I have a dilemma. See, I love making things from scratch, but sometimes there’s just not enough time to make all the recipes I bookmark, or sometimes they require way too many ingredients that I’ll end up using once. I’m all about convenience, but at the same time, there are things that are wayyyy better homemade than from the store…and vice versa!
Homemade > Store-bought
- Coconut butter: Ask me this a week ago, and it would have been the exact opposite. I’m a relatively new convert to coconut butter’s magic, and I was partial to the Artisana brand, which unfortunately comes with a hefty price tag. My previous attempts to make coconut butter at home were complete disasters because I used reduced fat shredded coconut (all I had on hand) and that basically just makes coconut flour. I heard that using unsweetened coconut flakes worked well, so I bought the Let’s Do Organic brand for about $3 or $4 and ended up using a little more than half the bag to make coconut butter. I wish I had saved the entire bag before making it, because it turned out great–just a lot less than I wanted! The key is to use a large food processor, flaked full-fat coconut and at least 3 cups (I used 2, and it was fine, but I ended up with maybe 1/2 cup of coconut butter). I heard horror stories about food processors overheating, or the coconut never butterizing (is this a word?) and since I had to use my mom’s processor since mine’s a tiny one, I worried that I’d owe her a new one. Luckily, it whipped up the coconut butter in probably 10 minutes tops and it was perfectly drippy and creamy, just like Artisana’s.
- Guacamole: I don’t think I’ve eaten store-bought guac in a few months and I’m not sure I can ever go back. I used to love the Wholly Guacamole brand but now it tasted less than fresh to me. Guac is one of the easiest things to make at home (you technically don’t even need a food processor) and is so easy to customize. My go-to blend is one avocado (or sometimes half for a single serve batch), chopped fresh jalapeno pepper, cilantro, squeeze of lime juice and sea salt to taste. Sometimes if I’m feeling lazy, I just mash the avocado in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and call it a day. Nothing beats fresh-made guac!
- Sprouted tortilla chips: To be fair, I’ve never come across truly sprouted and raw tortilla chips in a store, but I used to be a huge fan of the Way Better Snacks brand of sprouted tortilla chips and they’re still great in a pinch. But when I have more time on my hands, I like to cut a few Food for Life sprouted corn tortillas into triangles, place them on dehydrator sheets and let them dehydrate for a few hours. It takes a little more time than making chips in the oven, but it’s mostly hands-off and you get the added benefit of preserved nutrients. I love the Food for Life tortillas because they’re organic which is important for corn, and sprouted, which is a lot healthier than most corn tortillas on the market. I’ve always made my chips plain, but you can definitely dress them up with spices or lime juice.
Store-bought > Homemade
- Raw nut mixes and flax crackers: I love the Living Intentions Gone Nuts! line of sprouted and flavored nuts despite their high price ($5 for a tiny 3 oz bag) and the Food on Purpose brand of flax crackers, both available at Whole Foods and Sprouts. Though I could probably make similar things at home, they wouldn’t turn out as tasty or as portable.
- Veggie burgers: I’ve attempted cooked veggie burgers a few times (with only one success) and I want to try a raw dehydrated version, but they are so hard to perfect! I had similar issues in finding the perfect packaged veggie burger–some were tasteless, most had sketchy ingredients. When I found Sunshine burgers, I knew I’d found a winner. They’re made of whole foods like beans, brown rice and sunflower seeds and they’re hearty and delicious. They’re not the cheapest brand, but quality foods aren’t always cheap and it’s worth it to have a clean veggie burger I can eat when I don’t feel like cooking.
- Raw chocolate: Last week, I experimented with making my own version of this chocolate. I used raw honey instead of agave for the lucuma filling and it was stickier than I’d like and I couldn’t form the cacao+coconut oil into a bar form. It still tasted fine, but I’d rather buy a bar of raw chocolate once a week and save my cacao powder and coconut oil for other things.
Are there things you prefer to make rather than buy, or the other way around?