Ideally, it would be nice to make most foods from scratch. You can avoid unnecessary additives and preservatives while keeping grocery costs down. But real-world considerations often make this impractical. That's why deciding whether to make things at home vs. buying it at the store is always a judgement call. The trick is to decide which items provide the best return for your time.

  1. Soup

    There are canned soup options galore at the market, many filled with unnecessary sodium, however, many are easy to create in your Vitamix machine. Take Black Bean Soup, for example. This popular dish is often found on many menus and at grocery stores, but it’s just as easy to make in your Vitamix machine. The ingredients are inexpensive and it takes less than 25 minutes to prepare, not to mention you can make it healthier by controlling the amount of salt and preservatives. Plus, you will probably have leftovers!

  2. Frozen Treats

    If store-bought frozen treats put you off with their laundry lists of ingredients — or startling calorie counts — there's a clear case for making your own. Fruits like bananas and pineapples require minimal sweetening when they're turned into frozen desserts and they're surprisingly versatile. Blend fruit and low-fat Greek yogurt into your own frozen treat or turn fresh juice into a granita for an elegant grownup indulgence.

  3. Nut Butters

    Peanut butter and nut butters fall squarely into the "make it at home" category. Commercial peanut butter is often loaded with sugar. Store-bought natural butters can develop "off" flavors when they're old or improperly stored. You'll enjoy better flavor, and often lower cost, if you make your own butters from freshly purchased nuts. Peanut butter and Almond Butter are obvious starting points, but most nuts and seeds make excellent butters in your Vitamix machine.

  4. Nut Milks

    Almond and soy milks and their kin are readily available from the supermarket, but are fresher if you make your own. Fresh-made nut milks have the best flavor and most take just seven minutes in your Vitamix machine to make. You might think of them primarily as beverages for vegans or the lactose intolerant, but Almond Milk is a vital ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking and it's also used in many European recipes. Coconut Milk is indispensable in Thai and Vietnamese cooking. Your Vitamix machine can make fresh Soy or Rice Milk as well. These take a bit more time and preparation, but they're not more difficult. Don’t forget to use a filtration bag.

  5. Condiments

    Store-bought versions of condiments are readily available, inexpensive and perfectly adequate. But making your own allows you to be in control of the ingredients, meaning no preservatives and you get to decide how much sugar or sodium goes into the final product. Then there's the issue of flavor. Homemade ketchup and mustard will taste brighter and fresher than store-bought versions. Mayonnaise is the simplest condiment of all to make and after you've mastered the basic technique, try blending up Aioli or salad dressings in minutes.