Powdered Sugar*

powdered-sugar It’s bad enough that sugar substitutes like erythritol cost a fortune in comparison to regular sugar, but if you need powdered sugar, they charge you even more.

And that’s just wrong, since it’s simple to make your own.

So do make your own and save yourself a bit of cash.




  • 1 c sugar substitute
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot (optional)


  1. Place in a food processor and whirr away. A bit of whirring and you have fine sugar, continue and it powders up.
  2. Add the cornstarch which will add about 7 carbs to the total recipe if you wish to make a large batch and store.

SERVES: about 1 1/2 c

NOTES: The cornstarch prevents clumping together so if you are going to use all you make at one sitting, omit it and save the carbs. And even if you intend to store some, you can always use a sieve and accomplish the same thing.

SOURCE: Everywhere on the Internet.


Herbs de Provence

Herbes-de-Provence-e1323707487226As you know, dried herbs can be expensive. This is so even though the cost of most herbs (which are often nothing but weeds) are dirt cheap.

That’s why I always advocate growing your own, and certainly drying or freezing your own rather than buying them. This works for a ton of herbs but not all of course.

But if you want to talk expensive, then just need a blend. Then the price really gets high. And for no good reason, except that you are paying somebody to mix them in the correct proportions for you.

You can start with fresh herbs if you have them. You could then chop them up in the correct proportions and freeze them in some olive oil like I recommend for other herbs, see TIPS  and TRICKS on the side bar. Otherwise use dried herbs. Most of these are probably already in your kitchen.


  • 3 TBSP each: oregano, thyme, savory
  • 2 TBSP  lavender flowers (harder to find and not essential. Some people substitute fennel seed about 1 tbsp)
  • 1 TBSP each: sage, basil, rosemary


  1. Mix all together. You can use a small processor if you wish to really break them up, but I would do just a couple of pulses. Of course don’t do this if using fresh.
  2. Put in a container with a good lid and store in a dark place.

SERVES: about 3/4 of a cup

SOURCE: Food.com

NOTE: if you have fresh herbs but prefer to do the dry method, then place them in a single layer on a piece of paper towelling and microwave for a minute at a time until they appear nicely dried. I would transfer to another sheet of newspaper and lay them out over night to be sure. If they are the least bit still damp, they will rot in the bottle, so do make sure they are dry beforehand. (You could also do in a 200° oven for a few hours, check every 3-4 hours I would say).

EXTRA SPECIAL NOTE: If you make up this blend fresh and store in the freezer, you should understand that you should make a much bigger batch to start with (same proportions of course). When using fresh herbs you use 2-3 times as much as you would dried.

Crazy Cajun

You can go in the supermarket and buy bottles of Cajun spice. There are several to choose from, and the creators will be most happy when you plunk down your cash.

You will pay anywhere from $3-5 bucks, and if you look at the list of ingredients, you will discover that salt leads the list, and that means that it is by volume the largest ingredient.

If you are lucky enough to have a store when you can buy spices and herbs in bulk, then you can save a ton by making your own spice and herb mixes.

Surely, most of the time fresh herbs are preferable to dried, but when it comes to mixes, that is not usually worthwhile.

This is pretty much a standard Cajun/Creole (there is a difference but I haven’t a clue exactly what that is) mix and it is just great to have handy.


  • 2 tsp paprika (preferably smoky, but do get fresh and the best you can afford)
  • 2 tsp garlic (I prefer granulated, but NEVER garlic salt, rather than powder)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp onion (again, granulated, NEVER onion salt)
  • 1 tsp cayenne (adjust to your taste for heat)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme


  1. Mix it all together and store in an air tight opaque container, out of sunlight.

Notes: See tips and Tricks for more ideas about spices and herbs. Also, the amounts are suggestions, if you dislike a particular thing, use less or none. Or substitute such as chipotle for cayenne.


Spice It!

As you know, I don’t like junk in boxes much.

Have you ever seen that aisle in the grocery where they have all those “McCormick” mixes? For meatloaf and spaghetti sauce? And God knows what else. I look the other way.

I know they want to lure me with convenience. But I hold out for taste.

I have purchased a boat load of “taco seasoning” packets. Back in the day when a taco was a strange new food that you bought at a joint called “Taco Bell” and when all the fixings for a taco was in a box. “just add ground beef!”

Anyway, the packets are full of salt, and the usual array of non-pronounceable and awful sounding “ingredients” that have hyphens and big capital letters to sound important.

I’ll stick to real spices and herbs, thank you very much.

Here is my seasoning for all things Mexican, Tex-Mex and ribby. Oh just about anything that can be cooked. Throw a bit in your mac and cheese some time.


  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or granulated (no salt)
  • 1 tsp onion powder or granulated (no salt)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  1. Mix all together and store in a air tight container out of the sunlight.
  2. Forms of the herbs or spices that come as seeds should be ground in either a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.
  3. Multiply the above by a factor of 10 and you will have it handy for a couple of months!