Have you looked at the ingredients list on your favorite condiments and spices blends? Or better yet, when was the last time you were delighted with your meals? I have the perfect answer for you.
You may have heard thousands of times that cooking from scratch is better for you. It is true! Not only you are aware of what you are putting in your body, but you are also eating healthier.
I am all about the shortcut when it comes to cooking. I grew up seeing all the cooks in my family make their herbs and spices blend. I do the same. I cook most of my meals with my mixes.
About two years ago, I started playing more with herbs and spices. I created own version of Hot Sauce. Check out the Shop page!
The media has been a great help in publicizing and shedding light on manufacturers not caring about our well being. Many have been fined and penalized for their wrongdoing and have learned from their mistakes. Others keep cutting corners and hiding their activities and operations from the public until a whistleblower puts their business out.
The media can also scare us, but I would prefer being scared than six feet under for not listening. We have also learned over the years, how to read nutritional facts, and what the big words on the labels mean. I thank all the researchers for open up our eyes, and for the media to publish their work.
I gave up …. because I had to
I had to give up take-out Chinese food, corn, walnuts and the list is growing. Sometimes I believe that “there’s something in the water,” as the saying goes. I am learning about everything and discovering many cooking tricks and tips.
I am still learning how to cope with my food allergies. I do not trust everyone to cook my food nor do I eat anywhere and everywhere. I am cautious as I had a severe allergic reaction a few days ago that prompted my doctor to prescribe me a set of Epipen.
I love to cook and will probably do until the end. Stepping into the kitchen, was never a challenge. The only problem I have is with live seafood. I stay away from living crabs and live lobsters. I prefer having someone else handle them. Have you seen how fast they run and the damages they can do when they bite?
I have always been cooking from scratch, and it has never been an issue. In the Caribbean, as you might know, cooking with fresh ingredient is a staple in our culture. Preparing real food to feed nutrients to my body has never been an issue. I needed to learn how to do it right and avoid foods that could increase allergens in my body.
My pantry will tell you a story about me. My spice collections consist or dried spices and herbs and a few blends. I use Herbes de Provence and Mrs. Dash Original in my cooking.
Cumin seeds, fennel seed, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, nutmeg are some of the spices you will find in my pantry. I don’t use seasoning salt, and I rarely use chicken bouillon. If I do, its a low sodium and Kosher brand. I may occasionally use oyster sauce for flavor and rarely soy sauce. Why! More flavor.
I love cooking exotic dishes and easy meals. I enjoy pampering myself, my family, and friends. How can someone with so many health issues find the time and ways to continue cooking from scratch. Here’s how:
I reinvented the wheel!
When I started working on my line of hot sauces, I had one thing in mind. I wanted a condiment that would allow me to avoid using 3 – 4 other seasonings. And I have done it!
Gemma’s Gourmet Hot Sauces line is not only a staple in my pantry but also in many households. I started using peppers when I was learning how to prepare basic Caribbean dishes. I learned that peppers although add heat, they can also add flavors.
Removing the seeds from the chili is an option to reduce the heat. You can also add a whole pepper while cooking and remove it before it burst. This process is tricky as you have to be very attentive to how to stir the cooking mixture in your pot.
I created a hot sauce line that can be used as a dip, marinade, or hot sauce. I am using it to spice up my foods and showing others how to do the same. It is all about the amount you use. The more you use, the hotter your meal will be.
The other condiment
Cooking from scratch is not a scientific project. You have to know your herbs and spices. You have to understand how these herbs and spices taste so you can use them correctly.
Have you ever made a Caribbean herbs and spices blend or Green Seasoning? It is quite simple. It is called green seasoning, because of its color and also because most of the ingredients are green. You select a variety of fresh herbs and spices, add them to a food processor, add lemon juice or vinegar and maybe oil and you have a jar of goodness to season your food.
You gain the ability to create more dishes you like
When I cook, especially when creating a new recipe, I focus on taste and ingredients. I use measuring spoons and measuring cups to make sure I add the right amount of herbs and spices. I do the same when I am trying out a recipe from someone else. I follow the recipe steps and decide whether to deviate or to complete the instructions.
The more you cook, the more you will recognize taste and flavor. You will pick up different flavors with your tongue, and learn how to improve your cooking skills.
Your physical self
You will start feeling great and will look great. Eating the right foods make a huge difference. You will realize that you are cooking meals you want to eat. It will no longer be a burden.
You will connect with others who cook. And you will have more to say when talking to others about food and grocery shopping.
Cooking is about finding the right foods, knowing your herbs and spices and how to create delicious meals for yourself and your family.
And not to forget that your confidence level will increase and you will become a “foodie.”