We are driving up to Boston tomorrow, and in preparation for the 9 hour drive (possibly more, if bébé is extra cranky), I am making vanilla wafers. This is the fifth recipe in my weekly DIY project since being back in the States.
I started this project almost accidentally, after looking for something to take to a Super Bowl party. At the supermarket picking up other groceries, I saw a Better Homes and Gardens DIY recipes magazine with homemade toaster pastries on the cover and the headline “Return to real ingredients”. Since being back, I’ve noticed a big difference in how we eat, though this is partially because of living with my parents, who have different habits than we do. But also, baby food is very different (I’ll probably do a whole post on this, as well as bébé’s adaptation to life here) and I was stressing a little about how much “non-food” he is eating. And there is seriously sugar in everything. I figured having a few more homemade recipes in my collection could help me feel a little less guilty about giving him so many snacks, since at least they’d be homemade snacks.
For the party, I made pretzels, and they were a big hit! The week before I had made a cake for my sister’s birthday using spelt flour since our nephew doesn’t eat gluten. I made cookies for church the next week, and crackers for our NYC trip with a recipe from the magazine the week after. I figured a once a week goal of making something other than regular food would be a good one to have, especially since I didn’t get a chance to do much special baking the last month in France. And hopefully once a week will turn into a few times a week, to help me fight against my American habit of eating things out of boxes and cans, that has returned alarmingly fast (again, probably because I’m at my parents’ house).
The magazine has recipes for things like making your own vanilla extract, ketchup, syrups, crackers, donuts, mozzarella sticks, marshmallows, nut butters, even cheese. There are also a few tips on canning and growing your own produce. All of these recipes and tips can be found elsewhere, but having them all in one place will make it a fun game to check off as many pages as I can throughout the year. And while some things will go quickly, like today’s vanilla wafers, other things like ketchup or nut butter will last a little longer and help balance out the (hopefully) occasional fast food and packaged meals we’re sure to be eating in the coming weeks as we get settled into a new routine.