Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lemon Dill Dip Mix

A month of celebration and gluttony is coming to a close and most people are vowing that in two days, they will start to eat better. That includes lots of raw, fresh vegetables and the best way to get them down is with a really good dip...

Lemon Dill Dip Mix (single use)

1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon dill seed
1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon onion flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt

Big batch (makes 4 uses)

4 teaspoons dill weed
2 teaspoons dill seed
2 teaspoons garlic flakes
2 teaspoons dried lemon peel
1 teaspoon onion flakes
1 teaspoon salt

What else you'll need

1 cup of sour cream, mayo or yogurt (full fat, low fat or fat free depending on how many calories you want)

Combine 1 tablespoon of mix with sour cream/yogurt/mayo and stir well. Let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for best results.

I used this dip with the appetizers on Christmas Eve dinner and it was so good that people raved about it even among the other gluttonous foods. The easiest way to eat right is to eat healthy foods that taste good. Have a happy new year everyone!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ranch Popcorn Seasoning Mix

After all the fun and madness that is Christmas with two small children, today we're having a quiet day at home. That means pajamas all day, movies and POPCORN!

I love the first two popcorn seasonings I created (BBQ and Dill Pickle), but I've been in the mood to try something new lately. I figured today would be the perfect day for...

Ranch Popcorn Seasoning

1/4 cup buttermilk powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dill
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Buttermilk powder is available at Bulk Barn and other bulk food stores. If you don't have any I suppose you could use non instant milk powder but it won't quite taste the same.

Stir the mix and then pour it into a jar. This recipe fits perfectly in a small spice jar from the dollar store.

I melted some butter first to make it stick better and then sprinkled it on. It was really really good! I'm going to add it into the rotation for sure now!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Beef Gravy Mix

Gravy usually goes with roast beef or chicken, and you can simply make it using the drippings, but once in a while you want something with gravy when you haven't cooked any meat. Like poutine!

I'm Canadian, and poutine is ridiculously popular where I live. It's basically fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. I've heard several names for it in other parts of the world (including 'dicso fries'), but the idea is basically the same.

Beef Gravy Mix (single use)

1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 beef bouillon cube
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
pinch thyme
pinch sage

If you want a vegetarian gravy just replace the beef bouillon with a vegetable bouillon cube and presto, you can enjoy poutine just like everyone else!

Most gravy mixes are made up mostly of powdered milk, which didn't make any sense to me. I mean REAL gravy isn't made with milk is it? So I made my mix without any.

What else you'll need

2 tablespoons of butter (optional)
1 cup cold water

Combine mix with water and stir well.

The first time I made this I melted butter before pouring the mix and water into the pan to cook. The second time I forgot the butter entirely and the gravy tasted great! So if you want a really rich gravy use the butter, if you want something low fat you can skip it.

Melt butter in a wok or sauce pan (if you want). Stir in mix and water. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture begins to thicken remove it from the heat and serve.

Presto! Instant gravy to make poutine at home!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gift Idea: Movie Night Kit

A lot of times you might want to give a mix for a gift, but figure it's not enough. This is especially true for gift exchanges where there is a certain monetary amount set in advance. This gift combines homemade and store bought and would be appreciated by most people.

First you buy a DVD. Depending on your budget it can be anything from a cheapie Walmart bargain bin movie to a deluxe box set of blu ray discs. I swiped a DVD from Santa's closet of stocking stuffers for the girls for this picture.

Then fill a small jar with bulk popcorn kernals. I used a small 2 cup mason jar, which makes about 4 giant bowls of popcorn.

Next make a jar of popcorn seasoning mix. Right now I have recipes for BBQ, ranch and dill pickle, although I'm working on more.

You can put everything in a basket, but I prefer just using a small gift bag since we already have them and I'm sure you do too. Somehow despite the fact we've never purchased a single one in our lives there are about 500 of them stashed down in our basement from previous holidays.

You can make any type of tags or labels you want. I've seen people make them using photo shopped pictures of their children's faces for gifts for grandparents, but I pretty much stick with a marker, paper and ribbons. Write anything you want about the contents, the gift is pretty much self explanatory though.

If you want to get fancy you can add extras like candy, drinks, ect, it all depends on how big the gift needs to be.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tartar Sauce Mix

One of the many reasons I mix it up is because a pet peeve of mine is an overcrowding of condiment bottles in my fridge door. It bothers me for several reasons- you can't find the things you actually want, you can't fit the things you need and most of all you end up throwing out more than half of it.

My daughter and I are intolerant to eggs, so we don't eat any egg based sauces or condiments, but my husband LOVES them. Whenever I make fish and chips, he wants tartar sauce. But how often do we really eat fish and chips? Not often enough for one person to eat a whole bottle of the sauce before it goes bad.

I find it's much easier to keep a jar of plain mayonnaise in the fridge, and add my seasoning mixes to it to make a small portion of whatever condiment I need. So this week..

Tartar Sauce Mix (single use)

1 1/2 teaspoons dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

What else you'll need

1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped pickles

Combine mix with mayo and pickles and stir well. If you can chill in the fridge for a while before using to let the flavors mix, but this isn't necessary.

I served it in a little dipping bowl with our fish and chips. He loved it almost as much as I loved that when the meal was over, there wasn't an extra bottle cluttering up my fridge.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mix It Update: Housekeeping

My dream kitchen is finished (well except for the flooring and the backsplash, which we are waiting until the new year to put in). We even put an extra row of cupboards and counter on the empty wall that separates our kitchen and dining room and I have declared them off limits to anyone and anything but my mix ingredients and food preparation.

Here is my new kitchen:

Here is one of my two mix ingredient cupboards:

The bottom shelves are reserved for bins of things I need in large amounts (flour, sugar, oats, rice...), as well as baking mixes such as waffle mix. The middle shelf has my spice jars and bags of extra spice. The top shelf is random dry ingredients in medium amounts stored in empty peanut butter jars- popcorn, bread crumbs, salt, corn starch, lentils, ect and smaller mixes ect. The cupboard next to it looks pretty similar.

This blog is coming up on its two year anniversary, and with many new readers and many old recipes it's getting harder for people to find what they want. People are always asking me 'do you have a recipe for...' and since I roughly remember which time of year I made each one I can dig the link up for them. I'm thinking that it might be easier for everyone if I organized old recipes in a better way. I'm thinking of creating tags for different types of recipes- chicken, ground beef, side dish, baking mix, Chinese or Mexican dish, dessert, condiments, ect. Let me know if there are any tags you would like to see.

I've been working on a few new recipes, but I thought today you would prefer to see pictures of my shiny new kitchen instead (and what the inside of a mix it up cupboard looks like). I'll be back later this week with another great mix.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Garlic Salt Mix

We're having our kitchen re-done this week! It's very exciting and looks great, but it's also meant several days of paper plates and freezer meals reheated in the microwave and toaster oven.

I decided to post one of the easiest but much beloved mixes today from my makeshift kitchen- Garlic salt! Garlic salt is perfect to sprinkle on baked chicken, potatoes, popcorn and fries. I also use it to make 'lazy man's garlic bread' like I did today.

Garlic Salt (makes 1 teaspoon for a recipe)

3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Big batch (makes a spice jar full)

3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder

To make my lazy man's garlic bread I just cut up some french bread, brushed on some olive oil with a pastry brush (use unsalted butter if you are using butter, it's salty enough!), sprinkled on some garlic salt and toasted it in my toaster oven. Served on a paper plate of course! Delicious!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gingerbread Cookie Mix

December is here and all around us holiday baking is in full swing. We don't give baked goods as gifts anymore (we give jarred mixes), but I thought it would be fun for my daughter and I to do a bit of baking for ourselves. She's been really into play dough lately, so I figured something with a dough she could roll and cut would be best. I settled on...

Gingerbread Cookie Mix (single use)

1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Big Batch (makes 4 uses)

7 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons ginger
2 tablespoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Most gingerbread mixes use brown sugar, which causes clumping and decreases shelf life. I make mine with white sugar and add more molasses when I bake them which makes the mix more storage friendly in big batches.

What else you'll need

1/4 cup butter
1 egg
3 tablespoons molasses

Combine butter, egg and molasses and mix well, then stir in 3 1/4 cups of mix. Once the dough is well mixed form it into a ball with your hands. You can chill it in the fridge for a while to make it easier to roll, but we couldn't wait and it worked fine.

On a lightly flour surface roll out your dough to desired thickness and cut out your shapes with cookie cutters.

Lay cut cookies on a baking sheet. I gave my daughter her own sheet so she could proudly arrange her lumpier handiwork. She called them 'bingergen men'.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until cookies begin to harden and brown (they will continue to cook a little as they cool so don't overcook them).

Cool completely before icing.

We're not elaborate bakers here so I just decorated using a mixture of icing sugar and water in a ziploc bag with the tip cut off, but I might try sticking candies on next time. These were a HUGE hit and were gone by the end of the day.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Vegetable Soup Mix

Baby it's cold outside! The snow is here for the season now and that means sledding, constant runny noses and SOUP! Some days I make elaborate homemade soups that can't compare with anything else. But other days I'm sick, or I want to spend my time sledding with my oldest daughter and then whip something up quickly as fast as I can. Store bought soups and soup mixes have such a gross aftertaste, so that's why I need to mix it up...

Vegetable Soup Mix (single use)

1 vegetable bouillon cube (or 1 tablespoon bouillon mix)
1/4 cup dehydrated vegetable flakes
1/4 cup soup noodles (I used alphabet)

Yep, that's it. 3 ingredients. So easy.

What else you'll need

1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups water

Combine mix, tomato paste and water in a small saucepan and simmer, stirring well to dissolve the bouillon and tomato paste first.

Cover and simmer until noodles and vegetables are tender. It's the best soup you'll eat for so little work. I ate the whole pot in one sitting.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lemon Garlic Aioli Sauce Mix

My husband loves dipping things in mayonnaise, so I knew this sauce would be perfect to serve to him with our crab cakes last week.

Lemon Garlic Aioli Mix (single use)

3/4 teaspoon garlic flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried lemon peel
pinch salt
pinch pepper

What else you'll need

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Combine mix with mayo and stir well.

Let it sit in the fridge for a while for the flavor to infuse, then serve as a dipping sauce for seafood (or whatever you wish). I didn't try it because I can't eat eggs, but my husband said it was amazing. He used the leftovers to dip his french fries in the next day.