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Make handy homemade mixes

By on August 1, 2011

Homemade mixes are frugal and easy to make. You can make them to stock your pantry or give them as gifts. You can find a large variety of homemade mixes and gifts-in-a-jar recipes on my community forums. Simply click here. Recipes include: master baking mixes, spice blends, dips, flavored coffees, soups, brownies, stuffing, popcorn flavoring, salad dressings and chicken coating. The first reader tip shares a taco seasoning mix to get you started.

jar gift mixes


I recently was out of taco seasoning mix. I had been using 1/3 of an envelope package per batch of tacos. So I made my own using 1 tablespoon chili powder and 1/8 tablespoon ground cumin. I browned one pound of ground meat and 1/4 cup chopped onion. I added the seasonings and 1/3 cup water to the browned meat and onion. I let it simmer for 10 minutes. Voila! I had tacos that tasted good, cost less than the $1.29 packet of taco mix, and did not have any chemical additives. — Jane S., Iowa


My favorite cheap wedding favor is a small bag of the couple’s favorite trail mix with a tag that says “perfect mix.” Here are some more great ideas: individual boxes with ingredients to “make your own smores”; plastic cake decorating bags filled with hot chocolate and topped with just the right amount of marshmallows; premade drink mix of any kind, such as iced tea or lemonade, and a decorative stirrer or a plastic light-up ice cube at the top of the bag. Happy favoring! — Renee, email


My neighbor introduced me to her recipe for homemade ground whole-wheat bread. She also taught me how to store the ingredients. She used the dry ice method. I had a large, broken-down freezer chest in which I placed sacks of grain and other dry baking supplies. I just placed the sacks in the chest with dry ice on top and closed the lid. By using more dry ice every six months, or each time I purchased new supplies, I never had any problem with weevils or other insect infestations again. With smaller purchases, I use square glass or plastic bottles and break up the dry ice and place a small piece in each bottle. I cover the bottle with a tight-fitting lid. The bottles fit nicely in my cupboard and seem to keep fresh forever.– Peggy, Washington

photo by stevendepolo


  1. Anna

    8/28/2011 at 12:33 pm

    I pay a dollar for 3 packages of taco seasoning. I don’t think I could make my own as cheaply.

    • Cindy

      10/19/2011 at 5:33 pm

      If you make your own taco seasoning, you will know what is in it and you can control your salt intake as well – take a look at the ingredients on the taco seasoning packet!!

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