My Favorite (and IMHO the best) Foods to Make From Scratch

Happy one year of Excerpts of Awkwardness! Time sure has flown by!

Today I’m doing a roundup of my favorite foods to make from scratch (I’m resisting the urge to say the best foods to make from scratch, since I realize some people’s priorities might be different than mine).

I love trying out making foods from scratch because it fascinates me to learn more food science and how it works. But while I’ll try most things at least once, I have a pretty high standards for what it takes to start making something from scratch consistently.

I’m looking at price, taste, and effort. I only really need two out of three of those – either more inexpensive, better tasting, or pretty easy – but if it only has one I don’t generally go for it.

For example, these are the things I’ve tried making myself but once was enough:

Mozzarella (more expensive, tastes the same, time intensive)

Crackers (taste the same, kind of a pain to make)

Pasta (cheaper, but a much different taste – not bad, just different – and a huge pain without dedicated equipment)

So what do I recommend making from scratch?

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Lots of Love (and a bonus baked brie recipe)

I’ve been feeling pretty loved this last week, not just because of the big holiday yesterday, but really across the board.

Last Friday at work I took my intermediate competency test, which consists of a supervisor observing me and taking data on how well I do my job. It was a little nerve wracking, but my feedback came back almost all positive (my observer pointed out that she really had to dig for things for me to work on, and the words “phenomenal” and “awesome” were thrown around a few times).

Then one of my best and oldest friends came up for the weekend. It was really good to see him and get to hang out for awhile. He was very sweet and bought me groceries for the week, calling it a housewarming present, and pointed out at least a dozen times how happy he was to see The Geek and I. I also appreciated his sharp editor’s eye on my last post =)

I had work last night, so The Geek and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day on Wednesday in the low-key style that has become our norm. We made steak, baked brie, and sweet potato tater tots (I knew he’d love them). I felt bad for the upstairs neighbors since my overly-sensitive fire alarm went off several times, but with some strategic fanning and open windows we managed to not have the fire department bursting in the door.

It’s been a hectic, crazy week, so that’s about all I’ve got for today, but, if you’re interested in a cheesy, flaky, slightly sweet recipe, you’ll find it after the jump (and no, I’m not including a picture. Have you seen baked brie? There’s just no way to make that look appetizing!)

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Easy Homemade Christmas Gifts

Last week, we talked about why it’s worth trying to make Christmas easier and less stressful, and I loved hearing examples in the comments of how you’ve gotten your holiday to run smoother.

This week, let’s talk about some of the nitty gritty: presents. Like I said last week, this isn’t about going cold turkey and not giving anything or celebrating, but about finding a balance that works within time and budget restrictions, so you can have the best holiday (however you define “best”).

Here are a few of my favorite inexpensive things to give, and I’d love to hear more ideas from you in the comments!
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