MYO, or Make Your Own, is something I’m passionate about. I prefer to eat as naturally as possible, even when that means I have to spend a lot of time (and sometimes money) to get foods in a more natural format. Is this really a shock to anyone who regularly reads this blog?
I didn’t think so.
I’ll be sharing some of the things I make with you. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they are less expensive than the convenience food, sometimes they aren’t. However, even if my experiment is a failure, or I spend much more money than anticipated on a project, I still walk away knowing that I learned something new. Sometimes I learn that making my own (insert product/food here) is really easy and worth the effort. Other times, I decide that I’m not willing to invest the extra time or money, because the results aren’t what I’d hoped they would be.
It’s all about learning what’s important to you and deciding how you want to spend your time & money.
Let’s start out with a convenience item that everyone is familiar with: Taco Seasoning. For this post, I’ll compare my homemade stuff to a commonly-known national brand, available anywhere for about .79 per package. Each package weighs 1 ounce and contains:
Maltodrextrin (a sweet polysaccharide usually made from rice, potato or corn starch), Salt, Chili Pepper, Onion Powder, Corn Starch, Garlic powder. Contains less than 2% of the following: Spice, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Silicon Dioxide (anti-caking agent), Natural flavor, Ethoxyquin (preservative).
So, based on this list from the package, which is listed by order of weight, we know that we are buying a package of sweetened spices, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and preservatives.
My recipe, which I found here, contains:
1 cup Dried Onion Flakes
1 cup Chili Powder
4 Tb. Cumin
4 Tb. Dried Minced Garlic
6 Tb. Oregano
4 Tb. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
8 tsp. Beef Bouillon Granules
4 Tb. Salt
5 Tb. + 1 tsp. Corn Starch
There’s nothing mysterious about my ingredients. If I keep this in an air tight container, I won’t need an anti-caking agent or preservative. And the cost….well, let’s break that down.
Assuming I had none of the ingredients on hand, I could buy everything I need for about $25 (based on the prices from Wal-Mart.com). My batch made enough for 32 pounds of ground beef or turkey, at 2 tablespoons per pound. By doing the math, I can see that my recipe averages to .78 per serving.
The package of store-bought seasoning is also about .79 per serving. Could I go buy 32 packages and save the time making this? Should I? Have I really saved money?
I would have to say, “Yes!” Why? I had every single ingredient on hand and had to buy nothing to make this recipe. I have 32 servings of taco seasoning at no cost, because I had purchased those ingredients for other dishes. This is bonus food!
I consider this MYO a success because:
- I know exactly what’s in my mix. There are no mysterious sweeteners (why didn’t they just use sugar?), caking agents or preservatives in my seasoning.
- I’m not putting 30 packages into a land fill.
- Since I had everything on hand, I didn’t have to spend time driving to the grocery (at minimum, 5 minutes each direction), which saves time and gas. It took less than 10 minutes to make this, and that’s because I stopped to take pictures.
- I think it tastes much better, and the spicy-heat can be adjusted for different tastes.
Here’s the photo brigade: