Friday, October 29, 2021

“I do it my own self.”

Those words were commonly spoken by one of my daughters from the time she was old enough to walk and talk. To say that she has an independent streak is an understatement!

It is an independent streak that prompted me to see what I could do to cut costs and “do it my own self” rather than pay the ever increasing grocery prices.

Ingredients are cheaper to buy than products. If we have been preparing for any length of time, chances are good we have ingredients stashed already. With that in mind, the following are some of the recipes I am putting together to avoid at least a few of the higher costs at the store.


5 cups nonfat dry powdered milk

3 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups dry cocoa

1 cup nondairy coffee creamer

pinch of salt

Mix powdered milk, creamer, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Sift in cocoa and powdered sugar. Mix well. Store in a airtight container.

When ready to use, add approximately 1/3 cup to a mug of boiling water. Stir until cool enough to drink.


4 cups flour

4 cups cornmeal

2 cups nonfat dry milk

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients in large bowl and mix well. Store in airtight container in cool dry place. Makes 9-1/2 cups. Use for the following recipes:

USE FOR CORN BREAD: Melt 1/4 cup butter in 8" square pan while preheating oven to 425ºF. Beat 1 egg and 1 cup water with fork in mixing bowl till blended. Add 2- 1/3 cup Mix and the melted butter. Stir just to blend. Pour into pan and bake about 20 minutes.

USE FOR MUFFINS: Prepare batter as for Corn Bread and spoon into 12 greased medium muffin cups.

USE FOR CHEESE CORN BREAD: After turning Corn Bread batter into pan, sprinkle with shredded Cheddar cheese.


3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp ground black pepper

3 tablespoons of chicken, beef or ham bullion


3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 -2 teaspoons of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon of minced dehydrated or freeze-dried chopped onion

To make 1 cup of gravy:

Melt a tablespoon of butter, lard, bacon grease or oil in a pan and mix with 2 tablespoons of gravy mix. Once all combined, add 1 cup of cold water and whisk until smooth. Stir until it thickens.


3 cups nonfat dry milk

4 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all except the vanilla, and store in an airtight container. To prepare, mix 1/2 cup of mix to 2 cups milk. Heat and stir constantly while boiling. Cool, then add 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.


2 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk

5 cups sugar

3 cups cornstarch

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa

Mix and store in airtight container. To prepare, add 2/3 cup mix to 2 cups milk. Heat and stir constantly while boiling. Cool, then serve.


2 cups nonfat dry milk

5 cups brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups cornstarch

Mix and store in airtight container. To prepare, add 1/2 cup mix to 2 cups milk. Heat and stir constantly while boiling. Cool, then serve.

Taking my age and physical limitations into account, I find some convenience foods easier for me to make.  But with prices heading higher each day and no end to it in sight, it just makes sense to me to "do it my own self." 


  1. Hi Vicki,

    Magic Mix is a good option for making cream of whatever soup, and loads cheaper. You can even use coconut oil in place of the butter to make it shelf-stable.

    Magic Mix

    2 1/3 cups dry milk
    1 cup butter, softened
    1 cup flour

    Combine all in a large bowl with a pastry blender or wire whisk. Mix until crumbly, like cornmeal. Store in the refrigerator.

    And here is the White Sauce. I've never even used it alone. But I figure it's there for a reason.

    White Sauce
    Yields: 8 oz

    2/3 cup Magic Mix
    1 cup water

    In a saucepan combine Magic Mix and water. Stir rapidly over medium heat until it starts to bubble.

    The real magic starts when you begin adding in other ingredients.

    Vegetable Cheese Sauce

    1 1/2 cups water
    3/4 cup Magic Mix
    1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

    Combine water and Magic Mix in a pot over medium high heat. Stir constantly with a whisk until it bubbles and thickens. Stir in shredded cheese until melted in sauce. Serve warm over vegetables. (I personally like this best over veggies and spiral pasta. It looks like you put a lot of effort into making a tasty side dish, when actually, you didn't.)

    This pudding is seriously good. I'm thinking I'm going to have to make it for dessert tonight.

    Chocolate Pudding
    Serves: 4

    1/2 cup sugar
    1 cup Magic Mix
    3 tablespoons cocoa
    2 cups water
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Combine Magic Mix, sugar, and cocoa in saucepan and mix well. Add water, stir over medium heat until pudding bubbles. Add vanilla and beat. Cover and cool.

    The recipes above are just starting to scratch the surface of possibilities for using Magic Mix in your daily cooking. Coming soon will be a post on how to use Magic Mix to make your own condensed cream soups, you know, like cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, cream of celery, etc.

    1. Jennifer...Thank you so much for adding Magic Mix to this post. I have a couple of boxes of Bisquick to use up after which this is on my list. I didn't know about using coconut oil. I would rather have it shelf stable than refrigerated.

      White sauce - my Mother would make a white sauce, add cooked garden peas or cut up asparagus and serve it over toast. Still a favorite of mine.

      I will be watching for your post on the cream soups. I would much rather make my own than spend a small fortune at the grocery store, which is the direction prices seem to be headed.

      TO MY READERS: A link to Jennifer's blog, "Prep School Daily" is in my side bar. There you will find a treasure trove of good information. I highly recommend you visit there!

    2. My hubby taught me about white sauce and peas. we serve it over rice here. :)

    3. LindaG...I have never had creamed peas over rice. My Mother was the Queen of creamed any vegetable always over toast. :)

  2. Hi Vicki, thanks for the recipes and special thanks for changing the font on this post. I find it much easier to read than the script (although granted the script is prettier)

    1. Joan...You're welcome. And I usually use the comic sans font but changed it due to problems with the format I normally use to write posts before putting them here. Now if I can just remember what I changed it to.....:)

  3. Replies
    1. You're welcome, sbrgirl...Makes sense to me to try to save money wherever I can, especially these days!

  4. These are great additions to my recipe binder. Thank you! CW

    1. Hope they help, CW...I have always liked the 'make your own mixes' idea. The recipe Jennifer posted looks like a winner and is one I am sure I will use.

  5. Hi Vicki and all the rest of your readers,

    I was really tired last night and just cut and pasted the article, including the part about an upcoming post on cream of whatever soups. Those articles actually posted quite some time ago. All the recipes are already there. There is also another mix to make cream of whatever soups called SOS Mix. SOS mix is gluten-free and lower in fat. But I don't like at as much for cream of tomato soup because my crackers go soggy too quickly. :(

    And finally, both of these mixes can be used to make your own Hamburger Helper. We made the cheeseburger version last night for Lydia's birthday dinner. (I can't believe she wasted a birthday dinner request on Hamburger Helper, but whatever, it's her birthday.)

    Anyway, just put Magic Mix or SOS Mix in the search bar and loads of recipes will come up. Keep in mind that the banana cream pie is also really good.

    1. Jennifer...Thanks for letting us know that the recipes are available at your site. Anything we can make ourselves or do for ourselves is a good thing - especially now.

  6. Thank you for the recipes, Vicki! I’ve already bookmarked Jennifer’s site so I will be checking there regularly.

    This is something my Grandma made and I still love it. It’s a coco and coffee dry mix.

    1C + 2T dry creamer
    1C + 2 T Quick
    2/3 C instant coffee
    1/2 C sugar
    1/2 t cinnamon
    1/4 t nutmeg

    Mix some into a mug of hot water and enjoy.

    1. LTM...Thank you for sharing your recipe. It sounded so good that I made a batch. It is wonderful!! I will be keeping a jar of this mix within easy reach. :)

  7. Some years ago I began pronouncing the corn in cornbread with an over the top Boston accent.
    (Think Kaaaaan bread) But now I find I cannot turn it off.

    They all look to be good things to try out.

    1. I can relate, John...Think of the word said with a flat, midwestern accent with a touch of Scandinavian tossed in for good measure. Sigh.

      With shortages and higher prices, seems to me to be a good way to stretch the ever shrinking dollar.

  8. My great-grandmother use to stir up gravy from her meat drippings after she had fried meat(beef or pork). She would add flour, let it brown, added milk until it was the right consistency to suit her taste. This is delicious, but it is probably completely unhealthy. Maybe not, she lived to be 98 years old. Jackie Clay from the Backwoods Home Magazine has a cookbook that has many mixes and also the "cream of" soups. Her idea is: 3TBSP butter, 3TBSP flour, 1/2 salt and milk. Melt butter, stir in flour and salt, stirring while heating to mix well. Add milk while continuing to heat, stirring to thicken. Add milk to the desired consistency. Add cooked, chopped meat or vegs. Add seasoning. They are very easy and economical to make. Hope this helps. Hope you enjoy your creation!!!

    1. Morning Sun...My Grandma used that same method to make her gravy. It was so good that in my family, any rich, brown gravy was called "Grandma Gravy." :)

      I have learned much from following Jackie Clay over the years, but I missed her recipe for cream soups. Thank you for sharing it here. With grocery prices heading skyward, it is good to know how to make alternatives to the store bought variety. I have turned some of my dehydrated veggies into powders and I'd bet those would work to flavor some cream soups. Take good care.

  9. Thanks for posting these, Vicki. And Jennifer, Lucy & Tiger's Mom, and Morning Sun also. I've saved the whole post to print out (when I get that situation remedied) to make some up.

    Besides being cheaper, I bet these would take up less space on the shelf too. Especially since those boxes are now about half air it seems.

    1. JustGail...I am delighted that others chime in with their recipes and ideas. Anything we can do to help one another is a good thing.

      When I make my mixes, I store the ones that are single serve in Ziploc bags. The rest go into jars or other containers large enough to hold a full recipe or more. The bags pack nicely into boxes or tubs and you are right - they take up much less space than the half empty boxes they come in from the store. Incidentally, I store rice, pasta, etc. in Ziploc bags. Also individual cake mixes, brownie mixes, etc. Bugs seem to like cardboard but haven't bothered the food in bags. That's a plus. :)

  10. nice article great post comment information thanks for sharing.