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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

In The Kitchen: Homemade Creole Seasoning Mix

August 27th, 2015 Comments off

Several years ago, when I first started making Jambalaya (recipe here) — a food entirely foreign to me — I needed to pick up some Creole Seasoning for the recipe. I fell back on the typical Zatarains Creaole Seasoning available at my local grocery store. It did the job, but over the years I have slowly banished pre-made spice mixes and bases from my kitchen, including things like taco meat seasoning, cream of chicken soup and more. I knew there had to be better choices to be found and a bit of searching on the Internet has always been able o turn up, at least the beginnings of, homemade replacements. This was also true for basic Creole seasoning mixes.

Creole spice closeup

One of the firs recipes that popped up in my searches was Emeril Lagasse’s “Essence”, used in all his television shows, so I figured I would start there.

Emeril’s Essence from Food Network

Creole seasoning mixes are pretty straightforward and include spices that most of us have in the pantry already including paprika, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, and cayenne pepper, so I can make up a batch of this seasoning mix pretty quickly.

For my own personal mix, I have altered 3 items from Emeril’s original recipe.

  • First, I reduced the amount of salt to around 1tsp instead of the 2 Tablespoons in the recipe. Pre-made mixes tended to be way to salty for me, and this recipe seemed to be more in-line with them as far as salt content was concerned. I think you could probably exclude the salt entirely — and manage it directly in whatever recipe your making. 
  • Second, his recipe was waaaaaay to hot for me, so I reduced the amount of cayenne pepper  to around 1-2 teaspoons. I have slowly raised that amount with each batch I made, but it still falls far short of the 1 tablespoon called for in his recipe.
  • Third, I used smoked paprika — picked up at my local CostCo — instead of regular paprika. For me, this immediately “kicked things up a notch.” The deep, smoky flavor imparted by the paprika brought an entirely new level of flavor to my dishes.

One side effect of having this spice mix at head was I quickly realized how yummy it was on popcorn — one of our go-to, low-cal snacks here at the house. I often combine a liberal shake of my homemade Creole Seasoning with some White Cheddar Popcorn Powder. This is a great way to mix things up from our typical salt and pepper popcorn topping and gives me the sense of eating really bad snack foods without all the calories. (SMILE)

I always keep the empty containers from the cheese powders to use as an extra container/shaker for this Creole spice mix, so I can easily shake it over popcorn sort anything else I want to add a little zing to.

By starting with a base recipe, like this, you an feel free to experiment with differing amounts and even different spices to make something that is entirely unique to you and your kitchen. It takes so little time to make spice mixes like this, so you should really try stepping away from the pre-made pouches and cans at the grocery store and creating something that you will really enjoy using and eating.


Previous In the Kitchen items:

In The Kitchen: Tabasco Brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce

August 20th, 2015 Comments off

I was never a big fan of Tabasco sauce over the years, but recently I discovered this smoked chipotle version of Tabasco sauce and I was sold. As I have gotten older, I have sought out spicier food and sauces. I’ve never been one to understand the desire of some to blow out their taste buds with insanely hot peppers and sauces. I still want to taste my food, I just want to enhance it with the sauce. 

Tabasco bottle

This Tabasco is excellent for enhancing the flavor of many foods. I have used it on pizza, as a topping to my homemade chili, over homemade nachos, tacos and burritos and in tomato soup. As you can see here, I think it compliments tomato-based dishes the most, but you might find it useful elsewhere, too.

I am always amazed when something so small can improve the state of my kitchen and wonder how I hadn’t discovered it before. Try it out when you get a chance and spice up your life just a little.

Previous In the Kitchen items:

Categories: Food, Cooking, In the kitchen Tags:

In The Kitchen: 4-Pc. Dolman Measuring Cup Set [Cooking]

August 13th, 2015 Comments off

I came across this lovely set of measuring cups over on Dot & Bo and wanted to share. Nice to see something functional and also so pretty.

Dolman cups

4-Pc. Dolman Measuring Cup Set from Dot & Bo

More measuring cups available from

Categories: Food, Cooking, Products, Baking Tags:

Spur of the Moment Periscope Live Stream from A Gardener’s Notebook (23 mins) [Video]

August 11th, 2015 Comments off

Spur of the Moment Periscope Live Stream from A Gardener’s Notebook (23 mins)

In this episode:

Buy my garden photography on a variety of products directly from RedBubble


Categories: Video, Food, outdoors, LA, DIY, Podcast, Los Angeles, Show, Tips, Garden Tags:

Video: Playing around with stop motion animations in Vine this evening

July 14th, 2015 Comments off

Macleod Black and white


Follow me on Vine

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Categories: Video, Food, Photos, California, Fun, Drinks Tags:

Video: Food: Wild Hibiscus flowers in syrup with prosecco

June 14th, 2015 Comments off

A good friend gifted us these amazing wild hibiscus flowers in syrup when they visited and stayed with us. We took the opportunity to try these out with some other friends during a big movie night last night.

I often make champagne cocktails with my own limoncello and other liqueurs, but this was a different experience. The flowers are edible and provide surfaces the the champagne to bubble from in the glass, as you can see from this short iPhone video.

Hibiscus flowers prosecco

Buy your own jar of wild hibiscus in syrup from

Music: “Groove Grove” by Kevin MacLeod at under Creative Commons License

Categories: Food, Podcast, Show, Drinks Tags:

Photos: Out with beer enthusiast friends at Golden Road Brewery

May 18th, 2015 Comments off

Some beer-loving friends are I town, so this gave us an opportunity to play tourist for a few hours today. 


Nice place. Good pub atmosphere. Sorry it took so long to finally check it out. 

Link: Golden Road Brewery

Categories: Food, Photos, LA, Fun, Los Angeles Tags:

Art: “Taking Flight” in Watercolor via #waterlogue and also on a variety of products

May 12th, 2015 Comments off

Taking flight

Get this piece of a variety of products via RedBubble

Flight iphoneFlight throwFlight toteFlight cards

Categories: Food, Photos, Fun, Products, Drinks, Art Tags:

Food: Honey-balsamic pork loin with polenta via #instagram

April 2nd, 2015 Comments off

Rosanne put together an amazing pork loin in the crock pot yesterday and then I served it up over polenta (cornmeal mush) which has become one of my favorite ways to server roasted or slow cooked meats.

Honey balsamic pork

Recipe: Honey-Balsamic Pork Roast at

Categories: Food, Photos, Recipe Tags:

It’s Tomatomania Time Again! – March 20-22, 2015, Encino, CA

March 4th, 2015 Comments off

It’s that time of year again…time to get growing — and eventually eating — all that tomato-y goodness from your own garden. This year’s bi-coastal Tomatomania 2015 may be coming to an area near you. Check out all the info on their web site,


Tomatomania is coming soon to your area!


Our own local event, here at Tapia Bros in Encino, CA will be held March 20-22, 2015. I highly recommend going early, as many varieties sell out quickly and you want to make sure you get your favorites!

You can also get your own personal copy of Tomatomania!: A Fresh Approach to Celebrating Tomatoes in the Garden and in the Kitchen Paperback by Scott Daigre and Jenn Garbee to help you grow the best tomatoes ever.

You can find many of my previous posts about Tomatomania using the related links below! Wishing you the best tomato season ever in your garden!