Healthy and money saving!

7 Kitchen Staples You Can Easily Make Yourself

by Leanne Ely


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There are very few bottled items in my refrigerator that I have not made myself. I enjoy making my own condiments because I can tell exactly where each ingredient came from!

I also like to make condiments that use up the bounty of my garden. Currently that would be tomatoes!

The following are seven common kitchen staples that I make myself and that you can too!

Applesauce - Core and slice some organic apples. Simmer them down and sprinkle with cinnamon. Applesauce!

Tomato paste - Peel and seed your tomatoes, and then dice them into little pieces. Put tomatoes in a single layer in a medium-large sauce pan. Toss some salt over the tomatoes and cook at medium heat, uncovered, stirring once in a while, until you have tomato paste! Be patient because it can take a couple of hours for this to happen. Keep the heat low enough that the tomatoes aren't boiling, but high enough that there's steam coming from them.

Ketchup - To a good scoop or two of organic tomato paste (or homemade!), add a dollop of organic molasses or local honey, some organic apple cider vinegar, a pinch of onion powder, a pinch of garlic powder, a pinch of allspice, and some salt and pepper. Add a little bit of water and bring to a boil. Simmer until it looks like ketchup!

Salsa - Your basic ingredients will be roma tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, jalapenos, lime juice, salt, and cilantro. Taste test until you get it just right. Once you have the basic formula down, have fun with it! Separate your salsa into little batches where you can add all kinds of things. Add in some avocado, mango, strawberries, pineapple, or black beans. You're limited only by your imagination!

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Barbecue Sauce - Here's a great recipe for you to try (it's also Paleo!):

1/2 cup organic tomato sauce
1 cup organic apple juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup local honey or organic molasses
4 tablespoons organic Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon hot sauce (can adjust to taste or omit)
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter

Cook onion in melted butter until clear. Slowly stir in liquid ingredients, adding dry at the end. Bring to a boil for about 15 minutes, stirring continuously. Use in place of any BBQ sauce.

Mayonnaise - Mayonnaise really is just a mixture of oil, egg, lemon juice, and seasonings. Here's a fantastic recipe for paleo mayo for you to try:

1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup avocado oil, grape seed, or olive oil

Mix together all ingredients except oil. Once all previous ingredients are fully combined, whisk in oil. You are done!

Salad dressing - My easy balsamic vinaigrette is the only salad dressing recipe you will ever need!

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

It's not all that much work to make your own condiments. In fact, I find that making these items as I need them is quite convenient and spares a lot of space in my refrigerator. It also saves on the grocery bill!


Leanne Ely is a New York Times best selling author of Body Clutter and the popular Saving Dinner cookbook series. According to Woman's Day Magazine, she is the expert on family cooking.

Leanne's syndicated newspaper column, The Dinner Diva can be found in 250 newspapers nationwide and in Canada. Her vast broadcast experience includes media satellite tours, QVC several times as well as guesting on several national television shows, including HGTV's Simple Solutions, ABC Family's Living the Life, Ivanhoe's Smart Woman, Small Talk for Parents and Talk of the Town. She has guest chef-ed on the cooking show, Carolina Cooks and has taught cooking classes all over the country for Bloomingdale's.

In addition, she is a seasoned radio personality. Leanne's own radio show, Heart of A Woman aired during drive time in two major California markets, Los Angeles and San Diego. Her current show, The Dinner Diva is one of the top Blog Talk Radio shows on the Internet.

On the Internet, she pens the Food for Thought column for the immensely popular, FlyLady.net, with over half a million readers weekly. She has been featured in Woman's Day magazine, the Chicago Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, Orange County Register - to name a few. Additionally, she is a sought after speaker and has spoken all over the country, with keynote addresses to corporate and non-profit entities. SavingDinner.com. Visit Leanne Ely on Google+.

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