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MONDAYLINS's Photo MONDAYLINS Posts: 6,253
8/24/19 12:59 A

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I have a friend who cooks & bakes strictly salt free. I recently made a pot of chili without using salt; the cans of beans, tomato, and tomato puree were all salt free. Spices in the original recipe were 2 TBL sugar and 2 tsp chili powder. I still felt it was missing something, so I added a few shakes of cumin and a few shakes of garlic powder. After adding the last 2 spices, I no longer missed the salt.

Interesting how we eat what we want, even when we know perhaps we shouldn't....until an illness comes along and a person HAS TO make the necessary change.

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LOSINGSEVRYTHNG's Photo LOSINGSEVRYTHNG Posts: 107
8/23/19 10:11 P

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Oh, Slap Ya Mama! I used to have that, loved it! I'll look for it again.



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8/22/19 12:43 P

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I have a great book: The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs. Check it out from your library and see if you like it. There is also a fun website www.spiceography.com

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8/22/19 11:36 A

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My favorite spice blend is a Cajun seasoning called Slap Ya Mama. It's a bit salty and spicy, so a little goes a long way, but it adds such good flavor! Especially to popcorn and baked potato wedges :)

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MRSLIVINGWELL's Photo MRSLIVINGWELL Posts: 310
8/22/19 8:52 A

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TruePeacenik: I am a devoted plant-based cook, but you have blown my mind with this post about fennel. I MUST try that soon on our pizza I make with Jill McKeever's cheeze sauce. Such a healthy way to enjoy a favorite food. I make it with my hm sourdough crust with sauce, tomatoes, green peppers, pineapple.

This is great because I bought fennel ( dried) to try a recipe I had recently at a vegan restaurant I visited on vacation: Eggplant Potato fennel soup.

This is also great to have the taste of sausage without the fat that contributes to heart disease and stroke. Keeping my arteries clear and cholesterol low with the McDougall whole food no oil way.

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TRUEPEACENIK's Photo TRUEPEACENIK Posts: 1,075
8/20/19 10:33 A

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Engineermom,
My secret to pizza and pasta sauce is fennel. I use oregano, basil, marjoram and rosemary, but fennel suggests the sausage I have never ever used. Meat eaters love my sauce, and one has argued that I’m sneaking sausage in. Um, vegetarian and kosher. No sausage.

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JAH1264 SparkPoints: (1,301)
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8/20/19 4:31 A

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While I have not gone entirely salt free, having lots of herbs and spices in a dish relieves the need to add a lot of salt. Salt is basically salt but different types of salt really do taste a little different. Over the last 2-3 years I’ve been experimenting different types of salt. Regular table salt can be a bit harsh & I tend to use it only when I bake. I use kosher or sea salt for everything else. I am still learning how to season effectively with sea salt and I find I like it just a little bit more for some dishes than kosher.

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8/20/19 4:22 A

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Food is flat and boring without herbs and spices. My spices take up the bottom shelf of my main kitchen cabinet and I have over flow in a smaller one. I buy individual spices and then use those to make different salt free spice mixes. Googling helps me make better mixes. For example I use gumbopagesdotcom for a salt free creole seasoning mix I use to make chicken and shrimp jambalaya. Also have found many instances of SF taco seasoning mixes I use.

It’s not hard and there is so much available out there on the web to try. I am on an Uber budget due to a work furlough so my budget is tight. So some herbs and spices I get inexpensively at BigLots or Walmart but others that I use a lot I buy in large containers.

Can’t imagine no using herbs & spices.

MRSLIVINGWELL's Photo MRSLIVINGWELL Posts: 310
8/13/19 10:17 A

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We use little sugar and salt, so a little cinnamon and vanilla go a long way to creating a "sweet" taste without the calories, dental issues, etc... in coffee, oatmeal, cookies (we make without oil or butter/fat).

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SHOAPIE's Photo SHOAPIE Posts: 29,096
8/12/19 12:16 P

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I’ve always used herbs and spices. Can’t imagine not using them.



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ENGINEERMOM's Photo ENGINEERMOM Posts: 1,177
8/12/19 9:53 A

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I love herbs and spices! It's astonishing to me how many people cook without them - they add so much life to dishes, it's like going from black-and-white TV to HD color.

I grew up cooking with my parents, and I have a fairly extensive collection of individual spices. If I'm cooking and a dish seems like it's missing something, I usually figure out what's missing by opening several spices and smelling them - with a little experience, you can figure out what to add by thinking about what the dish currently tastes like, and imagine it with a little bit of the smell of that spice mixed in.

One of my favorite "secret ingredient" things to do is add a tiny bit of ground dried rosemary to spaghetti sauce. It just gives it a bit of depth that oregano and basil (two more typical herbs to add to tomato sauce) lack.

I also never use pumpkin pie spice - I blend cinnamon, dried powdered ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and a pinch of cardamom. I can get away with adding a lot less sugar when all those "sweet" spices join the party!

Edited to add:
My "basic" collection of dried herbs and spices I took with me to college: oregano, rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, cumin, chili powder (the one "spice mix" I use), garlic powder (stay AWAY from the garlic salt!), coriander, whole black peppercorns (plus grinder), and paprika (useful for helping meat brown).

I've added a few since then, including cardamom, dried basil (I usually prefer fresh, but it's handy), onion powder and freeze dried chives (useful for making homemade ranch dressing), smoked paprika (really helps chili), etc.

Edited by: ENGINEERMOM at: 8/12/2019 (09:58)
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-POOKIE-'s Photo -POOKIE- Posts: 26,697
8/11/19 4:50 P

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I think some styles of cooking have a serious lack of spices used any more. It's been lost to the "easy, cheap, fast" cooking people ended up doing.

I personally make all my own curry blends, and have a huge range of spices and herbs in it's own dedicated cupboard. Eating them also has health benefits, they can be a decent added bonus in terms of minerals like iron, magnesium etc as well.

They also remove the need for the over-dependence on salt so many people have to make food "taste better"... no no, eat food and taste food without drowning in salt!

I would say a mixed herb blend, cumin, black pepper, paprika, cinnamon, oregano and turmeric are the most versatile starting blocks.



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PEBBLEGEEK's Photo PEBBLEGEEK SparkPoints: (42,026)
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8/11/19 1:00 P

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A little nutmeg grated fresh on top of a rice pudding before cooking is absolutely delicious. I use allspice (similar flavour to the old time favourite, cloves) in my home-made mincemeat at Christmas and we get through lots of cinnamon and mixed spices. Cinnamon sticks are great in hot orange juice for winter colds, especially with honey and lemon. Mulled cider with cinnamon, cloves, star anise is fabulous as a festive winter drink.

For herbs, Tarragon is especially good with chicken If you're growing it in your garden, make sure you get French Tarragon and not Russian Tarragon which is much coarser and not as flavourful, and remember it's herbaceous so it dies down in winter and doesn't reappear until spring. Rosemary is wonderful (and is supposed to enhance clear thinking!) and sage is a staple, you can get purple and green/gold leaved sages.Thyme is beloved by bees so well worth growing for that alone but also is great with beef.

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GOLDENRODFARM's Photo GOLDENRODFARM Posts: 8,437
8/10/19 11:58 P

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I love summer because my herb garden is overflowing with all kinds of tasty additions, basil is a favorite, made green beans with walnuts and basil vinaigrette the other day. Oregano is tasty in many things, parsley is a staple, I make a fresh type of poultry seasoning with rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley and some garlic rubbed on chicken. Thyme is also a favorite on meats, stews, soups, the key to most spices and herbs to use enough to improve flavor but not overpower. I love bay leaves from my bay tree in onion soup. Chives liven up sour cream or just snipped on salads, soups or veggies, garlic chives also enhance many meals. What would Italian sausage be without fennel? Lemon balm, lemon verbena, and lemon grass are good in many dishes, fish, on rice or ice tea, I like to pair them with mint in my ice tea. just a little adds so much to flavor your cooking, and is an inexpensive way to liven up food. My mother always used spices, and she was cooking for 6, she wasn’t so into growing herbs like I do, but we grew the basics, dill, parsley, basil, sage, rosemary and thyme in the vegetable garden.

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MANDIETERRIER1's Photo MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,910
8/8/19 1:13 A

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I love using spices.

My favorites are garlic and onion powder. I put a bay leaf in all my soups, stews and roasts.

Seasoning is great for when you want to decrease your salt consumption.

If you're used to pouring sugar on your fruit. Add a couple dashes of cinnamon. That really brings out the sweetness. I still add a bit of sugar. Just not as much.

A long time ago spices were precious and the lady of the house and sometimes the head housekeeper. Would keep them under lock and key.

Edited by: MANDIETERRIER1 at: 8/8/2019 (01:13)

DARCY-B's Photo DARCY-B Posts: 5,585
8/7/19 1:10 P

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I use Italian seasoning or garlic and herbs the most

Darcy



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FAITH-2-HOPE's Photo FAITH-2-HOPE Posts: 6,083
8/6/19 9:00 P

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I use spices some but love herbs. I grow quite a few in my garden and dehydrate them for winter use.

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DEBBIE1993's Photo DEBBIE1993 SparkPoints: (21,195)
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8/5/19 11:41 P

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I started using my spices a lot more, when I took them out of the cupboard and put them on a shelf. Now, when I'm cooking, I always try to use some. They are so aromatic that it's easy to imagine the taste with just a little sniff. I never buy spice mixes or packets anymore.
The herbs & spices I use most are thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, and bay. Or course, various peppers, garlic and onion powders.
You can take a simple meal like chicken, broccoli and rice, and turn it into various cuisines just by shaking on a few sprinkles and changing the fat.



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SLIMMERKIWI's Photo SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (304,596)
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7/29/19 10:46 P



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I also have a digestive issue with some spices, but can manage with a little (much less than normal.) Having said that, not all spices cause problems.

Herbs are another much undervalued item. I have rosemary growing. A little, chopped and sprinkled on meat before cooking is fantastic. It is also good with some vegetarian stews. Parsley is also another easily added and easy to grow addition.

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KATHYRB Posts: 331
7/29/19 10:21 P

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We don't do spicy or hot in my family. That's the way I was raised and how I learned to cook. You usually cook the way you learn. Plus, my stomach can't take the spicy stuff. When you don't have much, you eliminate what ever you can.



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7/29/19 9:28 P



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@KATHYRB I totally refute your comment about the cost of spices. Because you only use a very little, they last a lot longer, and the various spices (unless you go for real exotic ones) are very cheap anyway. I used to cook for a lot more than 8 people, and I still bulk cook all of my meals, and freeze in single serves.

You can use the same base ingredients (ground beef, onion, carrots, celery, canned tomato, garlic, lentils/chick peas/kidney beans etc, and make each one totally different. One could have a little curry, another Moroccan spice, another chili and another basil, and you have virtually 'eaten around the world' and believe me, it can very VERY inexpensive. I have lived off the smell of an oily rag for over 40 years but have always eaten very well (read "healthily") - they DO help to reduce costs and increase variety.

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KATHYRB Posts: 331
7/29/19 9:08 P

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I don't use many spices. I think that's because my mom didn't. She had to cook for 8 people plus the cost of them can be high.



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LE_SIGH's Photo LE_SIGH Posts: 2,014
7/25/19 10:26 A

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I enjoy using spices to create different cuisines. Here are a couple of sites I found helpful:

https://www.spicesinc.com/p-3746-most-popular-spices-by-cuisine.aspx

This link is specific to middle eastern food but you’ll find a bunch of other links on the page varied by ethnicity: https://www.thespruceeats.com/middle-eastern-spices-and-herbs-2355845

I keep my favorites around always. I also buy certain things like ginger and basil in the tube for convenience and because it stays fresh longer... I threw out too many moldy hands of ginger before I learned! Those I find in the cool section of the produce area.

JUSTEATREALFOOD's Photo JUSTEATREALFOOD Posts: 2,957
7/25/19 7:10 A

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Spices are wonderful! I have a small upper cupboard loaded full off spices. It’s amazing how different spices work together to create tasty food.

Here’s one of my all time favourite recipes that uses a few different spices. So yummy.

cookieandkate.com/quick-vegan-chana-masala
/



Taco meat made using chilli powder, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne is a big hit around here. I cook ground beef with peppers, onions and add a bit of tomato paste because I have low iron and it aids absorption. You could use whatever meat you prefer. I serve it with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, green onions, guacamole, salsa, cilantro (which I freeze before it goes bad for future use). I eat it as a salad. I’ll sometimes crumble a few corn chips on top. The rest of the family likes to use wraps to make it a burrito.

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MLAN613 Posts: 22,316
7/25/19 6:43 A

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I love using spices and herbs to flavor my meals. I love Tex Mex types flavors and Asian, especially Indian. Here a curry recipe I like. It's one of the few times I have liked sweet potatoes.

www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/lentil-cha
rd-sweet-potato-curry/#gs.re050x


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7/25/19 12:07 A



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Herbs and spices are VERY underutilized where it comes to a healthy makeover diet. For those who consume a lot of salt, it is a great way to reduce it. But just remember, 'less is more' meaning you don't need a lot, especially if it is in the dried form.

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MARTHA324's Photo MARTHA324 Posts: 8,887
7/24/19 7:12 P

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I do use spices and have learned not to overdo it. One of two (maybe 3) is about all you want to really kick up the flavor.

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LOSINGSEVRYTHNG's Photo LOSINGSEVRYTHNG Posts: 107
7/24/19 5:45 P

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I experimented with adding basil, tarragon, oregano, and garlic powder to my "rice and olive oil" today for lunch. It was great. Makes me wonder what other great ideas might be out there that I could try.

For those times when we need to make the food more enjoyable without adding calories.



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