Wednesday, June 27, 2012

d.i.y. cornbread mix

Let me ask you a question. How do you save money? I am not talking about the BIG savings- you know 401 K's and 403 B's and all that but the little day to day stuff. Do you make your own coffee, skipping that long coffee shop line and keeping a few bucks in your pocket? Take the bus or train, and skip using your car saving you on returning to that gas pump again this month? I keep trying to find different ways to not spend the green these days. Especially now that is summer, and I am not working full-time. Today I rediscovered the library. I know, the library! I first walked into Barnes and Noble. The scent of new cookbooks, coffee, and (ugh!) over-priced books. I prefer if I can to buy them online for a little cheaper. I am leaving for vacation in a couple of days and definitely do not have time to order any pleasure-reading books for the trip. So after a quick trip around, I had an aha moment. Why spend my  money here on a guilty pleasure book I plan to read once, when the library is only a hop, skip, and a jump away? And free! 

My other way to save money is to make things from scratch. On the upcoming lake vacation I am going on, I promised I would make cornbread for the barbequed ribs we will be having one night. Now, yes cornbread mix is pretty cheap. But so is making it yourself! I already had the ingredients on hand, so I quick threw them dry ingredients together so they will be all set when I want to make fresh cornbread on vacation.

The mix is great because it saves you so much time when you actually do plan to use it. Isn't that what you pay for with those mixes in the story anyway is convenience? And this way, I actually know what the ingredients are in my cornbread! When you are ready to use the mix, all you have to do is add your eggs, milks, and butter. Stir it up and throw in it on the oven! 

I made a double-batch of the mix. The original calls for 9, but with 10 people on vacation and little ones running around a single batch would surely not do! 

This d.i.y. cornbread mix has inspired me to think of what other "diy" mixes can I prepare ahead of time? Any suggestions?

d.i.y. cornbread mix
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated "Golden Northern Cornbread"

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a sealable container. Whisk or stir to combine. When you are ready to use add:

2 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup whole milk
2 Tbs. butter, melted and cooled

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
3.  Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients, aka "diy cornbread mix". Add in your eggs. Stir gently with a wooden spoon.
4. Add your milks, and quickly stir your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until almost combined. 
5. Add your butter and stir just until combined.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until top is golden brown and lightly cracked and edges have pulled away from the sides of the pan about 25 minutes.
7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 5 to 10 minutes. Serve.

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