Spice Hut Review and Giveaway!

23 Sep

Okay, how long have you all been waiting for this??? I’ve talked about it at least three or four times over the past month and I’m ready to deliver.

I’ve been going to Spice Hut for about five years. When I was a senior in college I was introduced to loose leaf tea (I know, how did I go so long without experiencing this!) and I’ve never wanted to go back. Granted, loose leaf can be quite a bit pricier than the tea bags you buy in the store but it’s honestly worth it. Essentially, the tea from the tea bags is almost like the dust of the loose leaf tea, meaning less flavor. My husband would have a heart attack if I only bought loose leaf tea but I definitely keep at least 2-3 bags on hand at all times. A four ounce bag can actually last quite awhile if you only have two cups a day. Since I drink about six cups a day, I definitely have to supplement with tea bags.

Spice Hut is located in a small strip mall in Bellingham, Washington off Meridian Street and West Kellogg. I am really disappointed in myself that I didn’t take any pictures of the inside. They have the cutest mugs, tea pots, and pretty much any tea or spice related product. In fact, we even bought my mother-in-law a modern cat mug for her birthday (she’s obsessed with cats). If you ever looking for a gift idea for me, just go to Spice Hut!

I’ve tried so many of their teas, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to find one I haven’t tried. Have no fear, there are still many more for me to sample. I decided to take the Hot Chili Truffle. Ever since watching the movie Chocolat, I’ve had an obsession with anything chocolate and spicy. This tea did not disappoint. I love spicy food so I enjoyed the zing I got from the chili flakes. Since I don’t drink coffee, I like to have a black tea to wake me up in the morning and the heat from the chili helped with that as well.

How gorgeous is that?!

And hello, who can’t resist a little chocolate in the morning, especially when it’s virtually guilt free (unlike a mocha). Now, if you have a sensitive pallet, I highly recommend adding a little splash of cream, milk or even vanilla soymilk. For an even fancier treat, take 8 ounces of water and use two heaping teaspoons of tea to brew. Then heat up 8 ounces of milk and combine. You’ll have a yummy Chili Chocolate Tea Latte!

Onto the spices! I’ve recently become very interested in spices, probably because of my devotion to shows like Top Chef, Chopped and The Next Food Network Star. Also, when you are eating healthy I find the food choices aren’t as flavorful. What better way to spice things up (pun intended!) then adding some exotic spices into your dishes? It makes eating healthy that much more interesting and enjoyable.

A few seasons ago a contestant on Top Chef made some sort of chocolate dessert with a Chinese five spice. I had no idea what he was talking about but I was definitely intrigued. I love all sorts of food so I knew I had to try it. I immediately knew Spice Hut would have it. Though I didn’t try something as adventurous as dessert, I definitely improved upon a recipe I recently made.

Do you remember a month or so ago when I made a stir fry from a Clean Eating magazine recipe? Good because I don’t! I tried finding the post in my past blogs but apparently I didn’t write about it (???). Anyway, I thought that recipe would be perfect with a little more flavor. The almond butter sauce adds quite a bit of depth, but I thought I would lighten up on the sauce and give more of that to the hub (cuts down the calories!). I combined the following ingredients in the wok with a couple teaspoons of safflower oil–

1 lb chicken breast cut into equal 1-inch chunks

1 red bell pepper cut into 1-inch chunks

1 yellow pepper cut into 1-inch chunks

1 green pepper cut into 1-inch chunks

1 cup edamame

3 minced garlic cloves

2/3 cup raw unsalted cashews

I tossed those all in the wok and added about 2 teaspoons of Spice Hut Chinese Five Spice at the end with the sauce. We put the stir fry on top of some brown rice.

The five spice completely elevated the recipe to the next level. It gave the stir fry so many different dimensions. You could taste each of the five spices individually, but it all harmonized into a great blend in your mouth. I tasted the licoricey (is that a word?!) fennel, the warm cinnamon, the spicy black pepper, the exotic star anise, and the aromatic clove. I’ve always been a little nervous and confused about what spices go together besides the obvious (basil and oregano, sage and rosemary, etc); that’s why I love the spice blend. Also, you don’t have to buy each of the spices individually.

What the heck am I going to do with the five spice besides stir fries you ask and why should I buy my spices at Spice Hut? I googled Chinese five spice recipes and so many options came up. I also plugged the ingredient into allrecipes.com and there were so many choices. Also, Spice Hut is nice enough to put a recipe on the bag of five spice. As far as purchasing your spices at Spice Hut; have you ever had rancid spices? Not so good. Have you seen some of the “spices” in the containers at the grocery store? As with the tea, they look like dust. All of spices are fresh at Spice Hut and you can just tell by looking at them that the quality is so much better. I often find quite a few spices there I’m not able to find at the grocery store.

Now that my mouth is watering from recalling all the delicious things I’ve made, I better go eat dinner. One more small thing….I’m doing another giveaway!!!! I know I missed August but I’m hoping you’ll let it slide since I’ve been so busy. 🙂 I am going to give a lucky winner (picked at random) to receive 4 ounces of tea from Spice Hut. How do you enter? Simply go the Spice Hut’s website at http://www.thespicehut.com and comment on this blog telling me what flavor of tea you would like.

Have a great weekend! The winner will be picked on Tuesday at 7pm Pacific Time. 🙂

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5 Responses to “Spice Hut Review and Giveaway!”

  1. Ally September 24, 2011 at 9:02 AM #

    I would love rooibos chai! Two of my favourites…combined!

  2. Marsha September 24, 2011 at 10:18 AM #

    I am so sorry that I did not ask you for a taste of the chocolate chili tea. I would sure like to try it.

  3. Amber September 27, 2011 at 4:23 PM #

    Hi Jess! I’ve been enjoying your blog. I love tea too, and this store looks amazing! I think it’s really neat that they combine the spices and the tea in some of their tea blends. How to pick just one?? I had never thought of putting chocolate chips in tea before, but I’m going to have to go with Chocolate Chai.

  4. Diane Wood October 17, 2011 at 6:37 PM #

    I LOVE chai; and the Amuraja Chai at Spice Hut is ooh la la!
    Thanks for blogging about about Bellingham stuff!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. New Smoothie and Garlic Ginger Stir-Fry « Bay Bay Bites - September 18, 2012

    […] One teaspoon five spice blend […]

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