Making Your Own Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin pie spice is always a useful thing to have around the house, especially in the fall when pumpkin and winter squash are cheat and abundant.  Or if you are like me and simply like to eat a pumpkin pie or pumpkin custard most any time of the year.  However, I find making your Pumpkin spice is best because you can adjust your spice volume to meet your taste and dietary needs.  Ginger something gives people trouble with heartburn and I find that orange zest gives the spice blend and nice citrus edge which appeals to many.  Here is a basic Pumpkin spice recipe, but feel free to experiment with it to best accommodate your family’s tastes.  

Pumpkin Pie Spice Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground clove
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger or ground dehydrated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Pumpkin Pie Spice Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl whisk together thoroughly.
  • Pour the pumpkin pie spice into an airtight container
  • store the sealed pumpkin pie spice container in a cool dry place.
  • The pumpkin pie spice should be used within 6 months for best results.

Cook’s Note

  • I use my coffee bean grinder to make the ground orange zest, which works fine if you start with either purchased or home make dried orange zest. however, you do want to make sure that all the orange zest is finely ground without large bits, so, it will distru=bute evenly in your recipe.

Cooking – Defining Powdered Erythritol

Have you ever heard about powdered erythritol or erythritol and wondered what it is? If so, then here is everything you need to know about it, and why it has become such a popular mention in recent time.

What Is Powdered Erythritol?

Powdered erythritol typically represents a zero-calorie sugar substitute that is used in sweetening just about anything! Usually, it is a distinctly fine powder boasting similar texture qualities to icing sugar and therefore dissolves quite easily. Powdered erythritol is ideal for numerous recipes that requite fine and faster dissolving sugar. Also, it is perfect for ice cream, meringues, icing sugar, and may also be utilized for any recipes like with granulated erythritol.

It is derived from the compound erythritol, which is a naturally derived extract from plants and fruits. It moves around your body undigested. As such, erythritol has no effect on the levels of blood glucose in most individuals and boasts zero net carbohydrates, subsequently making it an ideal sugar alternative for ‘keto’ (low carb) dieters, diabetics, or anyone looking to curb calories. Erythritol is used in various products like gum, candy, beverages, chocolate, jam, bars, and jellies.

This sweetener can also be found in granulated form for cooking and baking at home. The unique qualities of this compound render it an ideal sugar substitute, although there are various advantages and disadvantages before deciding to use in your diet. 

How is it Made?

Powdered erythritol is typically made through the fermentation of plant sugars, often from corn. The sugar is usually mixed with water, after which it is filtered, and finally fermented with a natural culture and subsequently dried. A distinct crystallized substance is the final product-usually either in powder form or in granule form-which tastes and resembles table sugar.

How Is It Used In Cooking And Baking?

Powdered erythritol is used just like table sugar in virtually anything. It has an almost equivalent sweetness of table sugar (about 70 %) hence 100g of sugar = 130g powdered erythritol.

Its granulated form usually remains grainy unless it is dissolved in water. Typically, it is used for cooking and baking, although there are several factors to consider before using it.

When it comes to baking and cooking, you can use a series of simple steps when using this sweetener.

• First, start by choosing your recipe. An excellent option is muffins and quick bread; although powdered erythritol also substitutes effectively in cooked fruit desserts like cobblers and pies. Some other possibilities include cakes, brownies, and cookies. 

• Decide whether you would like to substitute all the erythritol, or subsequently use a combination of the powdered erythritol with other sweeteners. Generally, powdered erythritol mixes with refined and natural sugars, and usually produces a more satisfactory result when it is combined with sugar. 

• Calculate the amount of erythritol to be used: as earlier mentioned, ‘erythritol’ is about 70% as sweet as regular sugar. Use between a quarter to a third more than the amount of sugar you would otherwise use, to taste.

What is it commonly substituted for when cooking or baking? 

Since erythritol generally boasts sweetness level, which is almost equivalent to regular sugar, it is used in baking and cooking. Powdered erythritol can partially substitute sugar or various artificial sweeteners for numerous uses. Nonetheless, some few considerations to remember when using the sweetener include:

• When powdered erythritol is used plain, the sweetener usually produces a cooling effect in the mouth.

• What’s more, despite having the tenderizing effects common with sugar, the results will not be precisely similar. 

Benefits of powdered erythritol

Unlike other ‘sugar alcohols,’ Erythritol functions quite differently when in the body. Its unique qualities offer certain benefits in comparison to using either table sugar or other sweeteners. 

In comparison to other ‘sugar alcohols,’ erythritol features a relatively smaller molecule. A substantial amount of this compound is absorbed into the bloodstream-between 60%-90%-although it is then exerted in your urine. As such, it results in significantly lesser intestinal distress compared to other common sugar alcohols. 

Powdered erythritol might also be much better for your teeth compared to other sweeteners. In fact, a 2016 study as outlined on Caries Research suggested that it might even aid in the prevention of cavities.
Powdered erythritol also provides several other benefits, including:

  • Dissolving fast
  • It is extremely fine 
  • Zero calories
  • No active carbohydrates
  • No aspartame
  • No tooth decay
  • Stomach friendly
  • Ideal for diabetics and ketone diets
  • Has no effect on levels of insulin or blood sugar

Safety: does powdered erythritol have any side effects?

Although powdered erythritol works well for some individuals, it has several drawbacks, side effects, and safety concerns. 

First, while powdered erythritol can aid some individuals in minimizing sugar intake or calorie consumption; it may not offer that much of an effect, with some studies even suggesting that it might not even reduce sugar intake or satiety

Also, while powdered erythritol is considered to lead to fewer gastrointestinal issues for numerous individuals, it might, however, result in some discomfort for various consumers.

Also, powdered erythritol has been proven to cause various side effects like stomachache, headache, digestive upset, diarrhea, and bloating.

Nonetheless, for safety precautions, you must consult your physician before incorporating this sweetener into your diet, especially if you have any medical conditions.


Powdered erythritol is an ideal natural sugar alternative. With about 70% of the sweetness of regular sugar, this sweetener has virtually all the distinct taste, with no guilt whatsoever. In fact, you can finally substitute ordinary sugar in baking and cooking without ruining your recipes! Boasting no sour aftertaste, no tooth decay risk, or any artificial flavors, this unique stomach-friendly sweetener is the ideal sugar substitute

Steak Seasoning Mix

I find that many commercial seasoning mixes rely on the use of too much salt, so, with a little experimentation, I have settled on this seasoning mix as my go-to mix for beef; especially, for steak, roast beef, and finger streaks.

Steak Seasoning Mix Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Bay leaf (crushed or ground small)
  • 1 tablespoon dill seed
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon sodium free beef bouillon powder (Optional)
  • 2 tablespoons ground white or black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons paprika (optional)

Steak Seasoning Mix Directions

  • Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Store in a small sealed glass container on a cool dark cabinet or pantry shelf.
  • The mix can safely be stored for three or four months.

Steak Seasoning Mix Cook’s Note

  • White pepper is milder for those people who find the flavor of black pepper to strong.

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Substitutes for Vanilla

Fresh vanilla beans
Fresh vanilla beans

Natural vanilla bean gives yourrecipe a richer and more unique flavor, especially if it is the primary flavoring additive. However, they are costly as their production is labor intensive. There are several equivalents you may use if you do not want to use the vanilla beans, the vanilla extract or the vanilla beans paste.

 Vanilla Sugar
 Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar resembles the ordinary sugar just that it is flavored with vanilla. It is easier common to notice fine vanilla beans particles in the sugar. When preparing desserts, you can add 1-2 teaspoon of vanilla sugar to give you the same flavor as a vanilla bean.

Fresh honey and honeycombs
Fresh honey and honeycombs


Honey serves as an excellent substitute for vanilla extract in your recipe. You should, however, be very careful to minimize the amount of sugar so as not to over sweeten it. Too much sugar added to the honey may also make your dessert stickier and hence unpleasant.

Bourbon on wooden barrel
Bourbon on wooden barrel


Bourbon is more common in baking as it enhances the texture and moisture content of the recipe. It is matured in oak giving it a vanilla-like flavor which is suitable for boosting the flavor when baking.

Almond first extract
Almond first extract

Almond Extract

Almond extract has an aromatic flavor similar to that present in vanilla beans making it a suitable. It makes more economic sense as it has the same results, but it’s affordable.


Spices are great alternatives as they are cheaper and more durable as compared to vanilla extract. The most common spices that can serve as a replacement for vanilla include cloves and cinnamon.

Maple Syrup
Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup serves as an excellent alternative for vanilla extract as they have an almost similar taste.The fantastic thing about it is it can be used for a variety of foods including cakes, preparing French toasts and also waffles to enhance their flavors.


Culinary skills are improved by adding a little creativity. Your recipe does not have to be dull as a result of lacking vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. The above alternatives you will do just fine, if not better!

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Find Out Which Thickener to Use

Corn Starch
Corn Starch

Do you need a thickener to make your meal tastier? We have a solution. In this article, you’ll find out how to make your soup, pie filling or sauce creamy and thick. Not all thickeners provide the same result, and that’s why you need to choose smartly. These solutions will make your meal more structured and way much better.


In many cuisines, the flour represents the great thickener. The reasons are numerous here. Flour is a great asset in French cuisine, and they use a combination of flour and fat, which is very effective for making soups and sauces. If you cook them lightly, you’ll remove the flour taste, and the food tastes better at the end. On the other hand, if you cook the flour and the fat for longer, you’ll make a dark roux that is ideal for stews.

Using of flour is also effective when you dredge stew meats in flour because it makes the liquid thicker as you cook the meat. As a result, your meal will be much tastier. You can also use flour in stews, gravies, and dairy-based sauces, as the flour thickens the structure of the meal and it does not lose its thickening power even if you simmer the meal for longer.

How to use flour

If you want to get the best thickening from flour, use the twice larger quantity than cornstarch. Flour requires more quantity than cornstarch, and it is best to use all-purpose flour since it has more starch content than whole-wheat flours.


You must be careful when you use cornstarch for your meal. It is a completely pure starch that combines good with the liquid, but you must know the right proportions. Add equal parts cold liquid and cornstarch when you want to make a slurry. After that, you are good to cook the meal for a short time, because longer cooking will break down the cornstarch and your meal will be full of unwanted particles. Therefore, avoid long cooking and do not use acid ingredients, like lemon, tomatoes or vinegar, since the sauce can lose the consistency.

How to use cornstarch

To make the right substitution, use half of the portion than the flour portion and add it to the meal. Make sure that you don’t freeze the meal made with cornstarch, because it may become spongy.


As a root starch from a West Indian plant, the arrowroot has become a great substitution for thickeners. It is a gluten-free option that is better than cornstarch in many ways. Unlike cornstarch, you can cook with arrowroot even if you add acidic ingredients to your meal, and you can also freeze the food at the end. Similar to the cornstarch, you must make a slurry before adding the arrowroot, but the cooking process could be much shorter. When all these characteristics combine, arrowroot creates a very pleasant texture and silky mouthfeel.

How to use arrowroot

Use the equal portion as the cornstarch when you add the arrowroot to your meal.

Flax seeds

When you ground the flax seeds into a powder, you get a very fine texture that is full of fibers. Thanks to the high content of fibers, flax seeds represent the great thickening substance. It burns very fast, and you can cook the roux for less than one minute to get the thickening power. When combined with water, it creates a gel, which is ideal for smoothies.

How to use flax seeds

To make a good substitution in a roux, use the double quantity of flax seeds when comparing to flour, or take a half of the portion of flax seeds when comparing to cornstarch quantity. Flax seeds are grittier than cornstarch, and that’s why half of the quantity will be quite enough.

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The Advantages of Buying Pie for The Holidays

Holiday Pies
Holiday Pies

Benefits of Buying Pie for The Holidays

The holiday periods are always a good time for bonding with the gathering of family and friends happening all around the globe. If you are of the opinion of hosting your first Thanksgiving, you should as much as possible avoid trying to do too much. Preparations can be more budget friendly and entertaining if you decide to buy some. Let’s say you are already roasting a sizeable feathered friend; one that consumes quite some useful space in your freezer and then your fridge, before even going to the oven. It is true, and not everyone likes the opinion of a gourmet kitchen with two or more ovens. It is also likely you are making some side dishes to keep every mouth busy.

Also, taking into consideration the number of family and friends coming over for the gathering, it is better to contemplate on maximizing your energy and time. After every gathering, cleaning follows, and no matter how little they take up time and energy. Having enough utensils might help a little, but you would still need to clean. It is another big job itself.

So, making homemade pie might not be an option as you can easily outsource them. Resist any temptation you might have and save yourself the stress and time. You have just to box it up, tie a ribbon around, and act like it never transpired. Buying pies for the holidays have more compelling benefits attached. Below are some tips why you should consider buying pies for the holidays.

Delicious and More Variety

Pies are delicious and come in more varieties. You can be flexible with your budget and opinion by going for more exciting variety when buying pies for the holidays or thanksgiving. There are some delicious varieties out there. So, whether you are a fan of classic pumpkin pie or fruit pie, you can always find a fresh or frozen variety.

Easy Transportation

Buying pies for the holidays or thanksgiving come already packaged and ready to go. This packaging is helpful when transporting as you do not have to worry about wobbly tin foil or fussy plastic wrap. That ease goes a long way when you are already feeling tense.

It Is Budget Friendly

From pie ingredient costing – butter, flour, fruits, nuts, sugar, and spices; the costs can quickly add up. For a budget-friendly or reasonably priced fee, you can get high-quality pies that are tasty as the pie baked in your kitchen or even better. Generally, around holiday periods, you can quickly get exclusive discounts from grocery stores, so keep an eye out for better deals.

Faster Turn Around Time

From prepping the crust to fixing the filling, we all can agree baking is fun. But it also takes a considerable chunk of time!! If you are a mum with little ones around, you can quickly get caught up performing other entertaining duties. Buying pies for the holidays from grocery stores will save you even more time.

Less Cleanup

If you despise doing dishes, you will appreciate buying pies for the holidays. No matter the size of your gathering for Thanksgiving, you only have to do a minor cleanup.

Not Every Cooks Pie Regularly

Preparing pie takes a long time because I do not make them on a regular basis. So, if you are like me who makes pies occasionally, you might want to consider buying them. Also, if you have friends and family, who take pride in perfection, buying them might just do the trick.


Holiday periods, like Thanksgiving, is always a good time to share with your family. And while doing so, you do not want to feel left out because of fatigue or trying to get the dish done. Getting delicious pie on a budget can give such gathering a winning edge while saving time simultaneously. Well, I hope you find my opinions and tips useful, and you get to come out happy with buying pies for the coming holidays.

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Related References




Cheeses and Cheese Substitutes Used for The Filling of Cheesecake


Ahhh cheesecakes, dessert for the gods. It is so simple to prepare! Also, another feature of cheesecakes we all love is the fact that this dessert offers plenty of flexibility. The regular cheesecakes come with a tasty crust, overflowing with cream cheese filling. The significant alterations occur with the constituents placed either in the lining or above the cheesecake. There are loads of cheesecake fillings to pick from as you would usually bake your cheesecake or put in the fridge to set. Cheesecake is undoubtedly a delicate topic when you choose to go dairy free.  Fortuitously, if you elect to get rid of them from your diet, the cravings will usually diminish with time.

In the intervening time, you may want to substitute your cheesecake filling for holding down this addiction. But there are times we run out of ideas, especially when other folks ask about cheesecake filling substitute ideas for cream cheese to fit their dietary needs. Luckily, there are a lot of practical and delicious filling substitutes that will have you relishing the constancy and taste of your cheesecake recipes. So, if you are in search for an ideal cheesecake filling substitute, maybe for baking, cooking, or for spread and dips on your food, then my selections have got you covered. I will show you some excellent and fantastic cheesecake filling substitute that can be used to replace it. There are several flavors to choose from to enjoying your cheesecake however you like, but I believe the ideas below are probably the best choice to go for anytime:

  • Cottage Cheese
  • Cream Cheese
  • Neufchatel
  • Raw Cashews Blend
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Tofu
  • Yogurt

Cottage Cheese Filling for Cheesecake

The cottage cheese filling is another excellent cheesecake filling substitute that can be used in place of traditional cream cheese filling. Though it must be sieved first, the outcome is productive and still tastes fantastic. Cottage cheese filling is made from cheese curd but distinct for most cheese, which is dehydrated and colored. It also retains its whey content since it is not pressed dry, but drained only. The cottage cheese filling, in contrast to its relations, does not experience the maturation process (aging) and it can also be washed to get a diverse taste, soft, and sweet flavor. Cottage cheese filling also has more fluid than cream cheese filling.

Cottage cheese filling for cheesecakes is preferred by dieters for the reason that it is low in calories and combines well with fruits, vegetable, and others. It is also a good provider of bone-building calcium and protein.

Cream Cheese Filling of Cheesecake

All thanks to cream cheese filling, the unique taste of cheesecake is rich. A slight hint of saltiness is occasionally used for biscuit crust. The mixture of the even consistency of the crunchy texture of the crust and the cream cheese filling all adds up to the complete indulgence. This cheesecake filling substitute makes a good part of cheesecake essential. The cream cheese is a soft cheese with approximately 33% fat content. It is mainly a popular choice for cheesecakes fillings as it provides a smooth texture. Although, known as sweet cheese it has a minimal acidic aftertaste which aids to stop cheesecakes from having a cloying taste.

The cream cheese filling for cheesecakes is more than a condiment for midnight bagel lovers. The thickness and smooth consistency of cream cheese filling make it an ideal cheesecake filling substitute, mainly if you are fond of other types of cheesecake filling. When next you choose to prepare another cheesecake, you can as well get ready to create some great moments with the king of soft cheeses!

Neufchatel Cheese Filling for Cheesecake

The Neufchatel cheese filling has less fat than cream cheese, is milder and has more moisture. It also produces creamier cheesecakes. Neufchatel is also a good cheesecake filling substitute for cream cheese and can be used in similar quantities. It also has identical packaging to cream cheese, but you will notice the variation the instant you open it. This cheese makes a great substitute in a cheesecake. There are notable variations between American Neufchâtel and traditional French Neufchâtel. The American Neufchâtel cheese is very much comparable in taste and feel to cream cheese, but is softer and soggier, with a lesser amount of fat of approximately one third that of usual cream cheese (lower-fat alternative).

This cheesecake filling substitute has seventy calories per one-oz. Serving. Neufchatel cheese also contains one-gram carbohydrate, two grams of protein, six grams of fat, and 2% calcium.

Raw Cashews Blend

The Raw Cashews blend spread is undeniably scrumptious. Folks who have tried dipping into this vegetarian cashew cheese habitually arrive at the same conclusion, “this is delicious, it does not taste anything like cheese.” For those not too conversant with a raw diet, crushed nuts or seeds (cashew) and water are combined to create this dairy-free cheese. Raw Cashews blend creates incredible vegetarian cheesecakes. It also produces the best outcomes when making a neutrally flavored filling for cheesecakes. You can include any other additional aromatics or flavorings to augment your cashew cheesecake recipe. You only have to pulse and add some creative ideas to it, and taste. You can preserve your cashew spread for the constancy of hummus or ricotta, so it acts like a cream cheese spread that is superb with chips, or vegan sticks, crackers, or slathered on sandwiches or wraps.

Cashew cheesecake is picture-perfect for anyone who wants a cheesecake filling substitute for dairy products or for the audacious connoisseurs who desire to try a new cheesecake recipe. I promise you would never get disappointed with Cashew cheesecake, as it is jam-packed with rich flavors and not to mention nourishment from the essential elements, raw cashews. Typical Cashew Cheesecakes comprises a wide range of B vitamins. These B vitamins include B12, calcium, copper, fiber, healthy fats, magnesium, manganese, vitamin C, vitamin E, phosphorus, protein, and zinc. The Cashew cheesecake is not only mineral and vitamin-rich especially when likened to the regular dairy cheesecake filling substitute, but it is also considerably more comfortable for several folks to digest, tastes, and make it convenient to use!

Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese is largely well thought-out to be amongst the healthiest cheese with its low-fat content. A hundred grams of Ricotta cheese comprises around five grams of saturated fat. Ricotta cheese is gotten from whey, the bit that is remaining when hard cheese is hard-pressed. The whey is heated till it creates a curd. The curd is now made to pass over a fine cloth, resulting in a piece of cheese that is firm with slight grainy feel. But the low salt presence and high levels of vitamins give ricotta cheese the nourishing edge. A low-fat ricotta cheese is also awesome with fruit, mixed with other constituents.


Tofu creates a charmingly creamy and light filling for the vegetarian variety of cheesecake. Making it a day earlier, permit its flavors to grow stronger. Tofu cheesecakes are exceedingly nutritious and filled with protein. Silken tofu is the softest form of tofu and is regularly used in dips, dressings, and spreads. The soft feel makes it a good cheesecake filling substitute for eggs and creamy cheeses, cottage cheese, and ricotta cheese.

Tofu cheesecakes are always a beautiful looking masterpiece, and it is a no-bake vegan cheesecake. You can make Tofu cheesecakes for your non-dairy or vegetarian friends and family and take advantage of the protein, too. You can include Tofu cheesecakes as part of your healthy recipes for a show-stopping sweet course. Do not get too concerned though; you can also group Tofu cheesecakes into your easy recipes.

Yogurt Filling for Cheesecake

Yogurt Filling makes a pretty good cheesecake filling substitute. For those periods when you wish to join the fun but are in search of something a little light, you can try Yogurt Filling for Cheesecake. The Yogurt Filling for Cheesecake is silky smooth and completely nourishing. Yogurt cheesecakes are very creamy, as the cream cheese becomes replaced with yogurt. The Yogurt Filling for Cheesecake is super healthy with low-fat protein that you and your friends and family will enjoy!

While the regular cheesecakes filled with constituents like cream cheese, heaving whipping cream, sour cream, and whole milk, yogurt does the job even better, making your cheesecake delicious and light. Besides, Yogurt Cheesecake is super easy to make. I love how yogurt can be put to use in quite a lot of ways. It does not matter if you are making Yogurt Cheesecake for brunch, dinner, or even a smoothie. It at all times seems to discover its place!


On a general level, cheesecake is blimey created from simple constituents like cheese, eggs, milk, sugar, and new individual cookies. If you or your household is getting bored or use a particular cheesecake, you might want to consider trying others. They are a variety of cheesecake filling you might want to try out. The prominent ones are listed above, and they all have unique flavors and attribute you would love. For the cheese portion, soft cheese, like cottage and cream cheese, or even ricotta can be made. But, if you or a member of your household has milk antipathy or lactose bigoted, you are also in luck as you find several excellent vegetarian cheesecake alternatives as substitutes.

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