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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

You Spice up My Life

I love homemade everything--if I can figure out how to make it from scratch-- I will.  It tastes better, and makes me feel better about giving it to my family.  One thing I have learned to make, that also saves money are spice blends.  Yes, I am still a spice-snob, and do most of my spice shopping at Penzey's nowadays-- but their spice blends as well as everyone else's are so ExpEnsivE...and you can't really change them.  So instead, I buy their amazing spices, and make my own blends.  Then I save my old jars, and fill them with my new spice blends--I can give them as gifts or just always have what I need on hand.

Here are a couple that I love to make and use a lot of:

Taco Seasoning - can be multiplied and adjusted according to tastes.  

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt or salt to taste if you are on a low sodium diet
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Old Bay Seasoning
1 Tbsp. ground bay leave
2-1/2 tsp. celery salt
1-1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Mild Chili Powder - can add any other peppers to spice it up some more

3 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. red or cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder



Pumpkin Pie Spice


1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground mace (if you don't have mace, use another 1/4 tsp of nutmeg)
1/4 ground cloves




Poultry Seasoning




  • 2 cups dried parsley
  • 1 cup rubbed sage
  • 1/2 cup dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 cup dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Gourmet Hot Cocoa


There are some things I have become spoiled in, as I have gotten older.  One of them, is hot cocoa.  This grown-up girl is not settling for those powder packets and hot water ever again.  I am just too old to waste calories on a less than yummy version of what should be a delectable treat.

I have tried many hot cocoa recipes, and used a variety of ingredients to get the Hot Cocoa I LOVE!  I know not everyone will think this is the BEST cocoa recipe, because we are all different.  Some of us like it super-rich, some of us like it with a spicy kick.  I like mine foamy, and with a perfect dose of chocolate.  However, after finding the recipe I preferred, I then started to switch the brands of ingredients--and found the best ingredients for this PERFECT cup of cocoa, IMO.  However, you might want to take my word for it, if you know how picky I am about my coffee-- and that I would unhesitatingly pay $5 for a cup at Starbucks.  But, this cocoa--has Starbucks cocoa beat.

So, without further ado, here is the recipe with brand suggestions, please do not feel obligated to use these brands--they are not paying me to write this--(although, I wish they were).

Frothy Hot Cocoa
Makes 1 big mug

2 cups of milk
2 t of Penzey's High Fat, Dutch Process Cocoa
4 t of sugar
3/4 cup of mini marshmallows
1 t of homemade vanilla (message me for how-to)
Sprinkle of Penzey's Cassia Cinnamon

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a pot.  Heat on med. until marshmallows are melted and foamy.  Add vanilla, and then pour into warmed mug.  Sprinkly cinnamon on top-- and sip away! Mmm

Next yummy drink recipe I will try to conquer- Peppermint Mocha
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