Tag Archives: DIY

Bread Crumbs and Croutons

Ever find yourself faced with this?

The sad end of a loaf of bread.  You didn’t eat it fast enough so now it’s dry and crumbly.  What can you do?

Don’t just chuck it!  You have so many options!  You paid good money.  Let’s make the most of it.

You could just make toast and be done with it…

Or you could pick something off of this timely list of uses for stale bread I just discovered in my inbox.

(Who knew? Bread as burnt food savior!)

OR!! You could jump on the DIY bandwagon with me…

homemade bread crumbs and croutons!  It’s pretty cool because now you avoid:

1.  Throwing out a hunk of bread

2. Buying croutons

3. Buying bread crumbs.

I’d call that a win.  Also none of this takes very long at all so you don’t even have to slave away in the kitchen for hours!

Here’s how:

Break it down into convenient food-processor-insertable strips and, using the grater attachment, grate them into crumbs.  Insert the sticks through the feed tube while it runs.  The whole process takes about 5 seconds flat.  You could also just grate them by hand.  All you need is crumbs…

No fancy prep work required!  Just spread the plain crumbs in an even layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes (for a whole sheet),  stirring once about halfway through.  Let them go until they’re nice and crispy but be careful not to let them burn!  They can turn on you quickly toward the end of their bake time.

Look at that….whole wheat Panko.  Ready top this creamy pasta dish or lend a satisfying crunch to baked sweet potato fries.

I left them plain so they’re as versatile as possible.  You can easily season them!  Just stir in your favorite blend of dried herbs.

To make croutons, slice your bread sticks into cubes.

Toss with olive oil, salt, and whatever seasoning you want.  I used a pretty classic mixture of dried oregano, dried basil and garlic powder. I won’t give measurements because it really depends on your taste and how much bread you use.  Use just enough olive oil to coat each cube.  Once I arranged them on the cookie sheet I also sprinkled them with a bit of fresh parmesan cheese.

My one inch cubes baked at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Flip each cube and bake for another 15 minutes.  They’re ready to come out when they’re golden brown and crispy!

Waste not.

Save bread and money!

((Equally valuable….right?))


❤ Ellen

P.S.  Happy last day of summer!  This is a day of mourning for me.  Tomorrow, however, the fall inspired deliciousness begins and I’ll be all happy again.  Get ready for pumpkin/apple/root vegetable overload!



Filed under Hodge Podge, Uncategorized

Graham Crackin’

Graham crackers are underrated.

Let me put it this way: without graham crackers we would not have s’mores.  End argument.

How about some chocolate mocha graham crackers for eventual epic scratch-made s’mores!?

S’more, please!

(Ok I’m sorry.  The cheesy jokes are out of control.)

((Also, don’t worry.  I know the dough is soft.  It tore for me, too.

Just roll it on out and try, try again.))

No one says graham crackers must be square.  Go crazy!  Get creative!

((Confession:  I’m acting like I made my graham crackers round on purpose and only to be different.  Real life?  I didn’t trust myself to cut even squares.  Also I had a round cookie cutter.  So..you know…do what you’ve gotta do))

It’s so much fun to discover your favorite boxed snacks are way easier to make at home than you think. I’m pretty excited about this situation I’ve got going on.  Up next?  Marshmallows.

Let’s get crackin’!


Doesn’t matter….as long as we’re eating.


❤ Ellen

Chocolate Mocha Graham Crackers

Recipe slightly adapted from DIY Graham Crackers

1 cup all-purpose flour (plus about a tablespoon or so until it’s STILL STICKY but manageable)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon coffee grounds
**((Fear not, purists. The cocoa powder/coffee grounds are optional and can be reduced/increased to taste))
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, COLD and cubed to make life easier
3 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Place the dry ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl and combine thoroughly

2. Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter, two forks, food processor or your fingers until the butter is evenly distributed and the mixture is a coarse, mealy texture.

3. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl before adding them to the flour mixture.  Stir until the dough just comes together.  It will be sticky…that’s ok!!

4.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours until firm

5. When you’re ready to make your crackers, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F before turning the dough out onto a very well floured surface.  You will need more flour sprinkled on the dough and your rolling pin to manage the stick factor.  If your dough rips, it’s ok.  Refrigerate again so that it’s firm and easier to deal with then try again.  Roll the dough into an even 1/8 (ish) inch thick sheet.

6.  Cut out whatever shape you want (don’t feel bound by squares!) and place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each piece.

7. Use a fork or some other pokey object to make a dot pattern on top and bake until JUST crisp and slightly browned on the edges (hard to see with the cocoa and coffee…go by feel).  Check them at 10 minutes but they may take 15-17 minutes.


Filed under Cookies, Dessert, Snacks, Uncategorized

Taco (or whatever) Seasoning-Make your own!

Seriously, friends, those little taco/fajita/whatever seasoning packets are such a waste of money.

Also they kind of taste like…I don’t know…preservatives?

I get it.  They’re easy and convenient. Fine.

But pretend you want a taco.


((It happens. Don’t act like it doesn’t.))

Now pretend you have everything you need EXCEPT the darn packet that makes it a taco.

(Because the vast majority of foods could become a taco when placed in a tortilla, ((which you can make at home anyway)) this happens often)

Should you run to the store, pay more in gas than the packet costs, wait in line, wait in traffic wait wait wait wait wait


Make your own and have tacos now.

I choose the second one. Always.  Because those little packets are gross. Also, I’m impatient when I’m hungry.

The same rule applies, maybe even more, for sudden fajita cravings.

Plus I have all the seasonings that go in taco seasoning in my pantry right now.  They don’t have to be mystery ingredients. They aren’t difficult to find.  They’re spices for delicious real life. Get with me here.

All you need is: [love] and…

Now, I’m calling this taco seasoning because that was its original purpose but let’s get real here…

it goes on anything.

Sprinkle it on things you’re gonna roast, toast, saute, scramble, slow cook, soup or sandwich and anything else you can think of.  It tastes just as delicious on vegetables or beans as it would on meat.

Maybe keep it away from ice cream, though.

If you throw together a bunch of it and keep it in a little jar/tupperware container/plastic baggie (I don’t care) you’ll save a step and some brain power when dinner time sneaks up on you.

Seasoning dinner doesn’t take long but this way you don’t have to think about it and that’s just one delicious container you need to reach for.

I know they already did this “blend of spices in one container” thing.  But do it yourself and it’s cheaper, tastier and gives things a vague Mexican flavor.  What’s not to love?

This isn’t really a recipe.  More like an idea. You’re allowed to change the spices and proportions to suit your needs and tastes.

In fact, please do.

I would be lying if I told you I followed the measurements I listed in the recipe every time…they’re close enough, though.  Basically it’s just nice to have a favorite blend of spices on hand.

  So uh…try it and stuff.  Bet you’ll like it better than a foil envelope.


❤ Ellen

p.s. homemade ketchup coming up next. DIY FTW!

Seasoning Blend for Tacos…and so much more!

I’m giving you the guide I used…it’s a great base to adjust to taste!

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika1 1/2 HEAPING teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix it all together (and you feel better).

….lime and coconut? anyone

((3 tablespoons to a packet))

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Filed under Appetizer, Dips, Hodge Podge, Main Dish, Sides, Slow Cooker, Snacks, Soup, Uncategorized