Saturday, November 5, 2011

Easy Seasoning Mix Recipes For Gift-Giving

Making home-blended seasonings is a great idea for gift-giving.
You have control over the content, such as sodium or cayenne pepper.
You may put together a sampler pack of favorite tastes.
There's an option for the braver-of-heat, the barbecue king,
Tex-Mex fans, and curry lovers.
There are also copycat recipes for many popular favorites.

There are a few rules to consider when blending seasonings.
The quality of the herbs and spices used
will be reflected in the final product.

We can have an effect on several spices by
lightly roasting or toasting them.
With any seasoning, crushing bring out the oils,
which is where the flavors are.

If you haven't already, invest in a pepper mill.
This is a purchase you'll never regret.
Use freshly cracked pepper for good flavor.
My husband gave me a lovely brass mill as a
Christmas gift years ago and we haven't bought ground pepper since.
They don't need to be expensive,
but I'll tell ya, I've never found the sturdy kind at a garage sale!

Unless otherwise specified, all herbs and spices below should be ground.
When onion or garlic are written as granulated,
it is not the powder but the dehydrated form.

It's good to note that sea salt is not the same as table salt.
Table salt dissolves better, which is great for baking,
 while sea salt has that pleasant briny crunch.
And because it's unprocessed, it keeps it's minerals.
Kosher salt has no preservatives
and is a great salt for preserving.

When a dry seasoning recipe calls for brown sugar,
it becomes necessary to dry it.
This prevents clumping, as well as aiding with even distribution, once mixed.
It will generally be accompanied by salt,
mix the two together and spread this evenly on a baking sheet.
Bake it for about 60 minutes at a low 170°F,
checking the sugar to be sure it is very dry.

* * * * * * * *

BBQ Jamaican Jerk Chicken, flickr

1 tablespoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Be sure to remind your gift recipient that
this seasoning recipe will need some oil
 to become a seasoning rub.
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup salt
3 tablespoons black pepper
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1/2 cup Kosher salt (1/4 cup table salt)
1/3 cup paprika
1/3 cup black pepper
1/4 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup onion powder
3 tablespoons white pepper
3 tablespoons cayenne
2 tablespoons thyme
2 tablespoons basil
1 tablespoon oregano

* * * * * * * *
Tony Cacheres Creole Seasoning, flickr

 BBQ Seasoning

1 cup Sea salt, medium fine
1/2 cup Unrefined evaporated cane sugar (no table sugar, please)
1/2 cup Dark brown sugar, dried
2 Tablespoons Sweet Hungarian paprika
2 Tablespoons Chili powder
2 Tablespoons Granulated onion
2 Tablespoons Dry mustard
1 Tablespoon Granulated garlic
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons Celery salt
2 teaspoons Ground ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
26 ounces salt
1 1/2 ounces black pepper
2 ounces red pepper
1 ounce garlic powder
1 ounce chili powder
1 ounce Accent seasoning (Warning: MSG)


* * * * * * * *

Curry Powder, flickr

8 tablespoons coriander seeds
6 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seed
4 tablespoons cinnamon
8 tablespoons peppercorns
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 tablespoons cardamom
2 tablespoons turmeric
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon cayenne (or less if less heat is desired)

Roast the seeds gently in a dry skillet over low heat,
while shaking the pan a bit.
Once they start to pop, add the cinnamon, peppercorns,
nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, turmeric, ginger and cayenne.
Be sure the mixture becomes hot and toasted
but not burnt.
Grind this mixture to a powder using a blender, processor,
or mortor and pestle.

1 tablespoon dried miniature rosebuds (optional)
A 1-inch piece cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup cumin seeds
1/3 cup coriander seeds
1 tablespoon green cardamom pods
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 dried red chile
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground mace

Toss the stems from the roses.
In a dry skillet over medium heat
 stir together the roses with the cinnamon, bay leaves,
cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom pods,
whole peppercorns, cloves, and chile,
stirring often,
until the cumin becomes brown, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
Add the nutmeg and mace, then grind to a fine powder.

1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds
2 tablespoons whole anise seeds
1 tablespoon whole fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
5 tablespoons ground turmeric

Combine the seeds and berries
in a skillet.
Toast over medium heat until their color becomes slightly darker
and very fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the skillet, allow to cool.
 Grind with the turmeric to a fine powder.

* * * * * * * *

Salt, flickr

1/2 cup onion flakes
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable flakes
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried orange peel
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon savory
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened lemonade drink mix
1/4 teaspoon crushed rosemary
2 Tablespoons pepper
1 Tabelspoon chicken bouillon powder
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 Tablspoon parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup salt
2 tablespoons ground bay leaves
2 tablespoons celery salt
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons black pepper
2 Tablespoons paprika
1 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoons granulated garlic
1 Tablespoons granulated onion
1 Tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoons ground coriander
1 Tablespoon dill seeds

* * * * * * * *

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Washable Napkins

I'm always looking for ways to save some money.  As I get older, I appreciate more and more how each of our daily efforts really add up to a lifestyle difference.  I published a post back in August about washable napkins.  Since then I've got quite a collection put together, and I can proudly say that, not only are we using these instead of paper napkins, but we've got a good supply that should last for some time to come.

Cotton Dishcloth Yarn

The kids in a pool

The first of these washable napkins started while we were vacationing with family.  My kids were swimming in the pool and I was reading a book, doing a crossword, and enjoying my time-off in the warm summer weather.  When I bored of these activities, I pulled out my knitting.  This was the perfect project!  It required no thinking, no measuring, no special stitches, no itchy wool yarn, and relatively no paying attention.  I could watch my kids as much as my knitting.  And I wasn't the only poolside knitter, there was another with a light blue affair, soft and quite lovely, so my children couldn't make fun of me..

Knitting a dishcloth - No pattern!

First Washable Dishcloths - Cotton knit

I had made maybe eight of them, maybe ten.  Not enough for our biggish-sized family.  I stopped in at a nearby garage estate sale, held at an old farm house where I knew I'd find many lovely things.  I found more than I could afford, but was able to bring home these darling vintage embroidered napkins.  They match my kitchen perfectly.  I also found this old salt bag, I could trim it up for napkins.  I haven't decided yet.  It's a fun find for me, my mom's from Minneapolis and my daddy's from Duluth!  I may choose to do something longer-lasting with this piece.

Second collection
- vintage cotton with embroidery

Old Cotton Salt Bag

We needed just a bit more.  Yes.  There are nights of spaghetti or pizza, barbecued chicken or just the occasional spilt milk.  When you have six people eating a meal coming off the grill, you need a good supply of napkins.  When you have youngsters, you don't want to run out.

I ran into another estate sale where I happened upon a quantity of bright yellow-gold napkins.  They were sold as a set, but hardly used and at a good price: one dozen for $3.  These were a nice, soft cotton, so I was happy to bring them into my kitchen.

Bright yellow-gold napkins from an estate sale
We need to have a handy place to keep these napkins, ready for sticky fingers to grab before touching anything else.  I've chosen to keep mine on the table in a basket.  With all the different ages of my children, eating times can be any time, so meals are when they're here and when they're hungry.  Go ahead, sit down with your meal, grab a napkin, and enjoy!

Napkins in a basket at table

I had grabbed a few of other things, practically for free.  I'll share these ideas with you.  If you have or find some old sheets (cleaned, of course) that are made from flannel or homespun cotton fabric, they are perfect for making napkins, even towels.  Same for shirts that you may have, or find, especially men's, as they're larger.  Again, make these flannel or homespun, and clean.  These you'll want to trim along the thick seams.  Remember, there's no pattern here, just squarish and something generally big enough to clean your hands and handsome enough to please yourself.

Cotton homespun sheeting

Cotton flannel shirting

About Me

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As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!