Homemade Graham Crackers

cracker2

If you have little kids, then you might have an entire section of your pantry devoted to crackers.  There are graham crackers, animal crackers, saltine crackers, and don’t forget the goldfish crackers!  We ran out of crackers before naptime the other day, and I thought, “I bet I could make some crackers!”  This was followed by a list of reasons why making my own crackers would be so much better than buying them:

  • Healthier
  • Better tasting
  • Cheaper
  • More fun (the most important in my book; kitchen experiments are a major source of enjoyment)

Google took me straight to the do-it-yourself diva, Martha Stewart, for the recipe Homemade Graham Crackers.  It didn’t take long to realize that graham crackers, while being whole grain, cannot be considered healthy.  Store bought or homemade, any recipe with 2 sticks of butter is sure to be called tasty, but it would be hard pressed to be healthy.  Oh well, it might not be a healthy recipe, but I love baking and love butter!  Onward!

The recipe was super simple and quick.  I ran out of honey after 1 Tbsp (are you sensing a theme here?  I run out of things often because I 1) forget to write them on the grocery list when the supply gets low and 2) neglect to buy things on the list while at the store due to distraction by my handful of a toddler).  Well, I wasn’t about to abandon the recipe halfway in, so I substituted molasses.   Fabulous addition btw. :)

The dough was delicious.  You do need to wait 20 min while it sets in the freezer.  This is a great time to wash dishes and fold laundry.  Also, it’s just enough time to text a few friends.

cracker1

(notice that these are nowhere near perfect rectangles.  I rolled these out, not Martha.   Not perfect.  Fortunately, taste has nothing to do with right angles.  Also, if you read the recipe, who has a fluted pastry wheel??  I used a pizza cutter)

Ok, these were worth the trouble and the grand total of 30 minutes active time mixing, rolling and cutting.  Unfortunately for my justifications, I’m not sure the reasons panned out.

Healthier?  Certainly less ingredients and preservatives than store bought.  Probably nix the idea of healthy cracker altogether.

Better tasting?  Definitely.  Hands down.  Y-U-M-M-Y.

Cheaper?  Nope.  The nerd in me had to fact check.  So with some excel work (Laura isn’t the only one who uses excel!) Here’s the breakdown:

graham

This comes out to $5.20 versus $3.49 for a batch of regular graham crackers.  For me, homemade is totally worth the small added expense because it was fun, satisfying (to fill the cookie jar), and tasty.  I’ll still buy crackers at the store.  After all, they are so easy, and obviously more budget-friendly for those of us who pinch pennies.

Homemade doesn’t always win against store-bought when it comes to logic, but my taste buds are here to tell you, homemade is worth a try!  Definitely good.  If you want to see perfect crackers, check out homemade-wheat-thins by Smitten Kitchen.  Or this other recipe by her, whole-wheat-goldfish-crackers.  She seems awesome.  I bet she has a fluted pastry wheel, and I want her to invite me over for dinner.

Next time I’m going to make savory crackers.  This recipe seems simple and is not meant to be picture perfect.  Just my kind of recipe.

Ta-ta for now!

Emily sig

Women With Knives – Money Monday

saknifeA friend of mine has coined a term for a certain group women in the world that she calls “Women With Knives”.   Yes, she means those women who have a pocket knife.

It turns out this tool is very versatile.  If you have one, you can slice an orange at work, open a bottle of (root) beer, pick your teeth, or clip your nails (hopefully not in public – you know who you are).  In a less literal sense, WWKs are simply women who like to be prepared.

So this is for you, aspiring WWKs.  Before you go to buy a car, buy a house, or finance any purchase of any type, it’s good to be fully equipped.  Let me share with you one useful tool on a good “financial pocket knife” … a spreadsheet to help you calculate a monthly payment.

Open up a spreadsheet.  Even if you have only used it for guest lists or an address book until now, you can do this.  Let’s pretend we’re buying a sweet new minivan.

4thminivan

Yeah, I’m talking about the kind where the doors open with the click of a button, you can jam your Ralph’s World tunes via bluetooth from your iPhone, and you can impress the art fest-goers when you fit your neighbor’s giant framed painting in the cargo area with a whole centimeter to spare on each side.  And as a bonus you can use it as a parade float.

Ok – are you ready to have your mind blown?

Before I get to the negotiating table, I like to have a sense of how different variables will impact the payment.  Once it is set up, I can fiddle with loan amount, interest rates, and lengths of the loan.  It’s actually pretty easy.  Observe.

Money Monday

That’s it!  Now, just save the file somewhere handy for the next time you need it.

Laura Sig

Goodbye, Farmers’ Market

I’m jealous of Emily’s California growing season, and year round farmers’ markets.  Here in the Midwest, the season is coming to an end, and I have hauled myself over there a whole 2 times this year.  I am really not good about planning ahead and delaying grocery purchases in lieu of the market.

But today I did it!   We loaded up the crew and made it over right after it opened.

Flowers

I wanted to see if my favorite booth had their pattypan squash (only available a week or two a year). Not ready yet,  but plenty of other beautiful choices.

Mums IMG_1089 IMG_1088   IMG_1082

So, today I didn’t come away empty handed.  And I even stayed away from the little mini cinnamon sugar donut stand this time.  Thus, it qualifies as one of my most successful trips ever.

Farmers market purchase Local organic honey

I found some local (non GMO) corn on the cob (50 cents an ear), picked last night, some beautiful peppers (5 for $5) and some local honey, which he literally poured into the bottles yesterday.  The grapes are from downstate, which is about as local as you can get here (grapes don’t grow well in northern IL).

What did you find this week?  What were the prices like?