Tis the Season............and Spice

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ejagno

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Yesterday I talked a little about prepping the freezer for our hectic holiday season. Well, the freezer hasn't been the only thing being prepared. With so much cooking taking place during the holidays I try to think of things that I always seem to have to "make a run" to the store for. Cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, pudding mixes, refried beans, ranch dressing mix, cake mixes, brownie mixes, cookie mixes, hot cocoa, marshmallows, country pepper gravy, and the list goes on. To date I've made my own mixes which are much healthier than the store packages with all of their preservatives. I even made a huge batch of the Faux McDonald's Mocha Frappe powder that turned out amazingly identical to the real deal. The marshmallows are a must for the grandkids and their hot cocoa so I bought the mini marshmallows, cut them in half and dehydrated them. With most of these mixes I can also reduce the sugar content drastically since DH is diabetic. I've begun putting together alot of soup mixes using dehydrated or dried beans and veggies and seasonings. It then becomes a matter of emptying the jar into a slow cooker or soup pot with water and the meal is done. Now is also the time to dehydrate those oranges, lemons and apples for fall wreaths/potpourri/decorations. For those of you without a dehydrator, this can be done in a conventional oven as well or out in this intense summer sunshine.

Get your thinking caps on friends. What seasonings/spices/mixes do you use often during the holidays that can be prepared now?
 
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Minta

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I plan on make various dry rubs for meats to give to the grillers in the family for Christmas so I will start working on them soon. I already dehydrated a bunch of green peppers and I have been growing several different herbs plants so I can dehydrate some of them too to use in the dry rubs but they still need a little more growing time.

I do need to start stocking back up on the dried beans for soups. Next month when we go apple picking I will be picking up extra apples so I can dehydrate some to be used in homemade oatmeal packets. I love Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal on those cold mornings.
 
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Ahorsesoul

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It is so time to start getting prepared.
 
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MinnieCo

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I have tons of recipes for power mixes and prep stuff and never do it. I need to make that mental note and make it a priority.
 
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sweetpumkinpye

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I love to be prepared for the upcoming season. For us it is the Spring and the Summer that we are heading into.
I will stock up on tinned corn, beetroot and pineapple, olives and gherkins and all of those salad ingredients. I will stock up on enchilada and taco sauce and powder and mayo and salad dressings. I need to have this planned and in the stockpile to help avoid those quick but expensive trips to the shops.
 

FrostyShimmer

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What a great idea. I never think about seasoning mixes and such. Pumpkin pie spice in particular could be mixed up now for all those homemade pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin pies in the fall!
I'm glad you mentioned canned soup as well. Around here, they go on sale for $0.50 a can, but if they aren't on sale, they're usually $1.99 each. Big difference when you're feeding lots of people.
 
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sweetpumkinpye

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F/S tinned soup normally has a long use by date. At 50cents a can I would be stocking up a lot. Soup is so useful to have in the stockpile.
 
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Holiday_Mom

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Thanks for the reminder. I like to make up big batches of Taco seasoning, dry Ranch dressing mix and dry Italian dressing mix. Those dressing mixes are my go to choice for seasoning lots of my chicken dishes. We use Taco seasoning like crazy too.

I like the idea of dehydrating apples for oatmeal. I hadn't thought of dehydrating marshmallows or green peppers. I could probably do that with onions too. Often I buy the dry minced onion. We had a bunch of oregano that I air dried and stored. I think I might start doing that with the mint that we have.

Hmmm... You've got me thinking.
 
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Minta

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Grocery store has broth on sale buy 1 get 2 free and cans of cream of mushroom and tomato soup on sale for 59 cents a can so I will be stocking the pantry with these later today.
 

MinnieCo

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Next month I'm going to host a seasoning packet lesson type class. So we can all make up some of our own and share recipes for various products we'd normally buy packaged.
 
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sweetpumkinpye

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Michelle, sounds like a great class. I am in with any thing that saves me time and money.
 
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ejagno

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Michelle, your friends are lucky to have you sharing the benefits of home made packet seasonings versus store brands that are chocked full of salt and preservatives. Please share some of the recipes with us.
 
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AuntJamelle

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I have a great Taco Seasoning recipe that I use for us now but I haven't gotten into a good groove on any other mixes yet. I tried one for Onion Soup Mix years ago and did not like it - so if anyone has a good one of those I would love it!

I've also made a DIY Au Jus Mix before for my Mississippi Roast recipe and that worked pretty well.

I'd love tips on good recipes for either ranch dressing mix or Italian dressing mix if anyone doesn't mind sharing what has worked well for them :)
 

Doodlebug

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Sounds good Michelle. Please share
 

Minta

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Grocery store has their brand of dried seasoning and spices on sale .. Bu 1 get 2 free so I stocked up on the ones I go through a lot of including cinnamon :)
 

Minta

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Just made a fresh batch of vanilla extract this morning. It should be ready by the time the holidays arrive.
 

AuntJamelle

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Minta - Where you do you get your vanilla beans from? And what kind do you buy? I've done some reading and I see there are different "grades" of beans?
 
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Minta

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Minta - Where you do you get your vanilla beans from? And what kind do you buy? I've done some reading and I see there are different "grades" of beans?
I have gotten mine from Olive Nation. Right now they are very expensive as there is a shortage. I had some beans left over from my last order which were bourbon vanilla beans.
 
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Minta

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I let the vanilla beans from the previous batch of extract dry out a bit and mixed them with sugar. After a month I will have vanilla sugar.