Pepper Palace Fall Hot Sauce Review

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Just because it’s fall, doesn’t mean the heat has to go away – especially if you are me (or like me) and love are addicted to can’t live without hot sauce. Remember this hot sauce review from this summer? [If you haven’t yet, you need to go read it to get an idea of just how much I love hot sauce]. Much to my surprise and excitement, I was recently contacted by the Pepper Palace to review a few more of their products. To date Pepper Palace has won hundreds of National Awards for product, marketing & flavor. A private held corporation, Pepper Palace remains a family owned and operated business with a reputation second to none. Pepper Palace is known as a “One-Stop-Shop” for everything spicy and while you can shop for a myriad of products online, you can also visit one of their many locations (I hope to make it to one before I die, it’s right up there with the natural wonders of the world).

Pepper Palace was kind enough to send me four products to review in exchange for my opinions on them, which are entirely my own so, let’s get to it! There’s not much talk to be had when there’s hot sauce involved on my blog…

Black Rose Hot Sauce

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  • Made with: Red Jalapeno, Cayenne, Habanero, vinegar, garlic, spices
  • Tastes like: The habanero flavor really comes through in this thinner hot sauce. I really like it and it’s hot.
  • What makes it special: It has a slightly smoky flavor and would be excellent in chili this fall/winter. It has an exellent flavor that would also be good on burritos.

Garlic & Pepper Hot Sauce

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  • Made with: Aged red peppers, vinegar, salt, garlic
  • Tastes like: This sauce has a great garlic flavor and will compliment anything with garlic in it. It is not overly spicy, but has a good, rich flavor. It reminds me of Tabasco with garlic.
  • What makes it special: This is a thin hot sauce that would be perfect for use in recipes. I have also been adding it to soup.

King Jolokia Hot Sauce

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  • Made with: Naga Jolokia Peppers (a.k.a. Ghost Pepper/Chili/Naga Morich/Bhut Jolokia), carrots, papayas, lime juice, vinegar, onions, passion fruit, garlic, salt
  • Tastes like: This sauce packs a pure heat punch – and I love it. Ghost peppers, being the hottest in the world, are not for the faint of mouth or heart! I dumped on this hot sauce like I normally do, but soon found out a small amount will do. The heat creeps up on you from the back of your throat and let me tell you, it’s HOT.
  • What makes it special: This sauce comes with a warning that 1) it is the hottest pepper on record coming in at over 1 million Scoville Units and 2) that being found in Northeast India, it is often used as elephant repellant. I can’t wait to try it with my Famous (Ghostly) Chili.

Rub Dat Butt Seasoning Rub


  • Made with: Salt, black pepper, onion, garlic, paprika, Chipotle powder (smoked jalapeno)
  • Tastes like: This rub is smoky, earthy and peppery; but not overly spicy. You could use it on any meats or vegetables you wanted to season. It makes a great pantry staple! 
  • What makes it special: I didn’t think it was possible, but this made my Easy Shredded Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken Tacos even better! I just rubbed it onto the chicken thighs before placing them in the crockpot.

My favorite of the group? Hands down is this-

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And now, I have the appropriate fridge warning as well, thank you Pepper Palace!

Connect with Pepper Palace today through-

Tell me about you. Have you been to the Pepper Palace? Are you a fan of hot sauce? Have you tried any of these hot sauces? Which one do you think you would like to try the most?

Until the next mile marker,

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Cock-A-Leekie Soup: A Perfect Fall Recipe

Cock-A-Leekie Soup Cover

Cock-A-Leekie Soup is a Scottish soup dish of leeks and chicken stock, classically thickened with barley, and is perfect for fall. It is a peasant dish with many regional variations, some which go back as far as the 16th century. The original recipe added prunes during cooking, and traditionalists still garnish with a julienne of prunes (sometimes soaked in scotch for the full effect). I omitted the prunes altogether because we don’t really like them, although my husband was willing to try for the scotch.

I first discovered Cock-A-Leekie Soup at a pre-1800 early frontier encampment we visited at a festival. I am intrigued with outdoor and cast iron cooking (and it is primarily what I use at home) and watched one of the re-enactors cooking this soup for her family. I asked her about it and she told me what it was called and the recipe. I adapted it from her recipe, some online finds (listed below) and of course, added my own touch based on my tastes (as I believe you should in cooking). This is a rustic dish so don’t get caught up in perfect measurements or precise cutting. It’s a perfect fall recipe that is really satisfying, easy to cook and makes plenty of leftovers – you don’t want to miss out!

Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Cock-A-Leekie Soup

Prep time: About 30 minutes

Cook time: About 2 hours

Total time to make: About 2 hours, 30 minutes

What You Need:

  • One whole chicken cut up (I buy mine like that, but you could use any type of chicken you wanted/have on hand)
  • 6-7 leeks, cut lengthwise and then into pieces/chunks (I only used the white/light green parts at the bottom of the stalk, see below if you need detailed cutting instructions)
  • 4-6 carrots total; 4 or 5 peeled and cut into chunks/strips; 1 unpeeled carrot
  • 1 onion, peeled, cut in half
  • 3 quarts chicken broth or stock (2 quarts are necessary for the soup, I like a 3rd quart to make it more brothy and for leftovers)
  • 1 cup white rice (you could use any kind of rice you wanted)
  • Water equivalent to make 1 cup rice (found on the rice packaging, usually a cup or so)
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, pre-sliced or cut into quarters/slices
  • Spices (use your imagination on what you add and the amounts, according to what you like or don’t like!):
    • A pinch of Garlic powder
    • Some Oregano
    • Some Thyme
    • A bit of Salt
    • A pinch of Black pepper
    • Some Sweet Curry Powder
    • A dash of Celery Salt
  • 3-4 Bay Leaves
  • Parsley, a handful fresh, roughly chopped
  • Celery leaves, a handful fresh, roughly chopped

What You Do:

  • Pour 2 quarts of stock into a large stock pot
  • Lightly season chicken (with skin and bones) with salt and black pepper.
  • Place chicken in pot with whole, unpeeled carrot, half of the onion and bay leaves (you can also place the chicken parts in the pot if they came with the chicken)
  • Cover the pot and simmer gently for 1 hour or until the chicken is falling off the bone

(While the chicken is cooking)

  • Cut leeks, rinse well in a colander or strainer and set aside (discard tops, see below for cutting instructions, if needed)
  • Peel and chop carrots and set aside
  • Chop/slice mushrooms if needed and set aside
  • Chop parsley and celery leaves and set aside
  • Mix dry spices in a small bowl and set aside

(After the chicken is cooked through)

  • Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool
  • Remove the vegetables, other chicken parts, bay leaves and discard
  • Strain the stock if needed and return to pot
  • Add rice to broth and equivalent of water needed to cook rice (found on rice package or about a cup)
  • Add the leeks, carrots, mushrooms, herbs and spices to the pot (except fresh parsley and celery leaves); stir, bring to a simmer and cover.
  • While the vegetables continue to cook, de-bone chicken and remove skins, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Add cut up chicken pieces to pot of broth, rice and vegetables
  • Cook all ingredients for another 30-45 minutes at a simmer, covered, until vegetables are really tender
  • In the last few minutes, add fresh parsley and celery leaves to the pot, as well as any extra broth you may desire; stir to heat through
  • Ladle into bowls and serve hot!

Please note: Due to the rice in the soup, you may need to add more broth prior to re-heating leftovers

Additional recipes for Cock-A-Leekie Soup/Resources:

Tell me about you. Have you tried Cock-A-Leekie Soup? Is a favorite for your family? What variations do you add (or subtract) to make it your own? Did you enjoy this recipe?

Until the next mile marker,

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My Famous (Ghostly) Chili

Yes, all of my recipes are famous, at least in my house didn’t you know? And a lot of my recipes are spicy too!

So, I decided to share with you one of my spiciest-of-all recipes as we enter fall and then winter and prepare to, well, turn up the hear – with Chili!

I make this Chili in a slow-cooker and let it simmer all afternoon, but you could make it on the stove too, if you prefer or don’t have a lot of time.

Please note, this recipe makes chili for 6-10 people (or a lot of leftovers if you’re like us) so cut it in half if you don’t need this much.


  • 2 pounds ground  beef
  • 2- 10 ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (i.e. Rotel)
  • 2- 8 ounce cans tomatoe sauce
  • 1- large onion, diced
  • 1- green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 – red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 – large can spicy chili beans
  • 1 – large can dark red kidney beans
  • 1-2 cups of beef broth (depending on how thick you like your chilli)
  • 2 – cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons (yes, tablespoons) cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 – dried ghost pepper, cut in half (or to taste)

Super-Easy Instructions:

  1. Brown beef in a skillet on the stove until most of the pink is gone – add to crock-pot.
  2. Saute (in juices from beef) garlic, onions and bell peppers until slightly tender – add to crock-pot.
  3. Remaining ingredients – add to crock-pot.
  4. Mix well – in crock-pot
  5. Cook up to eight hours on low or 2-3 hours on high.

I like to serve with cornbread and enjoy!


More about Ghost Chili Peppers:


The Bhut Jolokia or Naga Bhut Jolokia (or Ghost Chili Pepper) is the hottest naturally grown pepper on the planet. It has a Scoville (how the hotness of peppers is rated) rating of 1,041,427 units. For comparison, bell peppers have a 0 rating; Tabasco red pepper sauce rates at 2,500–5,000, Habaneros have a have a 300,000 rating and pure capsaicin (the chemical responsible for the spiciness of pepper plants) rates at 16,000,000 units. Pure capsaicin is unavailable through a natural grown plant and is only synthetically developed.

The Ghost Chili originated in the Assam region of northeast India. The Guinness Book of World Records named the Bhut Jolokia as the hottest pepper in the world (2004), a record which was previously held by the Red Savina. When ripe, the pepper has a red or orange color and measures about 2.5 in. to 3.5 in. long and about 1 in. wide.  The pepper looks very similar to the Habanero chili pepper; thought, the texture is rougher and the appearance has a more dented look.

Ghost chili peppers have a smoky taste to them that is reminiscent of a chipotle pepper, in my opinion, but much spicier. The word Bhuti, given by the Bhutias people in India, means ghost and was probably given the name because of the way the heat sneaks up on the one who eats it, which is true. It has also been likened to the bite of a King Cobra snake by peoples in the region where it grows. I found the taste to be rich and spicy and really enjoyed the pepper. It was not unbearably hot and produced a nice flavor on top of the heat.

I have found most of these peppers come with some sort of warning, though, like the following “With the intensity of the pepper able to create a very strong pain sensation lasting up to 30 minutes, one should eat the Bhut Jolokia pepper with extreme caution.  Also, when handling the Bhut Jolokia pepper, one should take caution as to not get any in or near the eyes as the pepper can create a very intense burn.”  So, try a small amount before you dump it in your chili!

Until the next mile marker,

Top Ten Natural Blood Thinners – The Spice Edition

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Ever since I have been diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), I have been reading about natural “cures” and remedies for blood clotting, including what natural blood thinners exist. I don’t know about you, but it really bothers me to be on so much medication and for such a serious condition. I would like to get to a point someday where I can not be dependent on medication. I believe that the earth – in it’s natural state – originally provided everything our bodies needed to survive and heal. How else would be have survived all of these tens of thousands of years?

I believe the state of our environment, water and food supplies have a lot to do with what is causing us to be sick in the first place. Especially in America (and those counties that eat our food), we have paid a price for convenience, preservation and price all while sacrificing what is natural, whole and healing.

There is some interesting information online about natural remedies for serious disorders, and all new courses of treatment should be discussed with your healthcare provider before you make a switch. For instance, people taking prescription anti-coagulant drugs also need to be careful not to consume too many foods with natural blood thinning components in addition to their regular medication.

The chemicals in blood thinners, which are known as salicylates are also found naturally in some plants, stored in the bark, leaves, roots, skin and seeds. Blood thinners help block vitamin K and in nature, salicylates help to protect plants against insect damage and disease. Aspirin is another everyday example containing salicylate and many foods also contain them.

I love to cook with spices – and not just salt and pepper – so I was excited to see there are many spices and herbs that are naturally comprised of salicylates, or natural blood thinners. Below is my list of the top ten natutal blood thinning spices and what you can use them for, along with some other health benefits they may provide.

  1. Ginger- Ginger can be added to almost anything and brings flavor to most meals. I use it in Asian and Indian dishes. Ginger also helps to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and has been used in the treatment of a variety of ailments from cancer to migraines.
  2. Cayenne Pepper- Cayenne Pepper is one of nature’s most healing and therapeutic foods. It gets it’s color and spicy flavor from an ingredient known as capsaicin. I love spicy food so I use this ingredient a lot. Remember, a little goes a long way!
  3. Curry Powder– One of my all-time favorite spices to cook with. Curry has many anti-inflammatory properties and has been used to treat inflammatory diseases for centuries. I use curry on a weekly basis in shrimp, chicken and vegetable dishes.
  4. Paprika – Paprika is rich in antioxidants and vitamin c and also helps the cardiovascular system by reducing swelling and increasing circulation. I don’t use it very often, but it is good on eggs and potatoes. I will definitely have to get more paprika next time I head to the grocery store.
  5. Thyme – Thyme is rich antioxidants and helps aid in digestion, as well as soothing coughs. My favorite way to eat thyme is in a tea right before bed time.
  6. Cinnamon- Consume pure cinnamon to help with regulation of blood sugar and lowering of cholesterol as well as blood thinning. Cinnamon has long been used in baking recipes, but I prefer it sprinkled on top of oatmeal or over a cup of hot apple cider in the fall. I also use cinnamon in several Indian dishes.
  7. Dill- Dill has been used for centuries in cooking and as a herbal remedy. It is known to be a digestive and sleep aid. I like dill on baked or sauteed potatoes or in an egg omelet.
  8. Oregano– This herb is excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium and when eaten fresh, it packs a punch of vitamin c as well. I love oregano in pasta sauces most of all. I just toss some of the fresh herb in the pot after chopping it up a bit.
  9. Turmeric- Turmeric is the ingredient in curry that gives it a vibrant yellow color. It has anti-inflammatory properties and just a pinch is tasty in egg salads and deviled eggs.
  10. Peppermint– Peppermint helps an irritable bowel and may also help in the fight against cancer. I like peppermint freshly steeped in hot or iced tea.

Next time you are cooking, try a couple of these herbs and even if they don’t help clotting, they are sure to not only delight your senses and tantalize your taste buds, but maybe add in some extra health benefits too.

Until the next mile marker,