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I can still vividly recall standing in our family kitchen—yellow cupboards, yellow ruffled curtains at the windows, and a blue linoleum floor with a circle of yellow stars in the middle. I had the largest bowl balanced on the counter, and was making cookies. I’d just added the oatmeal and was giving them a final stir when my brother, Richard, passed by and swiped a finger full of dough. I called after him the same thing my mom used to say to any of us committing the same offense: “Your cookie’s going to have a hole in it!”

You learn things when you bake from scratch. As a youth I learned 3 tsp.= 1 Tb. There are 8 oz. in a cup, and if you triple a recipe that calls for ¾ a cup of something, add the halves and save the ¼’s for the end. We learned to add and divide fractions long before the math book introduced them.

I also learned about electricity. Growing up, our hand mixer had a cord that plugged into the mixer as well as the wall. From lots of use, the connection with the mixer became loose. One time when I made a chocolate cake, the cord disconnected from the mixer and dropped into the batter. I retrieved it quickly, then without thinking, popped it into my mouth to lick off the yummy chocolate that now coated the end. Did I mention that the other end was still plugged into the wall socket?

Growing up, I never had a cake mix cake that I can remember. Cookies were almost all homemade, and bean soup meant putting a pot of beans to soak the night before. We didn’t know that it was called cooking from “scratch.” It’s just how things were.

It takes planning, especially time wise. But what better use of our time that making something for someone else? There are not many more things toddlers would rather do than help mommy bake. And it tastes sooo much better!

And it’s green. When we bake from scratch, we eliminate the extra packaging of individual mixes. If we grow our own ingredients, we also cut back the costs of shipping.  All in all, it’s more economical. So is grinding your own flour–and it’s fresher and more nutritious.

This last week I made a couple batches of pumpkin cookies—one healthy, one for the neighbors. Then I found a recipe for pumpkin flapjacks that perfectly used up the rest of the pumpkin. It was soooo yummy that here’s the link. I used w.w. flour, almond milk and raw honey, but I bet it still tastes good as the recipe lists it. I also assembled my own pumpkin pie spice with these proportions:

1 part cinnamon, ½ part ginger, ¼ part nutmeg, ¼ part allspice (Some combinations use cloves.)

That’s another advantage of cooking from scratch: you can make a recipe your own.

BTW, be sure to use real maple syrup and chopped walnuts on your flapjacks. It’s like desert for breakfast.

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