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.

Lots of product was available to bring home

Although I tried to describe the ingredients and cooking methods for each dish, I’m afraid there was too much to remember, so I wanted to provide all of the recipes here for their reference (and now, yours!).

Here goes:

We started with a simple dip made from my Smokin’ Onion Double Dipper mixed into sour cream, with pretzels and carrots. This mix is amazing stirred into mashed potatoes, sprinkled over baked potatoes, and used as a coating for pork chops when mixed into some breadcrumbs.

Simple microwave popcorn got the star treatment with the addition of Viva Italia! spice blend. VI can be used in almost any recipe that calls for “Italian Seasoning”. As easy as this was to prepare, I’ve decided that I prefer making popcorn the old-fashioned way; check out my spiced popcorn recipe for more on this.

Moving up the line from snacks to more formal appetizers, I set out a plate of Sicilian Mozzarella, which uses my Sunny Sicilian blend.

Sicilian Mozzarella appetizer with Sunny Sicilian blend

Sicilian Mozzarella appetizer with Sunny Sicilian blend

SI goes well with many things, but I think it shines the most when used to season swordfish, roasted vegetables, and mixed with olive oil as a dipping sauce.

An old-fashioned classic, deviled eggs, was transformed into something more current: Curried Deviled Eggs, featuring my Hurricane Curry blend. HC is probably the most versatile of all my blends, in that it can be used on most meats, shrimp, intriguing salads, as a flavoring for rice, to make toasted nuts, and dozens of other dishes. Look for many more recipes using this blend, coming soon.

Citrus Garlic AsparagusWith this being Springtime, I wanted to use fresh asparagus in some way, so I prepared Citrus Garlic Asparagus using my Tangy Citrus blend. It’s such a quick way to prepare green veggies; check out the recipe for other ideas.

Now that appetizers were done, it was time to start bringing out the big guns. I started with Thai Shrimp with Coconut Rice, to show that you can really expand your tastes with my blends. Face it, when was the last time you cooked Thai food at home? Thai Treasure made it easy, as a quick toss onto sauteed shrimp. The brown rice that was served with the shrimp got a little boost from a few spoonsful of coconut cream. If you are a tofu lover, then you have to check out the Thai Tofu recipe.

Another cuisine that doesn’t get much attention in the States is Moroccan, so I used my Rockin’ Moroccan blend to make some quick Lamb Mini Meatballs.  Note, these can be served as a main dish or as appetizers on toothpicks. Either way: yum.  Two side dishes were Rosemary Roasted Potatoes and Spiced Honey Roasted Carrots.

{are you full yet?}

We were on the home stretch now, with one more main dish, Creamy Mushroom Paprika Stroganoff. Racy Paprikablend is the key to the success of this simple dish.

Silky Paprika Mushrooms

Serve on toothpicks for an appetizer, or as a side dish.

You will never again think of paprika as “just” a coloring or garnish!

RP likes to pair with chicken, pork, baked potatoes, steamed cauliflower and a seasoning in rice.

One more simple veggie dish was prepared, to show how to use everyday ingredients from your freezer: Mexican-style Corn. Red pepper and onion were sauteed in olive oil before being joined by a bag of frozen corn and a pinch of Feisty Fiesta blend. This also works well with frozen green beans.

Finally, dessert time! I prepared a 13×9 pan of Lula’s Fruit Crisp Mix, using a combination of golden delicious apples, Gala apples, and red plums.

Lula's Fruit Crisp

Lula's Fruit Crisp

Rolled oats, whole wheat flour, Turbinado sugar and organic brown sugar mix with a peppery spice blend to make a more grown-up version of crisp. My favorite topping for this dessert is goat cheese — yes, goat cheese — and several brave guests tried it and loved it!

The second dessert was so simple to make but made a big impression: my own version of Bananas Foster, using my As Sweet As Kate spiced sugar. I simply love the fact that you can get a hefty dose of cinnamon, ginger and turmeric while enjoying the decadent dessert.

I can’t promise that every home tasting party will be as expansive; on the other hand, it’s almost difficult to decide what to eliminate from the menu as each dish brings something unique to the table (no pun intended!).

Big thank you’s to my wonderful hostesses, their lovely friends, and my volunteer “pit crew”, Lisa and Jacqueline, for keeping things moving along so beautifully!

If you think that you’d like to host one of these tasting parties, and enjoy being a guest in your own home, drop me a line at laura@yourspiceoflife.com 



Posted on May 9, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Maria was raving about how wonderful everything was and how deliciously simple the recipes were. She could not say enough good things about you and your helpers and how it was the easiest party she has ever thrown.

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