The Gift of Giving: DIY Salt-Free Spice Blends

20 Dec

Spice mixes are a great way to give the gift of better taste to your favorite people. Not to mention that — like superfoods — many herbs have nutritional powers that warm, calm, cool, excite and balance our bodies. You don’t need fancy or expensive spice mixes to reap the benefits of these amazing foods (and their flavors) because homemade spice mixes are easy to make and can take on any personality or flavor you like. Best of all? They are sodium-free!

Image result for spice blend homemade mason jar

Stock your pantry with whole spices where available (i.e., cloves, star anise, peppercorns, coriander seed, etc.), then grind them as you need. Pre-ground or powdered spices lose their essence more quickly, which means less flavor in your spice mix. While these are easiest to find at a store specializing in spices, a well-stocked grocery store may also have a nice selection. However, some spices — ginger, onion powder, turmeric and cocoa powder — are easiest to use and work with in powdered form.

Use a Vitamix, a dedicated coffee grinder, or a mortar and pestle to grind your whole spices. To make the mixes below, simply combine the whole spices and pulverize them, then mix with the powdered spices in the recipe. Each formula yields about 1/4 cup of spice mix, so you can scale up or down depending on your needs. Present them in a mason jar with a cute label and voila!

The six salt-free spices below are templates for each of the six flavors we taste. Pack them into small jars and give them to someone who embodies each of the flavors — or who you know will appreciate a little extra sprinkle of sweet, salty, bitter, bright and tartness all year long.

Sultry & Sweet: Sprinkle into hot chocolate or squash soup.

4 teaspoons cinnamon powder
4 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Two big pinches of saffron

Spiced & Savory: Pairs particularly well with poultry, vegetables, eggs and more.

6 teaspoons garlic powder
6 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons celery seeds or leaves

Spicy & Sour: Delicious sprinkled over quinoa, couscous or roasted vegetables.

6 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
4 teaspoons pink peppercorn
4 teaspoons sumac
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons black pepper

Bright & Powerful: Pairs well with soups or pork.

3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ginger powder
2 teaspoons white peppercorn
2 teaspoons anise seeds

Bitter Sweet: Fantastic on top of coffee or roasted squash.

4 teaspoons cocoa powder
4 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Tangy & Tart: Sprinkle over chicken soup or roasted vegetables; use to flavor meats or in dressings.

4 teaspoons coriander seeds
4 teaspoons onion powder
4 teaspoons dill seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

Once you get the hang of grinding and combining these salt-free spice blends, you can start to play with different combinations and personalize them. As they are, these sodium-free mixes are perfect for sprinkling on vegetables, meat dishes, adding to salads or starches, over soup or really anywhere you want to add a little salt-free kick.

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Vinegar Salad Dressing

1 Nov


National Vinegar Day is here!  Dress up your salad with our Vinegar Salad Dressing!

Image result for apple cider vinegar

Vinegar Salad Dressing

Suitable for Fast Track patients

1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbs. Lemon Juice
2 tsp. Onion, finely chopped
2 servings Stevia
½ tsp. Dry Mustard
1 tsp. Paprika

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate. Shake well before using.
Note: This dressing may be kept for several weeks refrigerated in a closed container.

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Onion Dressing

1 Nov

What’s your favorite way to dress up a salad?  You can’t go wrong with our Onion Dressing!

Image result for onion dressing

Onion Dressing

Suitable for Fast Track patients

1 tbs. Dehydrated Onion
½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ cup Water
1 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
Dash of Garlic Powder

Combine all ingredients and shake in a container or bag.

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Taco Seasoning

3 Oct

National Taco Day is here!  Let’s taco ’bout it!  Make your own 🌮 Salt-Free Taco Seasoning!

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Taco Seasoning

Suitable for Fast Track patients

6 tsp. Chili Powder
5 tsp. Paprika
4 ½ tsp. Cumin
3 tsp. Onion Powder
2 ½ tsp. Garlic Powder

Combine well in a small jar with a lid.

7 tsp = 1.25 oz. package of taco seasoning.
1 batch = 3 packages

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Lime Taco Dressing

3 Oct

If it’s National Taco Day, we must celebrate! Try this quick and easy dressing perfect for salads!

Lime Taco Dressing 🌮

Suitable for Fast Track patients

1 Tbs. Fresh Lime Juice
1 Tbs. Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tbs. Water (not softened)
2 Tbs. Homemade Taco Seasoning

Taco seasoning:
1 Tbs. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Paprika
3/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
1/4 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes or a 1/2 tsp. if you do not like it spicy
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder

Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and use as much as needed for your salad or your low carbohydrate tortilla wrap.

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Seasoning Blends: All Purpose and Spicy Seasoning

13 Aug

Updated: 9/27/18

Making your own seasonings is an easy way to satisfy your tastebuds!  Sprinkle these seasonings on vegetables or lean meats for instant flavor!

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All Purpose Seasoning

Suitable for Fast Track patients

3 Tbs. Onion Powder
1 Tbs. Garlic Powder
1 Tbs. Paprika
1 tsp. Dry Basil
1/2 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. Celery Seed
1 tsp. Ground Coriander
1 dash Nutmeg

Combine all ingredients well in a small jar with a shaker top. Sprinkle on anything you desire.

🌶 Spicy Seasoning Blend 🌶

Suitable for Fast Track patients

3 Tbsp. Celery Seed
1 Tbsp. Onion Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp. Crushed Oregano
1 Tbsp. Crushed Thyme
1 ½ tsp. Ground Bay Leaf
1 ½ tsp. Black Pepper
1 ½ tsp. Ground Cloves

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake mixture well. Yields about 1/2 cup.

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5 Easy Perennial Vegetables & Herbs to Grow

14 Apr

Most of our favorite vegetables such as peppers or tomatoes (technically fruits!) – are annuals.  They complete their life cycles in a single growing season so we have to plant them year after year.  While there aren’t many true perennial vegetables, there are some that behave that way and can return each year.


  • Asparagus. Once planted, a good asparagus bed can last for decades, with weeds being their only real enemy.  Keep your bed weed-free by adding a layer of compost on top each year.   Asparagus “crowns” can take about three years to fully mature so be patient, as they are well worth the wait for a bountiful spring harvest.
  • Chives. The slender leaves can grow up to a foot long and are very popular throughout the world.  They are easy to grow and can form clumps fairly rapidly.
  • Garlic. Break the head of garlic apart into individual cloves and plant them in a sunny, well drained bed with the root side down.  The soil should cover them so that the cloves barely stick up above the ground. When it’s time to harvest, leave some of the smaller plants to die – they will come up again the following year and will provide a new crop.
  • Peppers. Although they are planted as annuals, pepper plants can be brought inside and cared for over the winter, and returned to the garden in the spring.
  • Wild Leeks. Relative of the onion, Wild Leeks are also known as “Ramps”. These plants are tender early in the spring and produce edible bulbs in the fall, winter and spring.
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Is Popcorn Healthy?

1 Nov

Is Popcorn Healthy?

When prepared the right way, popcorn can serve as a healthy snack!  The healthiest way to prepare popcorn is by “air-popping”.

To air pop your popcorn, use an air pop popcorn maker, or simply use the microwave!  To use a microwave to air pop, spray the inside of a brown paper lunch bag generously with unflavored cooking spray, add the serving of plain kernels into the brown bag, fold over the top of the bag twice to seal it closed, and microwave for about 2 minutes, or until the popping slows to a few seconds between pops. (Cook time will vary based on microwave.)

Bagged microwave popcorn may be quick and easy, but it has its drawbacks!  These types of popcorn typically contain added salt and fat, even when choosing light or low-fat varieties.  The delicious flavor of salt and butter can be achieved by adding seasonings and other ingredients to your popcorn.  The MWLC Recipes page has tons of popcorn seasoning recipes!

Always add your flavored mixes while the popcorn is hot, as it will hold the seasonings better. Mix all ingredients together then gently sprinkle the mix a little at a time over the hot popcorn.

Use unflavored cooking spray as needed so the flavoring sticks to the popcorn. You can also use a plastic bowl with a lid and shake the popcorn with the added seasonings so it is evenly distributed.

Try these delicious Popcorn Seasoning Recipes!

S’mores Popcorn

1 MWLC Marshmallow Brownie Bar
1 packet Stevia Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp. Pumpkin Spice
1-2 oz. Boiling Water
Vinegar Powder, to taste

Air pop popcorn kernels. Stir the pumpkin spice and stevia brown sugar together and gradually mix into the popcorn. Next, take Marshmallow Brownie Bar and chunk one half into very small pieces. Place the chunks of the bar in the air-popped popcorn. Microwave the other half of the bar in a glass dish with 1-2 oz. of water for about 1 minute until it turns into a liquid, stirring along the way. Once the bar is runny, drizzle it over top of the popcorn while it is still hot. Last, sprinkle vinegar powder to taste, and enjoy!

Spice Cake Popcorn

1 Tbsp. Stevia
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ginger, ground
1/4 tsp. Allspice
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves

Mix all ingredients together, then gently sprinkle the mix a little at a time over the hot popcorn.

Smoked BBQ Popcorn

1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
1/4 tsp. Smoked Paprika

Mix all ingredients together, then gently sprinkle the mix a little at a time over the hot popcorn.

Visit the MWLC Recipes page for more popcorn seasoning and snack recipes!

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Fall Flavors: Pumpkin Spice

19 Oct

Updated: 9/27/18

It’s that time of year!  This 🎃 Pumpkin Spice recipe is a staple salt-free blend used to season many fall favorites.

Image result for pumpkin spices

What you need:

  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cloves

Mix the spices together in a small bowl and take a little whiff – smells heavenly, right?  Store the mixture in a small clean jar or spice container and sprinkle it on a hot drink recipe or delicious dessert to add a little fall flavor!

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