Creative Uses for Cocoa
The word cocoa immediately conjures images of steaming mugs of sweet, creamy hot chocolate on a cold winter evening. While cocoa is a popular pantry staple, few realize that it has many uses, and not just for hot chocolate! Loaded with antioxidants and boasting other health benefits, cocoa is a great way to add a bit of decadence to your everyday. Here are some creative ways to use cocoa.
Chocolate for Breakfast? Yes, Please!
Cocoa is a great addition to otherwise plain breakfast options. Mornings are hard enough, treat yourself!
- Oatmeal: Simply add a spoonful (or two, who’s counting) to your breakfast to jazz up your mornings. Honey or banana helps to reduce the bitter taste.
- Yogurt: Cocoa powder and fruit turn this morning staple into a chocolatey delight.
- Cereal: Sprinkle cocoa over top of your usual dry cereal for a rich treat.
Not Just for Hot Chocolate
Cocoa powder is a fantastic way to liven up any beverage. Cocoa can liven up your favorite smoothie, or even your morning cup o’ joe.
- Smoothies: A couple of tablespoons added to most recipes will elevate your smoothie game to the next level.
- Coffee: Add one tablespoon to your cup, and sweeten as usual. You’re welcome.
Cocoa has uses beyond the kitchen, as well! The rich brown powder not only tastes great, but can make you look great, too.
- Dry shampoo for dark hair: Mix equal parts cornstarch and cocoa, and put into a salt shaker to dispense. Sprinkle the mixture at your roots, rub in, and give the powder 10-15 minutes to absorb excess oils. Brush through your hair, and enjoy another day from your blowout, free of white residue!
- Facial scrub: Mix equal parts coconut oil, honey, and sugar. Add a tablespoon of cocoa and mix until a paste forms. Spread over clean, dry skin and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Massage gently as you rinse your skin, and say hello to your new glow!
Get Your Cake Fix
Cocoa powder is also the main ingredient in this 5-minute chocolate mug cake.
Make Ordinary Baked Goods Extraordinary
Most baked goods can be transformed into chocolate delights with minimal fuss. Try adding cocoa to your zucchini bread, banana bread, or even Sunday morning pancake recipes!
Mixing in a tablespoon of cocoa with peanut butter (or any nut butter) makes for a delectable sandwich spread that satisfies even the most ardent of chocoholics. This heavenly combination makes a great dip for apples, too!
Our Organic Dark Cocoa can be purchased here.
History of Nutmeg
Nutmeg originally came from the “Spice Islands” of Indonesia and the West Indies. Historically, the whole nutmeg was used as a sachet, which is a small perfume bag to scent clothes. The Romans used it as incense. Nutmeg’s many uses started in the 1600s where nutmeg was used as an expensive commercial spice in the Western world. Nutmeg trees can grow to about 65 feet. They can grow fruit after eight years of sowing and can produce fruit for 60 years. The word nutmeg comes from the Latin words nux meaning nut and muscat meaning musky. Nutmeg was discovered in the 1st Century A.D.
What is Nutmeg?
Nutmeg is a seed that comes from the nutmeg trees. To make it into a seasoning, the seeds are dried in the sun. While it is drying, the nutmeg loses its hard seed coat. The spice is ready when the kernels rattle in their shells. While it is being shaken, it separates from the outer coat, which is the mace. It can be sold whole or ground up as nutmegs many uses. Nutmeg has a mild taste and is rarely used with mace in a recipe. It tastes nutty and sweet and has a strong distinct smell. Whole nutmeg is about the size of an apricot and lasts longer than ground nutmeg.
Nutmeg Used in Recipes
Nutmeg can be sweet or savory in recipes. It is known as a holiday spice. When using nutmeg in recipes, make sure to use it lightly as this spice can be very powerful. Nutmeg is very special and can be used in a variety of different spices including pumpkin pie spice, ras el hanout, and garam masala. It is well known for being used in drinks like cappuccinos and eggnogs. Nutmeg is a good flavorful spice for pumpkin pie and alfredo dishes. Popular substitute nutmeg spices are cinnamon, allspice, ginger, or ground cloves.
Where to Find It
Nutmeg comes in two different forms: ground or whole. Ground nutmeg is easy to find in local grocery stores. Although it’s convenient, it can easily lose its flavor and aroma fast. Whole nutmeg can be found in supermarkets, wholesale clubs, gourmet shops, and online. Other places that sell the whole nutmeg are specialty spice purveyors. It will most likely be found in the spice aisle, but if it’s not, it can always be ordered from our Spice Station website.
Nutmeg is historically from the “Spice Islands” in Indonesia. It was used by Romans, Dutch, English, and American people. It was used as a spice, sachet, and incense. The word nutmeg comes from Latin roots. Nutmeg is a seed that grows from tall nutmeg trees. The seeds dry in the sun for weeks until it can be used for our common recipes like pumpkin pie or eggnog. It can be a sweet or savory holiday spice and can be found almost anywhere.
Holiday Spice Guide
Do you ever feel like eating something festive during the holidays, and then wonder what the flavor that you are looking for is? The Holiday season is such a favorite for baking and creating dishes that are filled with spices that you do not normally use. All the way from Thanksgiving to New Years Day, we love creating new dishes or timeless ones. This holiday spice guide will help you with what to use in your cooking.
Nutmeg is what makes the most favorite flavors of the holidays such as Egg Nog, and Pumpkin Pie, and apple pie. Not only is it used for sweet treats, but this spice can also be used for roasting vegetables like carrots or sweet potatoes. Give it a try, you will not be disappointed.
Clearly cinnamon is a favorite year-round. It has that smell and flavor that scream holiday warmness after a day of sledding or a brisk walk in the cold. Coming in for a cup of hot chocolate with cinnamon sprinkled on it is divine, but have you ever sprinkled it in your coffee?
What a clever name for a warm spice. Allspice has sweet aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as cloves. This spice is usually ground and put into puddings or bread, as well as pies such as pumpkin or apple. Our whole version can be used when making mulled wine or even brining a turkey.
These are just a few of the flavors of the holidays that we love. Time off of work, sitting around with loved ones, what else are you going to do but cook and enjoy the flavors of the season. If you can not remember the last time you used your cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice, we suggest throwing them out and treating yourself to the freshness of our spice station spices, all shipped to your doorstep. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
Different Ways to Spice Up Your Winter Squash
Winter squash is one of the most delectable delicacies for the Winter culinary palette. There are many different types of Winter squashes, including Pumpkin, Spaghetti Squash, Red Kuri and Kabocha. These types of squash are hearty and sweet in flavor. They conjure up memories of cold Winter nights and warm Winter meals. While these are some of the finest assortment of foods in the culinary palette, their deliciousness relies in many parts on the spices with which they are seasoned. There are a number of ways to spice up your Winter squash dishes, as listed below.
Make it Spicy
This one is a simple strategy – make your Winter squash spicy. You can do this using dry spice ingredients like Cayenne pepper sprinkles on top while baking or black pepper used in abundance mixed into the hollow of the squash. Additionally, it is possible to use bulk peppers to spice your dish. You may choose to simmer whole jalapenos or cayenne peppers in cooking oil on the stove. You may then coat the squash in this cooking oil and allow it to marinate as you would with chicken. Either way, be sure to bake the spicy flavor into the meal in the oven.
Sweeten Your Pallette
One of the most lovely ways to add flavor to your squash dish is with the addition of fruit. You may choose to add fresh fruit such as oranges in the baking dish while you bake this seasonal vegetable. You may even choose to drench the squash in orange juice or even apple juice, allowing it to absorb all of the sweet flavors. It is advisable to use fruits that are seasonal to the squash, such as the Fall fruits apples, oranges, and dates. Another idea is to set your squash in a pool of fruit juices, then cover the dish before baking so that the juices evaporate into the squash vegetable.
Decorate Your Squash
There are a number of different edibles that can be used to decorate the squash, making the process of eating quite beautiful. You can add cloves to the exterior of the squash by poking them into a butternut squash. You can also sprinkle our brightly colored Spice Station Spices like cayenne or Mustard on top of the squash for a celebratory appearance.
This holiday season, there are so many ways to take your Winter squash dish from drab to fabulous by using certain cooking methods. You can make your dish extra spicy with Jalapeno and Cayenne peppers. You can sweeten your dish with natural fruits and fruit juices to create a candy-like taste. You can even make your squash dish appear very elegant by decorating with colorful spices.
Be sure to check out our spices here.
Spices and the Holiday Season
Intriguing Spices and the Pleasures of the Holiday Season
The holiday season can be pretty tough. It can be difficult at times to anticipate what the people in your life want the most. One thing is pretty clear, though. So many people the world over are crazy about cooking and about food preparation in general. That’s why it can be hard to go wrong with gifts that involve food or the culinary arts overall. If you’re keen on the gift of cooking, then you should look into delectable spice choices that may be out there. COVID has us indoors, which is why more people are taking day-to-day meal preparation seriously. That’s why more people are looking to the universe of amazing and memorable spices to liven up their meals.
Getting People to Cook More With Fresh Spices
Why can spices make such fine gifts for the holiday season and beyond? If you give someone an amazing spice set for the holidays, this gift of cooking can be inimitable. People aren’t joking when they say that food is love. People care more about wellness than ever, and spices help boost flavor as well as other health benefits. Everyone wants their immune systems to be able to safeguard them from all kinds of hazardous illnesses. If you give a person you care about a present that includes spices, you may be promoting optimal health. It can help to look into particularly beneficial spices that are staples in cuisine. Turmeric is one such example. This spice is associated with all kinds of undeniable wellness perks. It at the same time is associated with delectable flavoring. If you’re keen on spicy and hot South Asian dishes that involve curry, then you cannot go wrong with turmeric.
Spices make great gifts for yet another big reason. There are so many mouthwatering varieties out there. It doesn’t matter if you love dessert spices that are milder, or if you like particularly piquant ones, either. People never have to settle for spices that just do not appeal to them. Give the gift of spices this year.
See our popular gift sets here.
Should you Brine your Turkey?
The season for turkeys is just around the corner. While many people have their favorite way of cooking their bird, one thing that can’t be disputed is making sure it is properly brined. Brine a Turkey for added flavor!
Why take this extra step? Well, the answers are quite simple. For starters, turkey is not a naturally flavorful bird on its own. Brining helps bring flavorful seasoning into this meat or any meat for that matter. Also, let’s face it, nobody wants a dry and flavorless turkey. There is no joy in that.
Here are 3 tips for making sure that your turkey is properly brined for your big day.
1. The Fresher, The Better
The best thing to make sure your turkey soaks up as much brine as possible is to make sure you buy a fresh one. This is because frozen turkeys are usually injected with a sodium solution to make the meat stay fresher longer.
If you aren’t able to get a fresh one, don’t freak out. Brining a frozen one is better than not doing it at all. Just try to make sure the turkey is thawed properly.
2. What Type Of Brine for my Turkey?
Now that you have the perfect bird, the next thing to figure out is what is the best brine for you.
There are a multitude of premade brines in the store already made for your convenience. While nothing is wrong with these, making your own is the best way to go.
The brine that we suggest is our Turkey Brine. It contains sea salt, black pepper, rosemary, brown sugar, and brown mustard to help give you the flavor and aromatics you need for a turkey. Although it may not seem like much, this 4oz pack is enough for a 20-30 pound turkey.
No matter if you do or don’t use our Spice Station blend, just make sure it contains salt and use water or stock to give it enough liquid.
3. Overnight, Please
So how should you brine your turkey? The best way is to use an extra-large ziplock bag to put both the items in. It is also suggested to put this bag in a pan.
For maximum flavor, leave the turkey in the brine overnight after boiling the brine. Then take it out of the solution, rinse, and cook for at least 2 ½ hours. If you need your turkey sooner, just make sure you let the brine cool with 10 cups of ice before putting it on the turkey.
We hope this has answered why to brine a turkey. Happy eating!
Time to unwind with some Tea
After a stressful day, a calming tea can really help you unwind. Enjoying chamomile tea, or other calming tea after dinner can help you fall asleep quickly. Several factors can lead to a lack of sleep. Stress, among other issues in your life, can make it hard to fall asleep. It is possible to regain good sleep even after suffering from insomnia if you can invest in a cup of tea towards the evening. Caffeine can lead to a lack of sleep, but chamomile tea does not contain caffeine so you dont have to worry about any caffeine jitters. Chamomile will ease the effects of insomnia and help you relax so that you can enjoy a peaceful sleep.
Why drink chamomile Tea?
Our chamomile tea can help you relax after a stressful day. It has apigenin that contributes to sleep. The flavonoid compound has been linked to good sleep. If you have a hard time falling asleep, you can increase your herbal tea intake, and it will contribute towards helping you fall asleep. Green tea is rich in theanine, which is an effective element in promoting good sleep. Always ensure you drink decaffeinated green tea to enjoy the calming effects.
Tea Drinking Tips
Try to drink chamomile tea throughout the day to enjoy the benefits of good sleep. Caffeine can remain active in the body for up to 10 hours. Some find it hard when they drink caffeinated tea even in the early afternoon to fall asleep, so they turn to chamomile tea. Switch to decaffeinated green tea and chamomile tea completely, and it will help you get a good night’s sleep.
Developing a habit of drinking chamomile tea before you go to bed will make you enjoy a sound sleep. People usually need to relax their minds before they can fall asleep. Those who develop the habit of drinking decaffeinated tea each time they go to bed are at a high chance of enjoying a good night’s sleep.
Try our blends of Tea to help you relax and get a good night’s sleep.
Different ways to use pumpkin pie spice
It’s that time a year again. We all know that Autumn is better known as the Pumpkin Spice season. But with pumpkin spice everywhere and in everything, you might get tired of having it the same way every time. Or you may love pumpkin spice and want to try it in different dishes. Because pumpkin spice is a blend of spices, it can be used in both savory and sweet dishes and drinks. Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg all make up pumpkin pie spice.
Pumpkin spice and coffee go hand in hand. If you like your coffee without all the extra foam and work. You can sprinkle some pumpkin spice in with your coffee grounds. Or you could make a pumpkin spice latte.
It may seem strange, but pumpkin spice can be used in many savory dishes, like pasta. Many pasta dishes could be made better by adding or using pumpkin. You can make pumpkin ravioli or sprinkle a little pumpkin spice over pasta with brown butter or pasta with butternut squash and sage.
3. Roasted Vegetables
Certain roasted vegetables go great with pumpkin pie spice. Butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc. Sprinkle the seasoning on with the rest of the seasoning and then roast. The spice will bring out the sweetness in the vegetables.
4. Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin pancakes are the perfect Sunday morning breakfast and incredibly simple to make. Just take some pumpkin spice into your batter. If you want some extra pumpkin flavor, you can make a pumpkin maple sauce. To make the sauce, you take pumpkin puree, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and unsalted butter and combine in a saucepan. Bring it to a low simmer and let the sauce thicken. Take it off the heat and serve.
5. Butternut Squash Soup
This soup is a staple for the autumn. Roasted butternut squash is pureed with cream, roasted carrots, onions, butter, and spices. The spices include pumpkin spice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Butternut Squash goes hand in hand with pumpkin. So, whenever you think about making butternut squash, think of pumpkin spice.
If you love pumpkin spice like we do, you can order some from us here.
Cooking with spices is something that most people do on a daily basis, but cooking with holiday spices usually happens only a few times a year. Which spices are reserved for this special time?
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Chai Spice
- Gingerbread spice
These are just some examples of what spices can be used around the holidays.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pumpkin Pie Spice can be used for many different things. It can be used for the obvious pumpkin pie, can be added to coffee, used in a pancake batter, used to make muffins, and much more. It is a blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg which makes it give you that warm and cozy feeling when you smell it.
Chai is a spice is a combination of ginger, cardamon, cinnamon, black pepper, and anise to create the perfect blend of warm spices. It can be used to make hot drinks and baking. Baking with holiday spice blends such as this one will make you feel warm all Winter long.
Gingerbread is one of the most famous beloved holiday cookies. It is a combination of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. This warm and lovely mixture creates the flavor of the holidays. Use gingerbread spice in cookies, breads, and cakes. Cooking with spices, especially gingerbread, is a sure-fire way to make you feel in the mood for the holidays.
Baking with holiday spice blends is so much more than just cooking with spices. It turns your holiday cooking into warm memories for years to come. That is why baking with your favorite herbs and spices is a special occasion that is reserved for the holidays. Need some holiday recipes? Find some here!
Read more about herbs and spices here!
Here is a list of herbs and spices to bring the spirit of the holidays to your home. These are simply the must-have spices for the holidays. You can do a quick google search of holiday spices online to find the best place to buy spices online.
Some more common ingredients include:
It can be used to make a deliciously cozy fall drink and is a key ingredient in the pinnacle of all holiday meals, Pie. You can find a pre-made spice mix in the grocery store, but they are often $5 for a few teaspoons. There is no need to purchase those overpriced plastic containers of pre-mixed herbs and spices from the store. Do a quick search for holiday spices online to find the best place to buy spices online. You won’t even have to leave your house!
You can make your own with just a few ingredients:
These are just a few of the must-have spices for the holidays. If you can’t find any of these herbs and spices in your local store, check out the best place to buy spices online.