How to make your own pumpkin pie spice mix

September 30th, 2015

Photo courtesy

Fall has officially started and the sweet scent of pumpkin spice has hit just about every snack you can buy at the grocery store. But what about the real thing? Pumpkin pie is a must-have for this time of year and the famous blend of spices is super easy to mix in your own kitchen.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by spices, especially blends. But it’s really as simple as trial and error. Mix your favorite spices, see what you like and what you don’t. As for pumpkin pie spice, all you need is the following:

  • 3 tbs cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves

There is more than one reason to make this spice at home. First, you can grind up your own spices and make a very fresh blend. Also, in the long run, blending your spices is a great way to save money in the kitchen. Plus, once you have this awesome autumn blend on hand, you can add it to a multitude of recipes: cookies, lattes, mixed drinks, cake and more.


If you are blending your own spices, the most important factor is the storage. You want to keep spices in a sturdy, airtight container. This recently updated Spice Container from Progressive is the perfect solution. This BPA-free spice jar is made to hold up to 1 1/2 cups (that equals about a full standard sized box of baking soda, for perspective.) A silicone lip and a latching lid create a trusty airtight seal — but the best part of this container is found inside. A dual dusting screen and leveler comes together in one, removable piece. This inert is a dusting screen, but can be slid open to reveal a leveler. So whether you’re just adding a sprinkle of spice or need an exact measurement for a recipe, this jar is all you need. Plus, all pieces are dishwasher safe. What’s not to like?


Looking to spice up your pumpkin pie recipe further? Consider these alternative flavors:

Spice storage ideas that make it easy to enjoy your favorite seasonings

September 9th, 2015

You know how to grow your own spices and even how to create custom made spice rubs as well as marinates; now we’ll talk about great spice storage ideas!

Whether you picked too much spice from the garden or you created your own secret meat rub, keep your spices stored in the pantry or kitchen so they are always within easy reach.

Many spices are sensitive to direct sunlight and intense heat, so they should be stored in a cool, dark area that is still within easy reach of your prep area. The best places to store your spices are inside cabinets and drawers, which keeps spices within easy reach. You can also store spices on a counter top away from any windows.

Fresh herbs

Keep all your excess fresh herbs stored away until you can use them with the Progressive fresh herb keeper. The water reservoir offers hydration for stored herbs, ensuring they stay fresh for several days in the refrigerator. Now you can keep fresh herbs readily available so you can enjoy fresh basil, rosemary and other spices in your signature dishes.

Spice mixtures

If you like to create your own spice mixtures and meat rubs, you need a convenient place to store your concoctions. Our spice balls provide tons of storage space to store large amounts of spice mixtures so you can keep a large quantity of herbs on hand. You can store smaller spice mixtures in our spice shakers, which allows you to sprinkle your favorite mixture over steaming plates of food.



Salt and pepper 

Fresh herbs and custom-made mixtures are all well and good, but who has the time to do that everyday? The bread and butter of every meal are still salt and pepper, but you can still spice up your meal with freshly ground salt and pepper. A dual action salt and pepper grinder allows you to season your meals with fresh spice, without breaking out the expensive herbs. Simply fill the grinder with pink salt and pepper corns and with a flick of the wrist you can experience freshly ground spices without going to a lot of trouble.

So whether you are plucking your spices from the garden, mixing up your own concoctions, or cheating and buying herbs from the supermarket, keep them easily accessible while cooking to spice up your meals.

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Mary Joesten is a content writer for Organize It, Stacks & Stacks and the Organization Store. 



Spice things up year-round with an indoor herb garden

August 26th, 2015

We’ve previously talked about storing your spices, but what about growing them? You can create an indoor herb garden in your kitchen, or right on your covered back porch, so you can enjoy fresh herbs all year long! Love to infuse your water or add a tangy taste to your recipes? Snip fresh basil, rosemary or mint leaves to add to your favorite dishes.

Some benefits of growing your own herbs and spices indoors include:

  • Limits bug infestations
  • Grows all year long
  • Within easy reach

First you need to decide how extensive you want your garden to become. Remember, the larger the garden, the more the upkeep, but you can grow all the spices you desire. If you want to grow several different types of herbs, you may wish to extend the garden onto your covered back porch, sun room or another space in your home where the herbs can receive as much natural sunlight as possible.

Large gardens

Going to grow for broke? Try this Vertical Herb Garden on for size. The eight rows allow you to plant several types of herbs or plants and the slanted design gives you easy access to each one. The vertical design also saves space in your sun room or green house, and herbs are designed to grow outwards so as you cut herbs, you are naturally pruning your garden!

Small gardens

Metal Planter by O.R.E. ImageIf you’re not sure how much time or money you are willing to invest in this project, the Metal Planter may be the way to go. This adorable flower planter features three small pots so you can grow three different types of herbs — or a lot of your favorite herb. Simply place this planter on your kitchen counter or window sill so you can easily snip off herbs while cooking dinner, preparing marinades and so much more.

Mason jar gardens

For more versatile gardening, hop on the mason jar bandwagon to create an herb garden that is the perfect size for your space and herb needs! Simply grab some mason jars from your pantry, decorate them as desired, and start planting your favorite herbs. You can even use some household labels to indicate the spices in each jar. Place these jars around the kitchen, dining room or sun room and they will also act as natural décor pieces for your home!

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Mary Joesten is a content writer for Organize It, Stacks & Stacks and the Organization Store. 

Spice Mixology for a Customized Spice Rack

February 24th, 2014

My fascination with spices and love for them has birthed a new love for mixing spices.

Sure, you can buy all kinds of spice mixtures but it is so much more fun to make custom spices at home. First, you want to start with good quality ingredients. Garbage mixed with garbage only gives you… well, you get the idea. Go to a specialty shop or farmer’s market to discover the difference between good and “meh” quality spices.


By mixing these up ahead of time and keeping them on the shelf, dinner becomes almost a no brainer, especially if you label the spice bottle with the name of the food you’re going to make. For example:

The bottle on my spice rack labeled “Crab” contains a mixture of pickling spices, whole mustard seeds, whole peppercorns, red pepper flakes, ginger and oregano. All I have to do is drop the pre-mixed spices in a boiling pot with the crab and there you have it – dinner.

This kind of spice “mixology” especially comes in handy for those who love to grill and barbeque. If you want to do it right, you definitely have to try mixing your own rub!  Do it however you like, then label the bottle “Pork Shoulder” or whatever, and then when dinner time comes around, look to the spice rack and see what speaks to you!

The Best Little Shelf Organizer

January 5th, 2014

Having a well organized pantry, kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets can bring great rewards.

How often have you bought a can of olives that you didn’t need or replaced a bottle of spice because you didn’t realize you already had it and it was hiding behind something else in the cabinet?  Or, if you’re like me, you forget about a dish you’ve been wanting to make because that key ingredient you bought is MIA in the pantry.

Whoever came up with the tiered shelf organizers is a genius in my book.  They are like little steps that elevate cans and bottles at the back of the shelf, so you can always see them and you don’t have to rearrange the cabinet to find out you’re out of grilling rub.

linusMy personal favorite is the Linus Stadium Corner 3 Tier Organizer which has multiple space-efficient benefits.  The shelf organizer is made from clear resipreme, so it looks nice and blends in with the cabinetry.  It has three layers and each one puts your spice bottles at a higher elevation, so you can see it and grab it easier.  Now, the kitchen cabinet is the obvious application for this handy little organizer, but it is actually pretty versatile.

I use one on my dresser for lotions and perfumes (of which I have many) so it’s easy for me to select the fragrance I want.  The bathroom cabinet where I keep spare bath products and travel size toiletries has also become more organized thanks to the step shelf organizer.  My seven year old daughter uses one in her bedroom to keep her doll collection lined up on different levels so you can see all their faces (sometimes she uses it to play “pageant” with her Barbies) and my son likewise uses it for his action figures…

…You’ve got to love an organizer with so much versatility, right???