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Spotlight On Spices! Issue January 2015 - Soup's Still On!
January 18, 2015

Happy New Year! I’m a couple of weeks late however I think you’ll agree it’s still early enough to greet you and others in this manner.

Thanksgiving through the first week in January was a bustling time of cooking and baking in many households including mine. It’s really nice now to settle back and enjoy simple comfort foods like hearty soups served with chunks of crusty artisan breads. January is National Soup Month and I’ve been making my share of them.

Every Monday, sometimes Sunday nights, I make five quarts of soup to enjoy throughout the week. My family will eat soup any time of the day, but especially for dinner. Nothing beats traveling home on a frigid winter day after work or school, and being greeted by the aroma of a soup pot filled with herbs, onions, garlic and pepper. Each time I sip the broth I’m reminded of all of the healing properties those ingredients impart. To this week’s soup blend of grains, beans, rice and smoked turkey, I added Coriander, Ginger, and Ajwain. In every soup mix I include Bay Leaf, Bouquet Garni (pot herbs), Peppercorns, Garlic, Onions, and a little Salt. Make January a great soup month for your family!

THE SPICE OF LIFE - Soup Herbs and Spices

In November's newsletter we covered Bouquet Garni which is a great blend for soups and stews. Also, I mentioned that I’ll be writing about other classic French flavors and spice blends. We'll get back to that subject matter starting with the next newsletter.

These herbs and spices are idea for soups and stews:

Basil, Bay Leaf-Laurel Leaf, Bouquet Garni, Cayenne, Celery Seed, Chili Powder, Chives, Coriander, Cumin, Curry Powder, Fennel, Fenugreek, Fines Herbes, Ginger, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Oregano, Paprika, Parsley, Saffron, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric

A note from the holidays

With the holidays just a couple of weeks behind us, I thought I would share some photos of my adventures in making Vanilla Extract for my friend Martha who is a master baker. Cookies are her holiday specialties. She bakes dozens of them. Something I always look forward to at Christmas is receiving a platter of ten or more varieties of cookies from Martha.

The first two Vanilla extract photos are from Day 1, and the third was taken just one week later. I brewed the extract for six months before Martha started baking with it. I used vodka. Bourbon, brandy or a light rum can be used too. I know one fellow who makes his extract with cognac. Use 2-3 beans per cup of liquor (I added more beans after the photos were taken).

Also, this week I’ll be adding a new page to the website that will give a pictorial tutorial on making Vanilla sugar which can be used for baking, beverages, cereal, and fresh fruit.


January is the Month for:

National Oatmeal Month

National Slow Cooking Month

National Soup Month

And, some of our favorite food days in the month include:

January 4 National Spaghetti Day

January 19 National Popcorn Day

January 20 National Cheese Lover's Day

January 22 National Blonde Brownie Day

January 23 National Pie Day

January 24 National Peanut Butter Day

January 28 National Blueberry Pancake Day

January 29 National Corn Chip Day

January 30 National Croissant Day


Check here for the latest news on any spice recalls, market withdrawals, and safety alerts:

Food ALERT! Widget


Websites for Spice Retailers:

Atlantic Spice Company -

Durkee® -

Maison Terre -

McCormick® -

Milford Spice Company -

Penzeys Spices -

Savory Spice Shop -

Spice Islands® -

The Spice House -

Spice Accessories Websites:

Bottles, Containers & Jars:

Bottle Store - -

SKS Bottle & Packaging, Inc. -


Online Labels -

Spice Racks:

Tubular Spices -

Spice Rack Source -

Check out our website that's All About Sweet Potatoes


Tell us what you would love to see in our monthly eZine. We want to keep this publication fresh and relevant. We want to put a spotlight on the herbs and spices that are of the most interest to you.

Use our Contact Form to give us constructive feedback or ask questions. Thank you!

Ellen White

Eat Well. Live Well. Cook everyday with spices and herbs!

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