What's Your Spice?

Lately, my spice rack has been looking like a hot mess and the tiny little OCD in me had to rearrange it (Monica-style, naturally)! So I spent the morning carefully pouring in different spices and therefore, making a mess along the way! What a fragrant day it has been so far!

I wanted to discuss about some of my favorite spices I use in every day cooking. What I love about herbs & spices is it not only brings out flavors in other foods to make a dish a whole, but it's very healthy for you. You see, to me, in order to cook well, you really need to know your spices and flavors. It was like a mini-mental exercise re-familiarizing all the different spices, including some I don't use on a consistent basis. 

For example, I love, love, love the smell and flavor of star anise! It's bouquet is powerful and licorice-like, more pungent and stronger than regular anise . Sometimes called Chinese star anise, it should not be confused with Japanese star anise, which is highly toxic.

Star anise goes really well with pork and duck. It is very much contributed in Chinese cuisine, where ingredients are simmered for a long period in soy sauce, and star anise is nearly always added to beef and chicken dishes. Chinese stocks and soups usually contain the spice. This spice is also frequently used in Malaysian curries. It can also be added in fruit compotes and jams, pairs awesomely with tomatoes, and even braised beef dishes - I even use it when I make pickled red onion. Mm mm... the secret ingredient can elevate several dishes to a whole new level.

For everyday cooking, I always use s & p, and if I'm not going to use garlic cloves or actual onion, I'll turn to the powders for an easier substitute. As much as I love garlic, I don't always want to be smelling like one! I also regularly use dried herbs as well, which include rosemary, parsley, basil, bay leaves, and thyme. I incorporate many of these into potato dishes, poultry meats and roasted earthy vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and beets. If I'm making fajitas or tacos, I will never go without cumin. Did you know it stimulates appetite? Maybe that's why I always eat way too many tacos... you tricksters! ;)

Another spice essential in Asian cuisine is ginger. And I can never get enough of it. I make a really tasty beef & kale stir-fry using either freshly grated ginger root or ginger powder, as a substitute. I will have to share the stir-fry recipe! Ginger is a super aphrodisiac, and has an endless list of health benefits. It is most commonly known as a digestive aid. Hello, Ginger Ale! And of course, ginger is used to cleanse the palate in between different pieces of sushi.

What are your everyday spices? Do you have a particular favorite? Or perhaps, a really snazzy recipe with a unique ingredient you're dying to share? Well, come on aboard and let's hear it! Please like and share, and of course, comment below your favorite spice!

Have a spicerrific day! ;)

Love & xx's,

maQ + suz

Breakfast Taco Tuesday Recipe

Summer's coming to a close and I'm trying to use up all the 'fruits' of my friend's labor. He has one killer garden on the rooftop of our apartment building. We actually spent the 4th of July up there with a bunch of neighbors and friends and watched the fireworks. This past weekend he gifted us a gigantic bag of tomatoes and I'm trying to use as much as I can before they start to get old. I hate wasting food!

Ever since I was a little girl I despised breakfast. To be honest, for several years, my ideal 'breakfast of champions' was coffee & cigarettes. For a long time, the very thought of eating something in the morning revolted me. Now older, I'm trying to take better care of myself and have really gotten in the habit to eat 3-square meals a day. However, when I'm having a good writing day, I can't move, let alone bother to feed myself, and yes, still will sometimes skip a meal if it's going very well. I'll always stay hydrated though. Fun fact: I haven't had a soda in 2 months! Keeping it healthy with water and non-sugary drinks!

One of my favorite quick-and-easy, on-the-go breakfasts are tacos! Yes, I'm one of those New Yorkers who's running around while simultaneously shoving food into my mouth.

Check out the recipe and photos below.

Let's Eat!

Breakfast Tacos (Serves 4)

4  flour tortillas (8 inches) 

1  cup canned refried beans 

1  tablespoon butter 

8  eggs, beaten to mix 

Salt and pepper, to taste 

1  cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese

12  cherry tomatoes, halved 

1. To heat the tortillas: Place a tortilla directly on a medium gas flame for a few seconds, or until it starts to puff and is slightly charred at the edges. Using tongs, turn it and let it heat for a few seconds on the other side. Or, heat the tortillas in a heavy, ungreased skillet over medium heat. On a plate lined with a cloth napkin, stack the tortillas and fold the napkin over them to keep them warm. Continue until all the tortillas are warm.

2. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the refried beans, stirring often, until they are hot.

3. In a skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the eggs, salt, and pepper. With a large spoon, stir the eggs until they form small curds.

4. On each of 4 breakfast plates, set 1 tortilla. Spread with 2 tablespoons of beans, 1/4 of the eggs, 2 tablespoons of cheese, and 6 cherry tomato halves. Fold in half. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

* You can also add in salsa, onion, avocado, bacon/sausage etc. Use what you like! :)


Love & xx's,

maQ + suz

Meatloaf Sunday's

Hey ya'll!! Hope you enjoyed the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend! I know I sure did!

Last night was my traditional 'Meatloaf Sunday's', where my husband and I, scarf down my meatloaf while watching 'The Walking Dead'. We are huge fans of the show and have been zombie addicts ever since the first season! It would seem rather strange to some, I guess, given that hamburger meat looks like brains and we're watching zombies eating people alive... I know a lot of friends who just can't even stomach watching the show, but for me the more gruesome it is the better! ;)

It's your typical classical meatloaf. Very easy to make and super delish! Check it out - if you are looking for full recipes send me a shout out at suzanne@suzannespiegoski.com

Cheers to a great week!


<3 Suz

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Some ingredients: Chopped onion, breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, dried basil leaves, salt & pepper.


First mix in 2 eggs and milk.


Then mix in breadcrumbs, onion, basil, s & p, and some chopped parsley.


Lastly, throw in your choice of ground meat (beef, lamb, turkey etc.)


And then, the best way to make meatloaf imo, mix all together with your hands! :)


Put in loaf pan, cover in aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour and 25 minutes. In the meantime, make your sauce which will consist of mostly ketchup, brown sugar and a little bit of mustard to put on top of the meatloaf after baking.


After 1 hour and 25 minutes, take the meatloaf out and spoon off the fat. Then spread the ketchup sauce on top, baking uncovered for 10 minutes.


Smash a clove of garlic and sauté with spinach and a pinch of salt for a brief 2-3 minutes.


Finished result! :)


Add some mashed potatoes with some brown gravy into the mix and we got ourselves a whole hearty meal! Enjoy and see ya soon!!


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NYC Carmine's Country - Style Rigatoni

It's What's For Dinner Part 4! I did it - 4 weeks in a row!

Check out some parts of this week's cookin' - can't wait for my next food (Thanksgiving) post! :) xo -S




Some prosciutto for flavoring..


Sweet Italian sausage, rigatoni pasta, yellow onion, chicken stock and butter.




Final result with broccoli, white cannellini beans and fresh basil.


With fresh grated romano cheese... mmm! :-P

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