Store-Bought Kitchen Staples You Can Easily Make Yourself!

make your own self-rising flour I have a theory and it goes something like this……

My grandparents’ generation was definitely a much more “self-reliant” bunch than my parents’ generation, and likewise, my parents’ generation was a great deal more “self-reliant” compared to MY generation. But as I look back over the years…I feel like we are coming back around to full circle.

More and more OUR generation(s) are looking at the way our parents and grandparents did things and trying to emulate that. I believe people really want to get back to a time where common household essentials were more natural, less costly (in more ways than just financially) and were something to take pride in.

So along that train of thought…I got to thinking about some of the things most of us purchase at the grocery store that I’m almost certain our grandparents (and parents) made from scratch. I decided to compile a list of kitchen staples that over the years I have started making from scratch (that I used to buy at the store) and included a few I hadn’t tried before!

Let’s start with those…..

BROWN SUGAR – Well this is a little embarrassing to admit, but I did NOT know that brown sugar was simply granulated sugar and molasses. Maybe I did…in some dark recess of my mind. I’m not sure. Anyway, this recent revelation had me immediately searching through my pantry to find that bottle of molasses that was hiding somewhere!


make your own brown sugar

How to Make Brown Sugar

1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon molasses (add more for a darker brown sugar)

Add sugar and molasses to a bowl and mix together. I used a whisk because it helped to incorporate all the molasses. It takes a few minutes until it’s completely mixed in…but that’s it. You just made your own brown sugar. Umm…it doesn’t get any easier than that people!  For dark brown sugar, add another tablespoon of molasses. Store in an airtight container.


make your own brown sugar


SELF-RISING FLOUR – Once in a while I will run across a recipe that requires “self-rising flour”. (Many southern cooks won’t use anything else in their biscuits or shortcakes.) I never questioned this. I would just go to the store and buy a bag. Finally, one day I asked the question (to no one in particular), “What exactly IS self-rising flour anyway?” Here is the answer:


make your own self-rising flour

To make one cup of self-rising flour:

Sift together-

1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Once again, that’s it. Which begs the question…..why would you buy a box or bag of this when you already have everything on hand to make it??  It’s a mystery I tell ya!


make your own self-rising flour


more kitchen staples:


SALAD DRESSING – this is a “gray area” for me. I RARELY buy bottled dressing (ugh! Can’t stand it after I started making my own!)…BUT, more often than not, I use Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing & Seasoning Mix (the dry stuff) and add my own mayonnaise and milk (or buttermilk.) So it’s SORTA homemade.


making bread crumbs

BREAD CRUMBS – I started making these more as a CONVENIENCE than anything else. I got sick of having to run to the store to get some if I wanted to make my Parmesan Chicken. Then one day it hit me, I ALWAYS (well, mostly) have BREAD in the house!  Why not just MAKE some! duh.


granola bars

GRANOLA/BARS – granola & granola bars have become SO popular during the last decade or so because they are SO handy to keep in your pantry, your purse, your lunch box, your car…for a quick snack that’s fairly healthy. Before this the go-to snacks were mostly candy bars! The thing is, they are expensive when you buy them in boxes all individually wrapped (not to mention wasteful!) and making your own is SO easy!


PANCAKES – Somewhere along the way we decided throwing a few different ingredients in a bowl and mixing them up was just TOO much work!  Now we want to simply ADD WATER and have instant pancake batter. This is just plain silliness to me. We need to change this. :-)


PANCAKE SYRUP – Sugar, water, maple flavoring, done. Aunt Jemima, isn’t it time you retired? :-)


WHIPPED CREAM - Another silliness thing to me. Why would you buy this already made up in plastic tub, or worse, an aerosol can, when it’s so SIMPLE to make at home?


OATMEAL - I’ll admit, the little packets are handy…but, again, expensive and wasteful. Making oatmeal the “old-fashioned” way HAS to make a comeback!


SPAGHETTI SAUCE – I know it’s fun to re-purpose the jars for other fun projects….but that’s about the only reason we should be buying jar after jar after jar of this stuff! At the very LEAST…buy some spaghetti sauce seasoning packets and add tomato paste and water! Better yet, make some on the stove, let it simmer all day long like Grandma used to do. The house will smell wonderful and the TASTE cannot be duplicated in a bottle.


CHICKEN STOCK/BROTH -  So many recipes call for chicken stock or broth to add flavor, but since I rarely buy it, I would usually skip those recipes and move on to something that DIDN’T require it. That is until I realized that you can easily substitute chicken bouillon in your recipe. Each bouillon cube, added to 1 cup of water, makes 1 cup of broth. Done. No more lugging home all those cans or cartons.


TACO SEASONINGPosted about previously.












COLESLAW –  Posted.


JAMS –  Posted.


BBQ SAUCE –  Posted.

I could keep going….but I will spare you! ;-)  I think I’ve made my point. Hopefully, if nothing else, this post will help you see the “convenience” items you purchase in the grocery store in a different light and realize how EASY (not to mention cheaper and better-tasting!) they are to make yourself at home.

Now it’s YOUR turn!  Tell us what YOU make vs. buy!



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  1. Mari T. says

    Brown sugar is not usually white sugar ad molasses. If you buy the kind that´s kinda sticky then it is but there is other kinds too. like cane-sugar which is brown sugar that had not been bleached yet. -sugar is NOT naturally white

  2. Penny Hannah says

    DO folk actually BUY whipped cream? – heaven help us! Before I became unable to make things, most of the above list were just what one did as a matter of course. Thank you, mother for teaching me well.

  3. Tammy says

    Brown sugar that you use in most recipes is molasses and white sugar. Every recipient that I’ve ever ran across that calls for the I bleached cane calls for raw sugar…not brown sugar.

  4. Dawn says

    Brown sugar that is labeled “brown sugar” at the store is indeed white sugar and molasses. Unless you find it on sale, it’s more expensive than making your own. I used to mix mine up separately when a recipe called for it. Now I just add the white sugar and molasses to whatever I’m making up and mix it with everything else. It’s a lot easier.

  5. Juliet says

    You can always can chicken stock after you make your rotisserie chicken — add some veggies and herbs and water to the bones, boil and simmer. Then pressure can. Time consuming, yes, but most of it is hands-off time, letting the stove do the work for you. Tasty and a low sodium. Turkey stock, beef stock and veggie stock as well. Even corn cob stock, for a taste of summer in your winter soups.

  6. Carole May says

    Jillee, why not make your Ranch dressing ingredients? There are a million recipes out there and the best part? no preservatives and you control the salt!
    Since I have become “financially challenged” I have really learned lots of tricks! Thanks to you for adding to my education!

  7. melissa says

    oh man…i never knew what self rising flour was, lol i always avoided those recipes but now that i know what it is and its so darn easy to make myself i can go back an find those biscuit recipes that i wanted to try but never did, thanks jillee

  8. says

    I make my own chocolate syrup. Desperately wanted chocolate syrup for ice cream one evening and didn’t want to burn gas to head to the store…lol Checked online, and felt like a dummy when I realized how simple and cheap it is to make your own. 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 cups of sugar, pinch of salt, and 1/4 tsp. of vanilla. What I love about anything you make yourself is that you can tweak it to you and your family’s tastes, and most are much cheaper!

    This syrup makes great chocolate milk also!!

  9. Sonya says

    You can also make your own baking powder by combining 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp cream of tarter, and 1 tsp cornstarch.


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