More back to basics

mustard-jarDo you remember that cute little mustard jar I brought back from my sister’s house in CA? I have decided to store my Italian Dressing Mix in it. The mix is something I always keep on hand and when I want fresh dressing this takes seconds. The best part is it’s easy and very inexpensive to make compared to buying bottles of dressing or those packages of the dry mix where you add you own water, oil, and vinegar. I forget the brand name at the moment but you know what I mean…They also sell the glass jars to mix it in.

All I do is mix together the dry ingredients and store in an air tight container. If you think maybe this will take forever to use up, cut the recipe in half and maybe freeze half (actually one quarter) of that.


Italian Dressing Mix:

Mix the following together and store in an air tight container.

  • 1/2 Tbl. Garlic Salt ( I use 1 tsp. Garlic Powder)
  • 1 Tbl. Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbl. Sugar (I don’t add the sugar but the recipe calls for it)
  • 2 Tbl. Oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Thyme, dried
  • 1 tsp. Basil, dried
  • 1 Tbl. Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. Celery Salt


When ready add and mix/shake well, let sit for 10 minutes or overnight:

  • 2 Tbl. of the mix
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 2/3 C Olive oil
  • 1/4 C Vinegar

See told you that was easy.


A big part of our living simply, or homesteading is not relying so much on the grocery to feed our families and in turn doing this also reduces our food budgets and gives us better fresher food to eat. I can open to my spice cupboard pull out these ingredients, mix them together and put the container into the pantry. Keeping a well stocked spice cupboard and pantry is a good first step.

cupboard-after2Don’t bother to keep herbs, spices or pantry items you or your family won’t eat, this will just go to waste and take up storage space. I like to keep the spices and herbs in quantities that I know I will use in 6 months or so, old and stale is not appealing to anyone. Store them in pretty air tight containers. I am still working on getting rid of the plastic storage for spices, I try to buy all from the natural food store and refill my own containers. As you can see I’m not fully there yet. I’m not going to blow my budget to pieces and rush out to purchase expensive or fancy glass spice jars. I’ll take my time look around and eventually I will one day say, hey I don’t need any more glass to hold spices.

A quick look around the net and a bit of taste testing you can find other recipes for more of the “packet” conveniences like ranch dressing, white sauce, poultry seasoning, gravy, pancake, biscuit, pizza dough and so many more.

It’s simple and just a fact it’s less expensive to cook and bake from scratch. The other reason is basic cooking requires basic ingredients. One thing about basic cooking is that it does take time and the skill. Time can be cut if you just look for ways to double up your cooking. Freezing, canning, dehydrating are all good ways. Skills aren’t learned in one day and if you don’t know how to cook that well, pick an easy recipe and start there.

Another way to save some time and plan ahead, I cut the veggies for the next meal while my current meal is cooking. I always cut a few extra carrots, celery sticks and radishes and store them in the fridge for quick snacks. My sister has a full time job and never is home before 7pm. She uses her crock pot for some wonderful, no fuss meals during the week. She will get it set the night before and store it in the fridge, in the morning take it out turn it on and off to work she goes.

Shop from your pantry when deciding on a meal and be willing to improvise if you don’t have all the ingredients. I have come up with some very nice meals this way. MANY will also suggest you make a meal plan either for the week or the month. ME…I just can’t seem to do this. I can make the plan but when it comes time to follow it I hardly ever do, I just might not feel like cooking that or eating that. This is OK because it works for me.

If you have any good “Basic Mix” recipes you would like to share, I would love to try them.


Posted on April 24, 2009, in Food Storage, Home Cooking Recipes, House Budgets, Planning and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. morning Karyn….I don’t have any basic mixes to offer you, but do agree with substituting ingredients and making do. I had friends coming for morning tea, hadn’t done my big monthly stock-up shop, and had nothing for morning tea.

    A quick rummage in the pantry and fridge revealed enough ingredients for muffins, a dash to the chook house scored an egg…..oh no, just a tiny bit of sugar left, and I know they both like sugar in their tea so I need to keep that. I had no time..or inclination to go to the shops, but no worries, I soaked some sultanas in a little ginger beer cordial, mashed a (local) banana, grated in some carrot…..voila, lovely spicy, just sweet enough delicious muffins. that disappeared very quickly! And there’s some in the freezer.

    It’s such a satisfying feeling to make do from scratch, rather than rely on the supermarket to provide everything, and really so easy.

    A sunny not too hot day here, I’m off to my favourite spot in the garden to do some handstitching :>

    Have a good evening.

  2. Hi Nanette,
    Those muffins sound just perfect. I sometimes use applesauce instead of sugar, I reduce the amount of liquid a bit. Glad to hear they were a hit.
    I can’t beleive the weather today 70! woooooo hooooo….

    Have a nice fall day

  3. I love this idea. I’ve got some mixes to write about….mostly from The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook. But right now I’ve got this new little person trying to tell me she is hungry. For now, it will have to wait!!

  4. Hi Kristin,

    I know all about little ones and trying to type and think at the same time. I can always tell my posts when that happens, the editing isn’t all that good. 🙂

    Have a great day and I look forward to some of your recipes.


  1. Pingback: Just the Basics « Lizzy Lane Farm

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