My Inspirations ♥ · Tips & Tricks

This MN girl is a firm believer in freezing your nuts.

I do…. I buy them in bulk and in the freezer they go. Haven’t you ever had that bad experience… you grab some incredible looking desert and BAM- the taste of bad nuts. I don’t care where you live, they will go RANCID.   Don’t leave them lying around for “someday” when you finally get to that recipe you were just DYING to make. No- just pop them in the freezer and they will be as good as the day you brought them home. Who doesn’t like fresh nuts? Always ready for cookies, cakes, candies & that handful you just have to have with your ice cream. In addition to freezing my nuts, I also freeze all of my spices (especially my poppy seeds). With the exceptions of my Vietnamese cinnamon & fancy garlic salt- they stay out for daily use.

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Being the baby of the family I spent a lot of time going through my Mom’s kitchen cupboards when I was really little. I was intrigued with her spices. One in particular, it was in a yellow tin- mustard powder with a sticker on the bottom for 5 cents. I just remember at a young age saying to myself- wow, that’s cheap…. I never forgot that tin of mustard. Every time I reach for my bottle of mustard powder I think of that. A couple weeks ago my Mom called me. I asked her if she needed any spices from my favorite spice shop. She said no, she didn’t need anything and wanted me to know that she still had this yellow tin of mustard from a long time ago. NOOO!!!!! That cannot even be possible, right when I was about to ask, she said that it had a sticker on the bottom for 5 cents. BIG SIGH. Maybe now you might understand my big fuss about all my spices & nuts being at their peak of freshness. I love my Mother dearly, I do- but I will be buying her some fresh new ingredients. Now, I would like to share with you this sweet spice shop that I have been ordering from for years- it’s called “The Spice House” located in Chicago. If you look them up online make sure you write the “The” or else you’ll be at another site I’m pretty sure your own Mother wouldn’t approve of lol! Once you order you will receive emails on great deals like free shipping and awesome sales.  I absolutely love them & never once have been disappointed. Here are my top five:

1)     Fancy garlic salt

2)     Vietnamese “Saigon”Cinnamon

3)     Cumin

4)     Buttermilk dressing base

5)     Granulated garlic

Tyler likes Gateway to the North Maple Garlic Seasoning- he uses this on his “messy” eggs & also when he’s cooking salmon- he gets a great caramelization on his fish. Also, for his burgers & steaks he prefers Back-Of-The-Yards Garlic Pepper. This is a great all around savory spice for chicken & roasts as well.

I love the Buttermilk dressing base- there are many ways to configure this recipe. To make a great veggie dip : I make my own buttermilk by using a scant ¾ cup skim milk with a splash of vinegar- let it set for a few minutes. I measure into a bowl ½ cup lite sour cream and ½ cup regular sour cream… (A cup of lite sour cream would be an even better version for less fat & calories).  Add in your buttermilk along with a good Tablespoon of the buttermilk dressing base & mix. It can be used right away for dipping veggies or make in advance for better flavor. By adding another ¼ cup more buttermilk (1 cup total) you would have the consistency for a great salad dressing.

I use a lot of spices- if you can build your stash of basics and keep them frozen you’ll be in great shape. You will see some basic ones in most of my recipes- I make pretty good use of the same ones with the exception of a few not so used ones (like in my thanksgiving brined turkey recipe) but not only is it worth it, it lets you experience new spices. I label the tops of my jars for an easier time to find them. I buy a regular sized jar from the spice house to start then I buy the refills to fill them back up as I use them. If you find your really going through a particular spice -invest in a larger bottle.

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In my own kitchen, my kids dorm rooms at college or their own kitchens I use the Starbucks bottles as shakers.

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I wash them up really good (especially the inside of the lid) then pop holes in the cap using a hammer & new nail. You’ll want smaller holes for some & larger holes for others depending on how you like your salt, pepper, back of the yards, etc. to come out. Three things I found out , 1)season salt can fade 2) cinnamon sugar needs a ribbon tied around the neck – not to be confused for the faded season salt lol and 3)make sure the lids are screwed on tight…….. They are great gifts to give! Drink the frappuccino’s up, wash, dry and fill them up. Put them back in the cardboard 4-pack & stand back & smile- that’s an awesome thing ❤ I also use the extra-large bottle from starbucks for my really used spices that I have by my stove.

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One more thing, I make my own house blend- 1 cup iodized sea salt, ¼ cup pepper & a ¼ cup granulated garlic. I LOVE the shaker at Williams Sonoma & have given this as a gift in a cellophane bag (no spilling the house-blend!!) with an awesome tag & bow. Make sure you include the recipe on the back of the tag ❤ 

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I hope this inspires you ❤ Love, t

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