Cooking with Spices from RawSpiceBar and a Giveaway!

Cooking with Spices from RawSpiceBar and a Giveaway!

RawSpiceBar spice subscription service featured on A Well Crafted Party

I love cooking. You can take one look at my “A Well Crafted Pantry” section of this blog for proof of that. However, one thing you won’t find in many of my recipes is a variety of spices. I’m sort of simple when it comes to using spices in my cooking. I like using fresh and dried herbs in cooking, but even that I typically limit to two or three different ingredients. Because of that I’ve stayed away from cooking some of my favorite styles of foods. Part of the hesitation is not knowing if I’ll like a certain spice or spice combination. The other is whether I’m going to use it very often. Then of course, there is the cost! Buying ten different spices to create one dish is not easy to do when living on a budget. Cooking with spices always seemed intimidating and expensive.

RawSpiceBar spice subscription service featured on A Well Crafted Party

Enter my new favorite subscription service. I love subscription services. I’m a member of several for my entertainment, to my blog work to simple pleasures we want to enjoy at home such as food or beverages. I was thrilled when asked to try out a new spice-centric subscription service.

The RawSpiceBar is a subscription service perfect for people like me who want to try different spices and spice combinations, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg trying them out.

For $6/month you get a small batch of spices delivered to your door with a short story about the spices and the region that they come from along with some recipes. The past three month spice batches included:

How much fun is that? I have never cooked ANYTHING with any of these spices. It is a whole new world of cooking at my finger tips.

RawSpiceBar spice subscription service featured on A Well Crafted Party

I originally wanted to try creating my own recipe with the spices. But, since I had never worked with ANY of these spices before, I decided to try out one of the recipes that were provided.

I made the Punjabi Chicken Tikka Marsala using the Punjabi Garam Masala spice mix and the Tandoori Spices. One of the directions on the recipe was to bring the spices back to life by heating them in a dry saucepan on the stovetop. I cannot describe the amazing smells that were in my kitchen. I want to do this with ALL my spices now!

Punjabi Chicken Tikka Marsala recipe from RawSpiceBar featured on A Well Crafted Party.

Punjabi Chicken Tikka Marsala recipe from RawSpiceBar featured on A Well Crafted Party.I made this meal for myself, my husband and my toddler. All three of us ate as much as we could and there was enough for at least 4 more grown adults! I love that the recipes create enough for a crowd. Perfect for when I want to try out a fun new dish with friends.

I do have to say that the recipe card was missing a few bits of important information while cooking. But, the online recipe fixed any of my questions. So, if you read through the card and have questions, jump on the RawSpiceBar website and use the online version of the recipe instead.

Want to give it a shot? Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win one of two 3-month subscriptions to RawSpiceBar! Or, hop on over to RawSpiceBar now to sign up for just $6 a month!

Please read giveaway guidelines. Giveaway begins today, March 26 and ends 12AM PST April 6. Giveaway open to readers in US & Canada only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to RawSpiceBar for providing me with a sample subscription to try the RawSpiceBar services and share with readers as well as the giveaway subscriptions. All opinions and images are my own. 

Food in Celebration

Food in Celebration

Tabasco Shaved Ice Topped Oysters // A Well Crafted Party images via Mary Boyden View More: http://maryboyden.pass.us/newyearseveparty

Photo via Mary BoydenTabasco Shaved Ice Oyster Topping 

Just recently I had the opportunity to visit a conference in Portland, Oregon all about food! I learned a lot from the FoodWorx sessions that I was able to catch…more-so, they got me thinking a lot! I’ve got copious notes and many great sources to connect with to bring some more food-centric posts to this blog. However, one of these talks has been resonating under the surface for a while now and I feel that I need to share my thoughts… One short talk that has stayed with me was from Ian Rubin of Whole Self Wellness titled “Rewriting Your Food Story.”

What the heck is a food story? Well, in very simplified terms, it is how life and circumstances has shaped your relationship with food. I’ve known for several years now that my food story (though not entirely unique) has made me look at food different then a lot of my friends. While someday I may get into my food story here on the blog, that isn’t what this post is about. Ian’s talk about rewriting a food story made me remember something a co-worker once lamented about…

“Why do people always want to get together for dinner or drinks? Why can’t people get together for something other than eating!?”

Food in celebration is a part of many different culture’s “food stories.” There are Sunday dinners at grandma’s house, big beautiful birthday cakes, holiday meals that people spend months prepping for… the list goes on and on. Food is a big part of celebration!

Food in Celebration - A Well Crafted Party

Photo from my 31st birthday shindig 

I actually LOVE this part of my food story. I love how food brings us together. A large portion of this celebration-centric blog is FOOD. I enjoy brining foods to work for people to share and enjoy. I enjoy planning party menus. I enjoy random dinner parties that I throw just because.

However, with a philosophy that everyday is worth celebrating, I have started to re-think this part of my food story a bit.

I’ve started to ask myself questions regarding the role of food in a celebration. Does all celebratory food need to be healthful and consider my guests nutritional intake? No! Not in my book, I’m definitely going with a decadent cake if it fits the occasion. Perhaps it can add to the wellness of the soul rather than the body when eaten as an occasional treat. Though, a little consideration of the nutrition of guests is never a bad thing.

Over the past couple of years I’ve been trying to be more thoughtful in my selection of foods for celebrations. While many of my parties are still planned with food as a central part of the celebration, I try to consider the food stories of those in attendance. When brining food to work I no longer grab delicious donuts or homemade cupcakes. Instead I opt to bring more healthful and substantial offerings. (I’ll still eat the donuts if YOU bring them to me though!)

Other changes I’ve made in food in celebration is that I really look for quality over quantity as much as possible now days. I will opt to have fewer celebrations, or sometimes fewer guests, in order to be able to purchase higher quality ingredients or meals.

What traditions do you have with food in celebration? What changes have you made as you’ve grown older in this area?

How does Food in Celebration fit into YOUR food story? Comment below.

 

 

Saturday Spirits: Marionberry Champagne Cocktail

Saturday Spirits: Marionberry Champagne Cocktail

I had never even heard of a marionberry until I moved to Portland. Now, these native to Oregon berries are just one of the many reasons I’m in love with this place. One of the other reasons I love Portland is that we like our beverages here! Mixing the two just seemed natural.

Marionberry Champagne Cocktail from A Well Crafted Party

 

When then fine people from “Eat your Oregon Berries!” contact me and asked me if I’d like to develop a recipe with berries grown right here in the area I knew immediately that I wanted to make a cocktail. One bag of the Columbia Fruit Marionberry Blackberries was way too much for just one recipe… so, I made a couple and will be sharing them over the next few weeks!

 Marionberry Cocktail Syrup:

To make this cocktail you’ll first need to make a syrup with the berries. You can choose to strain the seeds from the syrup or you can choose to leave them in like I did. This recipe will make approximately 8 oz of syrup.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen marionberries
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice of two lemons (approximately 3 oz)
  • 1 cup of refined sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

Directions:

  1. Combine the water and frozen marionberries in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Cover with a lid and let simmer down. Stir occasionally. The berries will break down and the juice will be watery and red.
  2. Once the berries are broken down, mix in the cup of sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved completely.
  3. Pour into a container, set in fridge and let cool.
  4. After cool mix in the lemon juice. The syrup should be slightly thickened, but not quite the consistency of a maple syrup.
  5. Make a cocktail with the syrup or pour over ice and top with soda water for a refreshing marionberry soda!

Marionberry Champagne Cocktail from A Well Crafted Party

 

Marionberry Champagne Cocktail from A Well Crafted Party

 Marionberry Champagne Cocktail Syrup:

I love champagne cocktails for all kinds of occasions. A little sugar, a little citrus, and a lot of champagne and I am a happy camper. A traditional champagne cocktail will have a sugar cube and some bitters. This cocktail is a variation on that using the syrup in place of the sugar and the lemon in place of the bitters.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 oz marionberry cocktail syrup
  • 4 oz sparkling wine
  • garnish with marionberry and a slice of lemon

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a champagne glass, garnish and enjoy!

Marionberry Champagne Cocktail from A Well Crafted Party

Ingredients for this post were paid for by the great people at Oregon Berries with a gift card to our local New Season’s Market. I found the Columbia Fruit Marionberry in their freezer section. Thank you for supporting the companies that help me bring fresh and tasty new content to the blog! 

 

 

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