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Mary Beth's Blog

I want to eat real food. I want my family to eat real food. Armed with this plan, I know I can do it. I am a real person, with real kids in a regular ol' kitchen cranking out dinner. Find out my inspiration for the menus, what's happening in my kitchen, and the achievements on the kid-friendly front.

Getting Herby with It

2013-09-28 | 0 comments
As we head into Fall, its time to stock the pantry with herbs and spices to bring flavor to dinnertime. Some Fall veggies have just plain boring flavor- squashes in particular. But, with the addition of select seasoning, they can be amongst our year-round favorites. Think – acorn quash and nutmeg, potatoes and mustard seed, mushrooms and thyme.

Take a trip through your spice zone. Although herbs and spices will not "go bad," they will lose their potency with age and therefore be tricky to measure. Toss anything over a year old. The supermarket is starting to put all their spices on sale so take advantage of it!

Free Herb Tip #1: There ain’t no free herb. JK!! I’m in NorCal – I can’t help myself. Dried herbs should be gently rolled or crushed between the palms of your hands to release their flavor before adding to recipes.  

Free Herb Tip#2: Share your herb. Not kidding! Consider buying reusable jars and buying bulk with friends and family. I am frugal (read:cheap) and I hate to throw away anything. So, I either buy just what I need at a co-op or try to share with a group. Make an outing of it! - call a pal to “go buy herbs!”

Free Herb Tip#3: Many recipes call for fresh herbs. Sometimes they just aren't available or on hand.  Use this equation: 1 teaspoon dried = 1 tablespoon fresh.

Here is a list to work on filling in as we change seasons.  
Allspice, ground and whole
Basil
Bay leaves
Chili powder
Cinnamon, ground and sticks
Cloves, ground and whole
Coriander, ground
Cumin, ground
Curry powder
Dillweed
Fennel seeds
Five Spice Powder
Garlic powder
Ginger, ground
Marjoram, dried
Mustard dried ground
Mustard seed
Nutmeg
Onion powder
Oregano dried
Paprika Hungarian sweet
Pepper, cayenne, dried red flakes
Peppercorns, dried black
Poppy seeds
Rosemary, dried
Sage
Sesame seeds
Tarragon dried
Thyme, dried

I know it’s a long list but its sort of like a wardrobe – you build it wisely as needs arise and you fill in the holes.

Enjoy this week’s recipes…see you next week.

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