Cool Spice Racks

I love spices, but a lot of spice racks are a little too "down-homey" for me.

Here's one that rocks from Dean & Deluca.


beyond jelly: toppings for peanut butter sandwiches

I grew up in a family that adored peanut butter. In fact, the members I'm still speaking to still adore peanut butter.

This was good, since we were pretty broke, and buckets of peanut butter were cheap and filling.

There was only one problem. I didn't really like peanut butter going in, and after about my tenth summer of peanut butter sandwiches, I could hardly stand it.

What's a girl to do but get creative?

Below are a few of my favorite peanut butter toppings. Some of them are classics, and a few might sound strange, but they're all tried and true -- and they're tasty enough to make even a peanut butter hater like myself crave a pb sandwich every so often.

  • Peanut Butter and Onions

    Onions are far and away my favorite thing to put on a peanut butter sandwich.

    I know most of you are thinking I've lost my mind. But every person I've shared this with has agreed, unless of course, they hate onions. Actually, even a couple of those have come around.

    If you like onions, give it a go, and remember, you heard it here first.

  • Peanut Butter and Bacon

    Again, this may sound odd, but it's an awesome combination -- assuming you've cooked the bacon, otherwise, it's potentially life-threatening.

    For peanut butter sandwich nirvana, try adding bacon and onions.

  • Peanut Butter and Honey

    As a kid, my friends thought I was weird for this, but it's become rather commonplace now. Even Smuckers has an Uncrustable version of this classic.

  • Peanut Butter Toast

    The toast isn't a topping, so much as it's the foundation, but however you slice it. There's nothing like peanut butter melting over a warm piece of toasted bread to get you out of bed in the morning.

Other Notable Peanut Butter Toppings

Peanut Butter Sandwich Toppings I Have Yet to Try
  • Mayonnaise (I'm terrified of this one)
  • Cheese
  • Olives

Unfortunately, I have tried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I'm not a fan.

So, what's on your peanut butter sandwich?


stevia - the good, the bad and the nasty

Okay, so I drink way too much soda. Mountain Dew Code Red to be exact. And as good as it tastes, and it does taste good, I know all that sugar can't be good for me. So, I've been looking for beverage alternatives.

I didn't think this would be such a huge task, since I actually like tea and juices, and I'm sure the occasional glass of water never killed anyone. But the biggest dilemma would be the caffeine. I need it. Thus I decided, tea it would have to be.

would you like a little tea with your sugar?

So, I headed off to the store and bought a couple of small bottles of sweet tea. I love tea, so I was pretty sure this was going to be a breeze. And taste-wise, it was. It was cold, crisp and refreshing. Of course, when I checked the label, I realized why it tasted so good. Unbelievably enough, the tea actually had more sugar than my beloved Code Red -- and with red Mountain Dew clocking in at about 45 grams of sugar per twelve ounce can, this is no small feat.

Okay, so packaged sweetened tea wasn't going to cut it, coffee is great, but more like a dessert for me than an all-day beverage, and I despise diet sodas. I needed caffeine, no diet taste, and no sugar.

could stevia be my salvation?

Enter stevia. For those of you who've never heard of it, stevia is an herb that is up to 300 times more sweet than sugar, but contains no calories.

It's packaged in a variety of forms (flavored, liquid, powder), and one of the major distributors of it in the U.S. is a company called SweetLeaf.

I happen to live in a very tree-hugging type community, so I wasn't terribly surprised to find this sweetener right there on my grocery store shelves. The package I bought contained 50 sugar-sized packets, and mentioned something about having fiber added to it. Hey, I was on a healthy roll.

I'm a taster, so I couldn't resist tasting the powder as soon as I got it home. Good God, it was horrible. I wasn't hopeful.

the sweet taste of stevia

Next, I added just a smidge (and when I say "smidge," I mean maybe a tenth of a packet) to some cold, unsweetened black tea.

It was amazing. The tea actually tasted sweet. Not as sweet as if I'd dumped three or four sugar packets into it the way I normally would, but damn, considering how little I used, I was incredulous.

when bad things happen to good beverages

Flash-forward a few days later. I want to experiment some more with making the perfectly sweet, caffeine-laden, calorie free iced-tea drink. This time I used nearly a whole packet of "Stevia Plus." In a word: UGH!

In addition to that awful "diet" taste that makes me hate diet soda, the added fiber made me feel a little nauseous.

In fact, several hours later, I still feel a little nauseous, but my Code Red is helping to ease my pain.

Since it's going to be a few days before I'm up for playing around with stevia again, I'm going to currently give it two stars. One wouldn't be fair, since I did have the one good experience, and I'm willing to try again.

But until I conduct more testing, anything more would be unjust.

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tony chachere's creole seasoning

I first heard of this fiesty seasoning mix a few months ago when I became briefly obsessed with Raising Canes -- specifically, their sauce.

After searching the web for the recipe, I read that Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning was the source of the kick. I have no idea whether this is true or not, so I did the only thing I could do. I ordered some from their web site, thinking I'd try it out on my own.

Of course, I'm since off Raising Cane's, and never did attempt to make the sauce. But I'm obsessed with this seasoning, and use it on nearly everything I eat.

My favorite is to add it to potato and egg dishes.

If you haven't try it, you must. If you have tried it, add your rating and share you're thoughts below!

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