Monthly Archives: May 2011

Going all out ~ 2 Fabulous Home Tasting Parties

Running Your Spice of Life has been challenging, exciting, scary, exhausting and liberating… often in the same day! Of all the activities I do, my favorite part has to be planning and holding my home tasting parties.

What are they? In a nutshell, these are opportunities for people to sample tons of YSOL products while having a relaxed, fun time with friends. So different from many other “home product parties”, I try to connect with people, and demonstrate how to cook fast, delicious meals with my products while throwing in some spice education at the same time.

Having that face time with people is so important. I need to learn about their lifestyles, the pressures in their day, their dietary requirements, and their feelings towards cooking, then bring it all together with suggestions and inspirations that they can bring home with them.

I was fortunate to have two great tasting parties this past week, hosted by colleagues from a new networking group I’ve joined. Both women opened up their homes to me and allowed me to cook for their groups of friends.

I have to say, I went all out for these two events, planning an extensive menu of dishes and striving to bring as much product inventory with me as possible so that they could have their orders fulfilled on the spot. Read the rest of this entry

Recipe: Oven Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

To me, potatoes are almost a perfect recipe ingredient. They are inexpensive, easy to work with, a comfort food that appeals to almost everyone, and they readily take on the taste of whatever you add to them.

For this recipe, there is the short version and a longer one;  let’s start with the short:

Ingredients:

2 lbs potatoes, scrubbed
2 T olive oil
2 tsps Rosemary’s Chicken spice blend by Your Spice of Life
1 tsp sea salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

If the potatoes have nice skins and are relatively blemish-free, leave the peel on. Otherwise, peel then then proceed.

Cut the potatoes into 3/4″ cubes.

Arrange the potatoes on a large baking sheet that has edges, making sure that all the pieces are touching the sheet.

Add the rest of the ingredients to them, and toss well to coat.

At this point, you can hold them on the baking sheet until ready to bake.

Bake for 30 minutes then start checking them for doneness. You want them to be fork-tender, and have some browning around the edges.

When ready, taste them for seasoning, and add more sea salt and/or Rosemary’s Chicken blend to your taste. Serve within a few minutes. Read the rest of this entry

Recipe: Spiced Honey Roasted Carrots

carrots before honey glazing

Heirloom carrots from Honey Dog Farm

“Yummy.  Easy.  Organic.™”  is my slogan… so I love it when I can bring together all three elements in one dish!

These carrots qualify. The yumminess comes from the inherent goodness of oven-roasted carrots, but the addition of my peppery Sweet Asian blend and a dash of honey bring them to a new level. Easy? You bet. Organic? All of my products are organic, and if you get a chance to visit your local farmer’s market or coop, you can get in on the action, too. Read the rest of this entry

Recipe: Moroccan Lamb Mini-Meatballs

Moroccan flag
Moroccan flag

Located in Northern Africa, Morocco is a land whose cuisine is sublime yet not well-known here in the US.  Thanks to living in Southern France for a while (which, for the geographically challenged, put me fairly close to the top of the African continent), I enjoyed the influence of the cuisine from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

One of my most enduring culinary memories was the taste of the complex spice blends from that area. I’ve done my best to re-create it in my Rockin’ Moroccan spice blend, which appears in another YSOL recipe, Moroccan Lamb Stew with Couscous.  In this recipe, I’m going for the same exotic taste, but we’re getting there much faster with these simple but flavorful mini meatballs. Read the rest of this entry

Recipe: My Nod to Bananas Foster

True Bananas Foster are a sight to behold: flambéed, sugared, spiced syruppy bananas served over ice cream. If you are inclined to go the traditional route, go for it!

Going bananas

Going bananas

My version is a little simpler, and doesn’t use any alcohol, which may appeal to some and dismay others. I’ve also cut some calories by serving this straight up instead of over ice cream… again, the appeal/dismay scenario. Oh, and instead of cinnamon being the only spice, my version also includes ginger and turmeric (thanks to the use of my “As Sweet as Kate” spiced sugar), making the healthfullness quotient shoot up.

Here goes: Read the rest of this entry

Recipe: Thai Tofu with Coconut Rice

Many of my dishes can be adapted (some might even say, improved) by making them vegetarian. This one is an adaptation of my Thai Shrimp with Coconut Rice:

Thai Treasure spice blend

Thai Treasure spice blend

Follow the same recipe, but substitute 1 1/2 pounds of cubed, firm tofu.

The turmeric in the Thai Treasure spice blend will give the tofu a beautiful, golden color, making it very appealing to the eye!

Recipe: Thai Shrimp with Coconut Rice

It is likely that the only Thai dish you’ve had is Pad Thai .  While delicious, Thai cuisine is not yet as popular in the US as Italian or Indian, for example.

Shrimp with Thai Treasure

Shrimp with Thai Treasure

So break out of the box and try something new!

Here is an easy recipe for a mild, Thai-inspired dish that will take your mouth to far away places…

Ingredients:

4 cups cooked brown rice, prepared according to package directions
2 T coconut cream *
1 ½ lbs shrimp, deveined, tails on
olive oil or vegetable oil
1 T  Thai Treasure spice blend by Your Spice of Life
sea salt to taste
1 lime, cut into wedges (optional)

Method:

Prepare the brown rice according to the package directions. Once cooked,  stir in the coconut cream, then cover to keep warm.

On medium-high heat, sautee the shrimp in 2 T of oil 4-5 minutes until cooked. **

Turn off the heat. Add the Thai Treasure spice blend and toss well to coat the shrimp.

Taste for seasoning, and add a little sea salt and/or more Thai Treasure to taste.

Mound the rice on a platter, and arrange the shrimp on top of the rice.  Garnish with some lime wedges and serve immediately.

 * Confused about the difference between coconut milk and coconut cream?  Check out this helpful link:  http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/ingredients-pantry/whats-the-difference-coconut-milk-vs-cream-075446

 ** How to tell if the shrimp are cooked? Check out http://www.seapak.com/smarterseafood/cookingtips for a surefire way to tell.    I have also read that when they form a “C”, they are cooked, but when they form an “O”, they are overcooked.

© 2011 Your Spice of Life   ~   an original recipe!

Recipe: Spiced Popcorn

We love to snack!

Finding something that doesn’t leave us wracked with guilt is another matter. Popcorn is a great solution on all counts. It’s quick to prepare, high in fiber, very budget-friendly, and best of all, you can create numerous varieties right in your kitchen by using my spice blends and sea salts!

Before you start, you will want to select your seasoning, and have it ready to add to the hot popcorn as soon as it comes out of the pan. Of all my products, these are my favorites to use on popcorn:

•  Viva Italia! spice blend (the version with or without salt)

Feisty Fiesta spice blend gives a nice kick!

Feisty Fiesta spice blend gives a nice kick!

•  Feisty Fiesta spice blend
•  Hurricane Curry spice blend
•  As Sweet As Kate spiced sugar
•  Kitchen Campfire smoked sea salt
•  Smokin’ Onion Double Dipper dip mix
•  any combination of my sea salts and exotic peppers

I am a fan of making popcorn the old-fashioned way, i.e. not in the microwave, and not Jiffy Pop either. All you need is a sturdy pan, a few tablespoons of oil (I use olive oil for the extra flavor), and 1/2 cup of loose, unpopped popcorn. This will make the equivalent amount of a one-gallon plastic storage bag.

Heat the oil on medium high, and add the popcorn. Cover with lid.  Gently shake the pan back and forth so that nothing sticks. Keep this up until the popping slows down to once every few seconds, then remove from the heat.

Carefully remove the lid (watch out for the steam), and pour into a large bowl. Immediately add your chosen Your Spice of Life seasoning — start with one teaspoon, taste it, then add more if it needs it — and toss well. As long as you add it right away, the heat and the residual oil will allow it to cling nicely to the popcorn.

Enjoy!

If you need more detail on how to make popcorn on the stovetop, see http://www.ehow.com/how_2013_pop-popcorn.html

Recipe: Curry Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are one of those classic dishes that many of us remember from childhood. Here is an updated version that brings some zing to the dish. Replacing the traditional mayonnaise with yogurt also brings down the fat count — but not the taste, I guarantee it!

Curried Deviled Eggs

Not your Mother's recipe!

Ingredients:

A dozen large or jumbo eggs
6-8 oz plain yogurt *
2-3 T finely minced red onion
1 T  Hurricane Curry spice blend by Your Spice of Life
½ tsp sea salt

Method:

Hardboil the eggs, then cool and peel.  [Not sure how to hardboil a perfect egg?  Check out these helpful instructions:  http://www.wikihow.com/Hard-Boil-an-Egg ]

Slice eggs carefully in half and remove the yolks to a medium bowl.

Using a fork, mash the yolks until smooth.

Add the remaining ingredients, and blend until mixed well.

Taste mixture and add more salt and/or Hurricane Curry to your taste.

Blend well and carefully spoon into egg halves (or, you can pipe the filling with a pastry bag,  or a plastic sandwich bag with the corner snipped off).

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, to allow the filling to set.

When ready to serve,  place on a pretty serving dish. Dust edges very lightly with Hurricane Curry, and garnish with fresh parsley or mint if desired.

* you can use a mixture of 2/3 plain yogurt and 1/3 peach or mango yogurt, for a slightly more exotic taste.

© 2011 Your Spice of Life   ~   an original recipe!

Recipe: Citrus Garlic Asparagus

Springtime and summer bring all sorts of yummy green veggies for us to enjoy with minimal fuss! Try this recipe with long spears of asparagus (my favorite), or use fresh, green/yellow vegetables like:

Citrus Garlic Asparagus

• broccoli florets
• broccoli rabe
• string beans
• yellow string beans
• sugarsnap peas
• cauliflower florets

The key to this dish is the light, citrus/garlic taste of Tangy Citrus spice blend by Your Spice of Life.

There are 2 methods of preparing this:

You can sautee the fresh vegetable in olive oil until tender, then toss it with the spice blend (in the pan) at the end

 or

You can quickly steam the vegetable, and toss it with a dressing made of olive oil whisked with the spice blend.

I am not listing amounts because it will depend on how much veggie you used, and how strong you want the flavoring to be. In general, remember to start with a little spice — maybe one teaspoon — , taste the dish, then add more if it needs it.

A dash of your favorite sea salt and maybe a grind of fresh pepper will finish the dish!

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