Valentine’s Day Recipe: Spice Up the Sweet Day with Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

February 4th, 2016

This Valentine’s Day, why not surprise your sweet with something sweet? Breakfast in bed is a simple gesture that can say so much more than tired roses or a cheap box of chocolates. Putting the time and effort into baking something for your Valentine is sure to make them yours for another year.

Since we like to spice things up here at Spice Racks Blog, we couldn’t think anything better than some gooey cinnamon rolls to woo your special someones taste buds. These spicey-sweet confections are perfect for him, her or the whole family.

Cinnamon Rolls
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake rolls for 20 minutes

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup + 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (room temp)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 eggs (whisked)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 7 1/2 cup all purpose flour


  • 12 tbs softened unsalted butter
  • 2 cup + 2 tbs packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tbs cinnamon
  • 4 tbs cornstarch

Directions: Heat water and cream in the microwave then add yeast and sugar; allow to sit for about ten minutes. Warm buttermilk in a separate bowl and then add to the yeast mixture. In another bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, oil, butter and eggs. Combine the two mixtures in a counter-top mixer and mix with a dough hook. Add flour gradually and allow mixture to combine for three minutes. Remove bowl from mixer, cover with a towel and allow to rise for two hours.

Roll dough out in an even rectangle on counter top. Spread softened butter over the dough. Combine remaining filling ingredients and spread evenly over buttered dough. Roll dough into a log and slice into desired thickness. Take rolls, place them on a greased cookie sheet and bake. Rolls done when tops brown. Remove rolls from over and allow to cool.

Cinnamon rolls can be frosted as desired. I prefer a simple icing of butter, powdered sugar and milk (maybe a little vanilla extract, too). But some opt for cream cheese frosting.

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New Year resolutions: exploring spices for weight loss

January 7th, 2016

Have you made your resolutions? Let me guess… hit the gym, diet and maybe drink less? Everyone always narrows in on weight loss when the new year comes. This year I have the same plan, only my resolution involves eating tastier meals, no blander ones.

There are many spices and herbs that have been celebrated for their weight loss properties. Many common spices promote a faster metabolism, curb appetite and burn fat. Using more spices in your diet instead of oils, sugar, salt or fat can cut out empty calories while maintaining flavor. Flavor is important because it will keep you interested in eating better and keep you on track with your diet.

Try these spices to keep your healthy meals satisfying:

  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Black Pepper
  • Coriander

Other diet necessities

There are other simple steps you can take to benefit your diet without compromising flavor or satisfaction. A kitchen scale will help you portion your meals and help control calorie intake. And of course there’s always the trusty bathroom scale; If you’re exercising correctly, the weight in muscle you gain could throw off the number on the scale, but weighing yourself daily could help you lose weight. Always knowing where you are in regards to your goal weight will keep you motivated to make the right decisions come meal time.


The perfect Christmas roast

December 16th, 2015

have five different family gatherings to hit for Christmas this year — and three of them are serving prime rib. It’s a tradition in my family, to say the least, so I’ve become quite familiar with the in’s and out’s of the meal.

If you’re planning to tackle the classic Christmas roast this year, there are a couple gadgets you’re going to need in your arsenal.

  1. Carving Board: You need something large enough to accommodate the entire roast, plus something that will manage all the juices.
  2. Roasting Pan with Rack: This one is self-explanatory.
  3. Meat Thermometer: Roasting is all about low and slow. Use a thermometer so you know when you’ve reached the perfect internal temperature.
  4. Great Tongs: Slicing prime rib can be a challenge for new cooks and, yes, a proper knife is a must — but so are tongs.
  5. Pepper Mill: The roast is all about the great rub and seasoning. Fresh cracked pepper really makes the difference here.

If you’re looking for that perfect fresh herb rub for your prime rib, here it is. These few, simple steps will wow your entire family.

Herb Rub for Prime Rib

  • 1 CUP olive oil
  • 1/4 CUP each fresh rosemary, thyme and sage
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper (this one depends on personal taste)
  • About five cloves of garlic (this one too)

 Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until combined. It will kind of be a paste, but you want to hold on some large chunks of the herbs. Rub the mixture over the entire surface of your roast. 

In a 400 degree oven, roast for 20 minutes and then lower the temperate to 325 degrees. Using a meat thermometer, finish the roast until the internal temperature reaches about 130 degrees, depending on personal preference. This should take a couple of hours. Allow the roast to rest properly, at least ten minutes, and slice into 1/2 inch thick pieces. 

Homemade gifts like potpourri spice up holiday giving

December 2nd, 2015

It’s been proven that smells can alter our behavior,  and I for sure feel the change every winter when shop displays start to have that wonderful “Christmas smell.” The scent awakens this joyous quality that only Christmastime can bring upon. This year, I’ve decided to bring that wonderful smell home with me — but without the chemical ridden sprays and candles.

This year has me strapped for cash and I’ve decided to focus on giving homemade gifts. Potpourri is such an easy process and it adds a wonderful decor element to any home. Wrapped in a clear cellophane bag with a big bow and thoughtful card, potpourri makes a wonderful gift for parents, in-laws, co-workers and so many more.

There’s no big secret to potpourri. Simply grab some of your favorite full spices and mix. Plus, if you’re really looking to fill your home with the warmth of the holidays, boil your mix on the stove top over low heat to really release their inner aroma.

Great spices for potpourri include: Cinnamon stick, clove, star anise, rosemary and more. Get creative and add a sprig from your Christmas tree or pine cones. Dried oranges or cranberries make a great addition as well.

Portpourri tips:

  • To dry oranges, cut them in slices about 1/4 inch thick and spread them out on a baking sheet. Bake them at 275 for at least three hours or until they dry out.
  • Add a couple drops of essential oil to your potpourri mix to really kick up the flavor.
  • Keep potpourri in a covered dish if you have pets or little ones at home.
  • Nice glass jars are a great way to give potpourri as a gift.

This year I’ll be using these Snack Servers to pack up my potpourri for gifts. Some pretty ribbon around the neck will make a great accent and the open top allows the scent to linger.


Create your own turkey seasoning rub

November 18th, 2015

Thanksgiving is here, folks. And the star of the show needs to wow your crowd. Turkey is main dish at most Thanksgiving tables and everyone you ask is sure to have a different preferred method of cooking. 

Of course, here at Spice Racks Blog we’re in favor of a good turkey seasoning rub. This method will you give you a golden, crunchy skin with tender meat and real flavorful gravy.

This mix can be done in a small food processor, but if you want to release more flavor, use a mortar and pestle.

Zesty Turkey Rub

  • Lemon zest
  • Flat leaf parsley
  • Chives
  • Oregano
  • Salt, pepper (to taste)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Optional: Add some depth with onion powder, paprika or both
  • Directions: Add equal parts zest, parsley, chives an oregano plus a pinch of salt and pepper. Peel and add garlic cloves. Combine and add olive oil until the consistency is that of a thick, spreadable paste. Rub the paste all over the turkey before baking. For extra flavor, rub some under the skin.

If you end with some left over, keep it in an airtight container. If you run short on gravy you can use it and some bouillon to stretch it out. Plus, it will add flavor to veggies and leftovers.