How to Make Vegetable Broth

My Mom, being the awesome Mom she is, sent along her instructions, with a couple of pictures, on how she makes homemade vegetable broth!

The broth is perfect for soups, stews, rice dishes, Risotto, and pasta sauces!

Want to know how to make vegetable broth?  Read on…

Want to learn how to make vegetable broth? Here's how to make vegetable broth using the scraps from your kitchen. So simple and frugal!

How to make Vegetable Broth

There are a ton of vegetable scraps that can be salvaged for broth:

  • carrot peelings
  • broccoli, mushroom pieces, celery, peppers, onions
  • Herb stems
  • Pretty much anything if it isn’t rotten!

Here are some tips to prepare your scraps:

  • Scrub your vegetables before peeling
  • Place all your scraps/peelings into a freezer bag or container
  • Keep adding to the bag/container until you have enough to make the broth (about 4-6 cups worth)

Vegetable Broth Method:

  1. Place the peels to a stock pot, add enough water to cover completely, then add ground pepper, bay leaf and a garlic clove.
  2. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Cool the broth, then strain and discard (compost) the solids.
  4. Pour broth into containers and refrigerate or freeze for up to 3 months.

So simple!

A Homemade Christmas Gift: Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I finally made some homemade vanilla extract!!  I had been meaning to make it last year for gifts, but…it never got done.  It’s sooo easy too!

All you need is some vodka and good quality vanilla beans.  I used Smirnoff vodka and Madagascar vanilla beans.  Speaking of vanilla beans, I ordered mine through Vanilla Food Company which is an awesome Canadian site!  From the shipping to the quality of the product, I was impressed!   Not only do they sell vanilla beans, but you can find a wide array of bakeware, packaging, sprinkles, candy making supplies and more!


Here’s the pack I got.  It’s the 1/4 pound pack of Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans, which is about 25 beans.  (The picture is after I opened the pack and used some.)

Now, for the vanilla making process.

  1. I added three cups of vodka to an empty glass jar.
  2. I then took 12 vanilla beans and cut them down the middle lengthwise. (pictured below)  My ratio was 4 beans to one cup of vodka.  You could use only 3 beans to one cup of vodka if you’d like.
  3. Finally, I added the beans to the vodka.  Done!
  4. Let sit in a cool dark place for as little as 1 month.  Shake once a week.
Here's Day 1 of the vanilla making process

Here’s Day 1 of the vanilla making process

As time goes on, the vanilla will keep getting darker and darker.  I think the optimal time to let it sit is about 2 months.  I’m still letting mine “cure” but once I think it’s good enough to use, I’ll be stopping by a dollar store to see if they have any little containers that would be appropriate to put the vanilla in for gifts.  For those of you that would like to make some Vanilla, I made some super simple labels that you’re welcome to download for your enjoyment!  (click on the picture to print the PDF)



30 Things You Should Stop Buying and Start Making

If you’re wanting to save some big bucks, it’s time to start thinking about making your own pantry staples and household essentials. Not only does creating your own stuff keep more money in your wallet, often times it’s better for your health!  I mean how many times are you stuck reading a label in the store wondering what half of the ingredients are?  By making your own essentials, you’re ensuring that you know each and every ingredient involved.

Creating your own products from scratch is simple. But to make it even easier for you, I've rounded up a list of 30 things you should stop buying and start making at home!

Creating your own products from scratch is simple. But to make it even easier for you, I’ve rounded up a list of 30 things you should stop buying and start making:

  1. Homemade Flavoured Coffee Cream |
  2. Homemade Peanut Butter | Fox and Briar
  3. Homemade Yogurt | Faithfully Gluten Free
  4. Homemade Mayonnaise (video) | Simple Bites
  5. Homemade Bisquick |
  6. Homemade Ketchup | Cupcakes and Kale Chips
  7. Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packs |
  8. Homemade Butter |
  9. Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup | Buns in my Oven
  10. Homemade BBQ Sauce | Simply Scratch
  11. Homemade Bread Crumbs | Make and Takes
  12. Homemade Taco Seasoning |
  13. Homemade Ranch Dressing |
  14. Homemade Cream Cheese | She Simmers
  15. Homemade Bouillon Cubes | A Return to Simplicity
  16. Homemade Alfredo Sauce | Genius Kitchen
  17. Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk | Cooking with Books
  18. Homemade Brown Sugar | Nourishing Joy
  19. Homemade Sour Cream | Oh Lardy
  20. Homemade Powdered Sugar | Mom with a Prep
  21. Homemade Vanilla Extract |
  22. Homemade Pizza Dough |
  23. Homemade Baking Powder | Mommypotamus
  24. Homemade Refried Beans | Simply Scratch
  25. Homemade Tomato Sauce | Food 52
  26. Homemade Apple Sauce | Pioneer Woman
  27. Homemade Pop Tarts | Smitten Kitchen
  28. Homemade Worcestershire Sauce | Little House Living
  29. Homemade Laundry Detergent | DIY Natural
  30. Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner |

How many of these have you tried?  Do you have any other recipes you can share?

If you’re wanting more ideas for things to make from scratch, you might want to try this book, The Homemade Pantry.  It features 101 recipes that you can try!

homemade pantry

DIY Italian Seasoning Mix

DIY Italian Seasoning Mix. #diy #pantrystaples

If your household is a fan of Italian dressing, this Italian Seasoning Mix is going to save you a lot of money over time!  It’s perfect if you’re on a budget and you keep finding yourself buying the expensive bottles at the grocery store.

While this recipe is meant to be mixed up as a liquid dressing, I’m sure sprinkling the spice mix over veggies or meat would be just as wonderful.  We like to use Italian dressing as salad dressing (of course) and even as a marinade for chicken!  Hint: throw some chicken breast into a freezer bag, pour this Italian dressing over top, then seal the bag and toss it into the freezer for a really quick freezer meal! It cooks up well in the slow cooker.

Italian Seasoning Mix
  • Dry Mix:
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Thyme
  • 1 tbsp Parsley
  • 1/4 tsp Celery Salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Salt
  • For dressing:
  • 2 tbsp Dry Mix above
  • 1/4 cup Cider Vinegar
  • 2/3 cup Oil
  • 2 tbsp Water
  1. Combine Dry Mix ingredients and store in airtight container.
  2. To make dressing, combine ingredients in a bottle and shake well.

Check out my easy recipe for homemade Ranch mix. Do you have any creative uses for Italian seasoning/dressing? Let us know in the comments!

10 Tasty Ways to Use Beans

10 tasty ways to put beans to use lowering your grocery bill!

I’ve been starting to use more beans around here because not only does a certain little person love them, they help stretch the grocery budget!  I also love the fact that they’re filling and nutritious.  Buying canned beans can be economical, but if you purchase dry beans in bulk, that’s even more economical.

While beans can be boring, they can also be super tasty to more creative you can be.  I’ve rounded up 10 tasty ways to use beans that you’re sure to enjoy!

In Smoothies

Sounds weird right?  But you’ve got to check out this recipe for Cocoa Bean smoothie from Tasting Table.

Make Bean Dip

One of our favourite ways to enjoy beans is to make bean dip by layering refried beans, cream cheese, salsa and cheddar cheese in a baking dish.  We then bake it at 350 until the cheese is all melted and bubbly.  Here’s a recipe for refried beans. You could also try this Black bean dip, looks tasty!

In Chili and Soups

Beans are a great addition to chili and soups.  Try out my recipe for Turkey Chili.  You could omit the turkey and add another bean variety to make it really cost effective.  This minestrone soup looks delicious!

In Taco Meat

Add beans to your taco meat to help it go further.  Black beans are a great addition.

In Dessert

I’m sure you must know about Black Bean brownies?  While I have yet to try them myself, I’ve heard others rave about black bean brownies!

Make Baked Beans

We’ve been thoroughly enjoying the recipe for slow cooker baked beans found over at 100 Days of Real Food.  It makes a big batch so I always freeze the leftovers.

In Bean Salad

Confession: growing up, I would always pass over the bean salad. It was just not appealing to me (aka: gross).  But now that I’m much older and wiser ;), I think I could get on board with eating some bean salad!  I’m going to try this recipe first.

In Burritos

One of our favorite ways to use beans is in these Black Bean and Salsa Burritos.  That reminds me, we haven’t made these in a while! Time to add them to the menu.

In Pasta Sauce

Did you know you can create a delicious alfredo sauce using white beans?  You can!  Just follow this recipe: White bean alfredo sauce.

Black Bean Burgers

Celebrate Meatless Monday and BBQ season with this recipe for Black Bean Veggie Burgers.  They sound mighty tasty.

In Hummus

I was on the hunt for a delicious homemade hummus, so I created this one!  Though, I’m not entirely sure chickpeas are considered a bean.  They’re a legume and so are beans so I’m going with it.

Do you have any tasty ways to use beans?  Recipe links in the comments are always welcome!