almost all berries are essential for the brain. Many of them contain flavonoids guaranteeing good memory and slowing the aging processes. They are rich with antioxidants that stimulate brain activity. Gooseberry hardens vessels and helps with the brain’s oxygen supplies. This berry also helps to fight aftereffects of stroke and lower risk of its occurrence or recurrence.

Yolk Is Full of Secrets

When we become older, brain cells die from time to time. Eggs are the best to fight this unwanted process. The yolk is full of choline, the so-called building material for brain cells. Another useful substance is lutein, which lowers the chance of strokes and infarcts. Also, eggs are rich in lecithin, which helps fight free radicals and slows aging processes. A couple of eggs per day supply the brain with all the necessary elements and will help you withstand complicated mind challenges.

Healthy Heart = Healthy Brain

Glucose is one of the most essential elements of nutrition for our bodies and minds. Its deficit leads to brain exhaustion, tiredness, stress, and various nervous disorders. First, it concerns diet lovers. Dried fruits are the best sources of glucose. Also, they are rich in iron and Vitamin C. Dried fruits may help with clots, lower cholesterol levels, and minimize infarction appearance.

Smart Grains

It is not a secret that whole grains are the best allies for those who want to be slim. But not everybody knows that they are big friends with brains. Because of folic acid, they are considered to be foods that make you smarter. They stimulate the blood supply flowing to the brain, giving it more oxygen and microelements. Besides that, vitamin B1 makes your memory better. That is why whole grains are so useful for elderly people; but eating them is pretty useful at any age.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Nuts for Your Head

Include meals with nuts into your diet or eat them as snacks between meals. Peanuts and almonds are true treasures of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E, B6 and folic acid. This is the best present for the brain, as these substances keep it fit. Many nuts contain magnesium and thiamin which supply the brain with energy. Seeds are good in this arena, as well. They are ingredients for some really simple meals.

Cabbage Set

Don’t forget about it:

Brussels cabbage contains diindolylmethane which protects neurons from destruction and frees the organism from free radicals.

Seaweed is rich in iodine. Its lack is dangerous not only for the thyroid gland but for the nervous system as well: it leads to insomnia and depression

Red cabbage is rich in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants. Anthocyanin makes vessels harder and more flexible, which affects the brain positively.

Cabbages are useful both raw and cooked.

Vitamin Champion

Unpleasant spinach leaves contain a lot of useful substances. Vitamins B6 and B12 along with folic acid—this is one of the best healthy foods for your brain. It will help train a perfect memory. Regular consumption of this green vegetable will prevent cell aging and will become good prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Drink for the Smartest

Sour chocolate with a great number of cacao beans is the best delight for your brain. One-third of a chocolate bar will whip up your brain as well. Flavonoids will maintain the blood supply, and magnesium will take care of memory. Lovers of hot chocolate are less vulnerable to seasonal depression.

Tea Wisdom

A cup of green tea every morning is not only a healthy alternative to coffee but a good portion of catechin. These powerful antioxidants help fight a feeling of exhaustion and laziness. All in all, this is a perfect energy supply at any time of a day.

Take care of your brain every day. Enrich your diet with anything listed here, and you will see fast and positive results.

Alyssa is a talented writer and blogger who is fond of various tips that help with education. As she works for a truly British coursework writing service, she knows what’s the best for you and how to make it interesting.

7 Foods to Make Not Buy

I follow three simple rules in my kitchen: no packaging, nothing processed, no waste. I should add a fourth: no effort. I do love cooking but I also love easy. I understand that not everyone will want to bake their own bread (it tastes SO much better than store-bought though!) but the following foods take less time to make than to buy and schlep home from the store. And if you can find your ingredients in bulk, these money-saving homemade versions have little to no wasteful packaging.

1. Vanilla Extract

Pour 1 cup of vodka, bourbon, rum, brandy or single-malt whiskey over 3 split vanilla pods you’ve placed in a mason jar. Shake jar once a week or whenever you remember to. Wait two months or longer to use. You’ll find more details for vanilla extract here

vanilla extract copy
Homemade vanilla extract, day 1. Photo by Anne Marie Bonneau.

2. Bread Crumbs

You can make bread crumbs in several different ways. I cube stale bread, whir the cubes in my blender with a bit of salt and herbs and then toast the crumbs on a cookie sheet in the oven at 300°F for 5 to 10 minutes, until slightly browned.

3. Nut Butters

I grew up on Kraft Peanut Butter. I couldn’t find its ingredients online. I did, however, found the ingredients online for Jif Creamy Peanut Butter:


Please do not eat this.

Instead, buy some bulk nuts in a reusable cloth bag, toss them in a food processor with a bit of salt give it a whir. You could make peanut butter, almond butter or a combo like pecan–peanut butter.

If your grocery store has nut grinding machines and allows you to bring your own containers to fill with nut butter, you can buy it that way and save time cleaning up. Otherwise, homemade couldn’t be easier.

4. Beans

Not only do beans you cook yourself taste better than canned, you also cut your exposure to the BPA in the plastic that lines most cans. Scientists have linked BPA, a synthetic estrogen, to a variety of health problems, including breast cancer, reproductive damage, developmental problems and heart disease. I cook my beans in a pressure cooker (here’s how to use one). A slow cooker also works well.

pressure cooker garbanzos
Garbanzo beans cooked to perfection in a pressure cooker. Photo by Anne Marie Bonneau.

5. Chocolate Syrup

Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup contains:


Good to know that it adds only a negligible amount of fat because I wouldn’t want to consume anything controversial (I eat fat.)

If the food-like ingredients in this syrup aren’t themselves bad enough, the plastic packaging may leach estrogenic chemicals into them. And that plastic packaging never breaks down. Ever.

You can make chocolate syrup very easily. Combine 1/4 cup cocoa with 1/2 cup water in a saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until the cocoa dissolves. Add 3/4 cup sugar and pinch of salt and whisk until dissolved. Bring to a boil. Boil for three minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Read more here.

6. Sour Cream

This wins the easiest-recipe-to-make-in-this-post prize. Combine 1 tablespoon cultured buttermilk with 1 cup half & half (~12% milk fat), let sit covered at room temperature for 24 hours and refrigerate. It will thicken up in the refrigerator. I’m lucky I can buy dairy in returnable glass bottles. You must use cultured buttermilk for this to work, not merely flavored buttermilk. Go here for four more homemade 2-ingredient dairy staples.

7. Booze

Okay, unless you’re a teetotaler, you probably will buy alcohol again but do you realize how easily you can make it? To make mead—honey wine—you combine raw honey and water, stir and wait. The good bacteria and yeast in the raw honey will ferment your concoction. Find a more detailed recipe here.

new brew and ready to drink mead copy
Ready-to-drink mead (left) and a new batch brewing (right). Photo by Anne Marie Bonneau.

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