Spices Anyone

Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go.

Erma Bombeck


It has come to my attention and I am most certain yours that prices are on the rise. This has motivated me to write a series of posts on just that subject and on how to make your dollars or pounds stretch at the market.

Concentrating in the kitchen, because my friends that is where the most money is wasted.  For instance, go into your kitchen and look at all your spices and herbs.

If you have basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, thyme, in your spice cabinet, and you have a bottle of Italian Seasoning or Italian Blend. then you and thousands of others have wasted your money. You see the first five ingredients compromise the Italian blend that you bought. So, you wasted your money.

So, what is the recipe for this blend? Simple, 2 tablespoons of each herb or if you live in Great Britain that would be 29.6 ml of each herb it is that simple.  Now that you have it, the gist of this post allows Tilly and I to introduce to you other tips and secrets.

Tilly: Believe it or not, Olive, Brits still use tablespoons and still use them for measuring ingredients

The only investment you will need is a coffee grinder, one that you will label for SPICES ONLY. Now I know you are saying, “What the hell is she doing, we are supposed to being saving money, not spend it.”

Well now, hold on, I have a reason. You can take that blend you just made and grind them to a fine powder and use the blend to season your favorite rice dish. Yes, the recipe will be forthcoming but in a later blog.

Tilly: Need more of an incentive to splurge on another grinder, Olive. One dish doth not a bargain make …

Back to the spice blends to save you money.  Does your family like chili or do you use chili powder as part of a spice rub for your meats?  Take another gander at your spice cabinet. If you have paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano and garlic powders then you have just blended your own Chili Powder. Here is the recipe-1 teaspoon of paprika, cayenne pepper and oregano, 2 teaspoons of cumin and of garlic powder.  In Great Britain that would be: 4.929 ml of each of paprika, cayenne pepper and oregano, and 9,858 ml of cumin and garlic powder.

Tilly: For heaven’s sake, Olive, quit with the ridiculous measurements! What’s wrong with 5ml of each of the first four ingredients and 10ml of the fifth and sixth? Or sticking with the teaspoons? We do have them – need them to stir tea.

If all this confuses y’all, spice and herb blends have more than one use. For instance, a popular blend for soups 10 spice mix for soup

1/2 cup / 113 grams smoked paprika

1/4 cup / 56.7 grams garlic powder

1/4 cup / 56.7 grams dried oregano

1/4 cup / 56.7 grams onion powder

1/4 cup / 56.7 grams dried basil

1/8 cup / 28 grams dried thyme

1/8 cup / 28 grams ground black pepper

1/8 cup / 28 grams white pepper (optional)

1/8 cup / 28 grams salt

1/8 cup / 28 grams cayenne pepper

To use: 1 to 2 Tbsp of the spice mix for the soup

Take a second look at that recipe. What if I suggested you try it as a meat rub, or use  as a  gravy mix? Or just a flour blend for frying. Always take a second look at that product and let your imagination take hold. You will love it.

One last thing and one of my all-time favorite uses for blends such as these and others is in rice. Just add a pinch or two, depending on how much rice you are cooking, throw in some chicken bouillon the right amount of water. Your family will love it.

Tilly: Or use chicken stock instead of cube and water. Even better.

What are other reasons for blending your own spices and herbs? Besides saving you money, what about health reasons for blending your own mixtures? For instance, do you know anyone on a salt free diet? Blend your favorite person in your life his or her own spice mixtures. A basic recipe is 2 to 1, for every 2 tablespoons of salt to 1 tablespoon of either garlic powder or onion powder.  For my British friends: 29.6 ml of salt to 14.8 ml.

Tilly: Who the heck will waste time and temper measuring 29.6ml? Or 14.8ml …

A word of note here, if you use Kosher Salt or designer salts, you know the ones, the salt all those chefs use on your favorite cooking show, grind the salt and continue with the blend.

Tilly: Or buy finely ground sea salt, kosher salt, pink Himalaya salt …

So look around your kitchen and enjoy the imagination of mixing your own.

Please feel free to leave your comments or questions.

Olive and Tilly


  • Sebestiana

    Roasted Chicken Spice Rub

    1 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons smoked paprika
    1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

    Mix all above ingredients together.
    Pat dry a large roasting chicken (around 5 to 6 lbs) and lightly spray the chicken with oil. Liberally sprinkle the spice rub all over the chicken. Roast chicken at 325 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Rest chicken, when finished, for approximately 10 minutes. Carve and enjoy.

    NOTE: I freeze the carcass, leaving any skin and bits of meat, still attached to the carcass bones, and use for making chicken stock. When I have about two or three carcasses, all goes into a large pot with onion, carrots, parsley,and celery. Fill large pot with water to cover the carcasses. Bring to boil, then simmer for 2 hours. Strain the stock and freeze or pressure can for future use. (If pressure canning follow your pressure canning instructions).
    The spice rub, that was used on the roasted chicken, gives the stock a robust flavor that can’t be beat!

    • Olive

      oH i LIKE THAT.. I do the same thing with the carcass… I leave the meat on the back.. I freeze my broth.. I love that rub…
      Wait till Tilly see this..

    • Tilly

      Tasty, tasty, Sebastiana. I used to buy a box of twenty free-range chickens, bone them all, roll the flesh and freeze them to make ballotines. Magic for simple carving and making a single chicken to a long way – wonderful for buffets and garden lunches – there are such delicious ways to stuff a chicken. I’d smash the bones and either freeze them or make a huge amount of stock and then freeze it in sensible portions. Also used to marinate portions in whatever took my fancy and freeze them ready for use. Ditto with rubs.

      • Sebestiana

        That’s the way to do it. All the leftover chicken is always used for many different recipes. From soup to pot pie… I still don’t understand why people buy those tiny rotisserie chickens, at the grocery store. It’s not rocket science to make your own and they are sooo much better.

  • Sebestiana

    I was making my roasted chicken spice rub yesterday and thought of your spice blog. Anyone interested in the recipe? Let me know. I can post it. Have a great weekend.

  • Jerry Bell

    I’ve always wondered what the recipe should be for taco seasoning, and you soup seasoning makes my mouth water.
    I will say I had not thought far enough to get a coffee grinder for spices. I’ll be going down to the store, or order on line, to get one.
    I love spices; always have.
    Thank you for the blog! I always appreciate it.

  • Leni Sorensen, PhD

    Nice suggestions, Tilly!! last year I bought a dehydrater and have been drying my homegrown herbs. One of the things I made is Basil salt – fine ground fresh basil leaves with salt into a grainy powder. Dry in the dehydrater or a very low oven spread on parchmant paper on a cookie sheet. Oh man, is it super!! I keep a small jar in my spice cupboard and the rest I keep in a vacume sealed glass jar.

    • Olive

      Thank you for your comment.. Thank you so much for the recipe on the Basil salt. I must say I will have to try that. I wonder if that would work with things like mushrooms? You could even toss in a bit of pepper.

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