Winter Creations

These first few weeks of the year have been busy at Twice as Tasty. The first monthly newsletter just hit the inboxes of email subscribers. If you’re following this blog via email, you should have received a copy. But if you’re following via WordPress, you’ll need to sign up here. Once you do, you’ll still receive post notifications via WordPress, but you’ll also get an email once a month with a link to a downloadable and printable PDF version of the latest recipes so that they’re easy to use in your kitchen.

If you’re local, there’s still plenty of time to sign up for a sourdough or other winter workshop. I’ll also be giving a free public sourdough workshop at Free the Seeds next month. For nonlocals, keep your eye out for Twice as Tasty on Pinterest starting later this month—including links to fabulous winter creations that can be made in any kitchen.

Spreads

Twice as Tasty

“Artificial preservatives” has become a forbidden phrase in the natural food movement, with even big chains like Whole Foods touting their commitment to natural preservatives. And they’re right when they say, “I think most of our customers would agree that fresh food is tastier and we don’t need or want a food to be artificially preserved so it can sit on a shelf for five or ten years.”

But the convenient form of such quality rarely comes cheap. When you’re looking at a ripely scented organic peach versus a cheaper yet rock-hard nonorganic one, the decision is easy. But a tub of hummus, a jar of mustard, or a bag of granola—when you’re on a tight budget or feeding a large family, can you really justify the higher cost?

My answer is “no”—not because I don’t appreciate the higher quality but because we as a culture have forgotten that these preparations originated in home kitchens. Why spend $5 for hummus when you can spend as little as 10 minutes in the kitchen making your own? This month, I’ll focus on how you can make better and more affordable versions of prepared foods any time of year, especially dips and spreads, condiments, and breakfast cereals.

Dips and Spreads

Americans spend an impressive amount of money on dips and spreads, particularly for events like Super Bowl weekend. As you’ve already seen on this blog, homemade alternatives like Grilled Onion Dip can be made in minutes and go far beyond twice as tasty when compared to store brands. This month, I’ll get you hooked on spreadable Roasted Garlic and dippable Roasted-Garlic Hummus.

Condiments

Condiments eat up a lot of space in our refrigerators and a lot of dollars from our wallets. Malcolm Gladwell has written about some of these trends. More than a decade ago, his entertaining “The Ketchup Conundrum” in the New Yorker noted that “The rise of Grey Poupon proved that the American supermarket shopper was willing to pay more—in this case, $3.99 instead of $1.49 for eight ounces—as long as what they were buying carried with it an air of sophistication and complex aromatics.”

Hopefully, I’ve already convinced you that you’re wasting money—and saving little time—by buying salad dressings, pestos, and even herb blends. This month, I’ll teach you how to make mustards that will have you turning up your nose even at Grey Poupon.

Breakfast Cereals

Surveys have shown Americans are eating less cold cereal. At the same time, granola has gone so mainstream that companies like Kellogg are using it to boost their flagging boxed breakfast sales.

Unfortunately, a quick look at the label makes you question whether you’ve made the healthy choice. Granolas that are low in calories, sugar, and artificial preservatives will set you back $5 or more for 12 ounces. Fortunately, granolas are so easy to make you’ll wonder why you ever spent money on a bag. They’re also highly adaptable. Like my Fresh Improv Soup recipe, the granola recipe I’ll share later this month is based on ratios. It’s like a “choose your own adventure” story: every ingredient can be altered to suit your diet, your craving, or simply what you have stashed in your cupboard. See y’all next week!

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