Healthy, Homemade Gifts: Herb Mixes

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When you're watching fat and calories, herbs and spices are your new best friends. They add flavor and pizzazz to your cooking with little to no calories and fat. However, many of the versions you get in the supermarket are full of salt--a big no-no when you're watching your sodium levels or you have high blood pressure.

Consider mixing your own herbs and spices and giving them as gifts.
Save small jelly jars or buy spice jars at a kitchen goods store. Include the "recipe" for the spice mix on an index card, and be sure to include some tips on how to use the spice blends.

You can buy tinned or canned spices at the grocery store, but many larger supermarkets and health food stores have bulk spices. Buy just as much as you need and you won't be left with a tin of mace or 15 years from now!

These are all salt-free, so add your own salt to taste. Grind spice blends in blender/spice grinder briefly before placing in jars. (Be sure to wash blender/grinder well before using another spice blend.)

Find the recipes below.
Anytime, anywhere rub
Use liberally on meat, fish, and vegetables.
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
1 tablespoon marjoram
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1 tablespoon ground celery seed
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano

Poultry seasoning
Great on chicken and turkey! One tablespoon of mix should cover two chicken breasts.
1 tablespoon rosemary
2 tablespoons thyme
2 tablespoons sage
1 tablespoon marjoram
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Chili spice mix
Use two to four tablespoons for each batch of chili. Turn up the heat with extra chili powder if you prefer your chili spicier.
8 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
4 tablespoons mild chili powder
4 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons nutmeg

Mexican seasoning for burritos and tacos
Use two tablespoons for each batch of tacos.
4 tablespoon cornstarch (to thicken the sauce)
5 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon cumin

Ranch dressing mix
For dip: Stir one tablespoon of mix into one cup low-fat plain yogurt or sour cream. Refrigerate overnight.
For dressing: Stir one tablespoon mix into 1 1/4 cups low-fat sour cream and 1/4 cup low-fat milk. Refrigerate overnight
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)

Herbes de Provence
This herb blend is great on chicken and vegetables.
1 tablespoon thyme
2 tablespoons chervil
2 tablespoons rosemary
2 tablespoons summer savory
2 teaspoons lavender
2 teaspoons tarragon
2 teaspoons marjoram
1 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoons mint
4 powdered or chopped bay leaves

Do you have a favorite seasoning blend? What is it?

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I love the variety of spices used in the recipies. Report
I made a bunch of these for my niece last year for Christmas and just got a request for the "Anytime, Anywhere" again this year. That's a good indicator that this is a great gift! Report
I love it.... I'm always looking for new spices...Thanks Report
Thanks so much for these. I was looking for some more interesting alternatives. Love the opportunity to use herbs and spices. Report
Since I threw the salt shaker away, I had been looking for something to "spice" up my life.....thank you!!!!!! Report
I love herb mixes. I may have to try making my own - they do get pricey at the store. Report
I rarely use spices since my tongue tends to over-react. I especially do not use any black pepper because it is painful and makes my tongue swell! In fact, there are very few things I use salt in -- pasta, gravy and eggs are it. Report
I LOVE Herbes de Provence, thank you for telling me how to make my own...lovely. Report
I have been using Mrs. Dash for years. Maybe it is time for a change I will try mixing some of these together for meats chicken and fish. Thanks for posting this. Report
Thank you for posting these! I've been debating what to give my children's teachers at their schools! A catchy fun activity for them to be involved in and give. :) Report
I just printed these out to stick in my cookbook-Thanks! I'm surprised Italian seasoning isn't included here, but I already got that recipe from elsewhere. Interesting that the Herbes de Provence one has lavendar in it. I just bought a lavendar plant last week! I love these for gift ideas, although I doubt that I'll have time now to do it for this year. Report
Almost everyone has see Emeril on TV using this seasoning and saying "Bam" when he uses it.


Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container. Report
Thanks for posting! I plan on making some of these! Report
Great idea! I love herbs and spices. Report
What a great idea! I think I'll give one or more of these to myself as well as to my friends! Report
2 tsps of lavender? WOW. Report
I like the spice combination from a recipe from called Southwestern Lime Chicken. I use these spices on steak and hamburgers too:

2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Paprika

For the original recipe, place chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap. With the flat side of a meat mallet, pound the thick part of the chicken until equal thickness. Sprinkle ALL the above spice mix on 4 chicken breasts. Brown on both sides, then squeeze the juice of 1 lime on top, cover and reduce heat and cook until chicken is no longer pink. EXCELLENT!!

Sprinke this Report
I really like this! We've really cut back on items that are high in sodium since joining SP and tracking our sodium. I can't wait to try these out (especially the taco/burrito spice)
For many years I have mixed spices like this and keep in large shaker to use on meats, etc. I avoid salt because of high blood pressure and the large pork roast I cooked today was delicious with just herbs for flavor. Report
I am going to give this a go. Report
I love this! I'm going to make one of each to send to a friend in the UK. She loves to cook and will love this! Thanks! Report
These sound great. Might have to mix some up to try in place of Mrs. Dash. Report
Sparquee-- I remember Spike. We used it at home, when I was growing up. I haven't seen it in a long time. Didn't know it was still around. Report
Thank you for the recipes. They sound delicious, and with no salt, healthy!! Report
Spike is another all-round seasoning. It doesn't have any salt. The first time I tried it, I had it on my eggs at breakfast. It was very good and you couldn't even tell that there wasn't any salt in it. Report
These are great. I try not to use the spice mixes that you get from teh store because of the salt that is added. Report
Thanks for these!! I was just figuring out my Christmas list for my co-workers and changed from another "jar receipe" to these. Much Healthier. Report
This is a salt free seasoning put out by the American Heart Association, called appropriately, AHA. It is spicy and delicious, especially as a rub on chicken. Here's the recipe:

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 tsp each of the following: basil, thyme, parsley, savory, mace, onion powder, black pepper and sage.
Put all ingredients in a blender jar and blend at high speed until they are ground.

Great ideas! I definitely want to try some of these! Report
So much potential. Could even use smallest baby food jars. Fine ideas, thank you! Report
What lovely (and colorful) Christmas gift basket ideas. With prices rising at restaurants, more families are cooking at home & something like this would make a great gift to friends & family. Thank you. ... can hardly wait to try some at our home!
I made a "spa basket" for my daughter this year and included lavender and mint "bath tea bags". They turned out very nice. Report
This is great; thank you! Report
I love all these ideas, thanks for sharing! Report
Thanks for the ideas!! Report
These are great ideas!! The dollar store has containers. We are doing hot chocolate and got the recipe on Allrecipes:

10 cups dry milk powder
4 3/4 cups sifted confectoner's sugar
1 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups powdered non-dairy creamer

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine milk powder, confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, and creamer. Stir till thoroughly combined. Store cocoa mixture in a airtight container. Makes about 15 cups mix, or enough to serve about 45.

2. For 1 serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mixture in a coffee cup or mug, and add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Top with dollop of whipped cream or a few marshmallows, if desired.

OR another..."Great gifts for co-workers, teachers & friends."

Hot Chocolate Mix

16 ounces dry milk powder
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Sift together milk powder, white sugar and cocoa powder. Store in an airtight container.

2. To prepare, stir approximately 2 heaping teaspoons of mix into 1 cup of hot water.
Great gift ideas. You can also make sugar-free/low fat mixes for drinks like hot chocolate etc. and use special mugs. Actually, there's lots of possibilities. Report
ReluctantWriter . . . You asked about inexpensive jars for gift giving. I found some great jars from Ikea. The RAJTAN spice jars come in a pack of 4 for $2.99 . . . great price. I went to a wedding reception where they gave each guest a jar filled with taffy, tied with a ribbon and a little thank you charm to finish off the jar. It was so cute that I thought I would use these to make spice mixtures, use some Christmas ribbon, and tie the directions for using the mixture on a recipe card. Something different and yet healthy. Report
this is wonderful! Report
Thank I printed it out and saved it love making my own spice mixtures without the salt. Sometime I use sea salt.
BJ Report
I always thought cajun cooking was "spicey" because of the peppers and paprika. I think the salt is usually in there, too, but the amount is optional. I lived in Mississippi, and cajun was always associated with lots of pepper. Report
Here's ingredients from a jar (I wrote down and intend to make) but I don't have the proportions. Salt, garlic powder, pepper, sesame seeds, orange peel, ground ginger, dried coconut, dried red bell pepper, onion powder. Report
Dolphin, your page is not public so I can't leave you a message, so hopefully you come back to this blog.
Cajun seasoning is 'spicy' because it's salty.

(NOTE: the following recipes was taken from ~ Southern Living Magazine)


1 box salt
3T black pepper
2T garlic powder
1t onion powder
1t nutmeg
2T parsley flakes (crunched)
4T red pepper (ground) (cayenne)
2T chili powder

Combine all ingredients; store in an airtight container Report
I haven't used table salt in over 8 years now. I do have salt - I use it in my laundry when I buy dark clothes to set the dye. :)
My 'staple' blend is simply equal amounts black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. I use that mostly on my turkey burgers and steak & chicken fajitas. Report
Does anyone know what herbs are in cajun seasonings? Report
Would anyone know where to get gift food jars that dont cost a ton? Im loving these ideas! Report
I like this idea! I have to watch my sodium intake as I have high blood pressure, and the Mrs. Dash blends have become just a bit pricey. However, they are very good and they are salt-free. :-) Report
Interesting...never made my own spice rubs before. Report
This is great, since I want to cut my salt intake, and what a great gift idea. Thanks and look forward to more recipes Report
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