All posts by Raven

10 Herbs Every Cook Should Know!

Dried herbs are an easy and convenient way to add flavor to all of your favorite dishes! Having them on hand allows you to explore all types of cooking on the fly!

Storing and using your Dried Herbs

  • Always store herbs in a cool dry place away from heat or direct sunlight, in order to get the best shelf life from your herbs.
  • If you use jars, be sure they are air tight!
  • Most herbs can be used for up to one year when stored properly before losing flavor and potency.
  • To convert from fresh to dried herbs in any recipe, use 1 tsp of dried for every Tbsp of fresh.
  • Adding your herbs to your oil before adding it your food is a good way to re-hydrate your herbs before using them.
  • Since dried herbs have best flavor when re-hydrated, add them when you start cooking or at least 15-20 minutes before you finish.  They best when added to a recipe during the cooking process rather than sprinkling them on top.

The Herbs

Dill
Dried dill is useful where fresh isn’t available, to give a Scandinavian touch to fish, egg dishes and potatoes (don’t confuse with dill seeds, which are used in pickles).

 

Oregano

Oregano is the one herb that is generally considered better dried than fresh. It’s indispensable in Italian and Mexican cooking, especially with tomatoes and cheese. Its cousin marjoram is often overlooked, but offers a sweeter, less assertive flavour, useful for red meats! It has a bold overpowering flavor, so it’s best paired with strong flavored dishes.

 

Bay Leaves
A couple of bay leaves will give mellow sweetness to braises, stews, stocks and soups. A bay leaf also makes a pleasing change when flavoring custards and rice puddings – infuse in heated milk, or stir in with the rice.

 

Thyme

Dried thyme is a multi-purpose herb to pop into a soup or casserole when a sprig of fresh is not available. Also great with chicken, and a staple of Black Bean Soup!

 

Cinnamon

This is a  a versatile spice that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Some initial studies claim it helps to reduce blood glucose and bad cholesterol, but more research is needed. What isn’t needed is an excuse to add cinnamon to your breakfast oats, hot milk, cakes and pies, or meat marinades.

 

Rubbed Sage

Rubbed Sage is better than powdered. It lacks the zing of fresh, but it complements poultry, pork and butternut squash and stuffings.

 

Rosemary

Rosemary adds a pine fragrance to slow-cooked dishes (particularly Italian-style soups, stews, braises and all lamb dishes). Use sparingly, and chop if you don’t want spiky leaves in your finished dish.

 

 

Black Peppercorns

 This is salt’s twin brother and always adds a kick to a dish. It is probably the most popular spice in the world. Best to buy the whole peppercorns and a grinder, but buying ground is fine too. For a sharper bite, try white pepper.

 

Ginger Powder

 The ginger root is a cornerstone of Asian cooking, imparting a slightly sweet, slightly hot flavor. Goes well will garlic in many Thai, Indian, and Chinese dishes.  Ginger may help stop nausea and may also relieve heartburn and bloating. Try a ginger and honey tea when you’re under the weather.

 

Basil

There’s nothing like basil in a tomato sauce or tomato salad. It’s easy to grow basil as a potted plant on a windowsill. Keeping a supply of dried basil at home, ensures you always have this amazing spice on hand!

 

Gingerbread Dog Cookies!

Do not leave your best friend out of your holiday baking this year! Here are 2 tested and bark-approved recipes for gingerbread dog cookies!  We found these recipes on two wonderful websites that are listed below!

Gingerbread Dog Biscuits
By Randi Dukes, of Dukes & Dutchesses

 

 

 

Ingredients:

3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon Organic Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Organic Ground Cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, ginger, and cinnamon. Mix in the oil, molasses, and water; let sit for 15 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/4-inch thick. Cut out the cookies with bone-shaped cookie cutters. Transfer to the cookie sheet. Bake about 20 minutes until firm. Take out, cool and beware of drool!

Gingerbread Dog Biscuits
By The Comfy Belly

 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups oat flour (or brown rice, or other flour)
1 teaspoon Organic Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Organic Ground Ginger
2 large eggs
1/2 cup cooked, pureed squash (butternut, pumpkin, or other kind)
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine flour, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl and blend well.
  3. Add the eggs, squash, and molasses to the bowl and blend the mixture until it forms a ball of dough. I use a mixer, but you can also use a spatula, food processor, or your hands.
  4. Separate the dough into two balls. Place one ball of dough on a non-stick baking mat, piece of parchment paper or counter-top with some flour sprinkled over it to prevent sticking.
  5. Place a piece of parchment paper or other non-stick paper or mat over the ball of dough. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick.
  6. Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes out and place them on baking or cookie sheets. The biscuits don’t spread so no need to spread them out much across the baking sheets. Repeat until all the dough has been cut into biscuits.
  7. Bake the dough for 15 minutes, and then turn each biscuit over and bake for another 15 minutes.
    Cool and store sealed at room temperature for a month or so, or in the refrigerator for a few months.

Makes about 24 biscuits

Time to Bake!!

Holiday time is the time to discover new tastes – and what better way to explore than with cookies! Here are some of our favorites that we are sure you will love this holiday season!!

For Gingerbread Dog Treats recipes click here!

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

This is a slice-and-bake shortbread-like cookie with a hint of Earl Grey tea and lemon. It is a pretty simple cookie with only a few ingredients. We got this recipe from Janet @ The Taste Space. Try it and tell us what you think!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely ground Organic Earl Grey Tea leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt**
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

DIRECTIONS:

1. Whisk flour, tea, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

2. Put butter, sugar, and zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined.

3. Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper; shape into logs. Roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow the log and force out air. Transfer in parchment to paper towel tubes; freeze until firm, 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 350F. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment.

5. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through,until edges are golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies!


Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies 

These pumpkin spice sugar cookies are filled with pumpkin pie spice. The frosting is filled with spices and pumpkin spice coffee creamer. We found this wonderful recipe at crazyforcrust.com!

FOR THE COOKIES:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon organic pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour

FOR THE FROSTING:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon organic pumpkin pie spice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with silpat liners or parchment paper.

2.  Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat in egg and extract. Mix in organic pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Slowly mix in flour.

3. Scoop 2 tablespoon balls of dough (use a cookie scoop if you have one) onto cookie sheets.

4. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Take them out just as you notice the bottoms start to turn golden (or right before). They’ll finish cooking as they cool. If they get too golden on the bottom before you remove them, they won’t be as pillowy and soft!

5. Cool 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheets. Place on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

6. Make the frosting: Beat butter until creamy with a hand or a stand mixer. Mix in salt. Slowly add in powdered sugar until mixture is crumbly. (It will be very crumbly if using a hand mixer, more smooth if using a stand mixer.) Add vanilla and 1 tablespoon creamer. Mix until the frosting comes together and becomes smooth, adding additional tablespoons of creamer as needed for consistency. Frost.

Store at room temperature loosely covered. Frosting will semi-dry and cookies are stackable but some frosting may transfer. Enjoy!
 

Best Snickerdoodle Cookies

What’s great about this recipe is that it’s easy and cookies always turn out SOFT, which is pretty much a requirement for a good cookie! We found this recipe at lilluna.com and changed it a bit to use delicious Ceylon Cinnamon instead of regular cinnamon!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup butter (softened)
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2¾ cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 TB sugar
1 tsp. Organic Ceylon Sweet Cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.

2. Cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs and blend well.

3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

4. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies!

Let us know how you like them!! Send us pictures and we will post them! 

Save Big this shopping weekend!

Small Business Saturday Sale 11/25/2017!

We hope you come join us in-store for Small Business Saturday on Saturday, November 25th, 2017! We will be having all jewelry on sale 30% off (excluding consignment) and all Yankee Candle holiday gifts at 10% off!  You can also get an additional $5 off your purchase by using the coupon linked below:

Get your $5 coupon for in-store sales

Cyber Monday Sale 11/27/2017!

For Cyber Monday, we are offering a fantastic deal for all of our online customers! Just for Monday, November 27th, 2017 you can use coupon code CM2017 for 25% off your entire online purchase!!

Come save with us this holiday season!!

What does my stone do?

Many people ask that.  If you look on any crystal healing and metaphysical sites, you will see a huge amount of information that in the end, pretty much tells you that every crystal does everything.

There are important things to note about crystals.  They are little parts of our planet, with their own energy.  Their energy will interact with your energy for unique results for each one of us.  This is why some stones may feel really good for one person while others feel “off” for another.  

So with that said, what is the best way to know? Well – the fact is that forces in our planet have been hard at work for years creating these little gems!  They were created by the fires of volcanoes, the layering over time of debris, water currents or even the extreme pressures of continental plates pushing against one another.  These energies are tied into the matrix abd creation of each stone, so ultimately they are going to be dictating what energies that stone is aligned with.

So the next time you want to know the energy of a stone, instead of heading to a metaphysical site, head to wikipedia and see how that little gem was created!

Creation

So how did your stone come to life? What it underwater? Was it deep in the earth with intense pressure of a crater? Was it through a volcanic eruption? All of these things can give you a glimpse of the type of energy stored in each stone!

Colors

Colors have an impact on the energy of a stone in that it vibrates at a certain frequency.  So whatever energies are inside of that stone, that energy will be somewhat affected by the color frequency of that stone.

  • Red, Orange, Yellow: Creativity, power, change, drive, stamina, courage, lust, purification
  • White, Light Blue, Clear: Calming, focus, Healing, Spirits
  • Black, Brown: Grounding and Protection
  • Green – Prosperity, health, abundance
  • Dark Blue – Meditation, thought, Clarity, Academics
  • Pink, white: Love, relationships, self-love
  • Purple: Calming, stress relief, psychic ability.

Elements

Another easy way to see what types of energy are in that stone is to look at what elements created them.  If they were created deep in the earth through intense heat and pressure, the primary elements are earth and fire.  If they were created near a water via hydrothermal energy, they contain water and fire.  If they were created through erosion, they contain air and so on.

  • Fire: Stones formed through fire bring passion, drive, excitement, courage
  • Water: Stones formed through water bring healing, relationships, emotions, personal development
  • Earth: Stones formed through earth bring healing, abundance, prosperity, luck, grounding
  • Air: Stones formed through air bring clarity, psychic development, thought, creativity, communication, movement

 

Want to learn more? Visit us in Rock Hill or even sign up for our Gemstone Classes!

44730489 – fluorite mineral isolated on the white background

Spiced Hot Cocoa

By Lynne Webb

Spiced Hot Cocoa

  • Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Ground Allspice
  • Pinch of Ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder (or vanilla extract)
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water

Preparation:

Whisk all the dry ingredients together with the water. Once the cocoa is thoroughly blended, heat to desired drinking temperature either in the microwave or on top of the stove.

Note: You can always use 3/4 cup of milk in place of the water and dry milk if you plan to drink the cocoa right away.

Makes 1 serving

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve hot cocoa with a candy cane swizzle stick
  • Float some marshmallows or whipped cream and grate some dark chocolate over top
  • Reduce the sugar to 1-1/2 teaspoons and add a shot of your favorite liqueur ~ Kahlua, Amaretto, Frangelico, etc.
  • Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for a little surprise heat

candy-cane-hot-cocoa

For more great fall ideas visit mygourmetconnection.com!

 

Chai-Spiced Popcorn Bars

Check out this tasty recipe by Christine Gallary!
Makes 20 pieces

For the chai spice:
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Large pinch ground cloves
Large pinch freshly ground black pepper

For the popcorn bars:
– Cooking spray or butter, for greasing the baking dish
– 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
– 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
– 1 (10-ounce) bag mini marshmallows
– 12 cups popped popcorn

For the chai spice: Combine all the spices together in a small bowl. Set aside 1/2 teaspoon of the spice mixture for sprinkling on the top; reserve the rest for mixing into the popcorn bars.

For the popcorn bars: Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper, making sure there is extra paper hanging off of 2 sides. Coat the paper and sides of the pan with cooking spray or butter; set aside.

Melt the butter in a large pot over low heat. Stir in the spice mixture and salt and cook until the spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the marshmallows and cook, stirring occasionally, until completely melted and smooth, 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the popcorn. Stir with a rubber spatula until the popcorn is completely coated in the marshmallow mixture. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and use hands dampened with water to press it into the corners of the pan and into an even layer. Sift the reserved 1/2 teaspoon chai spices over the surface of the bars and let cool completely, about 10 minutes.

Grasp the parchment and lift the bars out of the baking dish and onto a cutting board. Cut into 20 pieces.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: These bars are best eaten the same day they are made, as they soften up quickly. If you have leftovers, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

popcorn-bars

For more tasty fall recipes by Christine Gallary visit her food blog at http://www.thekitchn.com/

The inside on Allspice!

allspice-spoonAlthough you may know Allspice from it’s usage in gingerbread cookies, this spice can do so much more for your fall cooking line up!  This fragrant spice, either whole or ground – can be used in both savory and sweet dishes!

Allspice comes from a Tropical evergreen in the Myrtle Tree Family.  It’s name – Allspice – was given because it seemed to combine flavors from many different spices in this tiny little peppery looking gem!

A few whole pellets of Allspice can be added to rice to flavor a large batch or to brine for for turkey, pork and other meats as well.  

If you prefer to use ground Allspice, remember that a little goes a long way! You can sprinkle some on roasted root veggies or add a half a teaspoon to your favorite Chili recipe to give it a little kick!

For a new treat with Allspice – try two fantastic holiday recipes:

allspice

Come Celebrate Halloween with us!

It is finally here! Our favorite time of the year! Come spend your Halloween with us this year!  we have a fun filled day ready for you!

  • Trick or Treating for kids of all ages!
  • Get 10% off anything in the store if you come in costume!
  • Special Halloween services at discounted rates! Each 15-minute appointment is $20, and you can schedule it ahead of time (call us at 803-818-2133 to Schedule yours)! Readers available below (reading times available from 12PM to 630PM):
    • Kevin Sanders – Rune Readings
    • Monica Mims – Astrological Readings
    • Lady Raven – Tarot Readings

This year we are also giving back to our community by collecting coats and jackets for the Crisis Assistance Ministries and non-perishable items for the Second Harvest Food Bank! Drop off your donation anytime between Monday 10/24/2016 and Halloween and get entered in our raffle!

Raffle Prizes are

First Place: Up to a $50 Credit towards any jewelry item in the store (your choice)

Second Place: A 20-minute Rune Reading with Kevin Sanders (Valued at $30)

Third Place: A $25 credit towards any jewelry item in the store (your choice)

A coat or jacket donation will earn you 2 raffle tickets and a food item will earn you 1 raffle ticket.  Raffle will be held on Tuesday, November 1st.  You do not need to be present to win!

food-bank

crisis-assistance

Canadian Shipping Update!

Just a quick note to let our Canadian customers know that we are updating our shipping options to Canada. Due to the possible pending stoppage with Canada Post, we are shifting all of our Canadian Shipping to Fedex instead.

Unfortunately this will increase the cost for our Canadian customers since FEDEX shipping is significantly more expensive than shipping via USPS (which partners with Canada Post), but our main concern now is making sure that customers receive their packages.

We will be keeping a close eye on the situation with Canada Post and will once again offer our regular lower-priced USPS shipping options once that situation is resolved.  Thank you so much in advance for your understanding and patience!

Canada-Post