Turning 31 

 So as spring arrives in Alabama, my birthday comes with it. Trips to the zoo, the opening of the Pepper Place farmers market, and all sorts of other fun things. So here’s the highlights…
The Birmingham Zoo is adding a lot of new attractions. It isn’t a ginormous zoo, but it’s quality. I also noticed they have sensory friendly accommodations for those on the autism scale. That made me really proud of our little zoo. 

  
Pepper Place is in full swing on Saturday mornings. This is a happy place for me! I got more DAKS spices! And I learned that some people call Jerusalem artichokes “fartichokes.” Crude but honest, and a piece of information I wouldn’t have liked to have had before buying them. Eat with care. 

 
Since I travel so much, I’m constantly on the hunt for good audiobooks. I’m very lucky that the Jefferson County Library has an online app service that allows you to rent audiobooks straight from your phone. I was on the waiting list for Leah Remini’s biography. It is a fascinating insight into the Church of Scientology. I think I was expecting a very scathing and angry book. While her frustration did come through, she did a very good job of explaining how internally conflicted and heartbroken she was when she discovered the hypocrisy and corruption inside of the church that she had trusted for so long. Highly recommended. And she does an excellent job of reading, so get the audiobook for full effect. 

   
I’ve expanded out my spices and will be posting more recipes with these wonderful flavor blends. You can check out my first post, of course, but stay tuned for more. 

 
Totally random change of topic, can you believe I’ve never had a pair of Converse tennis shoes? I feel 31 is the appropriate age for pink Converse. 

   
I had a lovely birthday lunch at Botegga with my mother and grandmother and just had to post this picture. These ladies are my heart. 

 
I can’t decide if I feel 31 or not. This past year was one of immense personal growth. But I know I’m just at the beginning. I know you’re supposed to figure out who you are in your 20s, so maybe I’m late to the game. Change is good. Bring it on. 

 
   

Spice Up Your Nutrition: DAKS Spices Review

Before Christmas, my mother and I went to a large holiday crafts fair here in Birmingham. As we wandered up and down the dozens of rows, I noticed a really amazing smell. It was grilled cheese, hot and fresh, cooking on a griddle. But it wasn’t just any grilled cheese. It was a grilled cheese with DAKS Original Red on it. I got a bite. Slightly spicy, definitely savory. It took the grilled cheese, a simple sandwich of white bread and American cheese slices, to a whole different level. I came very close to buying a gift set for myself then. But I was trying to stay focused on my gift shopping list and moved on. Later, I regretted not buying them. I cook a lot and would really have enjoyed them. So imagine my delight, after finding these cool cats on Instagram, when DAKS messages me a few months later, offering me the opportunity to try out and review their spices!


They specialize in all natural, no salt, no MSG spice mixes. They have a massive array of mixes and flavors. I got to try four of their most popular. SuperGreek, Green Zest, Original Red, and Steakhouse.

I’ve been cooking with them for a couple weeks now and I am completely addicted. I’m constantly finding new uses for them too!

My first experiment was a collaboration with my husband. We seasoned some chicken breasts with the steakhouse seasoning, some with the SuperGreek, and threw them on the grill. While he dealt with that, I prepared a mixture of roasted root vegetables using the green zest spice mix with a little olive oil. I also did some sautéed red potatoes in the skillet using the original red seasoning. The steakhouse was perfectly peppery without being too much. While it was good on the chicken, it’s going to be fantastic on actual steaks. The Greek seasoning was amazing. Perfect amount of onion and garlic and Greek spices that you expect in a good Greek seasoning. The fact that this is salt free is fantastic.

The Green Zest flavor on the vegetables was light but good. I think the strong flavor of the brussels sprouts may overpower much of anything else. It tasted particularly good on my carrots. And the original red was perfect on the potatoes. It is so packed with flavor. I actually put a little much on the potatoes. Start with a little and work your way up as you learn how much of the flavor you want on your food. It’s deliciously potent.


I next tried the SuperGreek in turkey burgers! Turkey can be bland, or it can be a great healthy vehicle for flavor and protein. I made mine with bell peppers, feta, zucchini, and the SuperGreek. Top with a little homemade Greek yogurt taziki and you’re in business.


Like salmon? Try the Green Zest on fish! I put the Greek on my veggies here too.


Again with the Greek, this time on chicken with steamed veggies.


Next, I used the original red in my almond flour mix to coat my Wild Diet chicken Parmesan. The recipe in Abel James’ new book call for a few different spices, but I kept it simple and grabbed the one canister. A few sprinkles of Original Red in the almond flour gave the coating all the flavor it needed. If you’re paleo, primal, Whole 30, gluten free, or otherwise on a special diet, that’s the best part of these spices. No salt, no additives, no weird junk. Just flavor. Healthy isn’t bland.


So what’s my favorite use so far? In a hurry to make my own lemon vinaigrette, I threw a splash of lemon juice in with a splash of olive oil, then added a pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt, and a few liberal dashes of Green Zest. I mixed this in my little 21 Day Fix orange dressing container to take with me to a jiu jitsu tournament.

The Zest soaked up the lemon and olive oil, plumping and increasing in flavor even more! It was incredible over shredded chicken, lettuce and spinach, and various veggies. I’ve been eating salads for three days now just to keep eating this dressing. It’s that good. Sadly, I can’t eat anymore this week…because I’m out of lemon juice.

Thanks to DAKS Spices for letting me try these! Go check out all of their flavors at www.daksspices.com and follow them on Instagram @daksspices ! If you live in Birmingham, they come to the Pepper Place Market a few times during the season sell their spices right there. I’ll be front and center at Pepper Place for my next new flavor adventures.

EXCITING UPDATE AND A COUPON…

If you know me, I’m always one for a deal. If you plan on ordering some of the DAKS spices, click the ad icon below and use the coupon code FITFIERCEFIGHT for 10% off your order plus FREE shipping!