I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and did something fabulous to ring in the new year.  Ben’s parents were kind enough to babysit the kids so we were able to spend the night dancing, laughing, and celebrating with friends old and new.  It was a much needed night of fun and festivities.  Now that the holidays are officially over, most people are looking to lighten up a bit.  Whether it’s a specific health and fitness goal or simply a desire to eat a bit more consciously after weeks of holiday excess, many people will be making some modifications to their cooking and eating habits.

If you are interested in a food-related resolution a bit different from the standard January mantra, I think an excellent goal is to do more things the homemade way.  If you don’t normally cook or bake much and find yourself eating out or eating frozen or processed foods more often than you might like, making a goal to enjoy more homemade meals is a great place to start.  In addition to cooking our meals, the past couple of years I have been working to do more from scratch with everything from spice blends, breads and doughs, baby food, extracts and flavored syrups, and much more.  Doing things the homemade way has many benefits – it’s healthier, more economical, and more eco-friendly than purchasing these items pre-made.  In case you are interested in making this transition, I’ve compiled a list of some of my past posts with recipes and tutorials for items that you might normally purchase pre-made.  I have lots more things on my DIY goal list for this year, and many more posts planned to share with you.  I’m not one for formal New Year’s resolutions, but this is an ongoing goal of mine and I hope this inspires some of you to do the same.

Iced Coffee

Flavored Syrups

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Salted Caramel Mocha

Breads, Dough, and Pasta:
Sourdough Bread

French Baguettes


Burger Buns

Hotdog Buns

Pizza Dough

Pita Bread

Flour Tortillas

Homemade Pasta

Sauces, Condiments, and Spices:
Tomato Sauce


Ranch Dressing

Taco Seasoning

Baking Staples:
Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Vanilla Extract

Pie Dough

Desserts and Other Sweet Stuff:


Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Syrup 

Hot Fudge Sauce

Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce 

Chocolate Pudding

  • Lisa

    Your beautiful photos make me want to try each one. I love DIY and have picked a few to try this month. Thank you for sharing and can’t wait to see what you will do in 2012.

  • The Hungry Housewife

    I love love love the idea of homemade flavored syrups!!!

  • www.magpiesandmore.com

    I love DIY and what a great idea for a resolution. It can be so fulfilling!

  • Such a great resolution! The more I try to make “everyday” items, the less I want to buy from the store. I just started trying different breads; it’s so nice not to eat that has a lot of mystery ingredients.

  • Riki-Tiki-Tembo

    I just crossed my first DIY goal off my list and went and made your ice coffee. Can’t WAIT to try it tomorrow :)

  • Andrealeec7

    Love this post! Homemade stuff is always better!

  • This is a great resolution! I am planning on trying your whole wheat pita later this week myself :).

  • Annie, I can’t even count how many of these recipes I’ve already done in 2011. I’m so thankful for all of your DIY things because I have definitely been trying to make things more from scratch as I’ve become a mother. Keep up the great work!

  • So thankful for all of your DIY recipes! I made many of them in 2011 because since becoming a mommy, I’ve tried very hard to limit our exposure to processed junk. Keep up the great work, can’t wait to see what you have in store for this year!

  • CambriaW

    Thanks so much for all of the great recipes. I started cooking from scratch more often, toward the end of last year and I really enjoyed it. Plus my food budget stretched farther. It’s my goal to continue to do more from scratch this year (and my guys are starting to request some of my recipes over the store-bought) so I’ll be keeping a close eye on this year’s posts :)

  • Sandi

    Ahhh! Thanks for posting this! It’s being bookmarked as we speak.

  • Brenna J

    Making more food from scratch is definitely a goal of mine!! Thanks for compiling this list! I can’t wait for more DIY recipes!

  • I’m with you on DIY-ing it. It’s so much more fun to go the homemade route, too I like being able to pronounce all of the ingredients in my food and like knowing what all of them are. It is so much more economical, too. Besides, homemade Oreo’s are healthier than store-bought, right? ;-) Happy New Year to you!

  • Carina

    Annie –
    I have tried so many of your DIY posts – pitas now fill my freezer, I make my own taco seasoning regularly, I gave vanilla extract as gifts to most of my relatives for Christmas! Have you ever tried to make other kinds of extracts for baking? Peppermint, lemon, almond are ones that come to mind as I use them regularly. I am thinking of trying it soon, just wondering if you have done it before.
    Thanks and happy new year!

  • Everything taste so much better homemade!

  • I’ve definitely been trying to do more things homemade recently as well, such a timely post for my resolution! Homemade bagels are definitely one of the first things on my must-make list :)

  • I love bread so much and this looks SO fantastic!!!!

  • Laura

    Love it! I was just thinking about making the vanilla extract and chocolate syrup!

  • Cluttercafe

    Thanks Annie! This actually was one of my goals. I am working on making some of your pizza dough for the freezer right now! I already make my iced coffee. I was spending so much money at Starbucks. Now I buy their iced coffee blend ($12) and it lasts me about a month. I would spend that in 2 days! I will be trying all oof your great ideas. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    You know, I was just thinking about that while I was writing up this post. I imagine some, such as lemon, would be very easy to do homemade but others might be more difficult. I’m definitely going to look into it and post about the ones that work out well.

  • Angela Gordon

    Thanks so much for compiling all of these in one post! I’m definitely in the camp of “why buy it when you can make it”, and am always looking for new from scratch projects.

  • Amber

    Great post. I have made almosr all of these recipes because I have been following your site for so long. I hope you keep going with this blogging thing because this is my favorite cooking blog.

  • Amy

    Love this ‘diy-ing’ post! It’s definitely one of my 2012 goals; to cook more homemade & eat out less/buy less frozen foods. My husband & I are expecting our first child next month & that brings me to ask you if you ever/or will ever post recipes on homemade baby food? You might have in the past but I’m newer to your blog & I’ve loved what I’ve seen so far… so I thought I’d ask? :) I’m really wanting to make my own baby food so I’m just on a hunt for good, healthy, easy recipes! I even went & bought myself a food processor (haha!). If you don’t post recipes of it, do you know of anyone who does??

    Keep up the fantastic blogging! Your site is one of my favourites that I daily check back on :) Happy New Year to you & your beautiful family.

  • These are REALLY some awesome DIY recipes! You never fail to amaze me, Annie. :)

  • Emilie @ Emilie’s Enjoyables

    Great post Annie! I recently bought an oil and vinegar shaker so that I could start making my own salad dressings. So easy and flavorful!

  • Samantha Lewandowski

    Great ideas Annie! It is definitely a goal of mine to make even more homemade items as well and your post reminded me to print off some recipes and set these goals in motion. I just printed several recipes from your favorites list, too – not sure how some of them passed me by this year, so thanks for the recap. The creamy chicken taquitos are a new fave. Thanks for continuing to inspire and encourage with your various ideas! Happy New Year to you and your family!

  • teainva

    What a great post! I do a lot of DIY right now, but you’ve given me some other great ideas! Bookmarking this for sure.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I do have some posted. Just use the categories tab at the top and click on baby food. Congrats on your upcoming addition!

  • Thank you for sharing these links! Making more things from scratch IS a personal goal of mine for the new year! I already make a lot of things from scratch (broth, seasonings, salad dressing) but would like to take on more, especially bread baking.

  • Liz

    DIY-ing is my favorite!! Keep ’em coming my friend!

  • Camille Anne

    Love this post – such an aid! Thank you for another great year, Annie!

  • Kuaaina

    Funny you posted about this. This is EXACTLY what my goal is for 2012. First on my list is bagels. I also desperately want a recipe for homemade yogurt and homemade sandwich thins. Thank you for posting and I hope you share more through the year as we make the transition as well.

  • I absolutely love finding ways DIY things that are typically store-bought treats. I think, from my kitchen, my favorite this year was homemade Milano cookies. And of your list, I would have to say that I’m torn between the chocolate syrup and coffee syrups! Great list Annie!

  • Sara Dogberry

    This is so fun! I definitely think I’d like to try more baking and cooking this year. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Anonymous

    Yogurt is on my short list of DIYs, so I’ll be posting about that soon for sure!

  • The French baguette and homemade ranch dressing definitely make my to do list for 2012! Thanks for the great round up.

  • I love DIY-ing. There is nothing better than creating things in your own kitchen – You get this amazing sense of accomplishment. I love all your recipes Annie. I trust everything you make and I can’t wait to see what you bring us in 2012. Happy New Year!

  • Amanda Vanderpool

    I love this! :)

  • Amytfarr

    Thanks! I was looking for info on baby food too.

  • I made the vanilla extract as gifts for the holidays this year, and it was a HUGE hit all-around! It was easy for me, since everyone got the same gift and it was very simple to do. I’m looking forward to using mine next time I bake!

  • Margaret Wasserfall

    As a newby subscriber I wanted to tellyou that I love your site and wish you well for 2012. You are spot on with DIY. We all need to start cooking from scratch and getting rid of all thos unhealthy additives in processed food. I’m with you all the way.

  • Wow! This is a fantastic list! I am totally on board with doing it homemade. Especially like homemade bread. Now if someone could just show me an EASY way to can my own tomatoes. . . . ;)

  • Mayaa

    It’s an amazing blog!!! I ‘m complitly found of your blog!!! I’m among your french readers and I think that your blog is just the most magnificent american blog, with a huge variety of homemade recipes!!! Happy New Year and Just keep on impressing us!!

  • Anonymous

    I love making my own vanilla extract, so much better than the fake stuff. I gave it as a gift this year too and she loved it. I want to start getting over my fear of making breads and yeasty stuff this year.

  • Joni

    Your blog is my favorite. I love all of your ideas and presentations. Where do you get your milk bottles, syrup bottles, and great display ideas? I appreciate them, because presentation is so important to me. I don’t know how you do everything, but keep up the good work.

  • so many awesome recipes, I want that hot fudge sauce so much, it looks sooo nice!

  • This is one of my goals for the year! I’ve already done your fudge sauce, caramel sauce, and vanilla, and the chocolate syrup is next on my list :)

  • christy robinson

    Love it!! Question, when making the sauces or dressings, custards, do you “can” them in the way of sealing them? Or only if they need to last longer? Thanks for sharing all your amazing recipes!!

  • Mercedes

    Awesome list! I will be bookmarking your hot fudge and caramel sauces! I got the pasta attachment to my mixer for Christmas and I have already used it twice and had a blast! Happy New Year!

  • This is something I’ve tried to do off and on for quite some time. Sometimes life just gets the better of me but it’s been high on my priority list, and I’m determined to get my kids involved this time. Thanks for the inspiration. Your recipes are delicious, and I look at the photos just for motivation. Keep it up!

  • Jackie

    Thank you for this! Your flavored syrups are wonderful! I’ve tried three now and so happy I found your blog :) Thank you for this post can’t wait to try and breads now :)

  • Jen

    This is an amazing post, thanks for the inspiration!

  • Sylvie77

    What a great collection of DIY recipes! Great inspiration for the new year. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    No, definitely not. Canning recipes need very precise handling to ensure safety. None of those recipes were designed with canning in mind, so I just prepare them as indicated.

  • Anonymous

    You can find that information included within each of the pertinent posts. Hope that helps!

  • Charli

    Annie, you are really inspiring! I love seeing what you’ve tried out and then giving it a go myself. Just tried out the bagels and they were fantastic. Really excited to try out even more new things in the new year with my shiny new KitchenAid that I got for Christmas! Thanks for everything!

  • What a great blog! I am most definitely going to save this e-mail. All the recipes look great! I want to make the tortillas, and hamburger rolls for sure, this weekend!! Maybe tortillas tomorrow! How fun! I love doing it yourself. You get so much more gratification making it then buying it!!

  • Melissa

    Another great post! Thanks! You mentioned that you made baby food. I just had my first baby and plan on making my own baby food when it’s time. I’d love to see a post from you on what you did.

  • Carina

    Great! I’ll stay tuned :)

  • Anonymous

    There are several posted. Just click on categories, and choose baby food.

  • Jen

    That pumpkin spice latte syrup is killer! Even in just a glass of warm milk or mixed into hot chocolate… AMAZING!

  • This is an awesome list. I’ve started making a lot of things myself and I find that I like them a whole lot better! I haven’t purchased taco seasoning in years and I have an amazing hot fudge recipe. I’d like to master burger buns this year!

  • Ginnette

    Could you post more baby food recipes? I’m having a baby boy in April and when the time comes I would like to do everything homemade for him, or maybe you could recommend a book u use. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Check out wholesomebabyfood.com. It’s pretty much all the resource you need :) I do have some recipes posted in the “baby food” category here on the blog.

  • I’ve tried quite a few of these recipes and loved them all! Thanks for all your posts! I look to your blog the most for recipes and anything new!

  • I agree with wholesomebabyfood.com! But if you’re looking for a book, I also recommend The Super Baby Food Book by Ruth Yaron. :D

  • Sarah

    I don’t think you were soliciting requests for DIY recipes, but I have one…crackers! I buy them to eat with cheese, and with hummus…but I’m sure they would not be too hard to make on my own. I’d love to have some Annie-approved recipes!

  • Lynne Bouchard

    Thanks so much for this post. There are so many things I want to try making, I don’t know where to start! OK, I’ll probably start with the Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce. :)