You’d better watch out! Six ingredients you don’t want to be without this Christmas

AllSpice_gift_bagsYou’d better not cry. You’d better not pout. I’m telling you why: Because crying and pouting are not going to help you, as we head in to this last week before Christmas. Never mind the whole scary paranoid “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good.”*

The holiday season is a fun-but-hectic time. Be ready. Heading into the home stretch of baking, cooking, wrapping, visiting and entertaining, these are six ingredients you’ll want to have on hand.  They’ll come in handy throughout the coming days.

Six ingredients you don’t want to be without this Christmas: 
cinnamon_sticksOne – Cinnamon. I wanna live with a cinnamon (girl).  From dense carrot cake and main dishes, to hot drinks like chai tea and spiced cider, who knew that tree bark could be so versatile? Here are lots of recipes using cinnamon. (We carry cinnamon sticks and spice from Saigon, Sri Lanka and Indonesia).

Two – Peppermint. It’s not just for candy canes: you can use peppermint extract in all kinds of holiday cooking: ice cream, candy, cookies, cakes, baked goods. Peppermint is especially bracing when paired with chocolate [the darker, the better!]. Our peppermint extract is strong, so use just a little to flavor a whole batch of frosting or candy. Check out our peppermint recipes here.

Three – Mulling Spices It is almost (almost!) worth the weather getting cold and gray every winter, knowing that we have warm spiced drinks to look forward to again. Our Mulling Spice Blend jazzes up apple cider, tea, or wine for a festive holiday drink — and makes your house smell delicious.

Tahitian_Vanilla_ExtractFour – “Plain” vanilla? (Ain’t no such thing.) Delicious with complementary flavors like chocolate and coffee, our vanilla beans, paste and extracts (and yummy vanilla sugar) have a creamy, sweet, velvety flavor that is perfectly suited for a range of foods from baked goods and candies to ice creams, and even salad dressings and barbeque sauces.

Five – A “holiday” balsamic vinegar: we love Cinnamon Pear Balsamic, Fig Balsamic, and Cranberry Pear Balsamic I can’t believe I ate the whole thing. At some point after you’ve run the holiday gantlet of the cookie exchange, your workplace potluck, your kids’ school holiday party, and the big family dinner, you’re going to want to eat something more salad-like. Keep those leafy greens appropriately seasonal by dressing them with the flavors of winter holidays: figs, cinnamon, cranberries, pears.

Turn plain popcorn into a gourmet treat.
Turn plain popcorn into a gourmet treat.

Six – Gourmet popcorn seasonings. It doesn’t show signs of stopping, and I brought some corn for popping. Let it snow!  Have supplies on hand to make an easy treat when visitors drop in (or when you need a pick-me-up after hours of present-wrapping).  Popcorn is easy to make (especially if you have a microwave or air-popper), and you can jazz it up with a sprinkle of one of our popcorn-friendly seasoning blends: Tangy Herb and Dill, Sweet Caramel, Sassy Salt and Vinegar, or CheddarHead Seasoning Blend.  Available individually or together in the Pop![corn] Gift Box.

*(You should, in fact, be good for goodness’ sake!)