Food and cooking

Spicing Things Up

seasonings

Having significant food restrictions to maintain my health hasn’t been any fun. I can’t eat most of my old comfort foods; eating at restaurants is a crap-shoot of undisclosed or forbidden ingredients. Breakfast at a restaurant when I can’t eat eggs or dairy, for example, leaves me with oatmeal and maybe some previously frozen fruit. Not really worth going out for. Nothing is as rich when there is no butter, cheese, sour cream, etc. everything seems blander. I end up eating the same set of safe foods frequently, and n  boredom sets in. So, I’ve found a few ways to make life more interesting that I wanted to share with you. They’ve been game-changers for me.

southwestern seasonings, chili powder

These seasonings were in many of my southwestern recipes, but I couldn’t find them in the stores. I have them now! New Mexican Chili powder and Cantanzaro herbs are in the little bowls.

I’m sensitive to cumin, but most other spices and seasonings are good. I visited a couple of specialty shops in town and Holy Moley! I discovered more flavorful versions of what I’d used before and seasoning blends that I never would have thought of. Sometimes I don’t have the time or energy to drive across the metro area, so I order through their internet shops.

 

orange peel

Sometimes I throw some of these orange peels in my hot tea as it brews. Yum!

Penzey’s carries a large variety of high-quality spices. Now that I’ve experienced the glory of GOOD cinnamon, I will never again buy it on the bulk aisle of my local grocery store. What a difference it makes! I’ve begun making my own vanilla, too, but that is a different story.

Fox point seasoning, seasoning, herbs

This Fox Point Seasoning is advertised for those who restrict salt. I don’t need to restrict salt– I just love the flavor!

When I went to the Penzey’s across town, I discovered the nearby Savory Spice Shop (SavorySS). Where Penzey’s mainly focuses on ingredients and has just a few blends, SavorySS has a large selection of blends as well as ingredients. Everything I have purchased from these two stores has been terrific.

Makrut lime with dish

I found a recipe for Fresh Salsa Verde on SavorySS’ website that I swear changed our lives. Added to avocado toast, it took the dish from a desperation snack to a favorite lunch or after-work meal. The salsa verde goes on meats, vegetables, pasta – everything. When tomatillos go out of season, I start sweating it. I have put some of the salsa verde in the freezer to get us through the coming winter, because we can’t imagine life without it. It’s the Makrut Lime Sea Salt that makes this recipe so perfect.

citrus pepper seasoning, seasoning

Citrus Pepper Seasoning is one of my favorites for poultry sausage.

I use different blends as an experiment in all my cooking now. I have a large stash, and I think about what I’m cooking, and then I open the nearest blend and sniff. Does it smell like it will enhance what I’m making? With this technique, I quickly figure out which blend is right for what’s cooking. (It sounds weird, but it works, so don’t judge me!)

sesonings

Hot and spicy, I love California Citrus Rub in just about everything!

Since I can’t eat pork or beef, I usually end up with ground chicken or turkey as a breakfast meat. Commercial poultry sausages and have been disappointing, to say the least. Using different spices, we’ve had some great chicken breakfast sausages. I take plain ground chicken or turkey and add light salt and then a spice blend with a heavy hand. Finally, a protein at breakfast worth eating.

ground ginger, spice

I use these seasonings and blends on almost all my cooking. Now that cinnamon season has arrived, I’ve discovered that I can up the flavor by using fresh and more intense spices. So far, I’ve upgraded my cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, and pumpkin pie spice. As the others look old and less flavorful by comparison, they may also find themselves replaced. You don’t have to have a food sensitivity to enjoy full-flavored food; it’s an enjoyment that is available to everyone!

spices

I’m ready for cinnamon season!

 

15 replies »

  1. I can totally identify with you. Apart from the usual lactose intolerance (but can eat Buffalo cheese if it wasn’t so expensive), am non-celiac gluten intolerant, no egg whites, no soy, no to many spices, I am now reacting to gluten-free products (its the maize and/or potato starch), eating for me is becoming a nightmare.

    I spent the night in the local hospital E.R. Sun/Mon (yesterday) after another severe attack and what turned out to be the worst migraine on record. 6 weeks ago it was 3 days in the cardiology ward as the histamine shed was so bad it affected my heart.

    I stick to herbs, plain meat, salmon or similar fish, vegetables except corn, potato and most fruits. I can eat some nuts and pumpkin seeds but they are very expensive (when you’re living on a frugal Disability Pension) so have started to cut out many of them.

    I eat organic, free range egg yokes, but often supermarket chicken/eggs causes tachycardia too. I believe it’s not the chicken per se – its the corn or grains the chickens have been fed at the source. And don’t get me started on food colourings/additive and preservatives. Its now too hard to work out what is ok and what is not, so just easier to stick to the same 20-25 foods.

    I know by this post, that you pretty much feel the same.

    I am soon to be tested for MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome) starting with a leg rash biopsy today.

    I try to make my meals look the most colourful, fresh and appealing to the eye as possible.

    I used to be a good cook, but don’t have the energy to experiment and stand in the one position at the stove due to constant lower back and sciatic pain, so I’m in a no-win situation.

    I’m thinking of starting a new blog for people like me (who love food and in to food photography), but that would probably mean I’d have to start actually cooking again LOL 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I do relate. There is a FB group for histamine sensitivities that I was a part of for awhile. I can’t do eggs at all; i think some of the problem was that the chickens were fed soy, which I can’t eat. But switching to sky-Free eggs wasn’t enough, so I had to add eggs to the list of things I don’t eat. I’m glad you found doctors that understand the issue and know how to test for it. They are hard to find.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As someone who is gluten-free, lactose-free and sensitive to certain fodmaps, I feel your pain. I’ve also been discovering how wonderful spices are. Thanks for the recommendations, the dried orange peel sounds amazing!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Your variety of spices looks wonderfully yummy.With all my husband’s food allergies, we also have a difficult time eating out. He can’t eat dairy either, but we have found that there is a goat milk substitute for almost anything dairy, and it is so good. I hope you continue to find good ways to eat.

    Liked by 2 people

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