Little Review: RawSpiceBar

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Since I love to cook, I have always loved those little spice shops where you can peruse the aisles and see hundreds of different spices, some familiar and some new and interesting. I can spend awhile in there, sampling, smelling, and thinking about what I am going to cook with them. During this cold weather, it is hard to drag yourself out to go to a spice store, no matter how much I love it. RawSpiceBar was the answer to that problem.

 

Raw Spice Bar
Photo source: rawspicebar.com

RawSpiceBar is essentially a unique spice store that appears in your mailbox once a month! For only $6 each month, spice boxes are put together with three freshly ground flavor kits with a regional theme. Spices are high quality and unique, sourced from a variety of locations from around the world. They are not only perfectly portioned and expertly blended by top chefs, but they are also freshly ground merely days before they arrive in your mailbox. Along with your spice kits, you will also receive kitchen-tested recipes to make for your family. The recipes are created to serve 4-6 and all you need is easy to find, fresh ingredients to add to the spices.

If you are a foodie (or a wannabe foodie!) your monthly package also includes spice stories and culinary history of each new region. You may also receive surprises like toasting tips, bonus spices, discounts and other fun items as well. All of this delivered directly to your door for $6? Sounded too good to be true! I couldn’t wait to try it out for myself.

I received my first package in the mail and tore it open, excited to see what spices I received. I received three packages, and I wanted to rip them open and smell them all right away, but I had to figure out what I was going to be making with them first. My first packet was called “Winter Blend.”  It was a mix of spices like tarragon, sage and thyme, and it came with a recipe for potato gratin.  That looked delicious, but I wanted to give it my own spin. Since the weather was cold and blustery, I decided a flavorful soup was on the menu. I gathered my fresh ingredients, added the spices, and enjoyed the aroma in my house while my soup simmered on the stove. The taste? Unbelievably delicious! The spices were so perfectly put together, it seriously made the soup!

© H. Williams | Little Lake County | 2016
© H. Williams | Little Lake County | 2016

The second spice packet that I received was a gingerbread mix. I was a little wary of that one since I don’t always love gingerbread. The recipe that came with it was for gingerbread cookies. The holidays had come and gone, so I wasn’t really in the mood for gingerbread cookies, so I decided to take a different route with that one too. I made a warm buttermilk gingerbread loaf with hot cocoa glaze. The verdict? Another win! The gingerbread mix wasn’t overly spicy and the ginger flavor peppered with cinnamon and cloves was absolutely delicious. The bread was tender and flavorful, and it was so easy to have the spices already measured and portioned for me!

The final spice packet was the one that I was the most apprehensive about. The name on the packet was Gravlax. I had never heard of this blend before, but was willing to give it a try, especially since it included caraway seed, one of my favorites!  The recipe included was more of an appetizer dish, but I needed a side dish for my chicken dinner tonight. I tossed the spices with some olive oil and potato wedges. I roasted them and was able to serve a unique side dish to my family that evening.

All of the spices were really tasty and super easy to just add to a recipe! They were so evenly portioned, meaning I didn’t feel like any of them were too heavy on one particular spice.  I would love to receive this every month and be inspired to try the new recipes that they supply, or try out the spices in some of my favorite recipes.

Signing up is super easy. Just head over to their website and click on the red “subscribe” button. It will take you to the option menu. You can choose a monthly billing of $6, or pay for 6 months upfront. Does a year of spices interest you? Sign up for one year of Raw Spice Bar and receive one month free! Fill in your information, and your spices will be on their way. Each month, they have a different regional theme. For example, I received the December Norwegian Spice Box, but in July, you will receive the Memphis Spice Box. Ribs anyone?

I was really impressed with the quality and flavor of the spices, and the price and fun of the monthly delivered spices just can’t be beat!  This is definitely a fun way to explore new tastes and flavors, whether you are an experienced cook, or someone who is just looking to expand the variety of dishes that they cook for their family.

If you order your spice box, try my Winter Chicken Soup recipe below using the Raw Spice Bar’s Winter Herbs Spice Kit. It is sure to warm you up on these cold February Days! Pair it with my Buttermilk Gingerbread using the Raw Spice Bar’s Gingerbread Spice Kit. Lunch is served!

Winter Chicken Soup

4 tbsp butter
1 lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, cubed
1 sweet onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 packet RawSpiceBar Winter Herbs Blend
1  tsp salt
2 tbsp flour
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 1/2 cups frozen chopped kale

In a large saucepan, heat butter. Add onion, garlic and chicken. Stir until onion and garlic are translucent and chicken starts to brown. Add carrots and stir. Cook for two minutes. Sprinkle herbs and salt over vegetables. Toss to combine. Add flour and stir to coat. Cook for two minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add orzo and cook two minutes less than directed on the pasta box. Add kale when pasta is done cooking and heat. Serve hot.

© H. Williams | Little Lake County | 2016
© H. Williams | Little Lake County | 2016

Buttermilk Gingerbread with Hot Chocolate Glaze

1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
1 /2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 packet RawSpiceBar Gingerbread Spice Kit
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Hot Chocolate Glaze:

1/2 cup whole milk
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a standard-size loaf pan. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the maple syrup and applesauce and continue beating. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until smooth and creamy. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and gingerbread spices. Add to butter mixture and beat until just combined. In a small measuring cup, whisk buttermilk and vanilla extract. With beaters on low, add in buttermilk mixture. Pour batter into loaf pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until bread is baked through. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. While bread is cooling, heat milk and 2 tbsp sugar on the stove on low heat. When milk is just starting to boil, add 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and whisk until smooth and creamy. Add in cream, cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Whisk again until smooth and spoon over cooled bread.

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Do you enjoy cooking with spices? Let us know your favorite spice combination  in the comments below.

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About Heather 87 Articles
Heather is a busy mom of three who loves exploring Lake County with her kids. When she, her husband and kids are not embarking on new adventures, you will most likely find her cooking and posting some great family friendly recipes at Girl and Her Kitchen.

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