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Homemade spice mixes make great holiday gifts

Kathryn Weber
Tribune Content Agency

Shopping at warehouse stores can be fun. The problem is we often end up with giant bottles of garlic power, pepper and oregano that take three years to use up. This year, put some of those extra spices to good use by making up your own spice seasoning mixes to give as quick holiday presents. Using up your abundance of spices will give you a unique gift, and you’ll also clean out your spice cabinet at the same time.

Pick up some pretty jars and cute gift tags (to write down the name of each mix and instructions on how to use them) for your mixes, and you’ve got a homemade gift you can put together in minutes without a lot of fuss. Double or triple the recipes for the number of gifts you’d like to make.

These spice mixes are perfect as a hostess gift or teacher thank-you, or you can drop off some holiday cheer at a neighbor’s house.

Italian Spice Mix

Perfect for dipping oil. Add one tablespoon of spice mixture to 1/3 cup of quality olive oil. Mix to combine, and serve with crusty bread for dipping.

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

1/2 tablespoon black pepper

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

For you to make: Mix all spices together in a spice grinder. Pulse once or twice to combine. Store in airtight container.

Greek Seasoning Spice Blend

Perfect to use on top of grilled meat, salads, vegetables and pasta.

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons dried basil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

2 teaspoons dried onion flakes

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves

1 teaspoon dried dill

For you to make: Lightly blend ingredients in a spice grinder with one or two pulses to mix and combine spices while leaving some distinct pieces of spices. Store in airtight container.

Pizza Topping Spice Mix

Store in the refrigerator. Add to shaker jar with sprinkle fitting when making pizza.

2 tablespoons red pepper flakes (halve for less heat)

2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/3 cup bottled grated Parmesan cheese

For you to make: Mix all spices together or put into a spice grinder (pulsing once or twice to combine). Be sure to store mix in the refrigerator.