Hi Herbies, it's me Courtney again. Spices can make or break a meal, but when you have allergies they can also be a hinderance.
There many commercial spice blends available at the store, like seasoning salt or chili powder. The problem with most of these is that they are either too spicy for me or contain black pepper.
When making a dish, often leaving out a spice won't make or break the recipe, but a mix might. Spice mixes can be anywhere from 4 to 12 ingredients, so those flavors really matter.
Making your own mix is a great way to keep things at your spice level, whether that's a 5 or a 1. At most you need a mortar and pestle, and at the least an empty spice jar.
I prefer to grind my own spices, like dill weed, because it gives my mix a richer flavor. I will make a batch big enough to fill my spice jar, whether it is 4oz or 16oz. Although, if you are grinding a spice, I would use a small jar so that the blend stays fresh.
Not all spice mixes need to be ground, none of the spices in cajun seasoning need to be ground. You can easily find recipes online for most mixes.
I even found one for Old Bay Seasoning because Ilove the EHH's Crab Cakes (p. 187), and they wouldn't be the same without it.
Once you have a basic recipe, you canadjust it to your liking. Adding more pepper if you like it hotter, or some nutmeg to give it a little sweetness, or even leave an ingredient out (like black pepper) if you're allergic.
Whether you keep the spices for yourself or give as a gift to a friend, they will make the meal every time they are used.