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I am a lucky girl.
I live in the foothills of the Berkshires, surrounded by farms of all types — produce (veggies, fruits, herbs), pasture-raised meats, apple orchards, free-range chickens, dairy farms that turn out delicious cheeses, and more. For any cook, this is an almost indescribable blessing. I can get the very best AND get to know the people who produce it.
With summer crops at their peak right now, I have a large variety of produce to choose from every week. Doing some menu planning, I called three of my favorite farmers — New Leaf Farm, Hawk Dance Farm, and Honey Dog Farm — to check on what each was harvesting
(Did you know that they all grow different crops — sometimes VERY different? Even when they plant the same vegetables as another farmer, it could be 2 weeks earlier or 3 weeks later, so the harvest times are completely different. AND even when it is the same vegetable at the same time, the VARIETIES of that vegetable can be radically different. I didn’t realize the extent of these differences in farming, until I moved here and got to know them better — amazing how much I was a victim of supermarket ignorance). Read the rest of this entry
As a kid, my family spent some time living in Northern Italy. Since everything is so close together in Europe, we were able to travel a lot on weekends and get to see a great deal of the area around us. That area included Genoa, home of the famous Genovese pesto. Even being an American, and being a kid, pesto made a big impression on my palate!
Summer is full of picnics, BBQ’s and outdoors celebrations, with traditional foods like burgers, hotdogs and potato salad. Haven’t you ever craved something a little different?
Fresh, cool dill cucumber salad is the perfect answer. It’s quick and easy to make, refreshing, and holds up well because there is no mayonnaise to worry about.
The star ingredient that gives this salad so much flavor is Sarah’s Home on The Ranch Dip Mix. Yes, dip mix!
I admit, I don’t have a formal background in cooking, but growing up around good cooks who were always willing to try something new, being married to a fussy eater, and spending several years living in Europe, built a foundation that has paid off for me now (there was also the period of obsessively watching The Food Network, but we won’t talk about that now).
If I ever doubted my culinary skills, I doubt them no longer after something that happened at my weekly Wednesday Farmer’s Market at The Nutrition Center in Great Barrington.
Here is the scenario: I sell my entire line of blends, salts, peppers and miscellany at these markets. Since my blends tend to be unusual, I figured out quickly that a great way to show people how to use the products is to cook for them. Read the rest of this entry
“Campanelle” is an Italian word that means little flowers or little bells. It’s also the name of one of my favorite Barilla pasta shapes, ever! Anything that you add to them gets trapped in the folds, so that every bite yields a burst of flavor.
With summertime cooking, I wanted to make a really fresh, easy pasta salad for my two Farmers Markets that I’m doing this season — every Wednesday at The Nutrition Center in Great Barrington, and the 1st and 3rd Saturday right here in Hillsdale.
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
Hello and welcome to this new blog!
I’m Laura Griffin, the owner of Your Spice of Life. What is that? A small producer of handmade, organic spice products to make your meals delicious, easy and healthful — hence our slogan of “Yummy. Easy. Organic.™”. I’m located in the foothills of the Berkshire mountains, in the middle of nowhere but accessible to everywhere.
On these blog pages, I’ll be bringing you news, lots of recipes, and info on the amazing health benefits of herbs and spices. At the same time, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on running a small business — the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, as they say!