Friday, January 30, 2009

Frugal Living - Spicing Things Up a bit

Ever since I started looking for creative ways to cut costs, even my dear hubby has gotten into the act!

I have a lot of pumpkin in the freezer and in jars on my shelf here at the house so I needed some pumpkin pie spice from the store for several of my recipes. Dan pulled it from the grocery bag and remarked how expensive that little jar was.

Then he got this goofy grin on his face and said, "Look! Now you won't have to buy any more of this - you can just read the label and make your own!"

His idea does have merit, since several places in our local area sell bulk spices. Buying them in bulk is generally cheaper - but only if you can use what you buy in a reasonable amount of time. Spices have a good shelf life, but they won't retain their peak flavor forever. Nothing is a bargain if you end up wasting half of it!

So how about making your own spice blends and gifting what you can't use yourself?

Over the Christmas holiday, I found these two great articles with interesting spice blend recipes:
Enhance the flavor of your food
Healthy Homemade Gifts

I've tried the Ranch dressing mix from the homemade gift site and found it to be a great alternative to the packets of Ranch seasoning mix at a fraction of the cost.

Ranch Dressing Mix:
4 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dry dill weed
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper (or to taste)

There's no salt in the recipe so you can add it to your taste and cut the calories by using light sour cream or low fat yogurt.

Since my DH suggested making my own pumpkin pie spice, I googled it and found this great recipe at All Recipes .

4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground allspice

Simply mix well and store in an air tight container.

I'm definitely going to be looking up more spice blend recipes as I continue on this frugal lifestyle adventure!

Do you have any favorite spice /herb blend recipes? I'd love to hear about them.

1 comment:

Robin said...

I've been trying to tell people about buying bulk spice forever!
Actually I sell spices in bulk as well as blends on my website if you're ever looking for really fresh products I sell from 1oz to pounds that can be kept fresh in the freezer for later use.
Robin Carter
Sagle, Idaho