Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Livening Up Your Dishes with Pickling Spice

Out of the blue, a friend mentioned pickling spice to me. I didn't want to admit I never heard of it, but was amazed he used it in his dish. I just automatically assumed, due to its name, that this particular spice was for...well...pickling. What else would it be for I thought? I went along with the flow of the conversation and Googled it later. Sure enough...that's what pickling spice is for!

However, pickling spice can definitely be used for cooking just like my friend did for his recipe. It can include at least mustard seed, bay leaves,  black pepper, cinnamon, allspice, and other spices and seeds. Pickling spice conjures up a delightful flavor that does very well in casseroles, soups, and other dishes. One thing I would do, as suggested by my friend, should you choose to use pickling spice is to grind it up before putting a dash of it here and there in your culinary creations.

If you haven't tried pickling spice in your recipes at home, give it a try today!

What has your pickling spice experience been like?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Our New Lunch Practice at Work

I am one of those who believes variety is the spice of life!  Of course, that would include food!  How boring would it be to eat the same rotation of food year after year?  How can our bodies truly benefit from the various nutrients offered in different food groups?

To make things interesting for us at work this year, two of my colleagues and a staff member decided to "potluck" our lunches once a week. We pick a theme and everyone brings a food item that has to do with the chosen cuisine. This gives us a chance to try new recipes and  to try food items that may be completely new to us.  So far, we have done Filipino, Swedish, Mexican, and Hawaiian!  It's been so fun and has been a great bonding experience for us!  Wish I thought about taking pictures earlier and reporting on each theme we have had so far.

Wish I plated this nicely, but we loved our Swedish meal with Swedish meatballs, braised kale, mashed potatoes & lingonberry jam!
My suggestion to you is try "potlucking" your lunches at work once a week.  If that is too often, try every other week or once a month. Picking a different theme each time and just doing it gives everyone something to look forward to. Part of the joy of life is eating well, so why not venture out in trying new foods with your buddies at work! 

If you have already been having potlucks at work, what has your experience been?