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Recipe: Za’atar Pita Chips

Zaatar, za’tar, zatar, zatr, zahatar, zaktar or satar!  However you spell it, za’atar is a delicious spice blend with Middle Eastern origins.

Introducing:  za’atar by Your Spice of Life!

The same way that there is no set recipe for Italian or Cajun seasoning, there is no standard for za’atar. However, the components of za’atar that are most often found are thyme, oregano, sumac berry, sesame seeds and salt.

I wanted to develop my own za’atar blend, honoring its tradition but also adding my own twist, as I do with all my blends. So I omitted the sesame seeds (mostly because of their very short shelf life) and the salt (because none of my spice blends contain it). Instead, I added some marjoram to intensify the herbiness, and a pinch of lemon peel to brighten the flavor and enhance the lemony flavor inherent in sumac berries.

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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

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