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Friday, 30 December 2011

Resolutions to Make, Keep & Not Break!

Happy New Year!

Most new year resolutions either require you to stop doing or do more of something so how can we stop breaking our resolutions?

2012 will be the first year that I have made a concerted effort to make resolutions that I won't just drop before I have even kept to them! I recently read a tweet from BootPrintMarketing which inspired me to make this exercise of new year resolutions much more realistic and driven by what is important for me to do than what I should or ought to do.

So, I have split out my resolutions in five generic categories:

Home & Leisure

Within each of these, I have resolved on a few generic goals and the idea is that each week, I will endeavour to do something towards achieving these goals in each of the five areas of my life. Entwined with this will be the practice of gratitude and mindfulness (being in the present).

The common theme for my resolutions across all areas is "connections" whether it is making them, finding them, keeping them, enhancing them or just being aware of them.

Here is a glimpse into my resolutions for Work to help Spice Sanctuary thrive this coming year.

1. Connect with people

Our customers are so important to us and one thing I learned from my time at the market was people getting to know the face behind Spice Sanctuary made a huge difference. To transform my former much more introverted self to someone people can connect with has been a huge personal growth for me and having lovely customers has helped that a lot! With the launch of our online store, I hope to be able to connect with many more people and I also plan to increase our presence at local events, community classes and markets and to build more B2B relationships.

2. Connect with my calling

As it is becoming increasingly clear to me, my calling is to encourage, educate and spread the word about the power of spices! This is a pretty tall ask but this will continue to stretch my imagination and skills. Other than through my cooking classes, I am finding this blog and social media is a really good medium to spread the word! So, look out for more spice related posts and if you like them, please share them!

3. Connect with great causes

There is an overall branding I am intent on creating for Spice Sanctuary and that includes supporting environmental and charitable causes. On the former, I have resolved to investigate and if possible, implement some carbon offsetting strategy this coming year. On the latter, locally, I am on the board for Healthy Canmore and beyond that, we are excited to be working on launching our very own fundraiser. This fundraiser is going to be a great way to get people to include more spices in their diet and at the same time help children in need somewhere in the world. A child's life is so very innocent and very precious and as the future of this world, something that Spice Sanctuary wishes to support more. More details to come on this soon!

Now I've put it out there, I have to keep to my resolutions! 

Whatever you resolve for 2012, I wish you a spice-filled one!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

10 Ways To Get More Out Of Your Spices

1.    Don’t skimp!
Do you have something on your grocery list that you won’t compromise on? Add spices to that list! Always check the labels for salt or other additives, starch, irradiation etc. Try not to compromise on quality, taste and health benefits.
2.    Seasonal check!
Try to check over your spice rack every season. This will be a reminder of what you need to use more of before you buy more and try adding a new spice to the rack each time for some added adventure!
3.    Rule of Thumb on storage
Seeds and whole spices will retain their volatile oils for around 1-2 years, Ground spices will do the same for around 6 months. So, unless you use spices like I do, buy whole and grind as and when you need to.
4.    Infuse or Flavour?
Seed spices are best used for infusion in oil and ground spices to impart much more of the spice flavour. Wherever possible, use oils that have a high smoke point to avoid the release of free radicals and to keep the antioxidant properties of the spices intact as much as possible.
5.    Roast ‘n’ Grind
Remember to dry roast any seed spices before using or grinding. This will give the flavour a little boost if they have been sitting for a while.  When grinding up spices, it is preferable to use a mortar and pestle over a spice grinder due to the heat generation.
6.    Pairing is key
Like wine, spices are best enjoyed when paired correctly with other ingredients. Indulge in a cooking class to learn more or draw inspiration from cookbooks or television programmes.
7.    A new friend for Pepper
Anytime a recipe calls for salt and pepper to season, try adding to or substituting the salt with a little turmeric! It is much better for you and when combined with pepper, it has even stronger antioxidant properties!
8.    Another friend for Pepper
Next time you top up your peppercorn mill, try adding some coriander seeds. Coriander is a balancing spice to all other spices and oh so good for you!
9.    Fruit & Veg time
Here’s an easy way to get everyone at home eating more spices. Try adding at least one spice to each serving of fruit and vegetables a day. Cinnamon with banana or mustard seeds with steamed greens?
10. Just a little Garlic
Always keep a little garlic powder in your spice cupboard. Surprisingly, powdered garlic has been known to be more therapeutic than fresh. So when you’re out of fresh, there’ll be no excuse not to have your daily dose of garlic that is so good for your heart!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Spreading the Word

Welcome to Spice Sanctuary's first post on its new blog! As the title says, I am a lawyer (from London, UK) turned entrepreneur (based in Canmore a.k.a. Majestic Canadian Rockies) and my new calling in life is to raise awareness about the health benefits of spices and encourage people to use them more often for a healthier and tastier life!

So, what can you expect from this blog?  Anything from spice tips, event postings, celebrations of milestones in this business journey to recipes and glimpses into what inspires this spice queen's passion for food. It's my aim to keep this blog as informative and fun as possible!

I hope you enjoy and look forward to receiving any comments or reviews!