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Foodie Freebie Friday: The Spice House!

The first Foodie Freebie Friday is here! Are you ready for the giveaway item of the week? Before I announce it, here's a little background on the items...

Many folks are more familiar with the popular Penzey's name when it comes to quality spices. Ruth and Bill Penzey, Sr. opened and founded their spice shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1957. The Penzeys sold the business to their firstborn child (Patty) and son-in-law (Tom) as they looked toward retirement. Patty and Tom took the business and created The Spice House in the early 1980's.

The Penzey's spice name you're probably familiar with is as a result of Bill Penzey, Jr - who is Patty's younger brother. Penzey's Spices was founded by Bill Penzey Jr. back in the 80's as a mail order only business which later started to open storefronts in the 90's. So technically, Patty & Tom created The Spice House before Penzey's Spices became so popular. Between Patty/Tom and Bill Penzey, Jr. is some sibling rivalry... and I confess I'm loyal to The Spice House and Patty & Tom, as I've met and worked with them personally.

You may notice that I am a frequent user of The Spice House spices as I've linked to their site whenever using one of their specific spices in recipes. I wanted to share with my readers some Chicago inspired spice love with my first Foodie Freebie Friday giveaway...

I hope the lucky winner will enjoy a taste of Chicago with these spices! I've featured some of the neighborhoods (Greektown, Pilsen, and Argyle) within my food tours you can read about on my blog. These are the neighorhood flavors that really make Chicago special... and you have a chance to receive this!

Some guidelines:
- Giveaway is only for those who live in the United States. My apologies to my international readers!
- You must have a valid email address so that you can be contacted if you win.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment about:
- Your favorite spices. What spices do you tend to use regularly? Savory for cooking? Sweet in baked goods? I'd love to hear your spice stories!

Deadline: Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 12 midnight CST

Winner will be randomly chosen by Random.Org's Interger Generator based on the number of your comment and will be announced on Friday, January 9, 2009. Good luck!

65 comments

  1. I use nutmeg a lot. It's my husband's favorite spice, and I love it in savory recipes.

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  2. We love our seasoning salt from Penzeys, it has a WONDERFUL flavor something I have never gotten from seasoning salt. We put it on almost everything!

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  3. I have quite a few spices that are my faves that I tend to use quite often; cumin, garlic pepper salt, cumin, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg...just to name a few.
    For savory cooking I lean more towards garlic pepper salt and Lawry's garlic salt with herbs and also cumin. For baking I like to use allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon.

    Allspice is a new favorite of mine. I was writing a muffin recipe and I wanted to add a little something different (something other than cinnamon)so I looked around and saw the allspice and I decided to incorporate it into my recipe. The outcome was amazing and it's now one of my new favorites! That's a little spice story of mine.

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  4. Ironically, even though we have a huge spice collection (alphabetized with labels, and inventoried with expiration dates because we're crazy like that!), my favorite spice is plain old cinnamon. I think I use it in my morning coffee pretty much every single morning. Yum!

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  5. Hi Joelen! My favorite spices are garlic, salt, pepper (amazing what these few can do!), cumin, paprika and cayenne (just a dash)....more for savory dishes and to give just a notch more flavor to everything from pastas to eggs to a variety of meats!

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  6. I actually use cloves a lot, sweet I like to add it to chocolate deserts and for savory in ciders.

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  7. In savory cooking, I actually use steak seasoning a lot. I use it to season oven fries, I use it on corn and red onions, grill, and serve over baked potatoes. I use it on chicken and turkey, too! As much as I love trying new things, I like having the guesswork taken out, and knowing that it's a great combination.

    In baking, I love love LOVE almond extract. It has such a distinctive flavor! I adore biscotti and blondies, so I'm sure that explains it! I've tried it in different cookies, including ones that are "clean out the pantry". Every time I do, someone comments on how delicious and different the cookies are!

    I don't have a blog, but my name is Debbie. I can be reached at [email protected] Thanks so much!

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  8. To me, the single most evocative spice is nutmeg. One whiff of it and I start to envision all of those wonderful fall dishes like eggnog, pumpkin pie and butternut squash ravioli seasoned with a little nutmeg. It's definitely the spice most likely to transport me to another place!

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  9. Tarragon! I had never used tarragon before this summer and now it's my absolute favorite flavor... it works on chicken, potatoes, eggs, whatever. Tarragon makes everything better.

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  10. I love cinnamon sugar. I put it on my toddler's peanut butter sandwich and make cinnamon sugar toast for breakfast all the time.

    I am also a sucker for garlic salt. Yum.

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  11. We use a ton of cumin! I do a lot of Mexican and tex-mex recipes, and love the taste with fresh cilantro!

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  12. I love nutmeg and throw it in everything. Other than that I like to use Adobo on fish and chicken.

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  13. I love garlic powder...

    The last time I ordered it, I ordered in bulk & couldn't believe how fast I used it up.

    Yum!

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  14. I don't have a particular spice that I use more frequently than others. I like garlic salt/powder. I also love thyme and tend to favor recipes that include it. I have found that I'm actually not a huge fan of cinnamon in things that include chocolate! But I love cinnamon otherwise.

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  15. Well, my fave spice is definitely cinnamon. It is so versatile. You can use it in savory and sweet dishes, you can use a little or a lot. I've also been loving paprika a lot lately.

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  16. My favorite spice to use in cooking is garlic powder and in baking, it's all about the cinnamon! What a wonderful giveaway, Joelen!!

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  17. I love so many spices, but next on my list to try is sumac. The descriptions I read are so intriguing!

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  18. always have rosemary and basil on hand. they might not always be fresh, but i make tons of pesto during summer so i can enjoy it thru out the seasons :)

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  19. I haven't done a lot of experimenting with spices but I do love fresh garlic. I do need to get better about tossing spices that have been sitting on my shelf too long.

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  20. Do I have to pick just one (or ten)?

    Though I am enamored with ginger, garlic powder and salt, Italian herbs, and on and on.

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  21. I received a box of spices from the Spice House from some Chicago friends for my wedding - I use the Ukrainian Village Seasoning (a salt blend) quite a bit, and also the Little Italy NYC Spice Blend. A staple in my cupboard is crushed red pepper, especially a dash on some sauted veggies, and of course, freshly ground peppercorns.

    This looks like a great giveaway!

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  22. When I was about 11 or 12 years old I was "helping" my mom make stew. She was at work and she called and told me to add pepper. Well, it wouldn't come out so took the lid off and blew. Basically I pepper sprayed myself. After that I tried to dump a little pepper in the pot and ended up dumping a LOT of pepper in. The dog wouldn't even eat it. Needless to say I don't use plain old black pepper since then.

    My favorite spice is probably Cumin. For baking I put vanilla in everything...is that a spice?

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  23. I received a box of spices from Spice House Christmas last year and again this year and by far, my favorite is the Little Italy NYC Spice Blend. It's perfect for pasta, on top of garlic bread and for my homemade chicken pot pie. Absolutely delicious!

    - Lydia

    EMail: [email protected]!

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  24. I love to use whole vanilla beans in my baked goods. I love freshly grated nutmeg. You can't beat Montreal Steak saesoning, intorduced to that via Rachael Ray recipes, also enjoy Emeril's origiinal Essence. Thanks for the chance!

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  25. I use cinnamon a lot in baking, I love the flavor of it. For cooking I really like garlic powder, it's really good and my favorite.

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  26. I'm a big Penzey's fan, and have been DYING to try The Spice House, so thanks for the chance!

    My most commonly used seasoning is definitely lemon pepper, although we do go through a lot of cumin, oregano, garlic and cinnamon. My favorite of all time? Rosemary.

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  27. My favorite cooking spice is garlic! You just can't go wrong with it. I also love basil. I use it in a lot of soups and sauces. In baking, I like the stuff that would be used to make spice cake... cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc. When I was a kid, I seemed to be the odd one out when my mom would ask what kind of birthday cake I wanted and I always said spice cake!

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  28. I seem to go through a crazy amount of cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, and dried parsley. I'm not sure where it all goes, but I keep running out and buying more.

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  29. What a great prize!

    I have a few favorite spices:
    Cumin - LOVE this .... I could put it on everything :)
    Cardamom - This always reminds me of my great-grandma and I'm trying to find more sweet dishes to use it in.
    Vanilla - probably not a "spice", but I love using real vanilla extract in my 'from-scratch' sweets.
    Basil - another spice I can put on everything!

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  30. I love spicy food (hence the blog title Spice 'N It Up). The spices I use most are black pepper, cayenne, and chili powder.

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  31. I have two favorite seasonings. I love Ozark Chicken spice from the Spice House. It gives oven roasted chicken the crispiest and most delicious skin. Whenever I use it, I reminds me of growing up in St. Louis. My other favorite spice is Herbes de Provence. I use it in my meatloaf because I didn't have all of the suggested herbs. My substitution remains my favorite to this day. The Herbes de Provence brings some floral and aromatic to such a heavy dish like meatloaf.

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  32. Smoked Paprika is definitely my new favorite spice! We love it on potatoes and eggs, especially. Thanks for this generous giveaway!

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  33. I love Penzey's Spices so I would be delighted to try The Spice House! My favorite Penzey's spices are Vietnamese Cinnamon and Tuscan Sunset.

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  34. I think garlic and onion powder are my most used spices. They are in almost every savory dish that I make. I also absolutely love that Pizza Pizzaz blend, I actually just ran out and need to order more but am waiting for my new job to start bringing me some income first.

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  35. it is hard to pick just one spice that i love or use a lot, but if i had to pick one it would be garlic powder...but i do use a variety of spices in everything i make...i love trying out new spices...it gives me such a thrill!! LOL
    for baking i love love love using a vanilla sugar or cinnamon...mmmmmmm!
    thanks for putting on this giveaway!

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  36. I love cumin and anything spicy or smoky. I also really like garlic powder and onion powder! Now it sounds like I definitely need to try Pizza Pizzaz!

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  37. I absolutely love Rosemary. I use it a lot on meat and potatos.

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  38. I seem to go through the ground cumin and chili powder pretty fast. My store just started carrying McCormick "Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder," which I think has a deeper flavor than the regular chili powder. I am also a garlic nut, and I just bought my first jar of saffron.

    As far as sweet stuff goes, I don't bake much, but you can't beat real vanilla beans, but fresh nutmeg is also growing on me.

    ~Renee (rels09)
    savorysafari.wordpress.com

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  39. I love cinammon. I do quite a bit of baking, and I love how homey the house smells when I use it. I also sometimes BOIL spices, like cinnamon sticks and ginger and nutmger is a small pan of water, and it's a fabulous aroma. I love this giveaway, thanks for the opportunity to win. [email protected]

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  40. I've been experimenting with nutmeg lately. I love it in my filled pasta and even in my pasta sauce. Another favorite is Basil. I use it all the time. Would love to try the Spice House spices. Thanks

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  41. I love using garlic. I have a new favorite which is Herbs de Provence which I got in one of our wc exchanges. For sweets, vanilla is a must!

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  42. Oh goodness, how to choose? I use red pepper flakes just about every time I cook. Lately, I've been getting into different peppercorns - tellicherry, szechuan, white, whatever. I love the different flavors each brings to the table.

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  43. I love using kosher salt and ground black pepper, you can make any dish taste great with just a little seasoning. I also love garlic and ginger

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  44. I love Giada's Italian seasonings.

    Note from my blog....

    We registered at Crate and Barrel and I had to give Joe the scanner to keep him interested the whole time. He is obsessed with Giada (of course) since she wears cleavage shirts when she cooks, so just to be obnoxious he registered us for a jar of her herb mix. I didn't think anyone would get it for us, but someone did. I wasn't expecting much because its just Italian seasoning but it is AMAZING. I use it ALL THE TIME.

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  45. red pepper flakes are probably my favorite spice. i use it in almost everything for an extra 'kick'.

    very soon, i'm going to be starting The Great Spice Rack Project, in which I will attempt to use every spice in my new spice rack. there are a couple on there i've never heard of, so it should be exciting!

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  46. I go through cumin like nobody's business, probably because it's in my favorite kinds of food - Mexican and Indian!

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  47. I have a greek seasoning that I buy at a local fish market. I love it and use it on everything. I don't even know what's in it, I think thyme, oregano, salt, etc. I put it on fish, spice up plain couscous, etc. The other thing that my husband and I use endlessly is cumin. I love the smoky flavor on everything from chili to popcorn.

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  48. We love Chinese 5 Spice Blend in our coffee each morning. We put it in with our grounds and let it brew. Yum! BTW - The Spice Hunter has a 0mg sodium Chili Powder Blend that is GREAT! I am on a lo-so diet and this is really a life-saver.

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  49. I like to use cumin, cinnamon, and of course the garlic and chili powder.

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  50. My Favorite spices are Saffron & Cinnamon, I love using saffron in my rice to give it that little extra color, and cinammon just compliments anything with chocolate.

    Alondra
    [email protected]

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  51. I love my cumin spice. I find I use it on LOTS of stuff.

    And, this isn't really a spice, but more a seasoning, but, I grew up with this stuff called "Jane's Krazy-Mixed-Up-Salt". My parents always had it and put it in everything, and now I do too! Plus I discovered they make an awesome pepper blend! I like to top my sweet potato fries with the Jane's salt & Jane's pepper. Mmmmmm!

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  52. I found this awesome spice seller at the Flea Market in Santa Fe, NM. He made me a special blend with all type of Mediterrean spices, cardomon, curry, cumin, etc. and I use it all the time.

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  53. I use a lot of McCormick's Garlic Pepper. Thyme and Cumin are usually found in a lot of my dishes.
    [email protected]

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  54. I am constantly using cumin. We go through so much it's unbelievable. I use it in salsa all the time.

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  55. For cooking, I use a lot of garlic and onion powder and cracked pepper. For baking....cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, all spice, cloves....love them all! Pampered Chef also makes some fantastic spice mixes that I use a lot too.

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  56. Oohhh I have been wanting to try Penzeys for a very long time now!
    My favorite is definitely garlic, I use some form of garlic in most of my cooking.

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  57. I have to say cayenne became a fast favorite for me in the past few years. It leaves such a great fire in a "clean" way. And is a great surprise, a dash on chocolate covered pretzels or on chocolate cupcakes is always a delightful surprise!

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  58. My favorites are basil and garlic for cooking and cinnamon for baking!! I know - I'm pretty boring!! :)

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  59. I'm a big fan of herbs de provence. I love it on roast chicken or roasted potatoes. I also really like Penzey's smoked spanish paprika. It imparts so much flavor to a dish. For baking Penzy's Vietnamese Cinnamon far outshines any other I have found. I also really like grey salt for finishing a dish.

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  60. That Billy Goat mix sounds really good! I started playing with turmeric last year after my mother in law read about the heath benefits and used in to some baked chicken. I love it as a mystery slightly bitter and savory spice added to vegetable soups and poultry dishes.

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  61. I used to be a little spice shy but over the years I have gained confidence and have begun to use a variety of different things. My favorite go to savory spice is by far garlic powder but I also love fresh basil and ginger. As far as baking spices it’s a three way tie; almond extract, vanilla, and allspice!

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  62. Smoked paprika is my current go-to spice - I'll use it on meat, veggies, eggs, and even popcorn! I also love Sate seasoning and garam masala. Just got some Grains of Paradise but haven't used them yet - I love trying new spices!

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  63. Nice set... Definitely my favorite spice store. I always have nutmeg on hand because it smells so good when freshly grated.

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  64. What a great package! Though my spice cupboard as a whole gets a workout, I think I probably use chili powder the most - Gebhardt's makes a wonderful dark and flavorful mix that is great on many things.

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  65. I use cumin and chili powder most frequently. I adore Penzey's chili powder! Definitely my favorite, but I've never tried anything from the Spice House :).

    For baking, I will try almost any recipe that has cinnamon and nutmeg. Yum!

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