Posts Tagged ‘spices’

Spice Advice and Food Stamps Cooking Club

May 9th, 2011


Need Spice Advice? We have it here!

Greetings to all you precious Club Members and Guests!  A GINORMOUS magnifying glass has been pressed into service because your humble blogger has been aching to get back into the game.

Because we are gaining new club members in DROVES-thanks to all the new people who have submitted their names and email addies-it felt important to share with you the information we got today from Leanne Ely, The Dinner Diva from Saving Dinner.

As you  know, we are sending out a series of messages about cooking tips, including spices.  Because of that subject matter we want you to have THIS, too:

“The Ultimate Spice Cabinet Clean Out
by Leanne Ely, C.N.C

How many of us have professed to want to eat healthier, lose weight and get organized? It’s almost as if these three things are the ultimate trifecta! Believe it or not, one of the best ways to do all three of these things is to spice up your low calorie fare with herbs and spices.

But before you can organize your spices, you need to do a quick spice check. I’ve got this feeling we’ve got some OLD, ancient spices sitting in those cupboards! Let’s go on an archaeological dig and see what kind of fossils we can unearth. Here’s how you’re going to know you need some new spices–

You may need some new spices if:

*The date stamp on the bottom of the jar was from when you were in high school:

*The company who made the spice in the first place is out of business. Since 1980!

*The can is rusted and the label indistinguishable-you don’t know what’s in there.

*The label is missing so you smell it to identify it and can’t!

*The smell of the spice smells oddly like the garage on a rainy day.

*You mistakenly grab ground ginger for white pepper and it didn’t ruin what you were making because it had no flavor!

According to the website of McCormick Spice, if you still have spices in a tin can, you know the square and rectangular shaped cans with shaker and spoon out tops, they are seriously out of date-with the exception of black pepper-they have not manufactured the cans in over 15 years!!

The shelf life of spices is as follows:

Ground spices: 2 to 3 years

Whole spices: 3 to 4 years

Dried Herbs: 1 to 3 years

Great rule of thumb to figure out what to keep and what to pitch-if your spice is over a year old, it needs to be tossed. To keep your spices fresh and nice, you will want to buy only what you need and mark the bottom of the container with a Sharpie, indicating the date you purchased the spice.

I love buying my spices at the health food store (they are unbelievably fresh and cheap, because you buy what you need) and discount stores like Wal-Mart (2 for $1.00!). You can always have fresh spices when you get them this way.

Are you ready to spice up your life with some FRESH spices? Old Spice is cologne, not what should be hanging out in our spice drawers. Let’s get some fresh ones this week!

Now that you have all fresh and new spices, be sure and pick up a copy of our Ultimate Mix Ebook to create some spice, soup and sauce mixes of your own!

Copyright (C) 2011 Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved.

This information will be helpful for everyone who has a kitchen.  It will be of particular interest to those who use SNAP or WIC; for those who get food from a food pantry or those who have food commodities.  Many of our Club Members are simply frugal and careful with their food budgets Users of Angel Food Ministries will benefit from this, too!

Your messages continue to delight the heart of your Webmaster…please keep them coming  at !

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated.  Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline.  Always do business with those you trust implicitly.


Food Stamps Cooking Club: Spice Things Up 4 Flavor?

February 19th, 2010


A snowy February day makes us all long for spring and gardening season!



“For everyone who wants to keep up on how they slip aspartame into our foods, drugs, vaccines (yes, vaccines), OTC meds (especially child products), aspartame has a new name of AminoSweet. Since aspartame has gotten such a bad name (as it should), Ajinomoto has renamed this toxic chemical sweetener.   Start double checking your labels.

Thanks and kudos go out to Rachel Kincaid, who gave us the heads up.  Thanks, also to Business Week  and Shaun Weston from for providing great information to help us consumers protect ourselves.

Now we return to the blog’s main message:

You Food Stamps Cooking Club members are to be commended for your quick response to any post that hits you like a brick.

There was a delightful message from Max and here is what Max offered us:

“Just a couple of my own tips, learned from experience, to help stretch food dollars even more when it comes to dried spices and herbs.  I have found that the baking aisle is an excellent start to shopping for these products, but you can often find them additionally in the ethnic foods areas of many supermarkets, and other less-thought-of resources.

For many varieties of spices and herbs, those little red-capped bottles are kind of non-budget price, but if you go to a different aisle, you may find it more within your budget if you look under a different brand name, and sometimes in different packaging such as a cellophane packet.

I buy spices at the dollar store.  I find some things such as dried dill weed, at Ikea, if you live near one, in a very large paper/foil packet (look in the marketplace among the kitchenwares).  There is a large Asian supermarket near my home, I recently bought a large bottle of ground coriander for $1.69 there.  They also have many other varieties as well, paprika, cumin, ginger, even lemongrass powder.  Hispanic markets are another great source, as are Middle Eastern shops for even more variety.
One last thing: I have read that spices and herbs are past their prime when they no longer have a fragrance, but I find that if you can rub it in your hands and still have fragrance, it is still going to flavor your foods well.

I do think you should have specified whether you were talking about dill seed or dill weed; it’s the dill seeds that are used in pickling.  But it’s the dried or fresh dill weed that “makes” the dishes you mentioned.  I also sprinkle dried dill on the top of creamy tomato soup, and it goes into the pot when I make homemade chicken soup.

Can you tell I use lots of spices and herbs lol?  I hate boring food.  I have gourmet tastes on a food-stamp budget.  Also, I simply do not have the budget to allow me to dine out as often as I’d like, so I try to recreate different tastes at home.”
See?  Now THAT’S the kind of neighbor you wish you had if you do not live next door to Max!  Can you just imagine the wonderful aromas that waft from that kitchen?  Mmmmm…

For people who utilize SNAP or WIC funds; people who depend on food pantries and/or food commodities; for people who use Farmers Market Coupons and Angel Food Ministries; and for those who simply pinch pennies wherever possible to stretch their food budgets this is helpful information.

We are so happy and grateful to have the Maxes and the Sandras and the Rainys who are so faithful to share their kitchens and cooking ideas!  KEEP them coming, kids! Here’s where to direct them:

Are you something of a health nut?  You might like to visit

Do you need more income in your household?  These sites have ideas to help you with that, if you are inclined:  Rapid Cash Marketing and Work At Home Freelancing.

Our intention is to be helpful.  We are far more effective in that endeavor because of YOU, dear Club Members!  THANK YOU.

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  When these links are clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated.  Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online.  Do business only with those you trust implicitly.

SNAP? WIC? Would You Like to Spice Things Up?

October 9th, 2009
Cooking with SNAP?  WIC?  Would You Like to Spice Things Up?

Cooking with SNAP? WIC? Would You Like to Spice Things Up?

Spice is the variety in life.   No! No!  Wait!  That should read: “Variety is the spice of life! ”

In any case, how would you like to spice things up in your kitchen to make cooking-whether you avail yourself of food pantries, food commodities, SNAP, WIC or Angel Food Ministries-and give you new OOMPH when it comes to feeding your family?

An article caught my eye recently.  They meant for me to go to their website and purchase their cookware.  That may have been fine, but I have a kitchen filled with cookware, thank you very much.

The writer mentioned how cooking could be made to be fun, even if cooking is not your bailiwick.

Having cookware that is top quality would be ideal but we all know it’s not a perfect world.  We can be grateful if we have lids to fit the pots we own!  I remember my mom using odds and ends for lids.  She even improvised once with the lid from her canner when she needed that size lid to cover a skillet full of fried chicken.

Along with pots and pans, the contented cook needs utensils.  If your kitchen is not tricked out with every gadget sold, don’t despair.  A  really slick way to acquire necessary things on a skimpy budget might be yard sales, second hand stores, thrift shops and local charity centers.  Sometimes neighbors are purging their kitchens of duplicates.  It might pay to ASK around!

Some people don’t care to cook.  Those folk  may discover, to their delight, that cooking is a good way to learn, to teach the children about foods, math, family history and just hang out together.  Getting the whole family involved in menus, food prep, shopping  and sharing meals can go a long way in building strong family bonds.

It may be such a thing that you like to cook but are baking challenged.  Or, vice versa.

SIDEBAR:  This is your humble blogger’s experience speaking!  END SIDEBAR.

In that case, you might enjoy sharing a meal with others.  For instance, this very night we will share veggies and a dessert with a family who is proficient with preparing deer bologna!  I can hardly wait til dinner time!  Our dishes will be a great complement to one another and neither of us will have much to do in the way of preparation.  Nor will we have blown our food budgets!

Another option is to find someone who knows how to make something you love to eat and learn how to make their specialty.  We are blessed to have neighbors who came from Mexico and brought their traditional food ideas with them.  It is so much fun to learn how to do new things, taste new dishes.  Plus-we’ve made dear friends in the process!

Eating fast food, convenience foods and snack foods will most assuredly compromise your health and the well being of those you love most.  By learning to prepare foods at home in every language you will improve the quality of your lives!

Now THAT is some spice worth adding!

Thank you to all the Club members who have written to thank us, who have contributed recipes, and who have added their comments on the posts.  As a way of thanking everyone who has offered up their name and email we will be sending you a teeny little thank you gift.  It’s still in the works but nearly ready to unveil.  It will come to your email inbox.  Our email inbox is here: .

We appreciate our Club members more than you know and we thank you for all your participation!  All our partners love hearing from you, as well.

Connie Baum