12 Spices to Always Have On Hand

Adam and I love sitting down to a meal with the family, but we’re both busy people. If we didn’t try to keep our kitchen organized and well stocked, we would probably end up ordering take out a lot more (and trust me, it still happens!). One thing that helps us to prepare yummy meals at a moments notice is making sure we have the basic ingredients – that way if we have to make a grocery store run, it doesn’t involve a laundry list of ingredients. And the grocery store with two little ones? I think you know how that goes!

12 Spices to Always Have On Hand | Tamera Mowry

Once you start looking into spices (beyond black pepper, that is) that can flavor your meals, you’ll find that this list is tiny in comparison. These 12 spices are nice to have on hand because they’re useful for a variety of dishes, and many of them can be used for just about everything. Here goes…

12 Spices to Keep on Hand

Ground Cumin. Great on both veggies and meat, this spice is versatile but intense, and you’ll find that a small jar lasts forever.

Ginger. Ginger itself has many health benefits, and since it plays an important role in the flavor of so many chicken and beef dishes, it’s easy to get your fill. Combine with honey and soy sauce and you can easily whip up a ginger glaze for chicken!

Cayenne Pepper. It’s easy to fold this spice into a dish to give it a kick, and a little goes a long way. A pinch of cayenne was delish in my turkey chili. Red pepper is a good replacement as some companies use it interchangeably, but if using red pepper, it might not be exclusively cayenne.

Curry Powder. Curry powder is a little different in that it is a blend of spices (you can even make your own). Exactly why it’s essential to have on hand – this powder is doing the work of many, making it easy to flavor meals.

Paprika. This spice varies in taste because it can be made from many ground up peppers. It’s very common in spice blends and just about every region of the world uses it in its cuisine. So whether you’re whipping up a Mexican or an Asian dish, paprika can come in handy for flavoring the meal.

Cinnamon. A spice made form the bark of trees, cinnamon is different from the rest in that it makes for just as good a dessert spice as a dinner one. Cinnamon can spice up chicken, pork, and other meats, not to mention make for yummy cookies and fruity desserts. Some experts also claim that it has medicinal properties, like many other spices.

Turmeric. Nowadays the benefits of turmeric are everywhere, but I just love the range of dishes it can flavor. Use turmeric in curries and rice dishes, to flavor meat and fish, or to transform veggies.

Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano & Parsley. There are a few dried herbs that are important to have on hand. We use our herb garden all the time, but being able to spice soups and stews as well as use in marinades and sauces really takes meals up a notch. Rosemary is particularly delicious for baking!

…The list goes on and on! Do you have a favorite spice?


8 Foods That Will Boost Your Immune System

During this time of year it’s so easy to think that spring is on its way and flu season is over, but a cold can hit you any time of year and as for when they’re most popular – we’re not out of the woods yet! Plus, the foods below, like most fruits and veggies, aren’t nearly as hard as you think to get your daily quota – the vegetables can easily be whipped up and seasoned, and fruit is always a welcome treat in my book.

Immune System Boosters

Tomatoes. Obviously citrus fruits are staples as far as cold-busting foods go, but tomatoes may be just as beneficial. They contain the antioxidant lycopene, lots of vitamins and micronutrients, as well as folate (which in general is important women – especially those expecting). Basically, tomatoes have a bit of everything, and thinking ahead, are great for your heart too. They’re kind of a superfood in disguise.

Sweet Potatoes. People are finally catching on to how great sweet potatoes are for you (and how good they are, too), but do you know why they’re so healthy for your immune system specifically? They’ve got powerful antioxidants similar to the tomatoes above, vitamin A, potassium, iron, b-6 and more.

Mushrooms. It may be a little surprising that mushrooms top this list, but depending on their variety, they can contain a ton of antioxidants, potassium and vitamins. For example, a recent study showed that a Shiitake mushroom a day enhanced the immune system. Get cooking!

Asparagus. Asparagus is seriously healthy – it’s actually ranked as a top nutrient-dense food, meaning a ton of nutrients and very little calories. Not only does this veggie contain vitamins + minerals and a fair share of fiber, it breaks down toxins so they can be better filtered out of the body, which helps with inflammation and immune system health. Not everyone loves benefits, but loaded up with fresh herbs and spices, it can be a nice healthy side.

Apples. The vitamin C in apples does make it an obvious choice for fighting off colds, but that’s not actually why it’s so great for your immune system. Similar to asparagus, the dietary fiber content in apples makes them helpful for immunity (that fiber contains an anti-inflammatory protein that does the trick), and also contributes to why they make you feel full for so long. 

Citrus Fruits. Don’t stop at oranges – grapefruit, lemon and lime are just as full of vitamin C, and thus helpful for your immune system. It’s been known to help even when taken as late as the first sign of a cold. While you may want to run to a vitamin C supplement, you’re actually helping just as much by indulging in a few of these delicious fruits, since once you get enough vitamin C, it’s no longer absorbed in your body. 

Ginger. Ginger is a known immune system booster because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, medicinal properties. It can even help with stomach pain and morning sickness in expecting mommas. You can slice it up in coins to season meats, add to tea or use dried ginger on just about everything – it’s even commonly used as a supplement.

Garlic. Here’s a great excuse to smother everything in one of the most flavorful foods of all: They’ve got a mystery nutrient called allicin, which creates antioxidants and gives it the ability to fight against free radicals. Garlic lovers will be quick to cook this one up, but if you’re serious about using garlic for fighting colds – it’s best eaten, yes, raw.

One of my favorite ways to scoop up many of these immune boosters in one meal is by roasting veggies for a yummy side or snack, or just munching on some citrus fruits when I’m craving something sweet!

Are you getting your fill of immune boosting eats? Read my healthy new year food swaps to improve your meals even more!


Healthy On The Go Snack Ideas

Today’s post is by Agatha, the founder of Yummy Spoonfuls. This month, she’s sharing her favorite on-the-go snack ideas that your little ones will go crazy for. 

Nutrition-packed snacks fill in the gaps between meals, and ensure that kids of all ages gets all of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fats, protein and fiber needed for developing brains and bodies. This makes snack time a big part of their lives, especially since some have as much as three snacks a day.

‘Snack food’ is not just about nutrition, it is a great opportunity to help train our kids palette when they are younger to enjoy a wide variety of healthy flavors. Those foods that they might not eat on the table they sometimes will eat on the go. There’s a whole world of deliciousness out there just waiting to be tried! When my boys were younger every weekend we would try a different fruit and vegetable from all over the world that we could find at our farmers market. Those of you following me on social media see videos of my kids eating raw veggies, including okra, like candy. Here is what has worked for us… and a few of our all time favorite snacks that are perfect on the go:

Healthy On The Go Snacks

My #1 rule when it comes to snacks: Avoid calorie-dense, low-nutrient foods such as desserts, sugary, overly-processed and salty package snacks. Instead, I turn to fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade bake goods like muffins, chips, breads, etc. that are sweetened with raw honey and fruits. I know this doesn’t sound very convenient but trust me, healthy snacks take just a little preparation and the payoff lasts a lifetime.

(If you are totally not into homemade snacks make sure you look for some that are high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but relatively lower in calories, total fat, saturated fat (no trans fat), sugar and sodium. And read labels and fine print.)

Our Favorite On The Go Snacks:

Raw-licious veggies. Raw vegetables provide variety, like romaine lettuce leaves, cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini ribbons, broccoli etc. If your kids are into dips you can make an easy plain yogurt dip with a pinch of sea salt. (Steam veggies for the younger kids like asparagus tips, sweet potato, squash chunks, whole green beans, broccoli florets, etc.)

Fruity snacks. Raw organic fruits, dried fruits, fruit leather, and frozen purees can all be pre-packed and ready for on the go snacks.

Homemade/baked goodies. Muffins sweetened with fruits and veggies and packed with nutrient dense seeds like flax, hemp and chia. Tortillas filled with nutritious goodies, whole grain cookies, toast, granola bars, protein bars, popcorn balls, roasted nuts, boiled eggs, avocado/nut butters/homemade jams on toast, etc.

Dairy or non-dairy yogurt. Watch out for flavored yogurt and milk, though—even organic brands often contain loads of sugar. Buy plain yogurt and sweeten you’re your own fresh fruits and/or raw honey.

Remember you can never go wrong with nature’s best snacks: fresh fruits and vegetables made at home or baked at home can be made into an on the go snack. The possibilities are endless. Explore with your kids and always remember that quality matters. Check back later when we’ll share our favorite wholesome snack here on TameraMowry.com!

Love and light,

3 Ways To Get Kids To Eat

You don’t have to necessarily have a picky eater on your hands to struggle getting your little ones to eat their fruits and veggies and other healthy meals. I don’t know how or why, but children figure out early on that if it’s good for you, it must not taste good, and they stay away! Lol. Over the past couple years I’ve developed methods for when Aden’s feeling stubborn, and I totally plan to use these tips on Ariah when necessary!

3 Ways To Get Kids To Eat

Give them a choice. Most kids (okay, people!) will choose a cookie over a banana in a heartbeat. But if there’s two different healthy options in front of them, there’s a good chance they’ll forget about any alternative they can’t see and just focus on the task at hand: making a choice. Giving children a choice allows them to feel more in control of the situation, and even like they’re helping with the meal planning and prep.

Get sneaky with ingredients. Obviously the first method isn’t always going to work – who hasn’t dealt with kids who flat out refuse to eat certain things? Luckily sometimes it only has to look like a favorite dish to be kid-approved. This little trick is perfect for those meals that are healthier versions of family faves, like the sweet potato pancakes from my most coveted kids’ cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. Having a cookbook on hand really helps in those panicky, “He won’t eat anything” moments, but over time you’ll find which healthy ingredients you can get away with sneaking in, no questions asked.

Go in as a family. Kids are smart; it’s a blessing and a curse! If they don’t see the broccoli being eaten off your plate, they won’t be touching theirs. If they see you hitting the cupboards during every TV commercial, they’ll assume that’s just a good way to pass the time. You don’t have to wage an all-out war on sugar (it really depends on your personal diet), but in general setting a positive example not only helps kids form good habits, it keeps moms and dads in check with their health goals too. There are a lot of reasons parents want to set a good example, and this one is especially rewarding.

Got any sneaky tricks to share when it comes to kids’ diets? Let me know!


Homemade Pumpkin Bread

We had a wonderful Christmas last week so I wanted to dedicate this week to sharing our adventures. First up, this amazing holiday bread recipe that was given to me by my friend Talitha. It’s delicious and makes a great gift for the holidays and even New Years Day. Up through the new year there are always visitors coming by and family and friends to catch up with so this is perfect to have handy! I made it for the crew on The Real and it was a hit. It could be a winter hostess gift, too… So many possibilities.

Homemade Pumpkin Bread Recipe

All wrapped up and ready for gift giving.

Homemade Pumpkin Bread

Makes 6 servings



1 ½ c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
¼ t. baking powder
½ t. ground cloves
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. salt
½ t. nutmeg
1 2/3 c. all purpose flour

Additional ingredients

½ c. oil
½ c. water
1 c. canned pumpkin
two eggs


To prepare, blend mix with the ½ cup oil, ½ cup water, one cup canned pumpkin, and two beaten eggs. Spread in a greased 9×5” loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F for one hour.

Super easy! I chose to spread them out over mini loaf pans for giving.

Thank you to Talitha for sharing this recipe with me.