dried herbs, spices

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Things I Miss the Most.

Published May 20, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

This is one of those trips down memory lane. And for the most part, whatever became of all those ‘In a jiff meals’ that are non-existent nowadays? Well, while my mind seems to be on the topic of food, cooking and whatnot, I decided to share some long gone missed meals that my mom used to prepare. And this is in no particular order, by the way.

Chip beef gravy over mashed potatoes. Not entirely a meal that can’t be made nowadays, but sort of falls within the ‘missed meals’ category since I no longer eat processed lunch meats.

What you’ll need:

One package of Carl Budding sliced beef pre-packaged slices (found in the lunch meat section). Remove the slices from the package. Discard any moisture-absorbing packets as they contain poison. At least some of the pre-packaged sliced meats contained these at one time. Cut the beef slices into strips and small chunks. Set aside.

Wash, peel and slice some potatoes and boil them until tender in a sauce pan. Drain off excess water and mash them with a splash of milk, a little salt and butter (optional).

In another sauce pan bring some milk to boil. I believe my mom used to put in a little bit of corn starch to make a white gravy. It’s been ages since I last watched her make this easy cheap meal. Before the gravy becomes too thick, remove from heat, add in the sliced and cubed beef slices, stir it and serve over mashed potatoes. This recipe should yield enough to feed three persons on a single serving. Therefore, if you want more, double up on the recipe. Best served warm and refrigerate any leftovers.

Missed meal (defunct) Soup Starter:

Whether with meat or chicken added in or completely vegetarian, this was always great on a cold and/ or stormy day. Put the contents of Soup Starter and water in a Crock Pot and let it cook for you. And after a long hard day by suppertime this soup awaited you and the aroma was wonderful! 🙂

This was the only ‘soup’ in a tall cardboard container that was inexpensive to make, required very little extra ingredients, made plenty for second helpings with some for leftovers. Soup Starter was popular during the 1980s and was one of those brands that quietly disappeared from store shelves. I hear it was renamed Wyler’s Mrs. Grass. Oh, and Soup Starter was no stranger to pack an MSG wallop, either and very high in salt and sodium. I remember the ingredients in Soup Starter were dehydrated (freeze-dried) small veggies, shell macaroni, dry broth, and if you wanted meat or chicken you could add in a piece of either. Soup Starter made 2 quarts of soup. It came in beef or chicken, I believe. I was fond of the beef flavor.

There was once a  pre-boxed itty bitty ‘bow tie’ macaroni product by Kraft (no longer made) that contained small slivers of dehydrated carrot and some other spices. My mother also made that quite a bit and served it over mashed potatoes along with a veggie like corn, peas or green beans. I don’t remember the name of this pre-boxed side dish, but I liked it and haven’t seen it on store shelves since the very early 80s.

I believe that’s it for the defunct meals in a box and canister for now. Again all likely loaded with MSG nastiness, but duplicating these recipes might take some scouring store shelves to find the freeze-dried ingredients.

Thanks for liking, re-blogging, sharing, commenting and tweeting. I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂 If I happen to think of any more I will add to this post.



Get the most out of your store-bought celery: grow it yourself and other inexpensive kitchen food discoveries.

Published May 14, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

celery leaves drying for aloe vera blog


And that was another very easy nearly ‘free’ food I found out about two years ago. Surprisingly my first attempt yielded celery during the first freeze we had last year (before winter set in, that is). Now the celery chutes don’t get terribly huge when going form the container growing method. My first celery stalk growing experience left me with small, slender stalks that were young and still went great in soups and salads. They also froze extremely well.


Living on a shoe-string budget is tough and wherever nearly free food can be discovered, grown at home, frozen, dried (think in terms of long-term prepping), or even so insanely easy to re-plant and grow I find myself scratching my head thinking, “Why didn’t I think of this sooner? This is so easy!”


And my first celery stalk was chopped off mid-way and sat in a bowl of tap water (before I became wise about the fluoridation) on my kitchen window sill. I didn’t hold out any hope and thought my efforts would be a waste of time. Yes, my celery stalk had to share space with my beloved (although somewhat hearty soil-bankrupt) air purifying airplane/spider plant that’s been the dominant houseplant going on five years. I was surprised when I noticed leafy greens sprouting up from the lopped celery stalk. I can’t remember if I changed out the water or if that’s a necessary thing to do. Since my first celery stalk died during the winter and I had no place to bring it in out of the harsh weather, it didn’t last. Yet, I managed to re-grow enough celery from that first stalk to fill a large zip lock bag and I didn’t need to buy celery at the store for the whole year. When frozen about all celery is good for is using in stir-fry, soups and stews. I never had any success using frozen/ thawed celery in leafy green salads. But frozen celery goes great in my freshly prepared plain cucumber salads which means I don’t slather my cucumbers in any type of oils, mayonnaise, or commercial salad dressings since those don’t agree with my system. I make my own mustard-onion dressing that I will share in this post as well.


And a year later, I’ve nearly finished off my entire bag of celery. I haven’t tried to grow any celery stalks in the garden. I like to plant them in patio containers and snip off the stalks as I need them and allow the celery to re-grow more chutes. I have two more celery stalks that I re-grew using distilled water and was surprised when they appeared greener and more heartier. I transplanted those to outdoor containers recently and started on my third celery stalk in distilled water. Hopefully it will grow as well as the others.


How to make my onion-mustard cucumber salad dressing:


Wash, cut and place green onions in a clean mason jar. I like to use a pair of kitchen shears to snip the onions. And other times I will go out to my garden and cut off a large onion leaf. These are very potent and a little bit goes a long way. I also use the small onion bulb as well and chop that up. Next, I mix equal parts of Dijon and Spicy Brown mustard and add that in with my onions. I stir this concoction and leave it in the fridge while I prepare my cucumber salad.

How to make my cucumber salad (no-dressing or oil variety):


Wash, peel and slice up the cucumber if its store bought. Believe me, you don’t want to ingest the wax they use on the veggies. I’ve heard horror stories that the wax used is no different than what they use to wax floors with, Yeesh! And if it’s true, that’s a dirty little inside trick to make veggies appear delicious and ‘preserve’ them, I suppose. If you can grow your own cucumbers and don’t use pesticides, you could skip peeling off the outer skin. Since I don’t use pesticides on my garden for the very reason they can be toxic, I don’t have to worry so much.


There’s no wrong way to slice a cucumber. If you like thick slices, got for it. If you prefer small, thin slices, that’s excellent too.


Next wash, and slice one or two red tomatoes. Again, if they’re store-bought tomatoes they may have been gassed in order to ‘ripen’ them while their still green, and eating green tomatoes is okay too. Ever hear of the old 80’s movie, Fried Green Tomatoes? Anyways, if your tomatoes are home grown, then your assured of the safety of your own produce. Place the sliced tomatoes and cucumbers in a bowl and set aside. Next slice up some red, white, and yellow onion (if you have any on hand and this is optional). I’m kind of basing this on my late grandma’s recipe but without the dressing. My grandmother used to use white onion cut into rings.


I also like to spice things up with a fresh cut Japeno and throw that in with the cucumber and tomatoes and mix some crushed red pepper as well. I then give this salad a soak in a little Apple Cider Vinegar/ distilled bath just for good measure, rinse and return to the bowl. I like to finish off with a few snips of fresh Kale (the yellow blooms will produce a delicate sweet taste, too), Parsley, Chives, Peppermint, Spearmint, Pineapple Sage leaf, one leaf of cabbage and fresh Brussels sprouts (never the canned or frozen variety for me). So technically its not a straight cucumber and tomato salad, rather an actual salad. Eh, sometimes I enjoy a change of pace.


What to do with those celery leaves: don’t throw them out! Wash them off really good and dry them. I say this because the cost of buying celery either in seed, salt, or even the crushed leaf variety can be expensive. Since I don’t have a pestle and mortar I can’t grind the leaves  into a powder so it’s the very old-fashioned ‘drying’ method by placing the celery leaves (preferably washed, dried off, and place on a cookie sheet or in my case a pie pan lined with a coffee filter will do. Allow the celery leaves to thoroughly dry for two weeks or a month or so. When they’re completely dry (and some might be curled), then you can store them in a spice jar or use them immediately in soups, stews, stir-fry, etc. I had great success drying two bunches of half priced cilantro for a month and yielded two huge batches to last me a year or better. Cilantro goes great in homemade pico de gallo (Mexican condiment/ salsa).

Hope my shoe string budget kitchen tips help. Thanks for liking, re-blogging, commenting, sharing, tweeting, I truly appreciate it. 🙂