Rich, deep flavor and color, intense spice (with or without the heat), layered tastes, thick heartiness, savoriness, decadence.
The beautiful words to describe Fall foods. Just to name a few and to get your mouth watering just thinking of those delicious stews, pot roast, potatoes and other root vegetables that are so prevalent this time of year on our table. These words give me images of steamy hot bowls of red chili, stews and soups. A beautiful platter of pot roast surrounded by fingerling potatoes, carrots and red onions and baskets wrapped in cloth with warm cornbread, rolls and biscuits. It taste of home and love and all the things that make us think what a good meal tastes like.
Simple or complex, the foods of Fall call us to come together, connect, share and be united with one another through food. It is the tastes of home, family and friends around our table on a regular week night for no special reason at all other than to be together sharing a meal. Fall is a time of gathering that which makes us feel whole through our foods, environments and souls. We are craving connection, wholeness and completeness of harvest blessings physically and emotionally.
This is why soup pots are so large and there’s always extras.
We all have our favorite spices, marinades, secret sauces, mystery ingredients and add-ins that we use to make a dish our own. It’s a coveted detail when it comes to sharing a recipe. I was taught to always leave the special ingredient off the recipe card so that it could only be shared person-to-person when that person was truly special enough to you and you felt the time was right for sharing it.
I once shared my Derby Pie recipe and left off the secret ingredient. The person made the pie and immediately called me to ask why it didn’t taste like mine. My good friend in Texas refuses to share what she puts on a steak to make it taste like tender melt in your mouth goodness and I’ve known her for over 20 years! This is just what you do for those special recipes.
Those special recipes often call on ingredients from our spice cabinets. Many of us have a spice cabinet in our kitchen that is brimming with bottles and jars to add in that special pinch of something that makes a regular dish your own. Those bottles and jars may have been up there for months as we don’t use them that often and we try to sparingly use them because of how expensive they can be. The problem is the longer some of those spices sit the staler they get and that can take a beautiful dish or dessert and make it not so yummy and flavorful.
I hate spending all that money on those little spice jars every time I want to make something. It’s expensive and I only need a little of it! Clove, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cinnamon, Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Marjoram, Peppers, you name it and I’ve probably bought it for one type of special dish or another. I use it once or twice and it floats to the back of the cabinet mostly full where it becomes stale and outdated before I need it again. Most likely this time next year when I go to make that special pot roast recipe, some zucchini bread or soon holiday cookies.
Over time I have been able to change over what is in my spice cabinet. It took some time because well old habits die hard and it took me some time to try out my recipes using these new options. I wanted to be absolutely sure my spaghetti sauce would be just the same or better (if that was possible).
When I decide to make something these days I open that spice cabinet and it’s still brimming with bottles but of a different kind now. There are more herbs from my back yard that I have dried and stored carefully in little jars recycled from the old spice jars. These bottles are intermixed with doTERRA essential oil bottles that have replaced the majority of what I use now.
I have changed out:
The stale ground cinnamon, ginger and clove for 2 to 3 drops of doTERRA Cinnamon essential oil in my cookie recipes
Spaghetti sauce that I make from scratch now has doTERRA Basil, Thyme and Oregano oils in it versus the old jars of spice I had.
I will also toss in a Basil leaf from my backyard if they’re still growing
Chili and soups, especially my son’s favorite chicken noodle soup I now use doTERRA Black Pepper oil in because he didn’t like the black specs from ground pepper floating in his soup
My special cocoa I mix up on especially cold days now has a drop of doTERRA Peppermint oil in as an added bonus
The beauty of using pure high grade oils that you can trust, like doTERRA, is that you can use them in recipes for foods, including beverages and realize intense flavors that are always fresh with the added bonus of being beneficial to your health. Whereas I would only need a third or fourth of a teaspoon or a pinch of some spice and never open it again for a year, the essential oils have a longer shelf life and I’m using 2 to 3 drops making them last even longer without going stale. This has not only resulted in significant flavor enrichment to my dishes, baked goods and beverages but also saved a lot on our grocery bill.
What I love most is that every time I open the bottle it smells like cinnamon or ginger or black pepper. There isn’t a question if it is still good or not. These simple ingredients that come straight from the Earth form a connection to our soul that feels good and brings love to the dishes we are preparing.
Bring Out Your Soup Pot
As you cull through favorite recipes and set to chopping, stirring and simmering to set your table with aromatic foods that draw people in and gather them around you, skip those stale spices and herbs. Include some natural pure doTERRA essential oils instead and seriously just watch the reactions. It’s almost as sweet as leaving off the secret ingredient when passing on a long-favorite recipe card.
Revamp your spice cabinet for this season of cooking and baking clicking here: