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Upon my move to Nebraska, I picked up a spice rack at Sam’s Club. At $20 for a 20-spice rack, I figured it’d be worth it even if I didn’t have a use for all of the spices.

It’s a wild card as far as the selection in each rack, and the thing is, I have never used most of the spices in my spice rack. There are the basics like basil, oregano, and thyme, but some of my favorites like curry powder and cumin weren’t in my box.

The lot I was given includes: chives, bay leaves (crushed), sea salt (not ground), coriander seeds, marjoram, fennel seeds, celery salt, crushed mint, basil, parsley, dill weed, pizza seasoning, season salt, oregano, Italian seasoning, herbes de Provence, savory, rosemary, cilantro, and thyme.

I only have time to seriously cook once a week on my days off, so every week I’m going to use at least one of those spices in a recipe. The catch? I can’t look for recipes and get ingredients ahead of time. Instead, I’m going to be buying groceries like usual, without any pre-planning, and once my weekend comes, it’s time to figure something out with what I’ve got in my apartment. After all, that’s how all of my recipes come about.

Join me in this challenge so you can actually use those forlorn spices that have been just sitting around!

I woke up feeling a little under the weather this morning, so even though it’s still relatively warm out I decided to make a soup. This week’s recipe is a flavorful and hearty soup based on the concept of the traditional potato leek soup and features dried dill weed and bay leaves.

Potato Mushroom Soup


  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 5 medium carrots, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of dried dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoons of ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of finely crushed bay leaf
  • 6 medium-sized Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 pound of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup of vanilla soy milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground black peper
  • 1/4 cup of flour


  1. Heat up the 2 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pot (this recipe will make 4 quarts of soup, so use a large pot!).
  2. Mix in the carrots, crushed garlic, and the onion and saute for 8 minutes.
  3. Add in the water and the dill weed, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf.
  4. Add in the potatoes and cook covered for 10 minutes.
  5. Bring the water to a boil and cook uncovered for 10 more minutes.
  6. In the meantime, heat up the 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and saute the mushrooms.
  7. Once the mushrooms are cooked, add into the potato soup and cook for another 5 minutes.
  8. In another bowl, mix together the soy milk, black pepper, and flour and then stir into soup.
  9. Cook for 5-8 more minutes until the soup thickens.